Africa - Photo-Safari Tour Suggestions

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Jan 7th, 2004, 01:22 PM
  #1
blu
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Africa - Photo-Safari Tour Suggestions

Would like any kind of help for a first time photo-safari tour of Africa. Would be looking for one that would be cost conscious, not too rustic, what the best time of the year would be to go and any other information that you would find valuable to a person who has never been there before and not looking for a trip to cost $5,000 or more. Thanks.

blu
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Jan 7th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Your best bet would probably be to go to www.lonelyplanet.com and visit their Thorn Tree forum for Africa. There are a lot more budget-minded travellers over there (and a lot more volume) than on this board.

Keep in mind that airfare alone, if travelling from the USA, will likely cost upwards of $1,500 per person, and a lot more if you require various air or road transfers. Doesn't leave much for the actual ground portion of the trip.

Best of luck and if you have any specific countries in mind, I am sure that you will get good feedback on this board as well as Lonely Planet.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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I respectfully beg to differ with Rocco - You can get a lot of bang for $5,000 bucks! A friend of mine is traveling to Africa in September. He is staying at budget (but clean and comfortable) accommodations in Amboseli (Amboseli Lodge), Tarangire (Tarangire Safari Lodge), Ngorongoro (Ngorongoro Sopa), and splurging for three nights in the Masai Mara at Fig Tree Camp, all being done with a private vehicle - meaning he and another friend by themselves, with guide, of course - for $2,700 per person - and that includes airfare between Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, 4 WD vehicle in Tanzania, all meals, park entrance fees, etc. That price, of course, excludes international air. But it can be done. He is going late September 2004 in the hope of being able to watch the Great Migration from the Mara to the Seregenti. Less bugs during the dry season. So, blu, it can be done! Don't dispair!!
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Jan 7th, 2004, 04:31 PM
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Susan,

I hope your friend has wings and can fly internationally to Arusha!

I guess it all depends on whether or not "Blu" intended the $5,000 ($2,500 per person) to include or exclude international air.

I agree that if it excludes international air, that a decent safari is possible, visiting a few places that are not too spread out, such as Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. I figure that for about $550 USD per day a couple can stay at a moderate place and have their transfers, possibly giving them a 9 night stay of Tarangire (3), Ngorongoro Crater (2) and Serengeti (4).

Alternately, if Blu wishes to visit Southern Africa, it would be possible to stay four nights in Cape Town at possibly $200 USD per night, a couple nights in the Cape Winelands at $200 USD per night and then fly to Sabi Sand/Kruger for about $250 per person R/T, find decent safari accomodations in the Sabi Sand for no more than $500 USD per night, even in high season. If only four nights are spent in the Sabi Sand/Kruger, then Blu is only looking at:

Cape Town (4 nights?) - $800 USD
Cape Winelands (2 nights?) - $400 USD
R/T Airfare CPT-Hoedspruit - $500 USD
Sabi Sand (4 nights?) - $2,000 USD

This would be a nice little intro tour to Africa, although now that I am a little more experienced and DON'T want White Colonial European Africa, I would choose the first option to Tanzania.

Lastly, there is a great recurring auction on Luxury Link.com that features four nights in Cape Town, two nights in Johannesburg, and four nights in Botswana and it regularly goes for around $4,000 USD. With air transfers between places, the whole trip may only cost $5,500 USD and it stays at some of the finest places and in junior suites at the hotels (Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg and Orient-Express Safaris in Botswana). I checked it out and right now it is offered at a price of $9,615 USD with the only difference between the usual auction being that there are six nights in Botswana. Usually this same package is available for $4,000 when you have to bid on it and the only difference is two less nights in Botswana.
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Jan 8th, 2004, 03:09 AM
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So, see, blu, it can be done! Just do your homework and don't rush into anything. Good luck and there are many people on this board who would be willing to help you out as much as possible. And see, even though Rocco doesn't travel budget-style, he was able to come up with something as well!
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Jan 8th, 2004, 03:35 AM
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blu, you have an enjoyable situation--planing a trip to Africa. We are considering a return to East Africa for this June and as a group of 3 are certainly looking at the $$$. We had a trip 2 years ago with 2Afrika and will certainly keep them in mind. Based on feedback from this Board we are also checking out other companies. While the northern parks in Tanzania are the more traveled ones in the country we certainly saw a diversity of wildlife and loads of key species for me to photograph to my hearts content even in a van. Thus, even a "budget" trip staying at the Sopa lodges was quite enjoyable and if we had to settle for the same trip this year I would be okay although we really would like to venture into Kenya as well. Enjoy the planing and by all means do the searches including this board.
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Jan 8th, 2004, 04:45 AM
  #7
sandi
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blu -

Everyone is right, safari to Africa is available at every price. And $5,000 can get you a trip with air and land. But first you have to decide where in Africa you want to visit, for how long and what time of year.

With tourism down in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania), prices will likely better meet your budget needs. Though not to say you can't get good deals in Southern Africa.

You may want to consider "Migration" time in the Maasi Mara which takes place between July - October; the herds returning from the Mara to the Serengeti from September - November. This all depends on the rains, weather, greener pastures for the wildebeest and zebra, yet there is no guarantee the exact time for the Migration in either direction.

At the other end of the continent is Southern Africa - including So.Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. But here, prices can be steeper especially during high season; but the seasons, especially in So. Africa are the reverse of the northern hemisphere and temps can be rather chilly, if not downright cold at a place like Kruger (in May - Aug).

There are some companies that many on this board use regularly that you might want to consider:

www.roysafaris.com - Tanzania mainly
www.essafaris.co.ke - Kenya/Tanzania
www.2afrika.com - Ken/Tan/SouthernAfrica; they also have a consolidator air dept to help with flights
www.premiertours - Ken/Tan/SouthernAfrica; they too have an air consolidator air depts, though their land prices might be a bit more expensive
www.onsafari.com - Ken/Tan/SouthernAfrica; at all price ranges

I'm sure other posters will have their favorite tour operators and might list them for you in additional posts.

If by not too rustic you mean, no tents - don't discount the benefits of sleeping in tents as this is what Africa is really all about, and tents are equipped with all one needs, including flush toilets.

There are lots of options, so try to answer the questions in my opening paragraph and then go from there. A good guidebook will certainly help in your decision making. Then come back here with specific questions and you'll get plenty of input. Lots of luck!

 
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