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Rhoda May 4th, 2001 03:44 PM

Africa: What tour operator to go with?
I plan on traveling to Africa on safari with my husband in 2002 - any suggestions on how I go about organising the trip - do I need a tour operator like BigFive? <BR> <BR>If so, have you any Recommendations please?

Debbie May 5th, 2001 02:53 AM

I'm sure everyone has their favorite tour operator that they have used, so I have to put in my 2 cents worth for Twigga Tours. Ask for John as your guide and you will be very happy. John was one of the MOST experienced guides out in the parks when we were there and he ALWAYS found the animals fast and what was better, even if he didn't find them first, he was smarter than the average guide as far as positioning the van for the best pictures. He KNEW when and where the animals would be moving and would manage to be in the right spot at the right time. <BR>Obviously, I was very impressed with this mans abilities and Twigga was a good company all around. Here is the website address for them, if you would like to explore them further. <BR> <BR> <BR>Have a spectacular time.

Buck May 5th, 2001 06:41 AM

We just returned from Kenya and used Go Ahead Vacations Kenyan Safari. It was just outstanding. They have an great web site to get all the information you need. They use Vintage Africa as their ground operator in Kenya, the best driver, guides and the best lodges and food, flights and so forth. We had a great experience with no gliches whatsoever. Check out their web site. This was my third time to use them and this was the very best. Buck

Lisa May 5th, 2001 06:52 AM

Depends where you are going. (and from where) Speaking for South Africa you can book things on your own via internet or go through a travel agency who specialises in SA. <BR> <BR>I somethimes think you can do it cheaper on your own, with the exception of airfare. Some of the tour operators on the net charge really high prices,for set tours, but you do have the comfort of knowing that all details are taken care of. <BR> <BR>You also do not need a tour operator for a safari. If you stay at any of the wonderful private reserves, they have their own rangers and every last detail is done for you. All you have to do is get your airfare there (and obviously pay for it all!) <BR> <BR>But do price around, prices vary tremendously. And sometimnes travel agents can get better prices too.

Hans May 8th, 2001 09:24 AM

If your plans include Kenya or Tanzania, I would highly recommend Abercrombie & Kent. We took their Wings Over Kenya trip last July and it was truly spectacular. Although more expensive than many of the other companies, the services and quality was amazing. Our guides and drivers were fantastic, the tented camps we stayed in were phenominal and they organization and pace of the trip was perfect. Although it is true that many of the companies follow the same route (and even fly on the same planes) and the animals and landscapes are the most important things, do not under estimate the value of a good guide and drivers. Our trip basically mirrored the trip of another major tour operators and often times we would find ourselves waiting at air strips togther and talking. The other trip was so jealous of our guide becuase of his knowledge and kindness--it really matters. Hope this helps!

Celia May 8th, 2001 01:12 PM

I am seconding what Lisa said - If you're going to South Africa, you don't need to book a separate safari; just go on the game drives from the reserve where you're staying. That's what we've usually done. However, we once toured Botswana with Karibu safaris, and I highly recommend them. They aren't luxury, but are very comfortable camping safaris. I think they also do some non-camping ones. <BR> <BR>You will find that the guides who work at the private reserves are excellent. In South Africa the guides are all well-trained and really know what they're doing. <BR> <BR>If you do choose SA, and/or Botswana, you'll see lots of game, because the game parks in those countries have been very well managed for decades. Poaching is not as bad a problem as it is in some other African countries, so game is plentiful. And the tourism infrastructure is excellent. <BR> <BR>About airfare, you can often get good deals through consolidators. <BR> <BR>

rachelsumaria May 11th, 2001 07:32 AM

i agree with Buck. Vintage Africa are superb and they do luxury as well as standard and budget and can customise to your requirements. We took children and their itinerary and drivers were fantastic. A real professional outfit to go with in Africa and cheaper than A&K. Try them - no harm and see their response!

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