African Safari

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Jan 5th, 2005, 10:30 PM
  #1
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African Safari

I am planning a safari to Kenya and Tanzania in Fall 2005 and am looking for a safari company. Does anyone have any experience with Good Earth Safari? Does anyone have a safari company to recommend based on a positive personal experience?
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Jan 6th, 2005, 11:06 PM
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Someone has posted a remark about Eastern & Southern Safaris- www.essafari.co.ke in www.frommer.com. You may try them.
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Jan 6th, 2005, 11:09 PM
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Someone has posted a remark about Eastern & Southern Safaris- www.essafari.co.ke in www.frommers.com. You may try them.
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Jan 7th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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sandi
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Two other reputable companies that handle both Kenya and Tanzania, at email addresses:

[email protected]
[email protected]

both can do scheduled safaris, or custom safaris at all budgets, all kinds of accommodations. Check them out.
 
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Jan 7th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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Hi Bob:

In Oct '02 we used Sun Trek Safaris (www.suntreksafaris.com & [email protected]) and they did an excellant job for a good price. They are Nairobi based & handle both Kenya and Tanzania.

We are thinking of another safari in the next year or 2 and would definately use then again.

Z
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Jan 7th, 2005, 08:13 AM
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We just returned from a great safari using the companies that Sandi recommended, Roy Safaris in Tanzania and WildTrek in Kenya. We can't say enough good things about both companies.
I would highly recommend checking them out. Roy Safari's also has a US consultant A-Way to Africa safaris who helped us a lot.
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Jan 7th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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I booked my upcoming trip to Kenya through Eastern & Southern Safaris in Nairobi. I've arranged a private, custom safari and so far the communication has been very good. I'm leaving in about 2 weeks and will let you know how it goes.
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Jan 7th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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I have to agree with TravelMaster. We used Suntreck Safari company and had a trip beyond words, and saved thousands of dollars using them. I give them an A++++
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Jan 7th, 2005, 04:02 PM
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I forgot to add that we did a private safari, just my husband and I, and they still came in with their quote about 3500 dollars cheaper. We had our own van so we could spread out our things and stop when we wanted to and keep driving when we wanted to. Suntreck uses the same lodges and camp sites that most of the other companies use. I requested a quote from Roy's, go2Africa and Ambercrombi. I sent the iteneraries to Suntrek and accepted their offer.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 08:49 AM
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Hi
We just returned today from an awesome Safari. We used CKC Tours and Travel - contact John or Joseph. Everyone out there.. they are the BEST. To be honest, I researched for weeks, tried the bigger ones out of the UK, and a couple out of Australia. I finally contacted KATO (Kenya Association of Tourism) and they asked (politely) if they could contact a few operators and I had CKC contact me. Very professional, great price (honest), plus it's supporting local biz, which is essential. I highly recommend Ben - the driver - after 6 nites/7 days covering this awesome country, we feel like family. Again, CKC travel, small, personable - honest, professional. Couldn't ask for better!! Oh ya, 2nd time to Kenya - they were better than Rhino
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Feb 10th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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We just returned Tuesday evening from Kenya and our arrangements through Eastern & Southern were flawless. I'd requested specific tent locations and both were perfect. We would not hesitate to utilize their services again and can highly recommend them. If you book with E&S, try to get Julius as your guide. He is so personable and it made our trip all the more enjoyable.
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May 29th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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2 Seeds,

In 20 days we leave for Kenya and Tanzania with Roy's and Wildtrek and recently read that you recently used them.

As this is our first trip to Africa. We are traveling with our 11 year old son. This adds to the level of concern as we are having plenty of last minute concerns!

I would love to hear how the tranfer from Wildtrek to Roy's is managed at the Kenya-Tanzania border. We are quite concerned that we might be left on our own at ANY part of this trip! I certaily don't want my family stranded at the airport or the border!!

Also, how were your guides? Who met you at the airport? Was it your guide/driver? How were your guides/drivers (both Wildtrek and Roy's)? How were the vehicles?

My wife is very concerned about using the restroom on game drives. How did Wildtrek and Roy's manage that?

Our itinerary includes Giraffe Manor then fly to Tortilis. Drive to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena, Serengeti Serena (just added the Balloon flight!), then to Kirawira. Fly to Arusha (day bed at KIA Lodge) then home!


How much did you tip the guides and in what currency? We plan to tip $20 per day. Did you tip Wildtrek at the border?

Any insight, any detail, any suggestion would be WONDERFUL for us as the reality sets in.


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May 29th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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Some friends of our used Smartours for a Kenya/Tanzania trip and loved it.
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May 30th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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I spent two months in East Africa a couple of years back - last summer I was in South Africa for two months. Although I didn't safari with your companies, here's a few thing that I learned: if photography is high on your list take precautions against DUSTY dirt in East Africa. I used XXX large ziplock bags in addition to my camera bag. Carry small travel size packages of handi-wipes (for yourself, not the camera). Eye drops are helpful. Restrooms are primitive in towns and non-existent on safari - plan accordingly (did I mention handiwipes....?) Convertible pants are great (pants-to-shorts via a zipper .... and back again if desired). Attach a soft cord to your sunglasses so you can instantly "drop them" when a photo-op presents itself. As far as being stranded or left alone....this probably won't happen, but in the event it does, always look confident (even if you're not). What happens in the animal kingdom, unfortunatley also happens in the human kingdon: the weakest are always the target. I've never had a problem in Africa or any third world country. Stand tall, be confident. And most of all, enjoy your adventure.
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May 31st, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for the info. We have traveled quite a bit outside the US, but Africa still seems so different, especially with a child. My wife especially would feel better hearing from someone who has used our operators.

Even though we are a bit nervous concering the details, we are all still very excited to leave for Africa in 18 days!!
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May 31st, 2005, 04:23 PM
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JazzDrew - I can't wait for you to go already! I am in the process of basically booking the same trip for next year - just trying to decide between Roys and Good Earth - the Prices were very close. It is so interesteing to see what all the prices have come in at - there is like a $3000 range in prices from all the companies I have contacted.

Good Earth has been a bit more responsive - I guess because they have an office here in the US.

I'll let you know what I decide.

I am very curious to hear what your wife has to say about the bathroom situation!

Bon Voyage!
csuss
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May 31st, 2005, 04:54 PM
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Jazzdrew,

Though I've not used the operators you mentioned, any reputable company--which those are--will not leave you alone on safari. Unless you decide to go racing out of the vehicle into the bush (a stupid move), you'll never be unattended. Keeping you safe is job #1 for your guide and they take that very serious.

You can have a pit stop just about whenever you need it on a game drive. If you don't want to venture off the road to go behind a bush, just squat right behind the vehicle. You can even hold onto the back fender for balance. No big deal.

Your guide wants you to be comfortable and will do what it takes--whether that is frequent potty stops, finding unremarkable brown birds in the bird book, locating interesting trees or logs for unusual photos, or teaching your child the names of the animals in Swahili. They've heard every odd tourist request so bathroom issues are nothing new to them.

A small bottle of that waterless soap and tissues in a ziplock and another ziplock for post-use tissues will be all you need.

Your wife could certainly email me with any other bathroom questions that might not be addressed in the forum.

So it's down to 18!?
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May 31st, 2005, 06:21 PM
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Csuss - We were down to Roy's and Good Earth as well. Our experience was that Roy's was (and has been) very responsive. I do belive that Roy's is very busy these days. I read that travel to East Africa is up by 50% over last year. We decided on Roy's because there were many more positive reports about them. I had troubles collecting first hand reports of Good Earth customers (other than the list they provided). I am sure that they are just as good as Roy's, we just liked knowing (from many on this board) first hand reports of past Roy's customers. This July I hope to be among those happy past customers!

Atravelynn - Thank you for the follow-up on our concerns. My wife read your comments with relief as this is not a normal thing for us to do! From everything that I've read I know that we'll be in good hands with our guide. I was hoping that 2seeds (or another Roy's/Wildtrek customer) could provide specific reassurance for us. We are quite conservative by nature - not like us to jump into anything without knowing details. Thank goodness for this board for the confidence to go ahead with our safari!

The sad news for us today is that we recieved news that the Serengeti Balloon flight is sold out. We had waited until this past week to decide add the balloon safari and had become excited. Oh well - we are still on a wait list....gives us good reason to plan a second trip


Thanks again for everyone's assistance to date. I promise a trip report when we return.
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May 31st, 2005, 07:16 PM
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Jazzdrew,

Are you also going to the Mara too? Balloon safaris are possible there as well. Good to be on the waitlist though. I was not a fan of the balloon, actually.

The guides from different reputable companies are pretty similar in their behavior. Plus they sometimes switch from operator to operator. All the guides hang out together in the guide quarters at the camp/lodge and assist each other with sightings on safari. Your particular operator would not have guides who behaved very differently from the others. Again, as long as these are all reliable, responsible companies their guides will be experienced and trained.

To address your tipping question. The information I have used suggests a guide tip of $10 to $20 per person per day for a private safari and a $5 guide tip per person per day for a group safari, when sharing your vehicle with others.

I am sure Roy's and Wildtrek would help you with the tipping questions and provide the most relevant info.
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Jun 1st, 2005, 05:36 AM
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What ever you do stay away from 2000 World tours in Arusha. Unless you want a different kind of adventure.
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