African Safari

Old Dec 15th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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African Safari

I am interested in booking a safari trip to Africa for autumn 2009.

I'm looking for recommendations for African Safari tour operators.
lynsir is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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Africa is a big continent. Which country/ies, north, south or east?

If East, there is an East African Trip Report Index which details of the various tour operators the posters have used. Lots of details on this thread. There is also another thread for South African Trip Reports.

Or search this board for "Kenya (or Tanzania, or South Africa, Botswana, etc.) tour operators."
sandi is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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How exciting!

You should also decide if you want a group tour or a trip for just you and your party. With 2 or more, a custom trip is typical and can cost about the same as some groups.

If you back up your time frame by a month or so, you can join me in a visit to the gorillas in Rwanda.

Here's a thread on getting started in your safari planning.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35095477
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 04:23 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm assuming, at this point, that we'll concentrate on Southern/South Africa.
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 04:59 AM
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Kenya is a wonderful country to be visited. But for you to visit you have to come up first with the budget that you want to spend.you need to look for a touring company that has to take good care of your safari.

I have been to Kenya for a safari. I didn't know what to do but a friend directed me to the website where i found KATO Kenya Association of tour Operators(www.katokenya.org),while browsing i came across All Seasons Safaris & Tours (www.allseasonssafaris.com)

They designed for me a safari to Kenya. Which was a 7 days wildlife safari which was so great.While on a safari i meet other tourists,and when i compared my budget with theirs i realized i spend less compared to what they had budgeted for.We almost went the same sites but my touring agents budget was quit good.

If asked i fill okey recommending them to any tourist heading to Kenya.

All the best with your safari.
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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So Southern or South Africa in fall it is.

As mentioned, if you check out this trip index you can find different agents and itineraries.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34858382

A few tour operators that have been used with success:

Overseas Adventure Travel, based in Boston--
They have some of the best rates because they include air. There had been some complaints about the company, but it seems the biggest problems were with cruise bookings. I guess it is possible your trip dates could be altered. The groups seem to be a bit larger than some others. Window seat seemed to be an issue as well. But most people have had a great time.

I'll see if I can find some OAT threads on their Southern Africa trip.

Wilderness Travel in CA--They are a big name in adventure/nature travel. I knew someone who did a nice Zambia trip with them.

International Expeditions in Alabama--I have not traveled with them to Africa, but I've run into their small groups while there. Everybody was having a fantastic time. I recently worked with them on an upcoming private departure for a Brazil trip so I think they are open to all sorts of things in addition to their group trips, especially in this economy.

Natural Habitat in Colorado--Though I have not traveled to Africa with them, I've done several other wildlife trips with them. They are sound, reputable, top notch.

The Africa Adventure Company in Ft. Lauderdale--
They have group departures and they also do private trips. I booked a group mobile safari to Botswana through them and I've also booked solo trips with them to Southern Africa and all over Africa. All has gone well and when some glitches popped up, they fixed them so all continued to go well.

The mobile I booked with The Af Adv Co was run by Wilderness Safaris (from Africa, not the Wilderness Travel in CA)

These mobiles, run by Wilderness and by other companies such as &Beyond (formerly CC Africa), and Massons, etc. are a great way and a comfortable way to visit the expensive destination of Botswana.

You cannot book Wilderness mobiles directly so you must use an agent such as The Africa Adventure Company. Many other companies offer Wilderness mobiles as well as private trips for just you and your party. A few are:

Fish Eagle in Houston, Eyes on Africa in Chicago (I used them for two South Africa safari parks and all was great.)

In South Africa, there is Go2Africa and Southern Destinations. A few people have used the newer Rhino Safaris.

The &Beyond or Massons mobiles can be booked directly with the company. If booked through an agent, it was my experience that &Beyond was the same price.

Speaking of &Beyond...
They also have properties in Southern Africa. I stayed at Phinda, a cheetah conservation reserve in South Africa that was great.

Your next considerations are budget and time frame. When you get suggestions or itineraries from any agent, post them here for others to comment.
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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lynsir,
Since you mention Southern/South Africa I pass along a US Company that we have recently used and are extremely happy with, travelbeyond.com Craig Beal, the owner, is very knowledgeable and his staff is most efficient. We had used another US based operator (in Conneticut)but found they screwed up to frequently to continue using or to recommend. Craig, on the other hand, has been marvelous to work with. By the way, I am not in any way connected to the travel business and generally restrcit my comments to photography. My endorsement is just personal preferance based on recent experience. Also, with the economy so much in the dumps, I prefer to deal with US based operators. Of the other companies mentioned above, the two I would consider are Fish Eagle and Eyes on Africa. International Expeditions is a general go anywhere company and lack specialized knowledge or understanding re: Africa. OAT is a mass tour operator and while a lot of bang for the buck, do not provide the kind of experience many people expect or are looking for. Some good deals are opening up in South/Southern Africa and be sure to ask for those deals plus any long/extended stay discounts.
Chuck
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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I have twice used Eyes on Africa for itineraries in South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. My nephew recently used The Wild Source for South Africa. Our experiences with these two outfits were great. Both were very knowledgable, helpful, and patient in helping to sort out questions and destinations.
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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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Here are numerous threads about OAT.

OAT canceling

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=35087243


Actually gone—Ultimate Africa-Southern
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=35085119

actually gone—East Africa by Ann NYC
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34897294 report
http://www.winkflash.com/photo/publi...?u=ajennerjahn pics


In general

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34954868

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34960960

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34828547


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Old Dec 19th, 2008, 12:56 PM
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lynsir
my first safari is in the planning process. ( i am going to Botswana in may) i choose African adventure Co.
but let me back up and tell you how i arrived at that point.
first i did a web search, and found some stuff. then i went and bought fodors Complete african safari planner
i took their recommendations for tour operators, and compared this to the recommendations i had from friends, and responses i had gotten to inquiries i made on various websites that the book recommended.
then i made a budget decision ( that can actually be a good first step.)
then I found this website a true wealth of information, and everyone is so so helpful, no matter how many times the same questions are asked everyone is incredible patient with us newbies.

i spoke to the people at AAC several times before i actually booked the trip with them, so far i am happy with them. But i am sure that there are many many competant tour opeerators. but make sure to ask whom ever you choose questions they floated around a list of question to ask on these threads

http://www.fodors.com/news/story_3239.html

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35167339

happy planning, and keep asking questions
amy
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