Another first time safari goer

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Dec 16th, 2013, 04:54 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
Unbelievable that there's still people who believe that 5000USD is too low to do a two week safari. I've been going on safari for 10 years and never spent more than 5K per person.

A few possibilities;

- A self-drive in Namibia. Since you're with 7, you can get a good deal on renting two cars. A 2x4 is all you need, just make sure it's a SUV-type. We've done Kalahari (Begatelle Lodge + all activities), Sossusvlei (Hoodia Desert Lodge + all activities), the coast (some B&B, including Sandwich Harbour trip), Damaraland (Grootberg Lodge + all activities), Etosha (Etosha Safari Lodge & Onguma Tented Lodge) and Waterberg (Frans Indongo + activities), and paid about 4,9K. However, our trip was 17 nights, we were only with two (no vehicle cost to split), and Onguma was expensive; we could have stayed in Etosha Safari Lodge and done our own game drives in the park, it would have saved us a lot.

- Kruger in South Africa. Fly to Hoedspruit, and do a combo of lodges in Klaserie, Timbavati, Manyeleti and Sabi Sands. Only the two latter lodges will charge for transfer costs between camp or between them and the airport. But then again; you're with 7 people, so those costs are far less than we always get (being only the two of us). Choose your lodges wisely. Good and affordable options are Africa On Foot (*), Gomo Gomo and nThambo in Klaserie, Simbavati River Lodge and Shindzela (*) in Timbavati, Pungwe Bush Camp in Manyeleti, and Elephant Plains or Umkumbe in Sabi Sands. Those marked * do walks in the morning and drives in the afternoon. The rest = all drives.

Bottom line is this; you can save yourself quite a bit of money by not choosing to book with a US- or UK-based agent. They just add to the cost of a trip that's actually handled by a local (African) TA.
We always book though Sun Safaris in Cape Town. It's a tad cheaper than booking directly at the lodges, and they take care of things like transfers, car rentals, local flights, etc. Without adding any cost for that (they only take a percentage on the lodges).

Ciao,

J.
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Dec 16th, 2013, 10:48 AM
  #22
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
pixelpower - The $5K the OP mentioned is also to include Int'l Air, so depending on where traveling, month, specials, for most afreas Africa you have to expect at bare minimum $1K, but more often between $1,500-2K... thus not leaving much for the safari itself.

With the entire $5K for land portion of safari itself and again depending when traveling (season) and country, their own style of travel with quite a bit of research and patience, some travelers can likely do it.
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Dec 16th, 2013, 10:58 AM
  #23
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Just couple of thoughts. If coming from USA the cost of air and time adjustment means two weeks in Africa to make it worth while. (I'm from USA Calif and it takes me better part of two days to get to Africa).
Also, bet you a dollar-to-a-donut that 2 of those 7 will drop out when a $$$ deposit is required.

regards - tom
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Dec 19th, 2013, 03:05 AM
  #24
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
hey sandi,

Well, I was aware of that. But indeed it might be that people from US need a bit more money to get to Africa. I fly for about 500-700€ Brussels-Johannesburg round trip. My latest tickets were 589€ per person. Lufthansa currently has an action at 549€.

I assume if I take our the short trip to Paris or Frankfurt (that I have to take to get to the places where the international flight leaves) that I can deduct about 75€ from the above prices.

So regular flights, not even charters or looking-for-the-cheapest-deals-via-the-Arabs-flights, from EU cost about 750$.

I know you can get from US to EU with companies like Delta for less than 500$, so let's say 500$ is the difference between my price and what a person from the US should end up with. Well...even with that 500$ surplus I would still be sitting around 5K$, believe it or not.

B;regs,

J.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 08:34 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
It is difficult to get from US to Europe for less than $800 these days, it is easy to find fares of about $1200 unless you happen on a REAL special deal. It cost us as much to fly to Rome and home from Prague in 2011 as it did to fly from US to Johannesburg and back in 2012! Our tickets to India for 2014 are again in the same range, maybe up about $100 each. We fly Delta.

I think the OP will be able to swing a deal somewhere!
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Dec 19th, 2013, 02:28 PM
  #26
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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FWIW, using KAYAK I found flight costs in March 2014 round-trip JFK (New York) to JNB at lowest $910. For me at LAX (California) $1026. These are very attractive prices.

HOWEVER, if I look at July flights the price for LAX to JNB is minimum $1,679 on Air Canada. Total flight time with 2 stops is 32 hours!!! Add another, 4(?) hours for from home to JNB hotel, is 36 hours. No thanks.

regards - tom
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Dec 19th, 2013, 02:36 PM
  #27
 
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ps - that $1,679 is with two stops. To make it only one stop it is $2,004.

And if I change the flight dates in July the least cost is $2,007 - whether one or two stops.

Cost of flights is like playing the roulette wheel!!!

regards - tom
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Dec 19th, 2013, 03:24 PM
  #28
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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You might consider Overseas Adventure Travel's "Safari Serengeti" to Tanzania. For $5095, you can travel in June and that includes air from New York. Also, they don't charge single supplements and I figure that, with 7, someone is going "single". Check out their website for other departure cities and dates. This fits your budget and is a fairly good safari for the money. I've used OAT's Tanzanian outfitter, Kibo Guides, several times and they're good.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 05:37 AM
  #29
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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tmd0008

Are you still in safari planning mode? If the 7 all hang in there you have formidable negotiating power for a custom trip, but even so $5K per person with air is a little low if you have a professional guide/driver and you are not doing budget camping or self drive. Note the self drive options in South Africa, mentioned above, that would cost less, especially if you all share a care. There is no migration in South Af, though.

You mentioned you have a travel agent friend. Rather than first present them with an itinerary, why don't you as the TA for a suggestion. Then the folks here can tweak it.

If you are still in planning mode, you may want to finalize something soon. If you need 3-6 rooms/tents then you'll want to secure spots in the popular months of June and July.

ShayTay's OAT suggestion almost always comes in as the lowest cost. It is very hard to beat that price for a package safari.

Do keep in mind other factors that will boost your $$ outlay: trip insurance for cancellation and more importantly medical evac in case of emergency; tipping; shots and malaria prophylactics; visas; a wide brimmed hat if you don't have one; perhaps bottled water or other beverages during the trip; maybe an upgrade to your photography kit.

It appears you want to see the migration. In general June = Serengeti in Tanz and July it is split between Serengeti and Kenya's Maasai Mara.

Have a great trip with your fellow travelers.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 10:27 AM
  #30
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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All good points, Atravelynn. The tour price is the starting point. Tips and incidentals can add about $25 pppd. Insurance is important to have. And, yes, there are all those inoculations, pills, etc. June in the Serengeti is a "maybe" for the Migration. It just depends on the rains and whether or not the animals have moved beyond the Western Corridor into the private reserves between the Corridor and the northern Serengeti. Of course, they could still be in the central Serengeti... I've seen it both ways in June. Late July and early August is good for seeing the Migration in the northern Serengeti, but it depends on where your camp is and if your guide is willing to drive to where the Migration is located. Kibo usually sets up in the Bologonja area and the Migration may be further to the west in the Lamai area. With the Migration, you just never know.
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