ATR -- Recommended Guides for Tanzania?

Old Mar 21st, 2007, 06:57 AM
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ATR -- Recommended Guides for Tanzania?

I am planning a Northern Circuit Safari through ATR (Tanganyika/MKSC is the ground operator) and am hoping for a guide recommendation. Clearly a great guide can make a trip!

If you have taken a trip to Tanzania through ATR, do you have a guide you would recommend or not recommend? What did you like (or not like) about your guide?

Thank you!
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 11:21 AM
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When is your trip? Our guide, Edward, was terrific, but I do believe he was trying to retire within the next couple of years if he could swing it financially. Also, as a mature man, rather than a young-and-hungry kid, he had a certain grumpy exterior. Just an act, I assure you! He's a dignified, serious man and has his own opinions. But we ended up laughing so much with him.

If leopards are an interest, let him know. He's crazy for them.

Also, take a look at the New East Africa Trip Report Index. An English fellow named Chris (?) was on a honeymoon safari with ATR the same time as us, June 2006. He never finished his report, but they liked their guide very much too. I can't remember their guide's name, but we "met" in the Serengeti and they appeared to be having a great time.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 12:30 PM
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We loved our ATR guide last summer - Godfrey. But choice of guide also depends on your personality! Godfrey suited us perfectly but what do you want from a guide? If you can't settle on one to request then try describing what you would like from your guide to ATR and ask them to discuss it with MKSC before allocation.
Godfrey certainly looked after us, got us some great game-viewing and was obviously more experienced than some others we came across. He wasn't non-stop talkative or a live-wire but then again, he might be and was wily enough to assess very quickly that we didn't want him to be. He was chatty and informative and a real gentleman. His years of experience also helped get us away from the other tourists at a busy time of year.

Hope that helps

Julie
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 01:32 PM
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Our guide was Saedi, he suited us, informative, funny, helpful, but he was not too keen on really early starts. He was happy to take us to a local "African" restaurant in Arusha when we asked him, as long as we didn't tell his boss! And he took us off the beaten track, away from the crowds. He was determined to find us the big five at a time when game viewing was not that good due to the drought. He succeeded too.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Thank you for your advice.

Leely our trip is in late June/early July.

jul_uk I think what we want most is someone who is flexible, informative (and happy to answer questions) and interesting. Grumpy exteriors wouldn't bother us, a lack of interest or a rigid approach probably wouldn't work well with our personalities.

hetismij what constitutes a really early start, just for my own knowledge? (First time safari goers here..)

And again thank you all!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 03:18 AM
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Well Saedi was reluctant to do a 6 o'clock start but was Ok with 7. He said it wasn't fair on the camp staff, but we know others went off early, so I think he just liked a bit of a lie in! I can't say I blame him - he put in long hours behind the wheel to find everything for us. We were so impressed with the ability most guides seem to have of driving, negotiating potholes and spotting wildlife that even when were stopped we had trouble seeing, all at the same time!
The lack of an early start was never a probem for us really,(we were also first timers) but next time I would insist on at least one really early start.
I hope you have a great time! What is your itinerary?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Simon was our guide for our January 2006 ATR safari. While he was quite pleasant, we felt he fell short as a guide and functioned more as a driver than a guide. While he pointed out and identified animals, he offered very little information about them unless we asked him specific questions. At one point when we were watching a leopard way off in the distance, his cell phone rang. He didn't give us the option of seeing Olduvai Gorge and refused to take us to certain areas of the Serengeti.

As for early morning starts, bear in mind that with ATR, you will be out until approximately 6 p.m. in the heat and the dust with only a box lunch and nothing really cold to drink. As much as I love game drives, I was really glad when we got back to camp and I could take a shower.

This was my first East African safari, after having done dozens of Southern Africa safaris where the daily schedule starts with an early morning game drive with a break in the middle of the day back at the camp followed by a late afternoon game drive. Personally, I think it is a better approach to gave viewing; and if I were do go to East Africa again, I would ask for the daily schedule to be arranged this way occasionally.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:11 AM
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safarilover -

>>bear in mind that with ATR, you will be out until approximately 6 p.m. in the heat and the dust with only a box lunch and nothing really cold to drink<<

Do you mean to say, you weren't given an option as to schedule? What if you didn't want to go out at 6am, or wanted to return to camp for lunch?

I can understand on days when moving from one location to another, when the guide/driver knows how long it will take - the need to maintain a schedule, but once at a camp, you should have the option. What if you didn't want to go out at all, or only morning (or afternoon).

Suggest, anyone clarify this beforehand with any outfitter.


 
Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:14 AM
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On our trip with ATR / Godfey we had lots of input into the schedule. There were, as Sandi suggests, days when we were in transit. On one day in the Serengeti we chose a very long day out because we wanted to get further into the western corridor during the migration. On a couple of other days we went out early with a packed breakfast and didn't return until lunch. We also chose not to go out as early as some on a couple of days. We would discuss daily options with our guide the night before. It all seemed very flexible indeed, with only a few constraints caused by our own itinerary and travel distances.
If anything, our guide was keen to keep us out on game drives as there was always just one more place he wanted to look - but if you want to rest in camp for the afternoon then just make sure he knows. I am realising how lucky we were, when I read about some other peoples guides. When I get back to Africa I will certainly try and get a re
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:36 AM
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On our trip with ATR/MKSC/Godfey we had lots of input into the schedule. There were, as Sandi suggests, days when we were in transit. On one day in the Serengeti we chose a very hot long day out because we wanted to get further into the western corridor during the migration. On a couple of other days we went out early with a packed breakfast and didn't return until lunch. We also chose not to go out as early as some on a couple of days. We would discuss daily options with our guide the night before. It all seemed very flexible indeed, with only a few constraints caused by our own itinerary and travel distances. I can't remember a single occasion that we didn't do exactly what we wanted unless that was unwise for some good reason.
If anything, our guide was keen to keep us out on game drives as there was always just one more place he wanted to look - but if you want to rest in camp for the afternoon then just make sure he knows. I am realising how lucky we were, when I read about some other peoples guides. When I get back to Africa I will certainly try and get a relevant recommendation from this board or request certain guides not to be allocated !

Julie
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:48 AM
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We had plenty of say in the schedule, AND had a contstant supply of cold water to drink from an ice box -we could help ourselves. And Saedi made coffee to drink with lunch.
jul_uk - we had the same with Saedi, we always discussed the following days plans with him the evening before.
We had no problem with being out all day, it made the shower and cold beer even more welcome when we returned to camp. He was very good at telling us about the animals we saw, and at answering our questions.
safarilover, I am surpried you didn't get to Olduvai gorge. My DH walked there with Francis and the ranger. Because I had injured my knee shortly before leaving for Africa I drove there later. Next time I will walk it though!
We also went to shifting sands on the same day and found a cheetah, just the otherside of the kopje to the Camp, on our return!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 09:15 AM
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jul - that's the way it should be; glad were able to coordinate with your guide to meet your wishes.
 
Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 10:08 PM
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leely aptly described Edward who was our guide. We liked him very much and enjoyed hearing his opinions.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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Sandi

While we were asked the night before what time we wanted to start the next morning, that was the only option we were given re scheduling, and this was one of the reasons we weren't satisfied with our guide. As I said, it was my first time in East Africa. From the number of other folks we saw also eating box lunches, I gathered that this was the regional custom and that the camps didn't serve lunch.

We did have an adequate supply of water and soft drinks which were stored in a cool box, but they weren't packed with anything to keep them cold; consequently, by lunch time, they were quite warm. The lunches sat in the sun on the front seat.
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