ATR updates

Sep 1st, 2006, 04:26 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 26
ATR updates

I am going to northern Tanzania with ATR in Jan/Feb 07, and noticed a lot of bad press in early August about their ground transport, guides...any thoughts or updates? Thanks
kata1 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2006, 04:40 PM
  #2  
bat
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Hi kata1:
I am not sure what you mean by alot of bad press in early August. A number of folks have posted about their trips since about February--some more pleased than others. These reports can be found in Lynda's great new index.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34860283

I am someone who was, overall, pleased. I believe that the criticisms have been more focused on the vehicles than the guides.

What is your itinerary?
bat is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 12:56 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 53
Hi kata1

We were on safari with ATR two months ago. We booked only three months before going and I found this wonderful forum just as I finalised the booking. I searched all the posts on the different camps and ATR and I know what you mean, some of it was very worrying indeed! There was a moment when I nearly backed out but if I had I am sure that we wouldn't have been able to go at all this year as we had a rare window of opportunity and had also managed to put together a selection of MKSC camps and a couple of higher graded ones such as Swala and Sayari by way of a serious date-juggling act undertaken by Jay at ATR.
I really enjoyed this forum while I was waiting and, if I were honest, the knowledge I gained would have changed my planning entirely and possibly for the better had I had more time. The more I read the more I was concerned as the holiday approached.
However, to reassure you somewhat, we had a wonderful time. Seamless ground-handling from ATR. Our reservations, meeting points and light aircraft transfers all came and went with no problems at all.
We were on the road with our MKSC guide for a full week of the holiday and we were very very happy with him and missed him when we parted company. He just seemed to suit us and was much more experienced than some non-MKSC guides we saw/heard of. Our vehicle might have been a little bit "dog-eared" if you are really fussy but it was comfortable, always cleaned up between drives and 100% reliable - and we did some long days out in it and as much off-road as possible in the permitted areas.
You haven't posted your itinerary so I can't be more specific. There was certainly some truth in some of the negative comments on this board but, personally I only felt a bit of disappointment with the MKSC food at times but, believe me, we did not go hungry! We were not there primarily for the food although it was delicious at some camps. Otherwise there were only very minor things that I could say might be improved but once you are there and having such a fantastic adventure they just don't seem important. We are all different and one of my favourite camps turned out to be one I wished I hadn't booked as the holiday approached!
Your main query was about transport and guides and I can only reassure you that our experience was excellent. We saw other vehicles in trouble/ saw other guides doing silly things and breaking rules/ rescued other people in broken-down vehicles. None of these were ATR/MKSC.A driver for a well known up-market American based outfit said that he would rather be getting to camp and was fearful of geting lost when we stopped to tell him about the beautiful large male leopard we had spent time watching in an off-road area! (said in swahili to our guide so his clients probably don't know what they missed.) As our itinerary did include a couple of ATRs' favoured camps most guests there had ATR-arranged guides and vehicles and I can't recall anyone talking about major problems - and we did tend to swap stories etc over dinner. Maybe we were just lucky, and the very nature of a safari means you should go prepared for the unexpected and go with the flow, but I hope your experience will be as good as ours.

Julie
jul_uk is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 02:28 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3
Hi kata1,

I've just returned from a perfect safari organized by ATR and can just say that you need not worry about ATR. As a matter of fact, we just passed a wonderful safari week. Organization was perfect, and ATR's suggestions were just brillant. They insisted on some accomodations, and first I thought it was just because they wanted to sell them (e.g. Olduvai Camp which belongs to MKSC). But our experience was that the most wonderful parts of our safari was when we followed the ATR suggestions (e.g. Olduvai Camp is just incredible, even if there are not many animals there during the dry season).

The reason why I had opted for ATR was that after demanding three offers from different companies I had the impression that they were the only ones who really made detailled suggestions and expressed a great passion for their work instead of just selling a trip. I can really highly recommend ATR. As it seems, their reputation in Tanania is that they are - even if a relatively young company - one of the most serious companies in the safari business.
DanOs is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 04:40 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
See my June trip report--we really loved our guide, but of course at least part of the responsibility for that relationship depends on you. Vehicles, yes, a little worse for wear, but ours wasn't horrible by any means. I wasn't wild about my dealings with Petra or Nick. The safari was excellent, though.
Leely is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 04:46 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
p.s. re: my limited dealings w/Nick and Petra--maybe I'm just a jerk? Ya never know.

Our guide was Edward, but he may have retired by now. Godfrey and Yahaya are two others reportedly excellent. But Edward will produce a leopard if it kills him. That man is crazy for leopards.
Leely is offline  

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