Base Camp Tanzania-Safari Pricing

Oct 9th, 2010, 03:46 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5
Base Camp Tanzania-Safari Pricing

At the risk of somewhat re-hashing old topics, wanted to get feedback on prices I have gotten for safaris, and feedback on the lowest priced provider, Base Camp Tanzania.

First, thanks to all on this board for opening my eyes to the "private safari" experience and the vast price differences that exist. Without the input from those on this board, I am sure I would be spending thousands more.

Without posting my full itinerary, it is basically an 8 night safari arriving Arusha, going to Tarangire, then Lake Manyara, then Serengetti, then Ngogorgo, then to Arusha. (Apologize for any incorrect spellings above). I have received prices from 3 providers for a September safari. The lodging is a mixture of moderate to luxury lodges or tented camps. The itinerary is exactly the same with a couple of minor lodging differences. All appear at this time to include the exact same thing-transfers to and from airport, water on safari, etc. It is an itinerary I typed up and sent to each therefore my comparison is "apples to apples".

The safari is for 2 people. All of the following prices are total prices for 2 exclusive of airfare. Base Camp came in at $4,800. The mid priced provider came in at approximately $6,000, and the highest price provider came in at approximately $6,900. The mid priced provider appears to be TZ based with a US representative and the higher priced provider appears to be US based.

Although I have read a lot in other places about Base Camp (mainly trip advisor), I have not seen much on this board about them. I have seen some posts, but not as much as I would have liked to have seen. All of the posts I have seen on any of the forums were positive and I have come to the initial conclusion that these folks are less expensive simply because they are based in TZ and do not require the profit that others do, yet at the same time, offer the same quality safari experience that most others do.

I know they are in TZ and I have to wire a signigificant deposit (looks like $2,400 or 50%) to reserve my trip, but I also have to do the same for the other companies. One of the other companies requires a smaller deposit ($1,000) I think and will accept a credit card for the deposit-think the other company requires a higher deposit.

Although my initial thoughts were I was more "protected" with the US companies, frankly my thoughts now are they have just as much capability of "disappearing" as does Base Camp. Not that I think any of them would do so purposely, but companies do fold quite often in the travel industry. Even with the company that accepts credit cards, I am only protected for a few weeks. My inclincation at this point is to use Base Camp but wanted to get feedback from folks:

-Any comments on the above are welcome
-Am I missing something relative to my analysis (should I be considering factors I have not mentioned)?
-What, if any, questions should I ask Base Camp to make sure they are providing the same experience as others?
-How is Base Camp able to do this for such a lower price?
-Has anyone been with Base Camp, know of anyone that has, and if so what type experience did they have?

Again, I know there have been recent posts about safari prices, but if anyone is willing would like to get feedback on my specific situation. Thanks again to all who provide input/feedback on these forums!
hefty64 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2010, 08:49 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
I am giving you just my 2 cents.....

"I have come to the initial conclusion that these folks are less expensive simply because they are based in TZ and do not require the profit that others do, yet at the same time, offer the same quality safari experience that most others do."

>> this conclusion isn't correct in any case. The price hike is not based on location of TO!

>> unless you compare exactly same itineraries you forcibly compare apples to peaches.

>> i would deposit not more than 30% as most camps expect that as deposit themselves. Why should you pay more than what the TO forwards in your name/for your booking!?

>> mostly payment conditions are 20% to secure the booking and 80 % 60 days prior to arrival.
Cancellation conditions: 20% forfeited if canceled between day 1 and day 61 prior to arrival, 50% for cancellation between day 60 and 31 and 100% if canceled 30 days prior to arrival.
I would agree to that but not transfer 50% into any account for deposit reasons.

"-How is Base Camp able to do this for such a lower price?"

>> the reason might be the cars they are providing, other's might use guides from camps (then it's full package rates) and they do the game drives themselves and book you on full board rate.

As stated: as long as you don't get exactly the same itinerary, same means of travel, same packages - you hardly can compare any quotation.

spassvogel is offline  
Oct 9th, 2010, 10:49 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10
In Sept. spend more time in Tarangire. It is a dry season park with animals falling back on the river for water when outside the park where they spend the wet season is dry. One year Elephants were coming to drink from feeding areas so far away that they would drink to much to fast & it is fatal(also a Masai morani - warrior) who walked from the same area. Great variety of animals.

Most people do not realize that you need to change your itineary with the season.
Bwana_Masharubu is offline  
Oct 9th, 2010, 11:05 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 14
With Basecamp you are dealing with a Tanzanian company directly. When dealing with international providers, each layer between you and the end lodge/driver, company gets a piece of the pie and your price goes up accordingly. The more middle men, the higher the price.

The owner of Basecamp posts regularly on tripadvisor (cant remember under what name) and I am considering using them for an upcoming trip as I have looked on multiple boards and found nothing but good feedback for them.
gred78 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2010, 12:40 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,252
Just comments "on the above". I do not know anything about Base Camp.

$4,800 for 8 nights is not actually cheap. Part of the saving may be from using different camps. Especially in Tarangire there is a lot of choice and different prices. It is possible the others could offer a better price too for the same itinerary. Also, as a recent thread showed, a simple thing like one operator being aware of a special deal that another overlooked can make a big difference.

However, having said that, there seem to be fairly significant differences in prices between operators in Tanzania as a matter of course, and it is more likely just to be profit. For a smaller company, their location in Tanzania is of course very significant to the margin they can live with as their cost of living is likely to be much lower. There is probably also more opportunity to do some things "off the books" or write profits of one company off against those of another (just examples - am not suggesting anyone actually does this). So I suspect you are basically correct, without knowing.

50% deposit is rather high, but not that unusual for this kind of company. Never been a deal breaker for me, although it does mean some of your money is sitting in their account rather than being used as a deposit. However, are there differences as to when the balances due in each case?
kimburu is offline  
Oct 10th, 2010, 05:07 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 12,820
Have you ever used the 'message' system on Tripadvisor? You can correspond with those that have used Basecamp.
FrankS is offline  
Oct 10th, 2010, 07:35 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You've said "apples to apples" but if the three operators are quoting on some different accommodations it's not quite the same.

Also, vehicles can vary hugely. For our Tanzania trip we were extremely specific about what we wanted and ended up with a large pop-top vehicle with only 4 seats inside (we saw the same model with 6 to 8 seats more commonly). The pop top roof stayed up to provide shade, as we requested and was tall enough that my very tall husband could stand upright beneath it.

We also stipulated unlimited mileage a day. Check that all three do the same.

And of course, quality of guiding can vary enormously.
Kavey is offline  

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