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Book Through Ground Operator or US Tour Operator for Tanzania Safari?

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Nov 12th, 2011, 08:48 PM
  #1
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Book Through Ground Operator or US Tour Operator for Tanzania Safari?

I am starting to plan a trip to Northern Tanzania for sometime in 2012 or 2013 and have been lurking on these very informative boards. I am wondering if it is best to book through a tour operator in the US (where I live) or if I should go straight to one of the highly recommended ground operators (thinking of Roy Safaris or Warrior Trails.) Do I save money by booking directly or do US tour operators get better rates? I enjoy doing research but, since this will be my first trip, I will appreciate the expertise of those who know more than I do. Are there advantages of booking with a US operator that I am unaware of?
Thanks!
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Nov 12th, 2011, 10:13 PM
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Have you thought of Good Earth Tours? They are a Tanzanian owned family company with an office in Florida.

Narry is very efficient with email responses and happy to tailor tours to meet client interests. I've travelled with Good Earth twice and had great Northern Circuit Safaris both times.

Happy planning,


Pol
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Nov 12th, 2011, 10:18 PM
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Thanks, Pol. I had read good things about Good Earth and will look into them a bit further. I'm glad you had a good experience with them.
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Nov 13th, 2011, 02:22 AM
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In the past have done better pricewise with locals

sanctioned by Tanazania Tourism cut out the middleman.

US operators tend to be more expensive but you have more

recourse if you have problems. porini.com jenmansafaris.com

Garth Jenman is excellent might check those out rave reviews

Everywhere... insuremytrip.com independentantly always wise.

Happy Planning!
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Nov 13th, 2011, 06:50 AM
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Many Tanzanian based outfitters DO have offices (as Good Earth) or reps in the States (as Roy Safaris)... so if you prefer easier contact with few time-zone changes... whether email responses or phone calls... these are good options. In these instances, prices are much the same.

But know that all US (UK, Canadian, OZ, etc) based tour operators, safari planners, etc. have to work with an in-country Tanzanian outfitter to conduct the actual safari on-the-ground.
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Nov 13th, 2011, 11:53 AM
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TC
 
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I live in the U.S. I've been to Africa twice. Booked the first time with a U.S.based tour company and the second time with a U.K.based company. I did not get either a better price or better service from the US company. With the Internet, there's just no advantage to limiting your search to US only.
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Nov 13th, 2011, 02:19 PM
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I would contact a couple of US and Tanzania-based companies and compare prices, itineraries, etc. You can get advice here on what is offered to you.

You asked about advantages of US operators--In my experience, it is easier to contact them, sometimes even email has lapses making communication with foreign companies difficult. Most US agents have 800 numbers. They also take credit cards more readily than TZ-based companies so you are not wiring money. It is more likely the bigger US companies carry heavy liability insurance in the very rare event something bad happened on your trip. It is easier to change plans if there is a security issue or other issue with a US agent that sells to several locations than with a Tanzanian company that cannot offer you an alternate destination.

You didn't ask about advantages with an in-country agent. They have first hand knowledge of what is happening right there so you don't have to wait for the a contact to be made by the US agent with their own rep. Some US agents have never been to these places and don't possess the in depth knowledge of the local agent. Prices can be lower with no middle man, but that's not always the case.
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Nov 13th, 2011, 02:32 PM
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I've used Tanzania-based, UK-based, Kenya-based...I probably paid the most for the UK-based company and it didn't provide me with a better safari. As Sandi, Lynn and others mention, if you are doing your homework, just present the itinerary you want to a few cmpanies (not too many) and go from there.

Have a great safari!
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Nov 14th, 2011, 02:46 AM
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The UK based operators are at close proximity to you while the Tanzania operators understands the destination well.The later is more preferable for me.
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Nov 24th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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bdg108 -

Not only Tanzanian, but also Kenyan outfitters will add a fee if they will accept credit cards for payment (most will not), usually 5% of amount charged which is often more than $100. As to wire transfers, unless one is in business and has an arrangement with their financial institution for reduced fees... all wire transfers regardless to what country incur a charge. Int'l wires on average, for the occasional user, cost about $50.
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Nov 24th, 2012, 08:45 PM
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I live in Washington DC try Ethio USA Tours ,organize tour to East Africa
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Nov 26th, 2012, 01:51 AM
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Try Researching Green And Brown Safaris, They are located in Arusha, Tanzania and have the best and knowledgeable guides and the best services.
And the Good thing is that THE TOURIST IS THE BOSS.
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Nov 27th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Alexnm, is this your company? If so, you're not allowed to advertise on the forum.
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Nov 27th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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no its not my company, was just advising to put it on her research list. its worth researching on.
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Nov 28th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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Alexmn, in another post, you talked about your company in Tanzania helping a stranded Russian tourist. So that we are aware of your connection, what is that company? And if Green and Brown Safaris is not your company, why are you recommending them?

KTTravel, I'd suggest checking with The Wild Source in Colorado. Bill Given and his main guide in Tanzania Deo Magoye are setting up their own outfitting company there, so you get the best of both. I've used The Wild Source a couple of times, including a safari in Tanzania last year and highly recommend them.
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Nov 28th, 2012, 09:29 PM
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ShayTay, The best place to know about tourist company is to check in www.tanzaniatouristboard.com there are almost 500+ tourist company in Kenya.
If budget is not your concern then this company have branches in kenya,Uganda,tanzania, south Africa, Central Afirica there is
&beyond safaris, Singita, Bush to Beach safaris(B to B)and so on..
So ShayTay i was just advising KTtravel if he is on a tight budget then he should at list contact few different small tourist companies in Tanzania and make his choice.
Concerning my other post i was trying to implement that be with a company or a private guide that you trust and you are at list sure of your safety.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Alexnm, your post clearly indicates that you work in tourism in Tanzania:

"Last Year i came across a Russian who was damped by his guide at Namanga, the border of Kenya and Tanzania and i had gone to pick up tourist from Syria who were transfer d to our tour company in Tanzania... I asked the guide from Kenya who came with my guest from Nairobi to go with her back to Nairobi..."

"I had gone to pick up tourist"; "our tour company"; "my guest"... All these references make it clear that you were guiding. That's not a problem if you don't try to direct business to your company on this forum. Since you recommended Green and Brown Safaris, however, we'd like to know who you work for, if not that company. As it happens, G & B is not listed as a registered tour operator in Tanzania.
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