Budget VS Luxury ???

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Oct 13th, 2003, 11:24 AM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 38
Budget VS Luxury ???

We are trying to Safari in January. everyone has been very helpful( thanks)
we have looked into 2afrika.com & go2africa.com. we even looked at Abercrombe & Kent to see how the other half lives.
My questions are for people who have travel here
1) Are these tour groups real budget accomedations & food?
2) I see places like Governers Camp( found thru searches) & some of the other places that I have found are not on their tours. Is this a big deal?
3) What are the sights you would absolutely not miss & places you recommend staying ?
4) I think we are just concerned that the budget tours are really low end
( but we can not afford the high end) we would like a combo of both -any thoughts?
wishuwerhere is offline  
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Oct 13th, 2003, 12:09 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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My husband and I just returned from 10 days in Kenya using Vintage Africa. They were great and I thought their prices were reasonable for 2 people for 10 days. They worked with us to select lodges and camps that worked with our budget. Plus by driving instead of flying, we saw more of the country which is what we wanted to do. We had a driver/guide to ourselves the entire time and saw: Amboseli, Aberdares, Samburu, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara. We had a wonderful time and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I'm not sure how long you are going for but I would encourage you to try to get to Samburu. Although it's further away, the climate and animals are different than what you'll see if you just go to Amboseli or the Mara. Lake Nakuru also offered some animals (Rothschild giraffe and the flamingoes) that we did not see anywhere else. That's also where we saw our only 2 leopards!

Please let me know if you have other questions. This site provided us with so much information, we'd like to help others who are planning trips or have questions.
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Oct 13th, 2003, 01:12 PM
  #3
sandi
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Don't be put off with the word "group" tour - you and your travel partner might be "the group".

Often the word group is used as it's a set itinerary, departing on a particular day of week, for a determined number of days. By doing this the price can be controlled. Often, if you choose to depart on a different day of week, or change a lodge/camp it becomes an individually designed trip and the cost increases - but not always.

However, it would help if you mentioned the name of lodge/camp in a particular area that 2afrika or go2africa are offering on their itineraries and we can comment. The names might be unfamiliar to you, but with the wealth of experience on this board, they're not likely to be unknown to many of us. It would also help if you gave us an idea of the budget you are working with.
 
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Oct 14th, 2003, 09:40 AM
  #4
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Join Date: May 2003
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I will try to get all my info together so I can give some examples of lodges .
I figure the trip will cost us about $4-5,000 each
I do have another question tho
i see many people use Vintage Africa. they are the same tour company that 2afrika.com uses .
what is the advantage of using 2africa.com compared to calling Vintage africa directly?? there must be some type of added value or service
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Oct 14th, 2003, 03:46 PM
  #5
 
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I can not comment on the Vintage Travel prices but I noted 2Afrika price was very comparable to what their Tanzania safari company wanted for basically same trip. Guess it depends on the arrangments made between the company and the local safari provider. As to budget and luxury I thought we got a very good price for accommodations and related items when I then saw vehicles/groups with more costly companies at same lodges as us and basically the same itinery. Made the difference for us to be able to take daughter with us. If what we had was budget I really could not ask for anything more and if it makes possible going again--yea!I would not agree that budget is "low end". The rooms were comfy and clean, the buffets and umpteen course meals were great, the sunrise and sunsets were the same, etc.
Enjoy the planning. And, by all means ask on this board your particulars.
Dick
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Oct 15th, 2003, 04:44 AM
  #6
nkh
 
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We went with 2afrika in June and had an amazing time. They are certainly not offering the true budget experience (which is participatory camping in sites with no running water).

We could have had very slightly cheaper deals with the safari companies themselves for the land portions, but when we looked at the airfare booked privately it was very expensive. It was the international airfare that made going through them cheaper. The other nice thing about our trip was it was arranged so we flew into Tanzania and out of Kenya "saving" a travel day - dont know how this would add to airfare cost if you booked it on your own.

From our experience I was extremely surprised that the trip was "budget" - We stayed at Kirurumu Tented Lodge, Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (TZ) then Amboseli Serena Lodge & Mountain lodge, Lake Nakuru Lodge and Siana Springs Tented Camp. These were extremely nice accommodations - often a bedroom, bathroom. I would say 3 star hotel at least, depending on place, so certainly comfortable (no TV or radios in rooms of course)

The food was good (usually 4 courses, European style and if not absolute best gourmet restaurant with crystal and solid silver cutlery, certainly more than acceptable and very tasty - everyone in our group gained weight).

One of the main difference between these lodges and somewhere like Governors Camp appears to be number of people - there are about 70 rooms at the Sopa Lodges, whereas at places like Governors there seem to be about 12 tents (someone can correct the exact number) so you get a more intimate experience - also food etc. likely to be really luxurious (you may get the silver and crystal, as well as the amazing wine cellar). Other differences may be private game drives etc. or other activities offered. (Again this opinion is from questions I asked and reading, not personal experience, so those who have stayed will be able to answer that experience better)

The guides provided by the companies were excellent and we only actually had 4 people in our group (actually 7 but with guaranteed max. 6 per group they provided 2 vans), so lots of space to switch around and see everything. Of course we found ourselves with a great pair of travelling companions so being in a van with them for 2 weeks was lots of fun which may not have been the case if they were unpleasant (private safaris you dont "risk" getting the unpleasant companions, I guess).

We absolutely loved the balloon ride over the Serengeti (depending on season, may be better over the Mara). The Serengeti/Masai Mara generally depending on season which you go to is amazing. We also enjoyed Amboseli, and were lucky enough to see Kilimanjaro (wrong season for good viewing when we were there).

Actually, we enjoyed everything and would go again, and with 2afrika, in a minute. Certainly we didnt mind larger lodges etc. and didnt feel it detracted from the experience. Particularly in Tanzania we were out in the parks for the entire day anyway, so it was only food and sleep at the lodges.

The itinerary was a "tour" so many places in comparatively few days and perhaps for a second trip we would do less places for longer stays now we have a "flavour" of what different parks have to offer, but I wouldnt have changed anything for our first trip to Africa.

In Kenya we didnt go to Samburu, but if it is any help it was our guide's favorite park when we asked him.
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Oct 17th, 2003, 10:23 AM
  #7
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I was emailed from someone who went on the 18 day tour with 2Afrika.com
he told me that they are no longer using Vintage Africa as their guides. Does anyone think that is a big deal?

I see many tour comapanies do not even have trips to East Africa in January. anyone know why? is that a bad time of year to see the animals?

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Oct 19th, 2003, 09:46 AM
  #8
nkh
 
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Re: not Vintage Africa

In June we didnt have Vintage Africa for the Kenya portion of the 18 day tour - we had Naked Wilderness Afrika. I wouldnt worry, they did a fantastic job and were very concerned at all points that we were getting the experience we wanted (as far as they were able..... of course they cant control the animals!)

The company that does the 18 day tour is a new company set up by two of the former employees of Vintage Africa that 2afrika used to deal with when they were there. The guide we had, Peter, actually is also a former Vintage Africa guide and was commented on favorably in several Vintage Africa reviews.

The only minor problem we had was that the company had trouble dealing with credit cards to pay for any of the optional excursions on the final day (e.g. Karen Blixen museum. Have enough cash with you or do what we did - stop by an ATM and withdraw cash - exchange rate good, guide actually went with you in case you werent feeling safe walking in "dreaded Nairobi". I dont think that I would even call this a "problem" and wouldnt even have thought about it if there hadnt been some confusion between 2afrika and NWs about whether credit cards were OK. Keep enough cash or take some out, and it wont be an issue.
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