Can anyone rival Micato Safaris?

Old Jul 2nd, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Can anyone rival Micato Safaris?

My husband & I are planning a trip to South Africa:
We have 14 days, leaving from the Eastern Coast of the USA. We would like to spend time in Cape Town, then safari with the opportunity to see as many diverse animals as possible, in this limited time frame. Micato Safaris seemed very impressive but were very expensive. We felt that their commitment to service and lodging accommodations were consistent with our expectations and travel desires. Are there any options which rival Micato but in a more reasonable price point?
Germanbound is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2011, 06:25 PM
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A&K -
But "reasonable" ???

regards - tom
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Old Jul 2nd, 2011, 07:40 PM
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We looked at Micato, A&K and Tauck for our first safari. We went with a recommended safari travel agent, and it was outstanding. All transfers and guides were flawless and we had a local contact as well as the TA to handle any problems. There were no issues at all. And we were able to create our own trip.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2011, 09:33 PM
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Here is a report from Lynda that compares her previous Micato trips with a private trip from a local operator. Note her Micato trips and the trip described in the link were to East Africa rather than South Africa.

Micato is not usually the company that first comes to mind for South Africa, even if you are happy to spend top dollar. Their specialty is East Africa, where the Micato family resides.

I have not taken a Micato trip, but I have encountered their groups when I've been on safari and they stay in the same places everyone else can. In fact, in East Africa, they stay in the places that I stay in when I am trying to minimize costs.

"as many diverse animals as possible"
The animals don't care who you book with. If you go to the same parks and you use a reputable company, you'll see as many animals. The easiest place in the world to see the Big 5 (lion, buffalo, rhino, elephant, leopard) in a short time (often only 1 or 2 drives) is the Sabi Sands in South Africa. The other typical species such as zebra, impala, giraffe, hippo, hyenas, monkeys, crocs, etc are there too. Phinda is another South African reserve that is a cheetah sanctuary where you are more likely to see that cat along with many other species and 7 different habitats.

"Are there any options which rival Micato but in a more reasonable price point?"
The welcome dinner at the Micato's home is an exclusive that cannot be duplicated, but other than that, most safari providers can provide a trip just like Micato. I don't know if the welcome dinner is even possible if you are not in Kenya.

Christabir's comment (above) is typical and what I have always experienced with a variety of safari providers that charge nowhere near the Micato price.

Look at this link on "luxury defined" to assist in your answer.

Another link at that same site mentions various companies and costs

There are many companies that could provide you with an excellent South Africa trip. I'll mention some I've had personal experience with.

The Africa Adventure Co in Ft. Lauderdale did my first safari and they have done numerous other excellent Africa trips for me.

I used Eyes on Africa in Chicago for Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands and Phinda, both in South Africa. It was a wonderful combination. One of the owners is South African. If you went to these two places after Cape Town, that would be a great trip. Or to keep the properties within the same ownership and get a deal, do Kirkman's in Sabi Sands (right next to Mala Mala) and Phinda.

Check out this recent conversation for additional info on the camps I mention plus other suggestions.

Since you mention East Coast, I used Adventure Travel Desk in Wayland, MA for Kenya one time and all went well. They do South Africa too.

A wonderful guide that I booked directly in Cape Town is Wayne of Take2Tours. He knows everything about the city and environs and can help you plan your time in Cape Town, assist you with lodging decisions, book the rooms, and drive you around.

You will find many companies that will be consistent with your lodging expectations and travel desires and charge nowhere near Micato's prices.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2011, 12:48 AM
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I used Micato for my first safari and evertything went as planned without a hitch. We covered about 6 stops in two weeks within Kenya and Tanzania and were accompanied by a guide from start to finish.

Although we covered a lot of ground and saw several sights I would not have seen on my own, I learned I would rather spend more time in fewer locations. I also learned which type of lodging I prefer and was able to use that information to plan other safaris.

Generally I find the pace of an organized tour to be too fast for me, but I still use travel companies like Micato when travelling on a complicated, multi-country itinerary.

For travel in South Africa I've used Go2Africa to make arrangements for customized trips that cost less than travel with Micato, but to be fair I'm covering less ground and so I don't spend as much on transfer flights, etc. I also spend less on lodging even while staying in accommodations more suited to my personal taste. I have a two week safari coming up in South Africa, and I'm only staying at two lodges.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2011, 02:25 AM
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Embark on an upscale safari vacation while it's still summer in South Africa for $2424 per person, including airfare.

Tauck best price point for me for super upscale in the past other great options best for bidding precisely what you want.

Careful research will yield best price and experience.

Happy Planning,
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Old Jul 3rd, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Micato is an East African (Kenya specific) tour operator and rather expensive for the accommodations provided; also being "group" departures on set dates, whereas if planning a private itinerary with them will be even more costly... but lots of $$$.

For South Africa, I'd stick with an in-country outfitter as go2africa or Pulse Africa. Or if you want to stick with other US based operators look at: African Adventure (Florida), Eyes on Africa (Chicago) or Premier Tours (Philadelphia), all of whom can design what you wish, when you want to travel, how many days, where to stay, at more competitive pricing than Micato.

Good luck!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2011, 12:31 PM
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We had an excellent experience with Heritage Tours of NYC. We stayed 14 days in South Africa in March of 2010.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 02:42 AM
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I'm with Sandi on this; go for a local (South African) TA!

Try Sun Safaris. Did two trips with them and was very pleased. Honest prices, perfect service.


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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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But, but but, with Micato and A&K you will get a very nice safari hat and tote bag!!!

But seriously folks, the advantage(?) I can see with those is that you will have a company rep with you at all times (I think). To be a concierge and act in your behalf if any glitches. Some travelers like that service.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Jul 4th, 2011, 07:13 PM
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To all of whom have replied: THANK YOU so much for all of your valuable information and suggestions! I knew that I could count on the Fodorities for great advice. I will post an update as to which we'll choose to do. Again, thanks to all & happy 4th! God Bless the USA!!
Germanbound is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 08:43 AM
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Micato tours should be avoided. I just took one in June of 2015. They are the most expensive yet they deliver very little. They charge for 5 star accommodations yet on Safari we stayed at very modest (motel) lodges (the Sopa chain which is very very mediocre) while Tauck Tours took their group for 4 days more to the top end (4 Seasons) and also Micato provided one guide who divided his time among the jeeps so most game drives only had a silent driver and no useful info from a guide.
Finally, the guide was not good.
What a rip off!!!
For many many thousands less I could have had SO much more had I chosen just about any of the other safari outfits.
Micato is resting on previous laurels and relying on lots of advertising. Be warned. Don't use them.
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Old Aug 4th, 2015, 09:43 AM
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katmo, I agree with you 100% other than the rating you gave for the guide. I recently returned from The Stanley Wing Safari by Micato on June 14, 2015. What a waste of time and money! I wouldn't take another trip with them even if they offered me one for free.

Highlights: The guides and drivers were wonderful, but I will never understand the rave reviews regarding this company. The price is outrageous for what you receive. Coming home was the highlight of my vacation.

Advice: I would not recommend Micato. Lodging was mediocre at best. Cost for vacation: $11,935 for the safari as a solo traveler, $1,950 for internal airfare, $535 for the extra night at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, $1,009 for travel insurance, $470.02 for visas (a company they recommended), $100 for the required yellow fever vaccine and $3,056 for international airfare for a grand total of $19,055.02. If I had waited a couple of weeks to travel, the price for single occupancy would have increased from $11,935 to $14,835.
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