choosing between two operators

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Mar 16th, 2006, 07:01 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 39
choosing between two operators

Hey everyone -
I posted here once before and got lots of help - both in direct responses to my question and by just checking out the threads.
I'm going to Tanzania in June. I've basically narrowed it down to two operators - Roys and Pulse Africa. It seems more people here have used Roys, but both get good to excellent reviews. The problem now is they've both been so great and at this point there is very little difference between what they are offering and I just don't know how to make the final decision between the two. Not even the price helps as they are very close even in that.
I thought maybe if I posted the two itineraries (including accommodations), someone would have a pearl of wisdom that would help me finally choose.

Roys:
10th June: arrive Arusha; Mountain village lodge
11th June: Swala Luxury Tented Camp (possibly replaced with Tarangire Treetops)
12th June: Swala Luxury Tented Camp
13th June: Visit Lake Manyara, then drive to Gibbs Farm
14th June: Serengeti Serena Lodge (+ Serengeti Balloon Safari)
15th June: Drive to Western Serengeti for one night Kirawira or Mbalageti Camp
16th June: Serengeti Serena Lodge (+ Serengeti Dawn game drive)
17th June - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (+Circle Hike with Maasai guide)
18th June Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (+Nainokanoka Maasai village)
19th June - morning crater tour, return to Arusha; Mountain village Lodge
20th June - Zanzibar Serena Inn (Spice tour)
21st -23rd June - Ras Nungwi Beach Resort
24th June - Return to NY

Pulse Africa:

10th June: arrive Arusha; Mount Meru
11th June: Swala Luxury Tented Camp (possibly replaced with Tarangire Treetops)
12th June: Lake Manyara Serena Lodge (possibly Gibbs Farm); includes Maasai village, game drives in Manyara
13th June: Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
14th June: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
15th June: Serengeti Serena Lodge (+ Serengeti Balloon Safari)
16th June: Serengeti Serena Lodge (+ Serengeti Dawn game drive)
17th June - Serengeti Sopa Lodge (backup Serengeti Serena, Migration Camp or Kirawira Serena Camp)
18th June Serengeti Sopa Lodge (backup Serengeti Serena, Migration Camp or Kirawira Serena Camp)
19th June - return to Arusha; Mountain village Lodge
20th June - Zanzibar Serena Inn (Spice tour)
21st -23rd June - Ras Nungwi Beach Resort
24th June - Return to NY

I would really appreciate some feedback on these two itineraries. I want to make the decision this weekend, if possible, so I can firm up reservations and buy plane tickets.

Thanks so much.

atw74 is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2006, 11:21 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 108
hi atw74, I think I'd prefer the itinary of the second (Laka Manyara to Serengeti might be a long drive-I'd prefer to keep long drives for the way back-in the second you can get some rest in Arusha. Also I guess, but that is maybe more personal feeling, I'd prefer to push Central Serenget a bit later in June (but again, no way to predict when the wildbeest are moving where). However, the accomodation of the first one would be much more up my street if i could afford it. More charming ones (2 nights Crater Lodge-that's just WAUW)
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Mar 17th, 2006, 06:29 AM
  #3
sandi
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With the number of "cover" properties, especially on the Pulse itinerary indicates to me that space is limited. This would also be the case with Roys as June is pretty much booked. You may have to take what is available.

I certainly wouldn't want to be at the Sopa in Central Serengeti or Migration Camp in the Northern Serengeti.

If the prices are similar, and if the actual camps/lodges can be confirmed, I'd go with an actual in-country outfitter, namely, Roys who uses their own vehicles and guides. Pulse, probably uses a Tanzania ground outfitter to handle their client's visits here, as they are located in South Africa.
 
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Mar 17th, 2006, 06:48 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 108
sandi, why would you not want to be at the Sopa ? you believe it's unlikely the wildebeest would have reached central Serengeti by Mid June (oh, oh, getting a bad feeling about my own itinary now ^-^)???? oops, in our itinary I even purposely put in Ikoma Bush Camp (north west) as I was afraid the migration might be sooner... plus, Sopa, being rather to the centre, has good resident wildlife, or not ??? Sopa is the one only lodge in my Tanzanian itinary that has not been confirmed yet.. if you think it's not really worth it, I can ask my operator to start pushing for something else ?

I agree with Sandi on going with a local outfitter... but I have one remark.. while the overbooking shows decreasing availability, block bookings will also free up towards the checking in date. Each just requires you following up well on your operator, checking which lodges he'll confirm.. I only paid my deposit the moment I felt content and confirmed on the lodges I really wanted. Only having one night not confirmed was rather acceptable, but i would have waiting with paying the deposit if multiple nights were not confirmed.
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Mar 19th, 2006, 02:23 PM
  #5
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 39
janischa and sandi thanks for your thoughts. quick question: Janishca what does WAUW mean?

I think we've decided on the Roys itinerary. It's slightly less expensive and it does have a night in the Western Serengeti included which I've heard is a good idea with the late rains. I'll feel terrible telling the Pulse representative that b/c she's been really very responsive and helpful, but I guess it has to be done.

I'm wondering about the booking procedure. Both reps told us to book our flights and then they will confirm accomodations. This seems somewhat risky to me if I am set on the accomodations I want. Is this the normal procedure? Also, one of the reps mentioned that there is some lag time with the airlines between making the reservation and paying for the tickets and that she would confirm (or not) the accomodations in that time. Does this sound right?

Thanks again for your help.

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Mar 19th, 2006, 05:02 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
atw74,

I know how you feel about informing the losing agent. At least you mentioned the agent in a positive light here, giving Pulse some good exposure.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 03:42 AM
  #7
 
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Posts: 108
atw74, WAUW means that if I had the cash, I'd immediately book some nights there !!
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