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Confused understatement First time Safari Kenya - Tanzania solo traveler

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May 28th, 2012, 10:03 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Confused understatement First time Safari Kenya - Tanzania solo traveler

In spite that I have traveled extensively, I have never encountered so much confusion trying to figuring out how to find and booked a safari from US. I am planning to travel for about 22 days at the most.

My destinations Kenya Masai - Nakuru 3 days
Tanzania - Serengeti - Nrongor\ - Tarangire
Zanzibar
At first I was planning going to both countries using one tour operators, but after doing some research I found out that it was wiser to hire two independent tour operators from each respective country, something about vehicles from the other side of the border not able to conduct a tour on neighboring country.

I have a budget for camping budget safaris. And its very hard to find a tour operator that offers a tour for a single traveler, unless I'm willing to go on a private tour. I have told them that I was willing to join a group, but most of TO said no. And the few that said yes, told me that I had to book it as a private, and only if they found more people I could go in a group; otherwise, if they didn't I would go on a private tour.

I don't want to travel wit the unknown. I'd hate to get to NBO and being told that there was no tour. However, I found one operator that has daily departures, and I could join a group. The TO is Australken, anybody familiar with this company? I am allowing 2 days in NBO after returning from Masai.

I found its even worse trying to find a tour operator in Tanzania for a single traveler to go on a group tour, not a private. Yes, I realize the prices are higher than Kenya but the majorities of tour operators are quoting private tour, but after I send a deposit they will start looking for more people, but not guarantee.

I got a quote from Rangefinders for a solo traveler $1,400. But I can't believe that I only have one quote, anybody familiar with this operator.

The bottom line, am I using the right strategy to hire two different tour operators, take a couple of days in NBO, then travel to Arusha on my own and go on a 6 days safari?
I am open for any suggestions.

Also how important the tour operators are members of TATO or KATO ? . I have seen several websites and I pay a lot attention in the "About Us", and a lot of them don't say much about the company or how long they have been in business
Neptoone is offline  
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May 29th, 2012, 02:50 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 268
It is tricky indeed being a solo traveller. I have also read a few bad reports from people being put together with a "group" to do a safari,only to find everyone has slightly different itineraries so they end up spending a lot of time dropping people off, picking them up and generally messing with the itinerary- so watch out for that.

The other thing you could do it look at some of the big group tour companies- ultimately they will be using a local operator but then they put the groups together. You may well pay a bit extra this way, but as you are finding it is not so easy to find local operators who have enough clients to put together groups.

I have done trips with the Adventure Company, Exodus and Explore before- all do a range of small group tours, some accommodated with lodges and some camping. There are also others like Imaginative Traveller, Intrepid and GAP. You can probably find a trip covering both Kenya and Tanzania- they may well be using 2 different local operators, but they will have done the work for you of organising and fitting the two parts together.
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May 29th, 2012, 10:36 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Have you tried Gametrackers in Kenya or Base Camp in Tanzania? Both offer budget camping safaris and may be able to put you together with others.

From your other thread I see that you're traveling in October. I think it may also be too early for local tour operators to have others committed. You might have better luck trying closer in. Generally there isn't an availability issue with public campsites (unlike lodges/tented camps/private camp sites).

An alternative as stokeygirl mentioned would be to try one of the worldwide tour companies. They will contract to local tour operators but may have better ability to attract participants.

Also try the Lonely Planet forum if you haven't already.

Good luck!
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May 29th, 2012, 08:19 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 294
Maybe just arrange the trip yourself - book the lodging on line and arrange for a driver to take you from point A to point B? Trying to fit in to an existing tour is generally bad news. And trying to find your own group, or even worse, counting on the tour operators to do it, is generally not a good way to go. It may be a bit more expensive to do it yourself, but then again, maybe not. And this way you have complete control over your plan.
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May 30th, 2012, 09:20 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Overseas Adventure Travel has a couple of safaris you might look at, one just in Tanzania and another that includes both Kenya and Tanzania. I think they don't charge a single supplement and they also include air. These might be a reasonable alternative if your budget is lower-end.
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Jun 1st, 2012, 05:42 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I traveled solo and used a fabulous gentleman who organized my entire itinerary. It was great. I got his name from this site. His name is Diederik van den Hoeke. his email is

[email protected]

I researched, compared price, and told him what I wanted..he delivered. The camps were varied, the experience was remarkable. I was fortunate to see a million wildebeast crossing the river, a lion kill, cheetah....etc. I stayed in 2 camps in Kenya and one in Tanzania I had 2 1/2 weeks.

I have no doubts this will be your favorite trip!!!! Safe travels and enjoy this amazing country...Maxine
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Jun 6th, 2012, 04:04 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: May 2005
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At least in Zanzibar you need not book a tour. Book accommodation somewhere. At all places they offer a range of day trips leaving every singel day. You could then just choose your daily activities after you arrived.
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