Do it ourselves or tour operator?

May 15th, 2005, 12:50 PM
Posts: n/a
Do it ourselves or tour operator?

Hi, we have been looking at Ken, Tan, and Zanzibar for Aug. Got a great response from a lot of people but know I am wondering if anyone has done trips themselves either driving or flying and making their own arrangements or does everyone go through operators? I am looking to spend anywhere from 3000-3500 per person, we would like to stay at a couple of really nice places and the rest just nice, we havent seen each other in 4 months so we dont really want a crowed family typr lodge. I have been looking at CC Africa, Serendipity, GO2Africa just to see what they offer but it is so confucong. I have to do this all myself because he is working in Afghanistan, it is frustrating to come up with the plan all by myself. I dont really want to spend more money than the trip is worth but I wnat to have fun. So any ideas? I do know we are looking at a day river trip from Nairobi, we would like to do a hot air balloon, and are looking to spend about 2/3 days in Zanzibar diving at the end. We want to see animals of course but after 2 or 3 different places what becomes more important? The animals or the lodge or scenery? All the places have animals so is it better to spend 2/3 days per place and go to less camps or to constantly travel? Sorry this is so long. Cari
May 15th, 2005, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,839
How many days do you have total (not including flight/travel days)? Rather than be constantly on the move, I think since you've not seen each other in so long that it might be good to settle in and spend a little more time in each location, especially if you've chosen a nice, romantic camp. Otherwise you run the risk that most of your memories might be of the roads of Kenya and Tanzania

There are a few on this board that have done self drives in East Africa but not as many as those who prefer to hire a vehicle with driver/guide or fly.

You might find this thread about a budget honeymoon trip that allows for a few nice splurges helpful for ideas -
Patty is offline  
May 15th, 2005, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,977
We have a nutcase neighbor who learned that we had been to Kenya and Tanzania. He asked questions about our trip and then came up with this: "My wife and I can't see spending all that kind of money. We are just going to go over there and rent a car and drive out where the animals are."

A tune kept going around and around in my head after talking with this guy, an old Bing Crosby song, "All the monkeys aren't in the zoo, every day you meet quite a few..."

Trust us -- let the experts handle the arrangements -- enjoy your trip, and don't skimp on hiring experts to do the heavy lifting.
USNR is offline  
May 15th, 2005, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
First to answer your question after 2 or 3 places, what becomes important the animals, lodge, scenery?

That just depends on you. For me the wildlife and culture are the most important, not lodging.

For the 2-3 days per camp or constantly travel, I always do 2-3 or more days per camp. Most well designed itineraries follow this rule.

I would work with an agent of some kind who will provide you a reputable driver/guide and book safe lodges and camps with good wildlife viewing.
atravelynn is offline  
May 17th, 2005, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
We used ccafrica to plan the safari portion of our trip last year (sigh. just about this time) and they were great to work with. If you chose, for example, a safari trip that combines 2 or 3 locations, you will work with someone who might also be able to help you plan an extension to go diving in Zanzibar -- or at least work with you to coordinate your safari portion with the other parts of your trip. So, for example, if you found a diving package in Zanzibar you wanted to do, they would help to make sure you got from wherever your safari ends to a location where you could catch a flight to Zanzibar.
uhoh_busted is offline  
May 17th, 2005, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,367
I have done both organized and self drive safaris. There are alot of pros and cons to it. If you gave more specific time frame-days, number of people, what parks to visit and things to do, it might be easier to help you decide.
I prefer self drive, but I have my own 4x4 in South Africa. Last trip was all the way to Serengeti/Selous and back. I also went at my own pace. If you are on a tight schedule and have a long must do list, absolutely forget self drive. Anxiety will kill you and the possibility of you driving at dusk or into the nite may do the same-kudu jump on your bonnet or the locals get drunk and follow the line down the middle of the road to get home.Don't laugh, this is serious. It is a pleasure to be able to stop at anyplace that amuses me and take any track when and where I want to. Its not a problem where you intend to go(you shouldn't get lost or safety issues). Take those photo opportunities at will and for how long I like. Besides the cost savings, I like the independence. And it is possible to hire a game scout to ride with you on game drives in the parks.

The negative of course is the vehicle may break down-then what. If you have a tight schedule it is all thrown out the door. And if booking on your own, the camps most likely won't be too sympathic in the busy time of year. And where do you pick up the vehicle and drop off. Can you drive your vehicle between kenya and Tanz. 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive. At least one with a good suspension. Do you want to camp on your own someplaces-get a vehicle all kitted out with the equipment. Then the shopping comes in. Do you want to deal with locating a store with good supplies-meat, vegatables,fruit--fruit is a no-no. Some brainless tourists have given things like oranges to eles and they have been known to visit the vehicle in the middle of the nite-rip it open and....

I have been driving in East Africa since '87 and believe it is the way to go. If you make reservations ahead at camps/lodges ect., and drive the rest-I say go for it.
luangwablondes is offline  

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