Does this sound like a good deal?

Nov 2nd, 2008, 05:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 24
Does this sound like a good deal?

I am looking for a reasonable trip to Africa and got what appears to be a good quote from an operator called African Safari Home. Here are the details:

Kenya classic (A) Simba: 2009

Number of Days: 7 Days

Days of Operation: SUNDAY

From the open plains of Masai Mara, the shimmery pink waters of Lake Nakuru and the swamps of Amboseli, this safari takes in three of the most picturesque regions in Kenya . It also provides the perfect opportunity to spot the Big-5 and to capture some diverse scenery.

Day 1 Nairobi

Upon arrival into Nairobi , you will be met and transferred to the Safari Park Hotel. Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at the Safari Park Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.

Safari Park Hotel
Situated only 10km from the Nairobi City Centre and 20km from the International Airport , the lively Safari Park Hotel is really an African-theme resort providing deluxe accommodation in 64 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and indigenous forest. All of the 204 distinctively designed and decorated rooms are airy and contain television, private bathroom facilities and private balconies.

Day 2 Nairobi - Masai Mara National Reserve

Leaving Nairobi after breakfast, you'll travel towards Kenya's fertile highlands and head down the Rift Escarpment on a road built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II. Look for the charming chapel they built at the foot of the escarpment. You'll pass the impressive Longonot earth satellite station as you head across the Valley to Narok, and then travel across acres of wheat and barley, before you reach the Masai Mara and your lodge in time for lunch. There will be an afternoon game drive.

Overnight at Mara Simba on a full board basis.

Mara Simba
Mara Simba was conceived, not just as an overnight stop, but as a safari resort and lodge on the edge of the Masai Mara. The emphasis is on exclusivity, comfort and the ambience is Masai, with the decor incorporating both decorative and design elements from the culture of this tribe. The grounds of the lodge extend almost a kilometre along the Talek River , and built in blocks with 4 comfortable rooms in each. The river bank is left in its virgin state, while further back lush landscaped gardens of indigenous plants and trees attract colourful birds and butterflies. Wide, well-lit pathways link guest rooms and the public areas where beautiful wooden floors are shaded by soaring makuti roofs (palm thatch). The dining room and bar have stone fireplaces where roaring fires are lit on chilly evenings

Day 3 Masai Mara National Reserve

Early morning and afternoon game drives.

Overnight at Mara Simba on a full board basis.

Day 4 Masai Mara – Lake Nakuru

Leaving the Masai Mara after breakfast, you'll travel across the ‘breadbasket’ of Kenya , where acres of wheat and barley litter the landscape as you head north to Narok, the district headquarters of this part of Maasailand. Now travel across the vast plains on the floor of the Rift Valley, keeping an eye out for herds of giraffe and gazelle as you head up the Mau Escarpment, before arriving at Lake Nakuru around midday. The waters here are often coloured shimmering flamingo pink, from thousands of the beautiful birds lining its shores. After lunch, depart for an afternoon game drive in Nakuru National Park .

Overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge on a full board basis.

Lake Nakuru Lodge

Lake Nakuru Lodge is situated in the heart of one of Kenya's most densely populated wetland National Parks, (Ramsar site) only two leisurely hours' drive from Nairobi, through beautiful forested uplands and passing a series of lakes. On the outskirts of the bustling market town of Nakuru lies a truly remarkable national park which has achieved international fame. Both black and white rhino are being given a new lease of life in this 188 sq km, fully-fenced park - and they are carefully protected. The present rhino population is over 50 and continuing to multiply. The Rothschilds giraffe is another rarity and the park has its fair share of buffalo, leopard, zebra, eland, waterbuck and lion. Lake Nakuru Lodge is in the south-east ecological niche of the park, with commanding views of the lake and the flamingos for which it is justly famous. Lush gardens surround the lodge and cottages. There is a good programme of activities and evening entertainment.

Day 5 Lake Nakuru - Amboseli National Park

After an early breakfast you will depart with a picnic lunch, leaving the Rift Valley behind, you continue towards Nairobi and then head south towards Amboseli. Then proceed with afternoon game drive in the park enroute to your lodge arriving in the evening.

Overnight at Ol Tukai Lodge on a full board basis.

Ol Tukai Lodge
Ol Tukai Lodge was opened in June 1996 and lies at the heart of Amboseli National Park approximately 266kms due south of Nairobi . The lodge is set at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro , the highest mountain in Africa and is probably the best wildlife arenas to view elephants at close range. Most of the park consists of a partially dry, lake bed of evaporated salts and fragile grassland with patches of acacia woodland. Around the swamps the vegetation is lush with yellow barked acacia and phoenix palms. You can see most types of game in the park including rhino, giraffe, gazelle, lion, cheetah and leopards. Birdlife is prolific too, especially around the swamp areas. Cottage style accommodation spreads out on either side of the main lodge. The architecture is unobtrusive with lots of wood, local stone and slate. There are two double rooms especially designed for the disabled and ramps for wheelchairs are the norm. Each room has an uninterrupted view of either the wetlands or Mt. Kilimanjaro , with the occasional dust trail of safari vehicles viewing game in this most beautiful of Kenya 's game parks. The crystal clear figure of eight swimming pool, shaded by the occasional acacia tree, has ample sun beds and mattresses available for guest use.

Day 6 Amboseli National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives in Amboseli, returning to the lodge as the sun sets.

Overnight at Ol Tukai Lodge on a full board basis.

Day 7 Amboseli – Nairobi
Following an early breakfast, you’ll catch your last views of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro as you depart Amboseli viewing game en route to the border of the park. From here turn west to the colourful border town of Namanga , where you will find some unique Maasai beadwork. Then turn north along a good tarmac road across the beautiful and seemingly never‑ending Athi Plains, arriving in Kenya 's bustling capital city of Nairobi by mid day.


COSTS: Based on travel between 28 June 2009 – 31 October 2009

USD 1 850.00 per person sharing

Child Rates
· One child aged under 2 years free sharing with 2 adults
One child aged 2-11 years sharing with 2 adults pays 50% of safari cost
Cost Includes
Meet and greet services
All transport and game drives on road safaris will be in a modern safari cruiser (with seven window seats) with an English speaking driver-guide on shared basis
Meals and accommodation as specified
All park fees and government taxes
½ litre bottle mineral water per person per day on game drives
Cost Excludes
Visas and international flights
Airport taxes (clients pay direct)
Driver-guide gratuities
Drinks, dining rooms tips, porterage
Personal travel, baggage and medical insurance
Telephone bill, laundry and any items of a personal nature

Has anyone heard of this operator and does it sound like a good deal? Thanks for any help.
crs7568 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 05:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
I've never heard of them and couldn't find them in a quick search of this forum and Google, which makes me suspicious. Can't comment on the accommodations or itinerary because I haven't been to East Arica, but make sure you figure your per-day costs by NIGHTS, not days. As I read it, you are paying for 6 nights, which means a bit less than $310 PDPP. ASk how long they've been in business and how many of their TAs have actuallyl been to AFrica, for starters.
LAleslie is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
Dunno about the operator ... this is really 4 days on safari (first day doesn't count, half days on day 2 and 7, and you lose a half day on the transfers to/from Nakuru) and the drives between the parks are brutal (flying between parks is much better but more costly). For such a brief trip they are forcing it a bit with 3 parks, I feel.

It's OK for the price I guess but you'll be jammed in with probably six other people. For just a bit more per day we were able to get a private jeep for two people the same size as the one you will be sharing with probably six strangers, so if you are traveling with another person you can have a much more comfy private trip for just a bit more $$.
Bill_H is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,238
I have just been to Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi and to Ol Tukai Lodge. Both were excellent, Safari Park for the amenities in Nairobi and Ol Tukai for the ambience. The price sounds a little too good to be true
irecommend is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 12:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 24
Thanks for the replies. My biggest concern was that I have heard nothing about the tour operator and I could not find any reviews of them. The price does sound like a pretty good deal but I am a bit hesitant to book because of the lack of reviews.
crs7568 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,845
You can try pricing the same itinerary with Kenyan operators that others here have used. Look through Lynda's East Africa trip report thread

However, like Bill I also feel that it's trying to squeeze in too much with 5 nights on safari.
Patty is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
You don't say when you plan to travel. Whenever though, I believe in "leaving the best for last" - thus the Masai Mara. While it might cost more, you should consider flights for some of the longest segments.

On the above, that's a very long drive from Lk. Nakuru to Amboseli. By the time you arrive, you'll only get in an afternoon game drive (hopefully); then another next morning before 4.5/hr drive back to Nairobi.

As to the price, is that for ALL departure dates between Jul/Oct? Often Aug & Sep rates are higher. And, then there is the issue of sharing your safari with at least 4/strangers, which does keep the price down as these strangers share the costs of the vehicle/guide.

And, like others... trying to do too much in so short a time.
sandi is offline  
Nov 4th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Curious, how did you hear of this safari outfit?
LAleslie is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 04:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 24
The pricing is for July and August 2009. I have heard nothing about the tour operator and just stumbled upon them during a google search. It is a lot of driving, but I think that I can deal with that aspect of it. I also can deal with three strangers on the trip with us. What will make a big difference of course is the quality of the tour company. I cannot really find any reviews of them.
crs7568 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,774
crs, I just did a search within my word document on the trip report index and came up with a blank (sometimes the Fodors search function doesn't work too well, but I have the index in Word).

No one since 2006, when I started the index, has used them & reported back.

LyndaS is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
I did the same search and found nothing. That should set a lot of red lights off. For starters, you need to find out howlong they've been in business.
LAleslie is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 03:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 40
Why go with the unknown. The old saying 'you get what you pay' applies to safaris too. Go with a better known safari outfitter.
bushperson is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 04:28 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,132
I'm curious, you say you stumbled upon them when googling.
Did you bookmark their site or what key words originally brought their site up?
cybor is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 234
I found this site via a Yahoo search. Don't know anything about it, but it's apparently the company:
samcat is offline  
Nov 9th, 2008, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,845
Doesn't look like this is a company based in Kenya so they would likely subcontract to a Kenyan operator. Why not contact Kenyan operators directly for quotes?
Patty is offline  

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