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driver recommendations for custom kenya & Tanzania safari ?

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Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:18 AM
  #1
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driver recommendations for custom kenya & Tanzania safari ?

HI We are thinking of booking the hotels directly for our forthcoming trip to kenya and tanzania in january. Is anyone able to recommend a good driver/guide please?
I am going a bit dotty with it all, but I think I read somewhere that you have different drivers in different countries so would we be able to have the same driver in Kenya and Tanzania? Is this a good idea anyway? (help...)
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 07:32 AM
  #2
 
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Some outfitters do cross over but most of the time, you would have a different ground operator in each country and do a guide/vehicle switch at the border. What is your itinerary like and where are you thinking of crossing?

Try contacting [email protected]
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 09:54 AM
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As Patty asks... what is your planned itinerary? How many days? Where? Know that distances are great and many roads not very good.

Know also there are Visas required for each country and if passing from Kenya to Tanzania also Yellow Fever inoculation and proof of same for entry.

January prices in Kenya will be lower than those in Tanzania which is at peak due to the migration in the Ndutu area, where at this date there is already limited space.

Now, when you say hotel, is that only in Nairobi and/or Arusha? Or do you mean various lodges/camps in the parks/reserves?

And if I may ask: why booking direct versus working with a local outfitter who gets discounted rates to your benefit, likely to work out better/in your favor.

If heading out to the parks/reserves, do you plan to drive thus need the vehicle/guide-driver? Know that you'd be paying the daily rate which besides vehicle, also his room/board, meals, park fees, other. Or will you be flying? If flying, the guide/vehicle is provided by the lodge/camp for game drives, as well the transfer to/from airstrips.

It's really much easier to have an outfitter handle all so you don't forget something, only to be surprised with 'additional costs.'

But if still intend on booking lodges/camps, do be certain what is included, besides just the room/tent, but also the park fees/taxes.

As Patty mentions, if only a driving safari you'll probably have different guides/vehicles each country.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:46 PM
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I think you might be surprised to find that it's no more expensive (and perhaps less so as Sandi points out) to have a safari planner locally or outfitter in East Africa book everything and charge you one price. Booking directly, you'll most likely be charged rack rates, which are higher than what a planner might charge you. Unless you've been to Kenya and Tanzania quite a bit, I think you'd be better off going this route. As previously noted, there are things you might not have thought of (transfers, park and conservancy fees, etc.)Given that January isn't that far off, a professional might have better luck getting space for you and planning your itinerary. If you're in the US, I'd suggest Africa Serendipity in NYC (the ever helpful Sandi who posted above) or The Wild Source in Colorado(Bill Given). I've used both and have also booked directly with Kibo Guides in Tanzania. Get some itineraries and quotes, then post them here for comments.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 06:32 PM
  #5
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HI Thanks for your help. (I am in Sydney.) My husband prefers to book everything directly ie no agent, and my job is to do the research. Whilst it is ok to book accommodation ourselves, I am still going to need a driver/car. (yes I agree Shay Tay but this is what he wants) Here is the proposed itinerary we have mapped out so far:

dec 29 Nairobi
30 Mt Kenya
31 Samburu
Jan 1 Samburu
2 Samburu
3 Lake Nakuru
4 Lake Nakuru
5 Masai Mara
6 MM
7 MM
8 MM
9 MM
10 Serengeti
11 S
12 S
13 S
14 S
15 Ngorongo
16 N
17 Tarangire
18 T
19 Arusha

I would really welcome any comments or recommendations ALOT!
cheers
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 08:05 PM
  #6
 
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Keep in mind that there's no direct crossing from the Mara to the Serengeti. You have to cross at the western border crossing at Isebania. Where in the Serengeti are you thinking of staying? It's about a 10 hour drive from the Mara to the central Serengeti. Samburu-Nakuru and Nakuru-Mara are also longish drives of about 5-6 hours each so it's good you have 2 nights at Nakuru to provide a break.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 02:21 AM
  #7
 
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No offence, but this really is a pretty stupid way of doing things. It will work out way more expensive. Plus, for each accommodation you are going to have to make a separate international bank transfer, probably twice (once for deposit, once for final payment) with all the associated bank charges. Even if they accept credit cards (which they may not) there will probably be a charge (about 5%). This is all going to be a major pain and an organisational nightmare.

I'd strongly advise you to use a tour operator like everyone else- it will be cheaper and much more convenient.

If your husband insists on doing it this way, I suggest you let him do it himself. At the moment it seems you're doing all the work because that's the way he wants to do it. I'm sure once he starts trying he will give up.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 08:28 AM
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Your husband needs to understand that safaris are not like other trips and really can't be booked piecemeal like this. I understand that you are trying to placate him, but this isn't going to turn out well. From your other post, I see that you've discovered that "rack rate" problem. As Stokeygirl notes, it's just going to get worse. Perhaps some of our Aussie Fodorites can suggest a local safari planner for you.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Thanks stokeygirl and Shay Tay, couldn't have said it better - as many who are used to booking direct, soon find that's not the best idea or economical when it comes to safari and soon come looking for an outfitter to help!

OP can follow hubbies 'I want to do it this way' but agree with ShayTay, let him do it himself. All you're going to get is 'rack rates' have to coordinate transport and have lots of papers and associated costs for payments overseas. Save yourself big headaches and find yourself a Tour Operator or in-country outfitter to provide you with a single umbrella, one contact for issues/follow-up.

Further to Patty's comment, not only the up-to-10/hr transfer between the Mara and Serengeti, having to change guide/vehicles as most cannot operate in the other country.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:27 AM
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... ooops it was stokeygirl who said 'let him do it himself.'
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