EAST AFRICA: Luxury Outfitters

Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7
EAST AFRICA: Luxury Outfitters

What is everyone's thoughts on the most luxurious safari outfitter in East Africa?

I'm looking to go in the end of June/early July timeframe. Best places to visit (i.e. masa mara, the crater, etc.) and activities (i.e. balloon ride, gorilla trekking, elephant ride?) in East Africa during this time?
myweddingthings is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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From what I was able to see during my limited time in Tanzania earlier this month, I would think that CCAfrica is the most "luxurious safari outfitter", offering Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Grumeti River Camp, Kleins Camp, Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara) and now their Tanzania Under Canvas option. Also, in Zanzibar, CCA offers Mnemba Island.


For Gorilla Trekking, your best bet may be with Volcanoes Safaris:

Roccco is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2006, 10:57 PM
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Roccco is right in that CCAfrica own and operate beautiful properties. But! they are very corporate and offer only their own product.

There are many great places out there, Mahale mountains, Sandrivers in Selous, Serian in the Mara, Hippo point in Naivasha, Funzi Keys, Manda Bay in Lamu etc etc. I personally prefer to deal with an individual guide/outfitter on a personal level someone like Alex Walker of Serian [email protected]. Or Ian Johnson in south africa. They generally have sound suggestions, based on many years of guiding and operating experience. Arranging for you the most suitable accomodation & environment as dictated by your own requirements.

If you choose to have them guide aswell (be prepared to pay top dollar) they are able to help dictate the pace and direction of the safari leaving you to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Knowing that when you stop for sundowners your favourite drink is there and if you are an ardent elephile like myself that they will seek out whats up in the area you are in without being asked. well worth it they will ask the right questions and if you give them a simple brief you will be pleasantly surprised by the result.
mzeetembo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Obviously your information is outdated and incorrect. CCAfrica will gladly send its clients to Greystoke Mahale and Sand Rivers in Selous...both properties are listed right in the agent packs it sends out to its authorized agents.

I think it is a very tired line that CCAfrica is "corporate." It is possible to spend time at CCA's properties and either do your safaris with your ground operator of choosing (doing an overland safari), or it is also possible to do a fly-in safari using CCA's guides and vehicles.

Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge are two of the best lodges I have ever visited, and I never got the feeling that they were "too corporate." Instead, I thought the staff at each property was wonderful and very attentive.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:41 AM
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CCA does have top-of-the-line camps, but any reputable safari outfitter can arrange these for you.

In addition to the camps/resorts mentioned above, there are many more - those under the Cheli & Peacock umbrella - Loisaba, starbeds, Sabuk, Elsa's, Saruni, Richard's, Manda Bay.

There's also Shompole, Serian and lots of places up north at Laikipia and further in the northern frontier, even at Lake Turkana and on and on and on - in Kenya. On Zanzibar, there is The Palms (where Rocco recently visited... waiting on his overall trip report).

Note, however, if considering this coming June/July, many of these top-end props which are small (maybe 6-10 tents/rooms) are booked. Early July, is a bit too early for the Mara in Kenya.

Balloon rides are available in the Mara and Serengeti. For gorilla trekking, Uganda and Rwanda are options, though Rwanda is easier. Elephant safaris - don't recall these in East Africa, but available in Abu Camp in Botswana and another place in South Africa (name escapes me right now). There are expensive running in the $1,500/nt/person. Comments on these have been mixed... many find the first ride nice, but prefer to be on ground level - in safari vehicle or walking. There, are, however, camel safaris available in many areas north in Kenya - Samburu, Laikipia, Northern Frontier.

May I suggest, you keep all of your posts about your upcoming trip under one thread. It'll be easier for you to find and add to you; for us to reply and follow your progress.

Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 39
Roccco thanks for that titbit. A past experience guides my thoughts on this. i do also agree with you. The staff and guides at all these properties are excellent and very professional. I am a little old school and prefer the personality of a place as stamped on it by the owner operator. Dont get me wrong love to soak in those baths with a glass of sherry and look out across the crater, just would widen my sights to incorporate those great hidden Gems of east Africa. Kiwayu, Tana River Delta, Richards Camp, Samatian Island, Serian and the like.
mzeetembo is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I recently happened upon the Micato website and read, "Just announced, World's Best Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter" by Travel and Leisure for the third year in a row.


It looked like they also would do private trips.

Don't know if they do gorilla trips, but could probably help you arrange that with a good outfitter.

If it is this June and July, you'll want to act fast. Space is limited.

I've never traveled with Micato so no personal accounts.

Good luck and please post your final plans if you have time between wedding plans!

atravelynn is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Micato does use the Serena properties and even sometimes the Sopa properties within its itineraries, and mostly goes with group departures, meaning there are up to five guests per vehicle. Unfortunately, the prices for their planned (group) itineraries, are nearly the same as it would cost someone to do a custom (private) safari using the very best properties such as Crater Lodge, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Grumeti River Camp and Klein's Camp.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Micato is also known to use only those camps/lodges that appear on some "top 100" list. And many of us question these lists. If you choose to deviate from their group departures or select accommodations other than as in their itinerary, expect the prices to move even farther skywards.

Rocco and I both know one can get a Micato safari from other planners for at minimum 1/3 less in price.
Mar 25th, 2006, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 382
I have a question. I am looking at Nature Expeditions for a trip to Botswana next June. In looking a the website it looks like the lodges they are using are top of the line. Where did you go with them and when. Were you happy. The tour I am looking at is a specific one but I guess I can make some changes. I would love any additional information you can provide.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Mar 26th, 2006, 03:59 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
Natuer Exp, is a wilderness clone, just checked out his offerings, you can buy that through any operator in the US, nothing special IMO.
mkhonzo is offline  
Mar 26th, 2006, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Grover has been quite the busy bee, posting about the company he recommended also on the Latin America board and the Asia board (the company he recommends is not an Africa specialist but rather sells trips worldwide). Check his thread history and it is mostly limited to promoting t(his) company.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 26th, 2006, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 12
Have you tried http://www.donyoungsafaris.com ? Check out his website.
llambiris is offline  

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