First Time Safari Questions


Nov 11th, 2011, 08:48 PM
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If you go to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary just outside of Murchison Falls in Uganda as part of your safari, you might even see The Big 5 on your trip.

Just so you are aware, the gorilla treks are $500 per trek, though I think there may now be a slight discount in low season.
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Nov 14th, 2011, 05:26 AM
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May is a great time to go to Tanzania. Was there this past May and currently am working on return trip for 2012 to possibly include Uganda and Tanzania. As previous posters have suggested check out the Fodor's Safari Guide book and then maybe one (s) unique to the respective country. Read some of the trip reports on the link mentioned. We really enjoyed safaris in May as mentoned earlier. Crowds are much, much lighter, prices are better, wildlife is plentiful and weather is great. In previous May trips I think maybe we lost a half hour (lost=having to close the pop-up roof during game drives) due to rain. For a first trip Tanzania can not be beat.
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Nov 14th, 2011, 03:37 PM
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Everyone here is so knowledgeable and I have garnered so much information whilst lurking.
SO.... tagging on since Wanderfrau's itinerary is similar to mine. Is it taboo to ask what something like this (14 days-moderate $ tents/camps-Kenya & tanzania) would cost---group vs. private? low season vs. high season? Not pp/pd---Just a rough estimate without international airfare of course, a round figure would be so helpful so I know what to save.
Forgive me for being so gauche.
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Nov 14th, 2011, 10:47 PM
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pollydill,its perfectly alright asking a question about costs,without which one cannot plan holidays.this is what this travel forum is all about.
In my estimate (been to africa many times in the past),for a 14 day would cost you U$D 4000pp upwards.All depends on the quality of service/stay you opt for.Moderate is a relative term.Budget options are available too.You'll have to land up there and shop around.
Wanderfrau,I too would recommend either Tanzania or Kenya or both, for first timers.One thing is that you'll not be disappointed as far as game viewing is considered.This will make you want to keep going back to explore more of africa.
You'll get some fantastic advise here for your more specific queries.
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Nov 15th, 2011, 07:10 AM
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Any number of people can toss out numbers as to the costs of their safari. It still comes down to when traveling as prices are seasonal, type of accommodations - lodges/tented camps, driving only or some fly or a combo of each. Prices in Tanzania tend to be somewhat higher than those in Kenya.

Even the example about of $4K, 14/days = $285/person/day
But when you consider daily park fees which can range from $60-$100/day, a guide/vehicle another $100/day... doesn't leave much for a place to lay your head, but a budget camping safari.

So it's always a guestimate and you won't know till you send away for suggested itineraries to see, what in reality, comes back and from there you 'tweak' to come up with the itinerary at the budget that works for you.
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Nov 15th, 2011, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for the input. I don't mean to takeover Wanderfrau's thread. I just thought it would be possible to get a rough estimate---low season vs. high season, private vs. group while staying at the middle of the road lodging for 14 days. $4000 seems awfully low, but who knows? Guess I will get the tour operators involved.
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Nov 16th, 2011, 06:26 AM
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One of my above links is 2Afrika, which always has good pricing. I never used them and have only communicated with them by phone.

This recent link shows problems with 2Afrika.

I'm not promoting the companies above, just listing some published prices as a starting point for budgeting--though I have enjoyed successful trips with both Eastern and Southern & The Africa Adventure Company.
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Nov 16th, 2011, 07:23 PM
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I think $4K for 14 days would be some kind of miracle--but what do I know.

I have also used Eastern and Southern in Kenya. Friends took care of the details but I received a personalized, detailed itinerary with every cost broken down. I was very happy with the few days on safari with ESS. In fact I'm going back to Kenya next June and if the stars align we will have our same driver/guide Ben (Lynn, you know Ben and his low-key personal style, high-key fashion style ).
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Nov 16th, 2011, 09:50 PM
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pollydill-The price for our Mashatu Tented/Pafuri/Arathusa S Africa trip with internal charter flights and private drivers was about $4000 pp for 11 nights a couple of years ago in May. Could be less with just drivers, even less with a self drive. It was a fantastic option for us. We did a 20 night all safari S Africa self drive at "off the beaten path" not American marketed camps this past June for $210 pp per night- including everything, tips, food, park fees, fuel, SUV rental, a double booking. Some of the camps I would highly recommend to any but "The Ritz" crowd. Our first safari to Cape Town/Botswana for three weeks was four times (or more) that. I prefer to go often than spend on the high end camps. We thought the first one would be the only one.
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Nov 17th, 2011, 04:23 AM
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>> I think $4K for 14 days would be some kind of miracle--but what do I know.

All my safaris so far have costed less than that. A few examples;

- Tanzania, start at KIA airport, 10 day safari with private jeep and guide, visiting all northern parks from east to west, flight back to the coast and further on to Zanzibar, 4 days on the island, then flight back to KIA. Including international flights: 3500€ pp. This was in 2006.

- Private tented camp safari in Botswana with Ewan Masson as a guide. Visited Okavango/Moremi, Khwai, Savuti, Chobe, Vic Falls and then all the way back. 18 days total. Including all international flights; 4400€. 2008.

- Safari in South Africa with a stay on the Mozambique coast. Flight from Jo'Burg to Hoedspruit. Visited 4 game reserves near Kruger; Klaserie (Africa On Foot camp), Timbavati (Shindzela), Manyeleti (Pungwe) and Sabi Sands (Elephant Plains). Flight to Moz coast, stay 4 nights at Nyati Beach Lodge, flight back to Jo'Burg. Total no. of days; 17. Price including international flights; 4500€.

I'm from Belgium. So from the above prices, deduct about 1000€ for the international flights, and convert the remaining € to $. For Bots, deduct an extra 300-400€ for the flights Jo'Burg<->Maun.

I keep repeating this, perhaps for some people ad nausea, but there really is no need to pay 500$ pppn.

What happens a lot IMHO is that people's fear for the unknown (ic to end up in a lodge that gives a bad travel experience) is translated by TA's to a proposal using very expensive and luxurious lodges. More often than not these TA's are not local (African) TA's, which add their own cost to the bill, of course.
But there is no need for this "fear". Use a local TA with good reputation on the web, and you will not get bad food, you will not get bad beds, you will not get a shower without water, etc... iow: you will not get a bad safari experience.


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Nov 17th, 2011, 04:26 AM
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Forgot date of my last examlple. Was in 2010. Did short safari in 2011 using the same or similar lodges, but without Moz. Prices were still the same.
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Nov 18th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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So much information--thank you again. I will most certainly research the sites you have mentioned. I agree about the "fear" factor---Africa is such a big unknown to the US generally--I think that the TA's use it to their advantage--perhaps rightfully so.
In any case, it is why I have come to Fodor's, and probably why you have too.
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Nov 20th, 2011, 10:33 PM
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Hey Polly,

I'm from EU, so Africa is not that far away for me. Plus I am used to ecotravel (all over the world). So I came here to find likeminded people (re safaris), not to "get over any fear".


But in general you are right; it is why most ppl start to read here.

Still, there is a difference between EU and US; if any TA here in EU tried to sell a safari for 10K, saying "that is a normal price", they'd burn him at the stakes.


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Nov 21st, 2011, 09:11 AM
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Lots more good info. Thanks
I particularly appreciate the pricing -- the differences from US and EU, and what to expect.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 11:01 AM
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Here's big difference between US and EU for me. I live in US (California) so flights to Africa cost me twice as much in money and time as if I were going from EU. Also, I have a 9 hour time change compared to perhaps 1 hour for EU.

So, so what??? Well, if I'm going to the expense in flight money and time ($2,000RT and 30 hours/way), I'd like to be reasonably certain of what safari camps I'll be going to. This as perhaps compared to someone who lives in Joburg and with little pre-planning can hop in the family car and drive over to Kruger for a three day holiday.

regards - tom
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