First time to Africa

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Jul 4th, 2005, 07:11 PM
  #1
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First time to Africa

I am dying to get to Africa and have the opportunity to go in June 2006. I know that this is almost a year away but I would love to start planning and researching as soon as possible.

I have read over many of the threads and am still confused as to where to plan my trip. I definately want to go on a safari and being in a small group, not necessarily private, would be fine. I'll have about 3 weeks and $3000 for the trip. Is this possible?!

Any insight would be helpful! I just need a point in the right direction. Any tour operators or companies that you recommend?

Thanks so much!
cjacob is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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Are you planning to include the airfare in the $3,000???? The airfare alone (from the USA) is about $1500-1800.00. I am going for three weeks this Sept/Oct, and my trip is about three times that much plus airfare. I am going to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and the coast of South Africa for a week of scuba. We are doing luxury tented mobile camps for most of the trip- so you definitely can do it for less-easily, but I don't know about $3,000 for 3 weeks. Check in Kenya or Tanzania, I believe (may be wrong) that safaris in those countries may be less expensive than Bots??? I will be rooting for you to find what you are looking for!!
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Jul 5th, 2005, 04:24 AM
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Hi there - exciting isn't it?

Don't know for sure about US3,000 for 3 weeks - maybe! you need to check out the companies that offer cheap and cheerful safaris - they go to the same places more or less as the middle range ones (lux is a different kettle of fish!).

Try a google for guerba, exodus, explore worldwide, imaginative traveller. Also african trails, phoenix expeditions. You would have to camp but IMHO you haven't lived if you have been to "Africa" and not spent a night in a tent (or without come to that!) in the bush. I would say "in the middle of nowhere" but that, I think, would now be very difficult.

Post again please if I can help any way. Have travelled the continent up and down, and across, sometimes with, and sometimes without, a group.

Oh, and happy, happy, planning.
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Jul 5th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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So apparently I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to planning this trip. I meant that I have up to 3 weeks to sepnd in Africa, but if $3000 will only take me so far then I'm willing to do that. I'll look into these google searches and see what I can find. I feel like this is going to be a long and tedious search but I am up for the challenge. Thanks so much for the start!
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Jul 5th, 2005, 08:12 PM
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Since you said you are willing to do a group, take a look at Smartours. They have a Kenya/Tanzania itinerary that a friend of mine did and she loved it. I think they tend to be a bit more cost efficient due to being a group.
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Jul 6th, 2005, 03:38 AM
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"long and tedious"? - no,no. It can't be!

It's your chance to find something that suits YOU.

Suggest also some background research - and think about what it is that you really want to do. Animals? Just animals? Life as it is lived now(or as close as you can get as an outsider); life as it once was (and maybe still is); trekking: landscape; something else?

What are you looking for? why do you want to go?
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Jul 6th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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With that budget, and at that time of year, I would recommend you take a look at some of the options on 2afrika.com. They have some very reasonable prices for itineraries (both air-inclusive and overland) if you are willing to travel with others, especially for Kenya-Tanzania.
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Jul 6th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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You also might want to check out responsibletravel.com. They have some very reasonable tours that are usually a mix of nature/culture.

Haven't used them myself, though--for some reason I got on their e-mail list.
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Jul 6th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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Cjacob

Are you flying from the UK, USA, elsewhere?

Is airfare included in your $3000?
Do you mind camping? In East Africa you can do camping safaris for about $120 per day - well within your budget. Inbetween you can splurge and stay at Wildlife lodges or similar.

Many camp sites are perfectly located. In early June we camped near Seronera in the Serengeti and were right in the middle of the wildebeest migration - - lots of action at 360 degrees around us!

We also camped at Ngorongoro with the same views as the expensive lodges - although it was cold at night! But we had a big fire and had interesting conversations with the Maasai guards while watching elephants tear down a few bushes just 50 feet away - I'm not kidding. The elles came really close to our tents!

Tents are walk-in types with cots and sleeping bags. You can help with camp chores but your chef and guide can do things much faster anyway!

True, the bathroom situation was interesting to say the least but we went for drinks and lunch/dinner at the lodges and had full use the facilities!

With your budget, I would avoid overseas operators. They simply cannot beat the rates you get from Tanzanian outfitters who are the people on the ground anyway!
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Jul 6th, 2005, 01:06 PM
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cjacob,

My husband and I went not long ago and we recommend Roy's Safaris. As important, you need to have a good driver/tour guide since you are spending many weeks, all day long with this person. We highly recommend our guide, Thomas Mosha. A good guide makes all the difference in the world.

Please check out our articles at our website for help in getting started:

1) Safari 101 - http://www.thirteenmonths.com/tz01_safari101.htm

2) The low-down - http://www.thirteenmonths.com/tz05_lowdown.htm

3) And photos -
http://www.thirteenmonths.com/tzA_safari.htm

Good luck with planning and feel free to email me if you have more questions! Have fun!
Susan
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Jul 8th, 2005, 10:56 AM
  #11
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Has anyone heard of Intrepid Travel? The website is intrepidtravel.com. They have many different trips all over the world and I found a great one in Africa. The group is 12 people or less and involves a lot of camping. It sounded very thourough and good, just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts about it.

Also, I didn't mention this, but I will be 21 when I go on the trip (hopefully go on the trip!). I feel like many of the group travel programs are for older people, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I was wondering if anyone knew of a group travel for younger adults?

Thanks so much for all of your help so far, it has been so interesting!
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Jul 8th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Yeah, that's what I am talking about!

Their Tanzania camping trip costs about $135 per day which is slightly steep considering a group size of 12 and forcing you to share a tent with a stranger, but you are on the right track!

While you may get a better price from a local outfitter, being by yourself can get a bit lonely as your cook & guide will generally hang out with other crews in the cooking areas of the camp sites.

On my camping trip we ran into several budget camping crews with very limited English and some lonely-looking campers!

So an Intrepid-style trip looks fine to me!
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Jul 8th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #13
 
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We went to Tanzania 3 years ago and used WS Safari www.wssafari.com We did the trip as cheaply as we could and were quite pleased with the camping safari (we did Kilimanjaro too). We also pieced together the international airfare (Houston to Atlanta, Atlanta to London, London to Nairobi) and spent $1000 on each ticket.

For a first timer I think East Africa is perfect. And it is alot cheaper which is what I am realizing now that we are going to S. Africa next month. Whew!
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Jul 10th, 2005, 12:54 AM
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Heard of them? definitely - oversight to have left them off previous list. Well thought of organisation. I've never travelled with them but have come close to it. I could just never make the dates fit.
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