G.A.P. adventures

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Aug 16th, 2004, 10:02 AM
  #1
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G.A.P. adventures

My husband and I are interested in taking a trip to East Africa this December. We found some information about GAP adventures on the internet and were wondering if anyone has had any experience with them in Africa.
Also, any recommendations for other tour companies would be greatly appreciated.
We would like to travel with some amenities so we don't want to have only basic tented travel for the entire trip.
We have about 15 days to spend.
If there are any other clarifications, just post to this message. Thanks!
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Aug 16th, 2004, 02:58 PM
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sandi
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What is GAP adventures - this is a new to me, never heard of. Give us an idea the of itinerary being offered and type/kind of accommodations - names and locations, price for trip.

I'm assuming from your comment that this is a rather basic budget itinerary, so if you wish to improve on accommodations, what amount budget would you be considering. Also, when in December? Prices are higher over the Christmas holidays thru New Years.
 
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Aug 17th, 2004, 05:12 AM
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I am not sure what kind of tour GAP is classified as. I doubt it's basic, maybe somewhere on the level of First Class with Deluxe and Luxury being above that but never having been on a safari before I don't know what's worth paying for. That's why I am looking for help.
You say you've never heard of GAP adventures, are there other tour operators you'd recommend for East Africa?
Our Budget is not unlimited, we were figuring no more than $5,000 for each person but of course if we could do something comparable for less, we would be willing to be flexible on some things. Safety and dependability are NOT things we are willing to give up on.
With regard to the itinerary, what I have seen from most trips is similar but if you would like to see the specific itinerary for this company, it can be found at this link: http://www.gap.ca/tour/AYK. Basically, it's 15 days from Nairobi to Zanzibar. This is the trip we are looking at with GAP because the dates fit Dec 19-Jan 2. We realize this is the high time to go but it's when we have vacation so we have no choice... The other trip for GAP that doesn't fit our dates seems to have a better itinerary : http://www.gap.ca/tour/AYK and more similar to other tours we have seen. If you had a recommendation of a tour company with an itinerary more like the second one here, please let me know. What are your thoughts?
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Aug 17th, 2004, 08:26 AM
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Some friends and I did a trip to Kenya last year with www.2afrika.com. They have everything from a basic 9 day Kenya trip for under $2000 per person (really only 6 days "on the ground") to a 15 day Kenya/Tanzania trip for under $3500 that has some upgraded hotels. Those prices INCLUDE international airfare, all ground transportation, all hotels, game drives, and 3 meals a day except the first and last. We figured at the end of the trip that we'd spent an add'l $30 a day per person for all our laundry, liquor/wine, a few meals in Nairobi and tips.

All of the places we stayed on our trip were acceptable and a couple were very nice. (Impossible to compare to US hotel chains since you're in Africa and in lodges, but I'd say we stayed at 3 star equivalent of Hiltons and Hyatts.) All had great common areas and nice views with pretty pool areas and extensive landscaping. All had private bathrooms. Some beds and baths were better than others - a couple had very nice marble bathrooms and big comfy beds, a couple had only a shower and so-so matresses, but for the price and as an introduction to Kenya I could not have asked for more.

If you have 4 people you can write your own itinerary, which we did. Basically we flew into Nairobi, did 4 days/3 nights in the Masai Mara, 2 days/2 nights Lake Nukuru, 1 night Mt. Kenya and 3 days/2 nights Samburu/Shaba with a couple of extra days in Nairobi on the end to do some special add-ons. I wish we'd skipped Samburu/Shaba or substituted Tsavo instead.

Our trip was at the end of May/beginning of June and we saw tons of animals. We were never disappointed with a game drive. The weather was perfectly fine. If anything it was just a bit warm at times. The whole trip was magical and exceeded our every expectation.

I highly recommend 2afrika and am planning a trip for my mother right now using them. She'll be going on the 15 day Grand Combo Kenya & Tanzania with a couple of modifications. She'll stay in a tented camp in a couple of places, which is about the only thing I wish I'd been able to experience at least once on my trip. I'll just have to wait for next time...

Good luck and happy travels!
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Aug 17th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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Thanks "vsbw"! I will definintely check out the website you listed. We will only have 2 people but it seems that some of the offered trips would be more than acceptable.
What other tours did you consider before moving forward with this company?
Also, If any other thoughts come to mind, please add them to this post.
Thanks again!
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Aug 17th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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sandi
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Sorry not to be familiar with a Canadian company - one can't know every tour operator out there. But I did take a look at the itinerary with the link you provided.

It certainly is different then most itineraries, which is good in some ways. The few days up in the Lakes areas of Kenya and then onto Tanzania via Lake Victoria - interesting! But what jumped out at me was that the entire trip is done by road - that's lots of road to cover - and there are lots of one-nighters - in the Serengeti and barely a full-day in the Crater, then 1-nt at Lk, Manyara and at Kili; though the mini-trek at Kili is different. What will be a long long day is the drive to Dar. Did GAP never hear of airplanes?

After bumping along the roads of Kenya and Tanzania, it's no wonder you have 4-days to catch your breath and relax at Zanzibar - you'll need it.

I couldn't figure out whether the price quoted included Int'l air? but if it did, WOW! And I assume when you indicate the price of about $5,000 person that includes all the additional prices/fees for all activities listed at the end of the itinerary. And I couldn't figure out whether you have to bring your own sleeping bags or they rent these to you?

Most of this trip is a participatory camping experience, a new place/camp every night. Is this what you want? This, to me, is a "hard" trip. And it's in no way like camping out in Canada. I have no idea what your ages, but this seems perfect for anyone under 30 regardless how physically fit those from 40 & up might be!

If you haven't made a final decision or paid a deposit to GAP let me suggest you contact www.2afrika.com and see what their itineraries consist of. I can guarantee you will have a roof over your head most nights, and often you'll spend more than a night in places that deserve it.

Or you can contact tour operators in-country, in Tanzania particularly, as most of the itinerary is here, I suggest you contact www.roysafaris.com and see what their itineraries look like. Their prices are very good though be prepared to pay a bit more since you'll be traveling over the holidays. And if you happen to want to spend some time in Kenya, Roy should be able to coordinate that for you with a Kenyan operator whose prices will be just as competitive as Roy's. Or you can also contact www.southerncrosssafaris.com/intro.htm located in Mombassa, Kenya who can do both Kenya/Tanzania. None of thesein-country tour operators include Int'l air, so you can look for good air deals thru:

www.2afrika.com
www.premiertours.com

both are tour operators, but have separate air departments with pretty good prices.

Hope this input helps and the recommended alternate safari providers can offer better/different options.
 
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Aug 18th, 2004, 05:36 AM
  #7
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Thanks for the reply Sandi!
As I looked further into the details of GAP I agree with you. It seems like a "hard" trip even if we are in our early 30's and pretty "athletic". Anyway, I'll look into your suggestions. It seems that 2afrika is more like what we may be looking for. The accomidations at one stop seem to be the same as A&K which is MUCH more costly.
One question about roysafaris- I have seen a few posts about them but I am confused when I go to their website. Do you just have to know where you want to go and email them an itinerary for them to give a price quote? I didn't see any particular tours listed there, maybe I am not navigating correctly?
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Aug 18th, 2004, 10:20 AM
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Hi!

There are definately itineraries on the 2afrika web site. Go to the portfolio section then just pick the region of Africa you are interested in and trips will come up. We are actually doing a trip with them in Feb that is a combination of a trip they advertise and another they have that they made work to do back to back with our other trip.

Have fun planning

J
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Aug 18th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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sandi
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2seeds - It's been awhile since I've actually looked at the Roy Safaris website, so forgot that they don't list day-by-day detailed safaris, rather recommended number of days at the particular areas in the Northern Circuit.

Since you've already notices that A&K itineraries are more expensive then most other opertors, but that may operators use the same properties as does A&K, I have suggestions:

1) You can check out A&Ks website:

www.abercrombiekent.com (I believe that's it)

select an itinerary you like and have Roy Safaris provide a bid. You can always move "down" a level of accommodation if the price is not within your budget, though I doubt it would be.

2) Likewise you can contact Southern Cross Safaris, for a price quote and I believe they do have sample itineraries on their site, though not sure if they have 15-day programs.

3) Go to 2afrika and select one of their itineraries and see if Roy Safaris can bid on same, but if you want to move "up" a level in accommodations you can select from the list of accommodations Roys provides on their site; or ask for a recommendation. Also remember that most of go2afrika's itineraries are with set dates and set itineraries and group trips. If you want to make changes or any sort or travel by yourselves, 2afrika will adjust their prices - upwards.

A possible itinerary with Tanzania the primary destination (since the GAP itinerary emphasized Tanz) for 15 days may be:

Day 1- Arrive Kilimanjaro - overnight
Day 2- Drive to Tarangire - Kikoti Camp
Day 3- Tarangire
Day 4- Drive to Lk.Manyara -
Day 5- Drive to Ngorongoro Crater - Serena Lodge
Day 6- Ngorongoro Crater
Day 7- Drive via Olduvai Gorge to Central Seregeti - Serena Lodge
Day 8- Drive to N.Serengeti - Migration Camp OR to W.Serengeti - Kirawira Camp
Day 9- N or W Serengeti
Day 10- N or W Serengeti
Day 11- Fly to Arusha, fly to Nairobi, connect to flight to Masai Mara -
Day 12- Masai Mara
Day 13- Masai Mara
Day 14- Return to Nairobi by road or flight - overnight
Day 15- Nairobi - various tours including Daphne Sheldrick Trust (elephant orphanage), Karen Blixen House, Giraffe Center, dinner at The Carnivore - transfer to airport for homebound trip.
OR
If you prefer to relax on the beach, spend these last 4-days in Zanzibar.

An alternative itinerary would be with more time spent in Kenya with some days in Tanzania. Your choice.

KLM flies to both NBO and JRO, so you can split the ticket arriving in one and departing the other.

Do remember that since you'll be traveling over the holiday period, prices are often higher and lodgings do book up quickly.

Whichever company you choose, I believe you will have a more enjoyable and less physically taxing safari experience. Hope this gets you started and do let us know what you decide or if you have more questions.
 
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