Good price?

Old Nov 20th, 2007, 11:59 PM
  #1  
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Good price?

Private safari.
Vehicles used: 4x4 Land Rover 110/ Toyota Land Cruiser.
1)Mt. Meru Game Lodge
2)Depart with picnic lunch, stop at Shoprite (Arusha), visit Meserani Snake Park, on to Mto wa Mbu, afternoon and picnic lunch in Lake Manyara Park. Lake Manyara Serena, dinner, overnight.
3)Lake Manyara to Serengeti, picnic lunch, stop at Caldera, game drive enroute to Serengeti Serena, over.
4)Serengeti Western Corridor Game drive, full day, picnic lunch from Serena, visit to Kirawira and "side clients" (what's that mean??) will walk over bridge to view crocs. Look for migration. Serena, over.
5)Western Corridor game drive full day. Transfer to Mbuzi Mawe, dinner, over
6)AM, Optional balloon ride ($620- Yikes!)Full day Seronera game drive with picnic lunch, Mbuzi Mawe, over.
7)Serengeti via Oldupai Gorge to Ngorongoro Crater, picnic lunch, Ngorongoro Serena, dinner, over.
8)Full-day crater, picnic lunch, Ngorongoro Serena, over.
9)After breakfast on the 11th day of your safari (HUH?) drive to Tarangire NP, game drive, picnic lunch, dinner over night at Mt. Meru Game Lodge.
10)Transfer to airport.

Unlimited km. 2 litres water pp/day. $3800.

There is just something about the weird wording in places, the expensive balloon ride, and all the picnic full-day game drives that makes me think something is off. Do they have special non-inclusive rates?

I did a search for Mbuzi Mawe and read one report of an OAT tour having a braii vs. dinner- it's like an OAT tour meets backpackers with nowhere to go all day. I've e-mailed the tour operator (who BTW sounds completely enthusiastic about safaris- private vehicles only, contacting the game wardens for help locating the migration) but I wanted your opinions and possible follow-up questions if this is a decent price. Tour agent is in South Africa and is not a member of SATOA ( but only 73 tour operators are).



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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 04:29 AM
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When are you traveling? Month? Year?

Yes, balloon safaris are expensive, more so in the Serengeti (than Masai Mara), but $620 is high!
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 06:46 AM
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Why don't you get comparison quotes from some Tanzania based operators? A few that have been used and recommended here are Green Footprint, Roys, Good Earth and Sunny.

If you decide to go with the SA agent, I would ask them which ground operator they will use in Tanzania.
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 07:22 AM
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Hello,

First of all when are u travelling, which month and also how many of you are travelling together....

Also are your flights from JRO/JRO included

I went through your trip and it sounds(sorry) too rushed,also 2 nights are at mt meru lodge so you are on safari for only 6 nights in northern tanzania,

I would strongly suggest getting quotes from tanzania based operators.

Best of luck, Sonali



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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 08:13 AM
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We wouuld be traveling in June, 08- 2 people. I will get quotes if I ever decide where in Africa.

I think Vic Falls/ Botswana/Zambia will be too cold so I have settled on northern Tanzania and possibly Selous/Ruaha.

I posted on here and was looking at off the shelf tours trying to get a handle on what I could afford before wasting the time of tour operators.

Sonali- Don't be sorry. I wanted opinions. To me it seemed a little over priced.

But maybe not with the drive to the end of the earth looking for animals all day agenda. So this leads me to a question I would have never thought of- are there restrictions by some tour operators, even on private safari as to km/length of game drives?
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 08:57 AM
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Hello again,

Well june is low season in east africa, and most tour operators and private safari providers would give u unlimited game drives, u just have to mention it

Also check ccafrica's offers, on their website,

Sonali
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 09:19 AM
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One more question what are some good cultural activities to include for my teenager?
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 12:47 PM
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A couple of comments:
With the exception of Mbuzi Mawe, this is an all lodge safari. Is that what you're looking for?

With the exception of your Arusha accommodation, it's a Serena property safari which is higher end, hence $$$

All day game drives with picnic lunches are typical of private safaris, but you don't have to be out all day if you don't want to - your call.

It seems odd that you're not staying overnight at Tarangire. A quick afternoon game drive there isn't enough in my opinion, especially if you're going in late June. Most people stay 2 nights in Tarangire.

The "side clients" and "11th day" are questions for the Travel Agent. Who is their ground operator?

Sonali, I'm not so sure that I agree with you about June being low season in East Africa!
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 01:22 PM
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June is no longer low-season. As of '06, this month has become peak-season, with the herds in the central and/or western Serengeti.

The idea of leaving Tarangire to the end is a good idea, as earlier in the month the grasses are high making it more difficult to see some game. Also, as the area dries out, game will come back into the park rather than being dispersed to where there are other water sources.

The itinerary you show is good, but I have a few adjustments, as below:

Day 1 - Arv. - o/n Meru Game Lodge or similar
Day 2 - Snake Farm, drive towards Lk. Manyara, visit Mto-wa-Mbu, game drive - o/n Serena Ldg or Kirurumu Camp
Day 3 - Morning game drive, drive via Oldupai Gorge w/stop to Central or Western Serengeti - o/n Serena Ldge., Mbuzi Mawe, Kirawira* or Mbalageti* Camps.
* these two camps will be the most expensive if space is available.
Days 4 5 & 6 - Central/Western Serengeti - option: hot-air balloon - o/n
Day 7 - Drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater tour - o/n Serena, Sopa or Wildlife
Day 8 - Morning Crater Tour; w/picnic lunch, drive to Tarangire - o/n Sopa Ldge, River Camp, Safari Lodge/Camp, Kikoti Camp
Day 9 - Tarangire - o/n
Day 10 - Drive to Arusha; consider cultural visit in afternoon (N'gresi Village), last minute shopping, dinner, transfer to JRO for homebound flight.

Space is getting limited for June travel, so accommodations will depend on availability at any of the lodges or camps at these locations.

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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Hello

Hey forgot about the low season being april and may onlyyyyy......

thanks for reminding me

Sonali


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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 05:20 PM
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OK- here's the scoop after I e-mailed him. I'm not sure if I can post the site but his name is Rory Wolman. He is very personable and enthusiastic as I said, about safari and animals. I really like the guy and he does a lot of conservation work (ex-game warden), has spear-headed a campaign in SA to ban hunting and a conservation trust (W.R.A.C.H.T.). He also has a start-up lodge near Kruger- again not sure if I can post the name.

Will this make me sign on for this safari? - no. He did offer 10% less for June and said Tanzania ground is handled by his own company. He also offers a mobile tented safari.

Thanks for the advice once again. Bookings for June already?- leaves me disheartened. We can't finalize vacation dates at my company until February. I'll keep planning and hope for the best.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Perhaps you could beg and plead a case at work and let them know you have to be booking now for next June. Even then, note that a number of places have already been booked for months! By booking only 4 months prior to your trip, you can likely only create an itinerary now, then send it off to various companies in February to see if any of your preferred accommodations are even available at that point.

Any travel agent who books private safaris can offer a mobile tented safari. Did he mean he has his own camps?

Tanzania ground is handled by his own company
Perhaps I don't know exactly what he's saying, but if he doesn't have his own ground operation out of Tanzania, he has to hire a ground operator in which case you want to know who that is.

You had some red flags go up about Rory to begin with. Have you sent your itinerary to other companies for quotes?
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Old Nov 22nd, 2007, 07:54 AM
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He's offering "10% less for June" ???

When June is peak season. Strange.

Not only is space already limited at many properties for June, but you also have to check flight availability. KLM is the only carrier into JRO; otherwise, you have to fly into NBO, then get to Arusha (by shuttle bus, or flight). Same on the return.

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Old Nov 22nd, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Calo and Sandi- I wish begging and pleading would help. Next year vacations can be planned in Nov. for the following year but that's next year. In all likelihood I will get whatever days I want off in June BUT it's first come, first serve based on years of employment. With weddings in June being ever popular I never know what weeks will be taken before I can chose. After June football starts for my son so...

I'm not going to fret about it. It may not be an ideal first trip to Africa but honestly I will be very happy just to be there.

I went back and re-read the e-mail and he says that it's a joint effort. So he was hedging I'm sure. I can be very blunt and put people on the hotseat. The 10% was I think because I thought the price was overly inflated and told him so. He is a SA tour operator so maybe these are the going the prices for the tours - like the ones offered by US/UK tour operators that are more expensive. Again, I like the guy personally and would consider going to his lodge at another time in warmer weather. He's like a Steve Irwin and would be so much fun as a guide.

Yes, I will definately contact the local agents in Tanzania. I've been sifting through past threads for days collecting information. I have one planning question but will start another thread. Thanks
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Old Nov 22nd, 2007, 10:50 AM
  #15  
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I hate that there is no edit button. Excuse the typos.
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