Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

Great local Tanzania tour operator wanted. Who did you use?

Great local Tanzania tour operator wanted. Who did you use?

Apr 26th, 2009, 11:30 AM
  #1  
TC
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Great local Tanzania tour operator wanted. Who did you use?

We are planning a 3 week trip to Africa -- our second. Will fly into and out of Dar this time. Want flying safari to Southern Tanzania - Selous and Ruaha with some beach time in Zanzibar at the end. I have corresponded with two safari planners in the UK so far -- African Travel Resources and Tanzanian Odyssey. Proposing to use Ras Kutani, Jongomeru, Selous Safari, Mwagusi, Shooting Star in Zanzibar. I was amazed at the difference in pricing. One was nearly twice the other for the same itinerary. As these are both UK operators, I would really like to correspond with a local Tanzanian tour operator who might put the trip together for a better price and offer a local contact while we are in country. My assumption is that the UK operators are using someone local and just tacking on their own commission before handing it off.

Very interested in hearing if you booked with someone directly in Tanzania and how it all went in the end. Were you happy with the results? Was it less expensive? Was the process difficult?

Thank you for any advice.
TC is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 04:19 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646
TC, we have been to southern Tanzania twice (2005 and 2007). Trip reports are posted on this board under the East Africa Trip Report Index thread. Both times arranged trip thru Foxes of Africa (a family-run business with an office in DAR as well as in the UK--Jane Fox). Very pleased with Foxes. I understand they recently acquired the Rifigi(sp) River Camp in Selous. Enjoy the planning. Dick
rsnyder is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 05:34 AM
  #3  
TC
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Hello Dick, Would Jane only book the Fox camps? We can save nearly $2000 per person on in-country air if we book the 3 Selous Camp Co. properties -- Ras Katuni, Selous Safari Camp and Jongomeru. While Mwagusi is Chris Fox's camp, I think we might want other properties as well. I'm sure I've read your reports. I've read until my eyes are crossed on this board and in the library. The planning is always half the fun for me. Thanks for your reply.
TC is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 07:07 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Several of us Fodorites are planning a southern and western Tanzania safari for September and are using Authentic Tanzania out of Dar. David Barker has been great to work with. He can book with any of the camps, but have some semi-mobile camps of their own in Mikumi and Ruaha this season, which we'll be using. He is also booking my Zanzibar stay. I've stayed at Shooting Star and also Pongwe. If you need A/C, Shooting Star would be the choice. If that's not necessary, I'd suggest Pongwe.
ShayTay is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 02:38 PM
  #5  
TC
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Thanks every so much, ShayTay. I'll try contacting David for some details. How did you like Shooting Star? or why did you prefer Pongwe? My husband is a master level diver and he's keen to do a bit of diving on this trip, hence the Zanzibar beach add on. Would love to go to Mozambique for the diving, but its a bit of a stretch to get there within the budget for this long trip. What camps are you using on your trip?
TC is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 06:55 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I used Roy Safaris for my Tanzanian trip last August/ September. I used African Serendipity (in the US) as a safari planner but my booking was held directly by Roy, I think.

For me, vehicle details were important and Roy were able to provide specific details and confirm / guarantee what we wanted. We did see many other operators using similar vehicles but with completely different internal seat configurations (cramming more seats in).

The only negative for us is that we were NOT happy with the driver guide we were assigned; I think he'd once been top of his game but had clearly become utterly bored by the job and his approach very superficial and formulaic. There were also a number of other problems we experienced with him, some were quite an issue for us.

I would book with Roy again ONLY if I were able to get a reliable recommendation for a specific guide and obtain a guarantee from them that this individual would be assigned to our booking.
Kavey is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 08:28 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
TC, Shooting Star is nice enough, but on a cliff overlooking the ocean. You have to go down a long flight of stairs to the beach, which almost disappears at high tide. Pongwe is right on the beach, which is much wider, nicer and considered to be one of the most beautiful on Zanzibar. However, they don't have AC, if that's important. If your husband wanted to do much diving, you might be better off up at Matemwe Beach Lodge near Mnemba Atoll, where Zanzibar's best diving is located. I used to be a diver before I started concentrated on safaris. I'm just going snorkeling now.

On our southern and western Tanzania safari, we're staying in Authentic Tanzania's "Authentic Camps" in Mikumi and Ruaha. We're driving that portion of the safari, using AT's vehicles and guides. From Ruaha, we're flying on to Katavi and staying at Katuma Bush Lodge for 4 nights. Then, we continuing on to Mahale and staying at Kungwe Beach Lodge for 3 nights. The last two properties are run by Mbali Mbali (formerly Chimpanzee Safaris.)
ShayTay is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 09:07 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,981
Just for clarification, most southern Tanzania safaris are conducted as fly-in's though it's possible to have a driving itinerary as ShayTay is doing. If doing a driving itinerary, I'd contact tour operators based in Dar rather than Arusha. I'm not sure what an Arusha based operator would do in this case anyway. Some do maintain presences in Dar but my guess is others would likely hand you off to another operator in Dar. If booking a flying safari, I don't think it matters as much where the operator is located.
Patty is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 01:45 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Absolutely, if driving to the Southern Parks, best to use a DAR-based outfitter. If flying between the parks, then an outfitter based in Arusha can handle.

For diving (I'm a dipper, not a diver or for that matter don't get wet... however), consider from DAR to fly to Mafia Island, which from a professional diver friend said was one of the best experiences anywhere... a divers paradise.

Again, an Arusha-based (there are many more), can handle flying to the parks and even Mafia (or Zanzibar, even the sister island on Pemba).
sandi is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 03:12 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Our itinerary is a combination "drive/fly." Authentic Tanzania, our outfitter/planner, is based in Dar and has had good recommendations on this Forum. Sandi, good idea about going to Mafia for diving. I suppose you could combine it with a night in Stone Town for that experience if you wanted to.
ShayTay is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 03:45 PM
  #11  
TC
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Thanks to all. We are definately doing a FLY safari. I'm not much for driving long distances. Currently I am communicating with one Arusha supplier (David Barker) and two UK suppliers with connections in Dar. We'll see where this leads. Welcome any additional suggestions.
TC is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 04:43 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642
TC,

some good suggestions re agents here already. I was in Southern Tanzania in July 2008 and stayed at Ruaha River Lodge and Rufiji River Camp. I would not return to RRL, more details in my trip report available at http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...ly-2008.cfm?26

Ruaha offers superb game viewing, and if I was to return I would look at staying at Mdonya Old River Camp, maybe Tandala. We drove past Mwagusi a few times and it looked to be a well situated camp.

Happy travels,


Pol
Treepol is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 08:10 PM
  #13  
TC
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Sandi, I have looked at some initial information on Mafia Island and it DOES look amazing. Pole Pole resort sounds like exactly the kind of place to relax and SCUBA after a Southern circuit safari -- and just where I'd like to spend my 40th wedding anniversary. Thank you for the suggestion.

Do you know which lodge/resort your friend used?
TC is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 06:51 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
It's been a few years, but his stay might have been at Kinasi Lodge. However, I think Pole Pole is nicer. And, there might be a newer lodge added to the selection. There's one property that is tree-lodge*, but read a review that the place seriously disappointed.

*believe this is one that ATR (UK-based operator) might suggest.

Review them all and then choose!
sandi is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 08:47 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
David Barker (Authentic Tanzania) is actually in Dar. We're using him for our September safari. I met him in Dar last year before I flew out of there... nice guy and always helpful. He should be able to help you with Mafia Island, as well. Given that he's located in Dar, he should have some local info for you.
ShayTay is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 01:47 PM
  #16  
TC
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
We have settled and booked our upcoming safari adventure. I am extremely pleased with the outcome. Our itinerary is as follows:

Depart U.S. via Amsterdam for Dar es Salaam
(we wil fly NW/KLM first class on free tickets - Yahoo!)

Airport meet and greet, transport to Dar.
2 nts. Southern Sun in Dar to recouperate from the flight.

Fly to Ruaha via Coastal Air (all in-country air included)
4 nts. Jongomero
Game drive transfer
4 nts. Mwagusi Camp with Chris Fox

Fly to Selous
3 nts. Selous Safari Camp
Game drive transfer
4 nts. Sand Rivers

Fly to Mafia Island
4 nts. Pole Pole for whale shark diving
Fly back to Dar and depart for the U.S.

Its our second trip to Africa and we've been waiting a long time to return. I was able to plan the entire trip with loads of good advice from my Fodor friends (many thanks, Sandi for the Mafia Island/Pole Pole suggestion) and booked with Lenny at Africa Travel Resource in the U.K. He was a jewel to work with and really went to bat to get us an amazing price. He's gone so far as to continue bargaining on our behalf even after the booking and reduced the price further. The 22 day trip will cost a tad over $18,000 all-inclusive for the two of us. I thought that amazing, considering the A&K want $23,000 PER PERSON for a Northern Tanzania circuit of less time.

Now for the hard part.....waiting!
TC is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 07:55 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 160
We used Good Earth for Kenya and Tanzania and we were extremely pleased. I suggest you give them an opportunity to earn your business.
lbodem is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jaydh42
Africa & the Middle East
6
Oct 2nd, 2012 02:53 PM
taxjam
Africa & the Middle East
15
Jun 26th, 2010 05:05 AM
hkmessick
Africa & the Middle East
6
Feb 2nd, 2007 06:13 AM
vacdrmr
Africa & the Middle East
11
Nov 6th, 2006 08:17 PM
Lizzie
Africa & the Middle East
10
May 11th, 2001 07:28 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:18 AM.