Has anyone been on safari with Benson ?

Dec 31st, 2018, 06:24 AM
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Has anyone been on safari with Benson ?

Looking at possible safari outfitters in Tanzania, and Benson has some good options for what I want - private guide and moderate accommodations. So far I can only find reviews on their own website, and would like to know if anyone has experience with this company for a more independent overview. Thanks.
scdreamer is offline  
Dec 31st, 2018, 10:03 AM
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SC, is it a guide named Benson or a company named Benson? I did a quick search on Safaritalk and there is a private guide by the name of Benson Siyawareva that many people have traveled with and rave about, but he's primarily in Zambia and Zimbabwe. If you're looking for a company named Benson, I found nothing there or Trip Advisor.

I booked my first safari (which was to TZ) with Access2Tanzania. Karen there (co-owner) is wonderful. I booked Rwanda through her as well (sister company is Treks2Rwanda). If I wanted to return to TZ or Rwanda I'd likely reach out to her again.

My guide with A2T recently went out on his own and is guiding under the name Tanzania Adventure Tours. I can't speak to his overall booking process and whatnot since I was with him when he was with A2T, but his guiding is excellent. His name is Said Kambelenje. I'm still close with him on Facebook, please let him know I sent him your way if you reach out to him. I wonder if because he's new to the game and it's just him and another guy running it, if maybe his pricing will be competitive. Worth a shot.
amyb is online now  
Dec 31st, 2018, 06:25 PM
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This is the company I am writing about. The website says they've been in business since 2006 - the owner is Benson Benard.

I am still considering The Wild Source, but this company appears to be offering a very similar itinerary = custom/private safari - at a much lower cost. The acommodations look good, and the reviews I have seen are positive, but they are on the website - I haven't found any independent reviews.

I do know very well the adage that you get what you pay for, but am curious as to whether this company might be an option.
scdreamer is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 08:55 AM
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Similar itinerary perhaps but I wouldn’t go with anyone without first getting references or feedback on the guiding. I’ve made a point to “follow the guiding” on each of my safaris, making sure I know who I’m getting and if I don’t know someone who’s been with them, I talk to references of other clients. That is the one intangible that either makes or breaks your safari. I could sleep in a refrigerator box on safari but if I have an excellent guide, that is going to have a more significant impact on the quality of my safari than where I lay my head.

I met a couple at Ping’s camp in Kenya who had done the first 10 days of their Wild Source safari in Tanzania. I’m happy to put you in touch with them if you want, PM me and I’ll make a connection. Their guide in TZ is very well known in the safari circles I follow and has an outstanding reputation, as do all the Wild Source guides.

Also, in my experience, your dollar goes farther in Kenya. Everything for me there, including international flights, internal flights and camps, has just been more affordable, so if you’re looking to get more for your money, switching countries might be an option.
amyb is online now  
Jan 1st, 2019, 09:13 AM
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Thanks, amyb - I agree with you as far as the guides. I have been in touch with Wild Source, and they seem great. Part of my dilemma is that I have had to change my start date to a week later, and they aren't sure right now they can get me a guide - and they need to recheck the accommodations. They'll be back in touch after today's holiday, so hopefully it will work out.

I wish there were some way to find an independent review for this other company - I was referred to them by https://www.safaribookings.com/tanzania and Benson Safaris has been very responsive to my request for information. The itinerary is similar, as are the level of accommodation.
scdreamer is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 10:15 AM
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I wish I could help more! Safaritalk is read-only until Jan 4th. I can ask there for you when it opens up again after the holiday. Personally I wouldn't book any trip (safari or not) with a company I can't find background on, reviews or other people who've used them, but I am super uptight about that too. It's all what you are comfortable with.
amyb is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2019, 11:47 PM
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Hi SCDramer,

There is a very positive review of Benson on a tripadvisor forum. Read past the first few replies. (There may be other relevant posts on tripadvisor but I didnt keep searchng).


re: the Safaribooking site . I hadn't heard of before, but it looks like a good resource. Philip Briggs (who wrote the "tourist Bible" for Uganda, and writes on other East African countries) is a contributor, and describes the TZ circuits-- a plus imho for the site's reputability in general.

On each review for Benson, there's also a direct link to email that reviewer. https://www.safaribookings.com/reviews/p1962
Maybe try that, if you havent already? ? People may be even more honest in personal correspondence than in a published review. Note too that there is wide range of safari experience in those reviewers, from first time safari to multiple safaris. Good also that not only are there over a hundred reviews, but they are very current.

Whomever you choose...have great time!!!

Good luck!!
CaliNurse is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2019, 12:05 AM
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AmyB, I just found the website as well as reviews on tripadvisor for your TZ guide's recently formed company. Wow!! Very interesting team, with a great story and goal.


A new company, but some recent very positive enthusiastic reviews:


If i were gong to TZ, I would certainly check them out. Thank you for adding to the list of possibilities for SCDreamer and others of us.
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Jan 4th, 2019, 04:11 AM
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amyb- we have decided to go ahead with Wild Source. I did hear back from Benson, and I think it sounds like a good outfitter. The price was tempting, less than half that of Wild Source for a very similar itinerary, and if this weren’t my first foray into safari-ing, I might have a better instinct for this.

This is is the first safari for my sister and me, and although we are both widely traveled and independent travelers, me more than she, I was hesitant to take any chances on this trip. Everyone I have spoken with or posted with has said the guide is the key to the best experience.

Now that we have the big decision made, we are thinking about the basic stuff. Wondering if the malaria medication is really necessary in Tanzania in the “dry” season (early Sept). I will visit my travel doc and check with him - already have way more than the required inoculations. Trying to figure out the most efficient way to pack. Etc. etc.

Any info on a good place/site to pick the brains of those with experience is welcomed.

Again, thanks for your help, amyb!
scdreamer is offline  
Jan 4th, 2019, 10:05 AM
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Yay, good for you scdreamer! This is exciting!

I always rely on my travel clinic doctor, although I know there are others who don't think they're worthwhile. I have good insurance and everything is covered so I don't mind going or being advised by professionals. I've been in February and November and have always been advised to take anti-malarial.

As an FYI, the trip insurance link that Wild Source provided me got me far more extensive coverage for the same price as what the usual "standard" plan cost me on my own. If you do get trip insurance, I'd compare what their discount gets you to whatever you normally would buy.

I started a packing list thread somewhere on here. Here you go..

Last edited by amyb; Jan 4th, 2019 at 10:08 AM. Reason: added a link
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