How to find a TC to help reduce the rates?

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Jan 3rd, 2006, 07:59 PM
  #1
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How to find a TC to help reduce the rates?

The single person safari rates are significantly higher than the couple rates, and the group rates are much lower (sometimes close to 1/2 the single person rates). How would I best go about finding others who wanted to also partner up (just for the rate reduction - no marriage proposals here....)? The only place I've found anything is at Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, and I've posted there, but the success rates of other posters doesn't seem too good. If you were going to Seregeti and Ngorongoro in late Feb. (like I am) and wanted to find someone else to help lower the cost, who would you go about it? (I'm wanting camping rather than lodges - mainly for the being on the land, but also because its cheaper than the lodges)
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Jan 4th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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Hello,

Not sure about TCs, but you may want to look at the camps run by CCAfrica (www.ccafrica.com) as they do not charge a single supplement.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 4th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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sandi
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Julian - if shedwannabe is checking at Lonely Planet for a travel companion for camping versus lodge safari... don't think CCA fits the bill. Even though CCA doesn't apply a single supplement, you have to admit their prices are not in the budget (nor mid-range) category.

Hey, wasn't sonali going in February? But now it looks like March. Sorry, no match unless you can now go in March. Who knows?
 
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Jan 4th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Hi Sandi,

I've actually found that for a single person, CCA's camps can work out about the same as some of the 'cheaper' places which charge a huge single supplement -- and they're much nicer!

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 4th, 2006, 12:10 PM
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Who are you booking your safari with? My understanding is that some/a few? budget operators will try to hook you up with a roommate/tentmate or even just a car-mate.

I know JMT African Heart has a bulletin board on their website for just this purpose. They do primarily camping safaris and their clientele appears to be mostly young-ish Europeans. Could be fun.

Caveat: I haven't used them and have never travelled with strangers.

Best of luck. I hope you are able to get the safari you want at the right price for you.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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sandi
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Julian -

Looking at some "rack" rates only (not necessarily what one's TA, TO may be able to obtain) of many well-known and often mentioned accommodations... with the exception of Mara Explorer, Governor's Il Moran and Cottar's 1920s- Bateleur is the highest cost as a single (as the price if a double sharing).

On average, again using rack rates, the added cost for single supplements are between $65-$105/nt.

Leely -

You're a wealth of knowledge. Great resource for those seeking travel companions. I see a future for you.........
 
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Jan 4th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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Hi Sandi,

Obviously you're the expert on East Africa, but in my experience travelling in the low season + no single supplement can (though not always) garner substantial savings, especially when combined with one of the CCA specials.

I've never paid rack rate at a CCA camp (and for Shedwannabe, I was thinking more of Klein's Camp rather than Bateleur). Since we don't know very much about his/her budget, it's worth throwing the idea out there.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 4th, 2006, 04:05 PM
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My budget would be up to $200 day for a week long camping trip. Then (or before) I'm planning on doing a walking safari in the highlands and that seems a bit cheaper per day.

Yes, I almost fainted when I saw the prices at CCAfrica - definitely out of my league.

I actually prefer a camping trip over a lodge trip regardless of the cost...but I don't need flush toilets at the campground every night!!! (as CCAfrica boasted). I expect to rough it a bit...I just don't want to pay 60% more than a person going as part of a couple, if I can help it.

I'll check out the JMT Africa Heart, but I'm still open to more advice from here.

Would it be worthwhile to wait til I get to Arusha? I had planned to book in advance to avoid the delays and dealing with the touts (not what I'm going to Africa for), but if I have a good chance of getting a discount on the last seat in a camping safari there, I'd consider it (though still not excited about pushing my way thru crowds of touts....

Shedwannabe
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:08 PM
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Shedwannabe ... My impression is your budget and very basic needs should make it easy to arrange something. Other posters are correct that the Lonely Planet Board people are more likely to be able to give precise information. However, that board is not as active as this one with regards to East Africa and so you may need to post a few times - after a decent interval!

Correct me if I am wrong somebody - I know nothing about Tanzania - but if it were Kenya I would follow the advice from Leely above and contact all the reputable budget operators (Let's go, Gametrackers, etc. - see Lonely Planet book and board for names applicable to Tanzania but don't forget that many Kenyan operators cover the area you are interested in) and tell them your situation. Be proactive and suggest things to them - but keep it simple. I suspect they will be interested because they can put out a group safari with only 2-3 other people. You may find you are paying more than the others who signed up expecting a group of up to 7 (don't know) but if it achieved your goal surely that wouldn't matter - although if you reminded your fellow travellers of this during the trip you might rapidly become unpopular!

With a deal like this only approach reputable operators with a reputation to maintain and make sure everything is clear and in writing - write down your full understanding of the important parts of the arrangements when negotiations are complete and ask them to confirm that this is the case. Otherwise... well, you can read about "my friend" Gibson in the next installment of my trip report as a harmless example.

This idea comes from the old semi-budget travellers trick (not Africa-specific)of buying up all the remaining seats in a share taxi or van so that you don't have to wait an hour for departure - works out much cheaper than hiring your own taxi.

Just an idea - and I warn you my ideas don't always work!
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:49 PM
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Oops .. this link makes me think it may not be so easy!

http://www.bushbuckltd.com/specials.htm

Still, you can try.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 07:54 PM
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Even if you don't end up travelling with Sonali, ask him about rates from Sunny Safaris. He has used them in the past and has been pleased with their services. Tusker Dave also may have some ideas, although I think he focuses on Kenya.
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