How to find tour operators?

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Jan 24th, 2006, 05:14 PM
  #1
dBm
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How to find tour operators?

We are planning our first trip to Africa this summer for a safari. How do you find out which tour operators service the areas you want to go to? For instance, say we know we want to go to Kruger. Is there an easy way to determine who operates lodges in Kruger, what are the differences between them, etc. Is this posted on a handy website somewhere?
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Jan 24th, 2006, 07:59 PM
  #2
santharamhari
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You are in the right place........most posters on this forum know more than many travel agents can ever know about Africa........

Start a topic here regarding what parks you plan to visit, what time of the year and people will give you suggestions that suit your requirements, budgets etc etc.,

Regarding Kruger......i'm not the best person to answer that question.
 
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:09 AM
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dBm

(First declaring an interest as an African specialist tour operator based in UK)

You have three choices:

1. Plan your trip independently and approach lodges, airlines and transport companies direct

2. Book your own flights and approach ground operators in the country you intend to visit

3. Approach a specialist on your own country.

I'm biased towards the third as there's no need for it to cost you more than the other two options, with the benefit of financial security and opportunity for telephone conversations, personal meetings. These ought to lead to those planning your trip of having a better idea of you and making better suggestions.

In the UK www.aito.co.uk is a website with financially vetted specialist tour operators. Nit sure if there is similar trade organisation for specialists in US

Good luck, Richard
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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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You can book Kruger lodgings yourself through South African National Parks at www.sanparks.org. Lots of fantastic info there including photos, maps, prices, and availability. They even have a good forum for Kruger where people post their opinions of the various park accommodations.

For private concessions in game reserves outside of Kruger like the adjacent Sabi Sands, one reputable booking company in South Africa is Taga Safaris, and they have a good website at www.tagasafaris.co.za. But there are lots of others.

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Jan 25th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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dBm,

Another resource is the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa (APTA). They have a list of members on their website, which includes specific information as to where in Africa each company specializes.

http://www.apta.biz/c-list.htm


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Jan 25th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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Hello,

If you're going to South Africa, I'd encourage you to book on your own -- you'll save a lot of money, and almost everything is bookable online nowadays. The other big bonus is that by booking on your own you can stay in smaller, more personal places than the big hotels a lot of tour operators tend to use. South Africa has a huge number of locally owned and run bed and breakfasts and guesthouses which have much more personality than a big hotel (and are much less expensive). Try the Portfolio Collection, www.portfoliocollection.com -- I spent a month in SA staying in Portfolio properties (all booked through their website) and was never disappointed.

I'm not clear if you mean Kruger park itself, or the Sabi Sands (the private game reserve west of Kruger). Kruger Park is run by SanParks, and the private reserves are privately run. Many of the private lodges have websites where you can book directly. There are a few lodges which have been highly recommended by people on this board: Londolozi (my personal favourite); Mala Mala; Singita; Simbambili.

I'm not sure where you're based, but if you are in the UK or Europe you may be able to save some money booking through a company in the US. I've found that the quotes I got from UK companies were invariable higher than those I got from US companies (and the differences were not trivial). The exchange rate didn't hurt either.

Cheers,
Julian
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