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If I were able to persuade the DH, what would be my options for a CHEAP safari, likely East Africa, likely <2 weeks?

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Jul 31st, 2005, 01:31 AM
  #1
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If I were able to persuade the DH, what would be my options for a CHEAP safari, likely East Africa, likely <2 weeks?

Hi Folks!

Having been lamenting the lack of safari in our current holiday plans for the last age, the dear husband has finally conceded that it just might be possible to schedule one for the latter part of next year, provided I can find an option that really is low budget.

He won't put an exact figure on what he feels low-budget might actually be but...

Can you all help me with some options? We'd be looking at about 10 days. We need to factor in the cost of flights from London as well as choosing a season that provides decent weather and viewing potential.

We'd be happy to do a mobile camping safari but not one with a group of other people so that may not be feasible.

We'd be willing to accept larger hotels/ camps if necessary to get the costs down though we prefer smaller ones - smaller the better really.

We would be interested in either Kenya or Tanzania or both. We'd even consider spending the whole time in just one or two locations.

Any ideas --- I'm really right at the starting point here.

THANKS FRIENDS!

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Jul 31st, 2005, 01:34 AM
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Rocco, Zambia is also an option so please do post any thoughts... but we're talking BUDGET so hundreds of dollars per person per night doesn't work at all...
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Jul 31st, 2005, 02:07 AM
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PS I've been looking at ATR, Roy, East African Safari and Touring Company, Nomad and any others I can find by searching the forum.

Of course, not many prices are listed which is making it hard to get started.

It's a bit of a roundabout thing this, as I can't really get an itinerary together (to send off for quotes) until I have a ROUGH idea of what the itinerary will include because the itinerary is depending on the cost is dependent on the itinerary!!!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:41 AM
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Kavey,

I posted costs for a couple different possible itineraries on the "Withdrawal" thread.

Do not deny yourself! Go to South Luangwa by May of next year and you will get some really great pricing. Otherwise, you will have to wait until November and their next round of tariff increases.

Mid April to Mid May would be the best time in South Luangwa for wild dogs and the weather would be great!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Predators had E-mailed me a 10 day safari (for fall-2005) that was $1200.00 USD pp.,of course 2006 would be different but it might be a place to start. I'm kind of in the same boat, my husband just wants to see the Crater and go home!! I wish us both luck!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:48 AM
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Rocco, thanks for your post in that other thread.

But when I say budget I'm thinking more in the region of £1000 (GBP) per person MAXIMUM (excluding flights) for the entire trip, whatever the trip consists of. So, what's that, about $3400 US between the two of us, not each, for everything except the international flights.

Any ideas now?

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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Just think of it this way...for the 13 night South Luangwa/Victoria Falls/Hwange itinerary that I posted, you could probably lock it down for 25% down, which is about $1170 pp. (Total cost is $4675, so I am assuming a 25% deposit).

From there you would have a $3500 balance and, assuming a late April / early May departure, you would have about 8 months to pay for it. For about $450 per month, you will find yourself in South Luangwa (Puku Ridge and Luangwa River Lodge) for 7 nights, at Makalolo Plains (Wilderness Safaris) for 4 nights and Victoria Falls (Stanley Safari Lodge) for 2 nights.

If I did not do the pay as you go plan that I recommend above, I would NEVER be able to go on safari. Are you kidding, whether it is on safari or something else, I am a terrible saver.

Kavey, whether it is Zambia or Tanzania or Kenya, you must book a 2006 trip to Africa!!!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 07:00 AM
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Dreamseeker, I missed your post as I was composing mine... thanks so much for that recommendation. I shall certainly be following it up! THANKS!

Rocco, when I suggest that we can afford about £2000 total between us for the whole trip excluding airfare (which comes to roughly $3400 or so in US dollars) I am already taking into account the concept of saving up for the trip over the coming months. We really can't stretch the budget much beyond this without compromising our longterm financial security which we will never do for the sake of travel. Given that I'm already committed to an expensive trip to India in April, this is really a case of either not going at all or going but sticking to a low budget.

If we can't find a trip that's acceptable to us for the budget we've stipulated we'll drop the idea but... what I want to do first is see what we can achieve with the limitations we're setting.

Thanks anyway though!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 07:25 AM
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Kavey,
We're returning to Kenya in Nov/Dec this year and I posted a long thread when I was researching possibilities for our budget ($500 or less per night for both of us). We wanted to stay in small, low key accomodations throughout. Our final cost per night is around $443 for the two of us. It may help with some ideas -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34602040
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Jul 31st, 2005, 07:38 AM
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Rocco
Our budget is much lower than that.
We're keen to stay at least a week, more if we can find a way but a week minimum.
Given that some of the £1000 per person overall budget will need to go towards internal transfers and so on, rather than just on accommodation, we're looking at a fairly low nightly rate, maybe £80 per person per night?

What I'd really like is a trip that includes guide, transfers and accommodation (camping or tented camp or lodge or whatever).

The thing is we'd rather be on our own than with a group.

It may all be pie in the sky - totally impossible but... I'm still at that early research stage!

Thanks for your link, I did read the thread but will re-read now.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 07:49 AM
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Sorry, that last post was to Patty, not Rocco - I had a wee brainfart there! Thanks Patty.
Still above our budget but, as I said, i did follow the thread with interest at the time.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 08:07 AM
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Kavey -- Have a look at the following to get some ideas:

http://www.goodearthtours.com/tanzania_itineraries.html
http://www.goodearthtours.com/kenya_itineraries.html

If you'd rather not share your guide/vehicle with anyone else, the surcharge is a very reasonable (to me) $90 per person for the whole trip.

You can have them customize an itinerary for you too. They will also design camping itineraries.

A couple of other companies that came in with reasonable price quotes for us (besides Roy's which you already mentioned) were Tanzania Serengeti Adventures and Zara Travel (which specializes mostly in Kilimanjaro although they do safaris as well).

As for Kenya vs. Tanzania, that depends on when exactly the "latter" part of the year is and if you want to try to catch the migration -- if November-December then I'd say Tanzania for the Serengeti, if September-October then probably the Mara in Kenya -- and if you're trying to keep costs down it's probably less expensive to choose one country or the other anyway rather than both.

If you're looking at Tz then probably the least expensive accommodations you're going to find are Wildlife Lodges as opposed to Sopa or Serena which are more expensive -- look at places like Lobo Wildlife Lodge in northern Serengeti, Serengeti Seronera Wildlife Lodge in central Serengeti, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge for Ngorongoro, and Lake Manyara Hotel. I am not necessarily recommending these accommodations (I've never stayed in them), I'm just saying that we did a lot of research in planning our trip for this November and if I were looking at your budget then those are the places I'd be looking at -- and to be honest, they look fine to me -- especially Lobo.

Good Earth says they can do budget camping safaris for $130 per person per day and I believe Zara's prices for budget camping were similar. Tz park fees are going up somewhat next year so they will need to factor that in.

Good luck!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Lisa, perfect, this is just what I need, thanks!

I agree that $90 per person over an entire trip to make it a private one is excellent value.

As for "latter" part of 2006, we're open on that front - our key deciders are price and also weather/ game viewing. Anytime between September and December inclusive...
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Jul 31st, 2005, 09:01 AM
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Just been looking at this too:

http://www.naturalhighsafaris.com/ca...ess/index.html

Anyone have any knowledge of these guys?
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Jul 31st, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Kavey,
Just to be clear, the cost I listed above and all of the costs listed in my thread are for driving itineraries in Kenya that include not only accomodations but transportation and game drives with our own private vehicle and driver/guide and park fees, so it's all inclusive and you could include a week and still be slightly under your stated budget.

I agree with lisa that you should stay in one country to help keep costs down.

The type of camping as described in the link you posted for Natural High Safaris (private campsites, walk in tents with beds, toilets and bush showers set up for you) will probably cost you $300+ per person per night based on 2 people sharing in Tanzania in 2006, in other words higher than the cost of a basic lodge safari. I received 2 quotes both from Arusha based operators for this same type of camping for 2005 - one operator quoted me $285pppn and another $322pppn. Next year park and campsite fees will be increasing in Tanzania, so those figures will be higher. In the Serengeti, daily park fees and private campsite fees will both be $50 per person, so that's $200 for two people per day in fees alone without including anything else. Public campsite fees will be $30 per person.

The type of camping that lisa referred to is budget style camping utilizing public campsites, sleeping in small dome tents with sleeping bags and using the campsite lavatory facilities. Is this something that you're willing to do? This type of camping will cost less than $200pppn in both countries. Actual costs will depend on what's included, how many people are sharing and how much you're willing to participate in camp chores. For a private budget camping safari for 2 people where everything is taken care of for you, you're probably looking at an average cost of $150-175pppn.

The Kenyan operator that I use also posts prices on their website so you can get an idea of costs for both lodge and budget camping safaris there -

www.essafari.co.ke

As far as I know, there are no plans for park fee increases in Kenya for 2006. In Kenya, your best pricing will be from beginning of November to mid-December which is considered shoulder reason. Hope this helps.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Thanks Patty, that's good to know.

We know we'd have to sacrifice ensuite loos for a mobile camping safari but no, you're right, we don't want to do one where we're actually camping in public campsites with a whole load of other people. I've seen some companies offer teeny tiny tents and others offer reasonably sized ones with a bit of space and mattresses on the floor or on cots. They also set up bucket showers etc. This is more what I had in mind, as you say, looks like it's going to cost quite a bit.

If we're going to go camping, we want it to be in wilderness areas in the middle of nowhere. Is that feasible?

If it's going to be cheaper to go for lodge safaris then we could do that but even then would rather not be part of a set group going from place to place.

I totally agree that we'd be best sticking with one country - just haven't decided which yet.

I'd really like to have control over the amount of time we had viewing/ driving and at a given sighting but can't afford private vehicle at a regular lodge.

An alternative is to book in just one single camp, one that's excellent for viewing and see if we can get a good rate for being there for 7 or more nights.

I just don't know... it's all so confusing!

Thanks again for continuing to input - I need all the help I can get and it's good to know there are so many who have done so much research already.

We may well decide we just can't do something we like for the budget but I'm going to exhaust all the possibilities before coming to that conclusion!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 09:56 AM
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BTW Patty, who are you booking this with? Is it directly with a local operator (the link you provided?) or via an agent in your own country?

I am looking at your itinerary very enviously as I think it looks absolutely fantastic for the price.

When you say private vehicle and guide - will you have one guide with you throughout or use the camps' own guides at each camp?

Thanks
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Jul 31st, 2005, 10:08 AM
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Kavey,
If you're willing to consider a driving safari, then I think you could afford a private vehicle at your budget. Kenya will cost slightly less than Tanzania given comparable accomodations, and in Kenya there are small tented camps or cottage style accomodations that are comparable in price to the large Serena/Sopa/Sarova type lodges.

If you're talking about flying and utilizing the lodge or camp vehicles for game viewing, then your costs are likely to be much higher as you'd have to pay for internal airfare plus the supplement for private use of the lodge or camp vehicle. You could try for a very small camp. With fewer guests, you may luck out and end up with your own vehicle for a few days.

The site that I gave and the one that lisa gave will give you a good idea of what a private driving safari would cost in Kenya and Tanzania. Either of these operators can design a custom itinerary for the 2 of you. The ones listed on their websites are just examples.

Good luck!
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Jul 31st, 2005, 10:22 AM
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Kavey,
Just saw your latest post. Yes we booked with Eastern & Southern which is the link I provided above. Since we're on a driving safari, our tour operator is providing the vehicle (a 4WD minivan, don't know how you feel about those, but upgrading to a Land Rover/Land Cruiser will probably cost $100 per day additional) and our driver/guide who will be providing our transportation both between destination and conducting our game drives throughout. Our driver/guide was really flexible last time, working with us to schedule our game drives when it suited us, staying out for an extended game drive instead of 2 shorter drives, and driving us into town one day between game drives so we could stop at a womens weaving cooperative we were interested in visiting.

Here's our trip report from Jan/Feb (same operator, same guide) if you're interested in reading it -

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34566072

That trip cost about $3200 for the two of us for 6 nights on safari and full day vehicle use for our final day in Nairobi. Not included in the cost of both of our safaris are our overnight accomodations in Nairobi as we use Hilton points for that. But Nairobi accomodations are relatively inexpensive. I'd be happy to provide any more details on our November itinerary if you have questions.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 10:38 AM
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Kavey --

I just reviewed some of our old e-mail quotes and for November 2005 we were quoted $90 pppn at Lobo Wildlife Lodge in northern Serengeti, all-inclusive -- I'm sure this will be somewhat higher in 2006 with park fees going up. Here is what seems like a very balanced review of Lobo:
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...-wildlife.html

I think the cost of Seronera Wildlife Lodge in central Serengeti was either identical or very close -- here is a review:
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...ife-lodge.html

We were quoted a price of $75 pppn at Tarangire Sopa Lodge in Tarangire National Park, all-in, for November 2005. Here are photos:
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...sopa-pics.html

I believe Tarangire Safari Lodge costs even less than Tarangire Sopa, and has some tents and some lodge rooms.
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...re-safari.html

Others to look into: Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge:
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...life-pics.html

And Lake Manyara Hotel:
http://www.africadreamsafaris.com/lo...ara-hotel.html

Almost any outfitter should be able to book you into these hotels, but their prices will vary. They may encourage you to consider higher-end places instead, but insist on pricing the lower-end options first since you are on a budget.

Also, some of the Tz national parks such as Serengeti have private campsites, so ask outfitters about their budget camping options in those areas as well. You could combine a few nights at lodges followed by a few camping.
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