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Info on Zara Tours, EWP, Bobby Tours or Klub Afriko??

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Jun 5th, 2002, 05:08 AM
  #1
Seth
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Info on Zara Tours, EWP, Bobby Tours or Klub Afriko??

I'm looking at doing a Kili climb as well as a camping safari in Northern Tanzania.

If anyone has any experience with the following companies your insights would be very appreciated!

Zara Tours (I believe their booking agent is EWPNet)
Bobby Tours
Klub Afriko

Thanks for any help! And any suggestions on other camping safaris would be welcomed.

-Seth
 
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Jun 11th, 2002, 01:12 AM
  #2
Cecilia
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Seth,
We did a safari with Bobby Tours last year. We did not do a climb but a 7 nights camping and lodge safari in northern Tanzania.We wanted to book with a local operator and researched the market quite well beforehand. We did have a quite clear idea what we wanted to see and do and Bobby Tours were very accommodating to our requests,and they were also very competitive on price. We did camping for 3 nights and stayed in lodges/tented camps for the other four. The camping was very basic but an absolutely incredible experience and we much preferred it to the lodges in the end. We had our own cook and driver and there were only my husband and myself in the vehicle. The driver was very knowledgable and the cook made some great food.My only complaint was that the driver drove a bit carelessly on the sometimes very rough roads between the parks,but as a guide he was good.
If you have any specific questions,post them here and I'll try and answer them.
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 06:28 AM
  #3
Seth
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Cecilia,

Many thanks for your reply. I'm wondering what the price range was for your safari? Obviously if you mixed did some camping and some lodge it varied by day, but i'm wondering how high a price you had to pay for a safari with just the two of you? Also, how did you feel about 7 nights? Too long, too short? Any places you really wish you had gone but didn't? Or any place you went to where you wouldn't go back?

Thanks again,
Seth
 
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Jun 20th, 2002, 04:33 AM
  #4
Cecilia
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Seth,
We paid $1050 per person for a 7 nights safari. That included 3 nights camping and 3 nights in lodges and 1 night in a permanent tented camp. This included the accomodation,food,park fees,game drives amd camping equipment(part from sleeping bags).We booked the international flights separately.
I seem to remember that Bobby Tours charged us $100/person/day for the camping and $150/pertson/day for the lodges.
The good thing about Bobby tours was that they didn' mind combining camping with the lodges.A lot of the companies we were in contact with wasn't that keen to combine, or if they agreed, they wanted to charge extra.

Our itinerary was as follows:
1 night lodge in Arusha N.P
3 nights camping in the Serengeti
1 night lodge at Ngorongoro Crater
1 night tented lodge at Lake Manyara
1 nights lodge in Tarangire

The camping was truly a memorable experience. Of the lodges I definately liked the permanent tented lodge at Lake Manyara the best. This camp called Kirurumu was absolutely lovely with great food. They have a website:
http://www.kirurumu.com/ktl/ktlDescription.htm
It's not actually in the Lake Manyara park (there are no accomodation in the park),but very close. Lake Manyara is a small park but very scenic with a lot of birds.
We'd love to go back to all the areas we visited and 7 days is not enough. If this is your first safari you'd be hooked and you will want to go back again and again as well. Try to go slightly off season if you can though. The Serengeti is popular,and despite the fact that it is so vast it can still get a busy in certain areas when a pride of lion or similar have been spotted. We went in early March and it was in between seasons. The rain season was just about to start so we did run into some bad weather,but I guess it's a trade off between that and bigger crowds. But as I said,the Serengeti is large enough to cope with the visitors.
Arusha N.P is less visited and one of the few places where you can do a walking safari. I'd highly recommed this. It was very exciting to be on foot and you do feel very vulnerable when you have to pass a herd of buffalos!
Tarangire is another good park,but the animals migrate here so it's spectacular game viewing at certain times of the year and a bit more sparse at other times. The Ngorongoro Crater is an experience in itself, and the game viewing is great,but it does get very busy and you almost feel that you're in a safari park when you have all these other vehicles in view all the time. But it's one of those places you should still include in an itinerary. All the parks are beautiful in their own right and very different so it's had to recommend one over the other. We had great game viewing in all parks,but maybe more of certain animals in some.

As for the accomodation,there are some truly spectacular lodges and tented camps around,but they can be very, very expensive. We focused on the game viewing when we went,and we didn't mind roughing it at times. I'm not sure I would really call in "roughing it" even,the tents were reasonably comfortable and the food the cook made for us was great and there were always 3 course meals and cooked breakfast with omelette etc.So it wasn't too bad at all! Ok-there wasn't always hot water in the basic shower arrangements and the loo was of the long drop variety but we didn't find it a problem.
We felt that the lodges sometimes make you feel cut off from the wilderness and that's why we prefered the basic camping in the end. Who needs hot shower everyday when you have the wildlife and the sounds of Africa just outside your tent.
If you have anymore specific questions I'd be happy to assist.
 
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Jun 22nd, 2002, 10:09 AM
  #5
kavey
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Cecilia

Were you on your own because you booked a tailored trip or because there happened to be no other travellers who booked the same dates as you?

The price sounds good for what was a private tour...

I am hoping to get back to Botswana and Namibia which probably won't happen till 2004 because I just can't afford it, but am interested in a less expensive camping safari such as yours which we might be able to afford in 2003?

It's hard to think of waiting till 2004!!


Many thanks
Kavey
 
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Jun 24th, 2002, 01:18 AM
  #6
Cecilia
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Hi Kavey
The price was for a tailored trip for just the two of us. We did find it cheap as well and very good value.
I believe it would have been even cheaper if it would have been four of us sharing the land rover.There were other operators offering similar itineraries for rougly the same price,but we liked the flexibility that Bobby Tours offered us.
Camping and lodges in Tanzania is much cheaper in general than Botswana and Namibia. It guess the safaris are a bit more remote and exclusive in Botswana and Namibia with flights in between camps etc and that pushes up the prices.
I have contact details for a number of safari companies based in Arusha if you're interested. We prefered to book directly with the local operators to make sure the money we paid benfited the local economy but also because you do get a better deal.
 
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Jun 24th, 2002, 06:39 AM
  #7
kavey
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Cecilia
Thanks very much - I was hoping to get a 6 month contract last week and I didn't win the job so I should put everthing on hold really.
Hard being self employed, so hard to think forward.
Might contact you in the future if that is oK.

 
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Jun 24th, 2002, 08:12 AM
  #8
Phil
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Cecilia

Are the lodges really that bad? I am on my honeymoon so hadn't really wanted to rough it. But eating and sleeping under the stars is beginning to appeal!
 
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Jun 25th, 2002, 12:59 AM
  #9
Cecilia
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Phil

Don't get me wrong, a lot of the lodges are not bad at all,and some of them are really spectacular,but if it' s a wilderness experience you are after you can't beat more basic camping.
The permanent tented lodges might be ideal for you though if you're on your honeymoon and don't want to rough it too much. They are usually a bit more expensive but you get a much more comfortable camping experience with large canvas tents set on a platform with ensuite bathrooms and nice beds. The tented lodges are usually in good locations where you can spot wildlife from your front porch. We did stay in a couple of these types of accomodation in Tanzania and on an earlier safari in Kenya and they are great. In the end I guess it may be a question of how much you want to spend.
 
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