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mkude Jun 14th, 2010 12:35 PM

Just found out my travel partner can no longer go with me. What to do now?
Hi. A friend and I were doing an independent tour through Tanzania and Kenya (set up by African Dream Safaris).. Here was out itinerary:

Date Regions Explored Accommodations
Day 1 5-Sep-10 Kilimanjaro / Arusha Mountain Village Lodge Arrive Kilimanjaro Airport.
Day 2 6-Sep-10 Arusha / North Serengeti (Lobo Valley & U. Grumeti Woodlands)
Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge Air Excel: Arusha to North Serengeti
Day 3 7-Sep-10 North Serengeti (Mara River, Lamai Triangle & Wogakuria)
Mbuzi Mawe Tented Lodge Optional Mara River Nature Walk
Day 4 8-Sep-10 Central Serengeti (Retina Pool, Seronera Valley & Makoma Hill)
Serengeti Serena Lodge
Day 5 9-Sep-10 Central Serengeti (Seronera Valley, Maasai Kopjes & Sametu Kopjes)
Serengeti Serena Lodge
Day 6 10-Sep-10 Central Serengeti (Moru Kopjes, & Olduvai Gorge) / Ngoro Crater
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge* Optional Cultural Tour Maasai Village
Day 7 11-Sep-10 Ngoro Crater (Lerai Forest, Lake Magadi & Rumbe Hills) / Tarangire
Tarangire River Camp Optional F.A.M.E. Tour. Optional Karatu Cultural Tour.
Day 8 12-Sep-10 Tarangire (Tarangire River, Silale Swamp & Matete Woodlands)
Tarangire River Camp
Day 9 13-Sep-10 Tarangire / Arusha / Maasai Mara Olonana Luxury Camp Air Kenya Kilimanjaro to Nairobi Wilson. Air Kenya Nairobi Wilson to Masai Mara
Day 10 14-Sep-10 Maasai Mara Olonana Luxury Camp
Day 11 15-Sep-10 Maasai Mara Olonana Luxury Camp
Day 12 16-Sep-10 Maasai Mara/ Nairobi Wilson/Nairobi/ USA

My friend will pay for any costs to change my trip or the single supplement but I am not sure I am comfortable to do a 12 day independent tour by myself. Should I change to a group tour? If so, through what operator? Do you meet people at your lodges/camps? Has anyone done an independent tour by themselves? Help! I need advice.
:-( So disappointed.

Percy Jun 14th, 2010 12:43 PM

You will meet people at all the lodges ...some may be in a group of 3 or 5.

The vehicle holds 4- 6 people

Have you asked Africa Dream if they have anyone else going alone or in a small group that you could join .

You could joint a group of 2 or 4 others

mkude Jun 14th, 2010 12:44 PM

Yeah I asked. She didnt know of anyone.

spassvogel Jun 14th, 2010 01:14 PM

Sad your partner had to cancel. :-(

As I see you are doing a safari driving from A to B = having your own driver.

Now, I would ask whether the driver will be having meals with you, speaking sufficient English, is communicative, has guiding degree and works for the company a couple of years - just in order to make sure you are not heading off with a taxi driver who has been hired for that ride.

If all questions are sufficiently answered I would go ahead with the safari.

You won't be alone at any venue! You will also see people along the route and maybe come in contact at rest areas etc. AND you certainly are going to built a nice team - you and your driver.

Before I would cancel - I would request the TO's cooperation to get the safari going but now with a bit more emphasis towards the driver guide etc.

Happy travels - you would really miss something if you cancel!

SV ((@))

Femi Jun 14th, 2010 05:20 PM

I would go as a single. I don't think you would regret it.

Who was it that said the only journey regretted was that which was not taken?...(or words to that effect).

Percy Jun 14th, 2010 05:52 PM

Well I have seen this on a Safari:

2 people in a vehicle (us !)

3 people in a vehicle

4 people.....5 people ...6 people AND 7 people in one vehicle !

Then we finally saw ONE person in a vehicle with his driver.

Our driver /Guide commented and said " There is a rich fellow he is doing a Safaria all on his own "!

I would try to go with a small group, just so you can have someone to talk to along the way....other than your guide.

Try to work something out..... don't give up yet.

Have you already paid your portion of this Safari !?

Where is Africa Dream Safari located out of .?

LyndaS Jun 14th, 2010 05:52 PM

Mark Twain said that, Femi.

"Twenty years from now you will regret the things you didn't do, not the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Explore, dream, discover."

(apologies Mr. Twain if not exact, that's from my memory which isn't what it used to be 20 years ago as I have cluttered it with lots of specs of countries & travelling! :-)) )

Percy Jun 14th, 2010 06:24 PM


I just talked to Samuel Clements and he said your quote is pretty accurate . :)

crosscheck Jun 14th, 2010 10:15 PM

Hey Mkude,

I agree with Percy - don't cancel...but the experience would be more fun with others.
- Have you asked your outfitter if they can hook you up with a tour?
- Maybe you can find someone else to go with you (at a discount provided by your friend who canceled).

Femi Jun 15th, 2010 05:02 AM

Thanks Lynda :)

Calo Jun 15th, 2010 06:39 AM

I couldn't agree more with Mark Twain and Lynda!

ShellCat Jun 15th, 2010 07:03 AM

I have travelled with small groups and by myself-truth is I meet very interesting people travelling on my own and never have to worry if the other people are having a good time. Just go!

spassvogel Jun 15th, 2010 07:36 AM

One more very good reason for doing it by oneself ! So very true!

SV ((@))

mkude Jun 15th, 2010 08:10 AM

Agreed... I meet people fairly easily as well. But Africa is new to me... and I would like to know that if something goes wrong, that I have someone with me. Also, on those long drives, I would like to have someone to talk to. I am looking into a Good Earth tour that so far only has two other people on it. I know... its iffy going with people you dont know.. but I might just have to take a deep breath and sign up.

spassvogel Jun 15th, 2010 02:47 PM

"Also, on those long drives, I would like to have someone to talk to."

That would be for me particularly a "go for it" as we always have lots of fun with out guides and drivers.
We learn so much about people, the country, society, tribes, politics, religion, their daily lives, children, relative, education, school system, costs of living, wages etc etc we wwould never heave learned so much without travelling as FIT.

I don't want to talk you into something you are uncertain of - just wanted to give you some more info on how it works out being with a driver for long hours.

SV ((@))

Percy Jun 15th, 2010 03:19 PM


Well, if you did join up with this two some from Good Earth...

then you are only with them on the game drives.

When you are back at the lodge , you can be on your own or have a drink with them, the choice is yours.

You can dine by yourself or with them (only if you want to ).

My situation was different, we (2 of us ) had the same guide from Nairobi...throughout Kenya and into Tanzania.

I know others had to change guides at the Kenya / Tanzania border.

Our guide....(not all of them do this) had drinks with us , at our request, and gave us a lot of history of the people and the country.

When we had a box lunch , because we were having a day long game drive, our guide ate with us , and we "picked his brain" to tell us about his country, the people, politics, school systems etc.

You cannot talk animals evryday :)

I understand how you feel ,it is a tough decision to go alone or join a small group.

Some people like to and are able to travel alone, others need the comfort of company.

I think only you know what would make you comfortable.

Good Luck in your decision ...but like everyone is say GO!!!!

Keep us posted , on YOUR final decision !

atravelynn Jun 15th, 2010 06:06 PM


Finances first. If your friend is going to cover your costs for a solo safari, this is once in a lifetime opportunity! Go for it! If your friend can contribute to a single supplement, but you would be covering the rest of the fixed costs, then it may not be possible for you to afford a solo trip with ADS.

Don't be disappointed (saw your sad face :() unless the disappointment is for the friend left behind.

<i>"but I am not sure I am comfortable to do a 12 day independent tour by myself.</i>
Have you done other things alone that have gone well?
You will have opportunities that pop up as a solo just because some things work well for one. You'll likely have more interactions with staff and other local people because one is approachable.

This kind of trip is about the easiest there is to do independently because you are never really alone. Taking a train or bus to a neighboring town by yourself, spending the day, having lunch, and coming home would have you exert more independence than an escorted safari. It's very easy.

"<i>Do you meet people at your lodges/camps?</i>"
You'll encounter other people at the lodges/camps that you can interact with. Everyone is on holiday and most are in a new environment with stories to share, so conversations flow naturally. You could indicate to ADS before leaving home, and especially your guide once you are there, that you'd like to maximize interactions with others. Then they'll know your wishes and may be able to communicate that to camp staff. It is especially easy to mix at the smaller tented camps.

If you are concerned about dining alone, ask about your dining arrangements, as was mentioned in previous posts, and request a setup that you are comfortable with. When I've dined alone on safari, nobody was looking at me or seemed to be talking about me. Sometimes you'll form natural bonds with others and you can join them for meals. You can also eat a meal in your room on occasion. I've done that when I didn't feel so good.

<i>"Should I change to a group tour? If so, through what operator?</i>"
Only if the thought of going alone is so unnerving that you think you might not enjoy your trip or, of course, if it is not affordable.

You don't know who you are going to get in a group trip, though others I've met in group travel to Africa tend to be enjoyable. There have been a couple of real duds, though. You know yourself; you don't know the other potential players. Unlike, say, a bus tour, with lots of other people being transported from site to site, you will be in a close environment with your safarimates. If some want to stop for every bird and that's not your interest, that can cause tension. If some want to rush around trying to tick off animals and you don't, more potential friction. You certainly don't want any late sleepers. I've had to wait 20 minutes for late arrivals to a shared vehicle.

You may find Good Earth offers what you are looking for at a savings. If so, and you've decided you wish to go with a group, that would be a fine alternative.

"<i>Has anyone done an independent tour by themselves?</i>" Yes, my first trip to Africa and many since. Never one problem alone. I've found it much easier to get to know the guide when there are fewer people. When I returned to Africa for my second trip, the Kenyan guide I had on my first trip came to see me so we could catch up. I've kept in contact and returned to enjoy the company of other guides as well. You certainly could make connections in a group, too.

You mentioned if something goes wrong, you want another person. If something goes wrong, your best advocate is your guide and the local company he represents. Get their phone number before the journey starts. You also have ADS. Check how you can call collect if needed. I've never had a problem.

As for someone to talk to on the drives, as others mentioned, your guide will have a wealth of knowledge. The drives are a wonderful opportunity to interact. You can practice your Swahili at this time. Ask your guide about his childhood, his oddest clients (I always like that one and hope I don't end up being one of the oddballs), his family, what he likes to eat and then request that for some meal if you want. You may want snooze on some of the drives too if they are not too bumpy.

If you decide to continue with your ADS itinerary, you can approach this trip as an adventure on several dimensions--to a new continent, seeing new animals, experiencing new cultures, venturing out alone, and learning something about yourself!

Good luck, but whatever you do, don't stay home as a result of this change in plans! And maybe I'll see you in the Mara! (I'll be alone.) Our itineraries have us there at the same time.

mkude Jun 16th, 2010 01:13 PM

Thanks everyone for your great advice! I think at the end of the day, the cost of the ADS trip on a solo basis is triple the cost of the GE trip that so far has a "mother and her adult son" as the only two people. I cant really justify paying so much more.. especially when I'm not THAT comfortable being on my own.

My ONLY hesitation now and I need someone to make me feel better about this... is that AFrican Dream Safaris did a lot of hand holding... visas, a huge welcome kit with lots of advice and information, etc... which was great for a first time Africa traveler. Now I am dealing with someone at Good EArth who seems to be very "bare bones." I am getting nervous about this... um... lack of detail? Hand holding? Especially having this AFrican Dream reference point. Someone please tell me that they are a good company and that I will be fine... despite this???


Calo Jun 17th, 2010 06:32 AM

mkude, I think you answered your own question (in part, at least) about "huge welcome kit..." etc versus "bare bones" when you mention that the ADS trip is triple the cost of the GE trip.

I haven't travelled with GE, but they have been around for 13+ years and seem to have an excellent reputation.

atravelynn Jun 17th, 2010 06:53 AM

Mother and adult son sound like good travel partners to me!

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