Kenya/Tanzania tour company recommendations

Reply

Aug 20th, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 36
Kenya/Tanzania tour company recommendations

We are planning a 10-12 day safari to Kenya/Tanzania next summer. Can anyone give us some recommendations for a moderately priced international tour company they have had good experiences with.

Our travel agent has mentioned Collette Tours (great prices, "iffy" reviews), Globus & General Tours and some others that were too expensive. We don't want to go with a small in-country company.

Any help appreciated.
cdrcos is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2012, 08:05 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
If 10 to 12 days is all you have including international travel, I'd suggest sticking with one country or the other. You won't have time to cover both. If you're looking at the summer period, I'd suggest Tanzania, as the Migration herds will be there at that time of year, unless it's late August, when they begin to move into Kenya's Masai Mara. My personal preference is The Wild Source for booking safaris (located in Colorado.) However, if you're looking for a group tour that is relatively inexpensive, look at Overseas Adventure Travel's "Safari Serengeti" in Tanzania. OAT includes the international airfare in their prices.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2012, 09:08 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Agree with ShayTay, if only 10/days... one country only. And, as you seem to prefer a 'group'* tour vs a 'private' one where with the latter, you design the itinerary - where you visit, for how many days, select the accommodations, to fit your budget - then do look at OAT.

*Group tours though have set dates, set routing, set accomm and not always visiting at the right area for when you're traveling.

As to your commennt 'don't want to work with in-country tour operator' do know that even if working with an operator in the US, CA, UK, OZ... they all have to use licensed outfitters in the country you plan to visit for the actual ground operations - safari guide/ vehicle/ booking hotels/ paying park fees/ etc.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2012, 05:25 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Hi cdrcos,
Its good you want to visit Kenya and Tanzania, it is trues the days are few but if you really want a 10 days safari then you can have something like 2 nights Amboseli(Kenya), 1 night Lk. Manyara(Tanzania), 1 night Ngorongoro Crater(Tanzania), 2 nights Serengeti(Tanzania), 2 nights Masai Mara(Kenya),1 night elementaita(Kenya) then the 10th day can come back to Nairobi for your departure flight.
The extra 2 days can be the arrival and departure night in Nairobi depending on the time you arrive and depart.
Oriental1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 818
Roy is in country, but not too small. We loved them for our time there and will use them again when we return next year or the year after.
pattyroth is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 24th, 2012, 09:42 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Sorry to say, though Oriental1 provided an idea... way too much time on the road and that day getting from the Serengeti to the Mara, will take up to 10/hrs (which you don't have) and shortening time in the Mara to 1/day unless you just omit Lk. Elementaita. Honestly, best to stick with one country if only 10/days on the ground. With 12/days and good planning, you can include some of both countries.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 26th, 2012, 07:17 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
I was happy to stumble upon your post. I am planning on traveling to Tanzania in June for my honeymoon. We are interested in going on a safari but I'm having difficulty deciding what company to go through. I have read fairly positive reviews about Kessy Brothers but I want to be sure to do my homework before I commit.

ShayTay, thank you for sharing those safari companies. Has anyone traveled to Zanzibar? We would love to end our trip exploring the island for a few days.

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!
EMKing is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 28th, 2012, 01:08 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
EMKing, the most important part of your safari will be your guide. They can "make or break" your safari. That's why I went with The Wild Source and their lead guide Deo Magoye. He's guided all over Africa and has been the guide for several film crews.

I was in Zanzibar earlier this month. My favorite place to stay on the beach is Pongwe Beach Lodge. They have a beautiful beach, great food and reasonable prices. I use Indoma Tours in Zanzibar. One of the owners is a friend, Masoud Salim. He was my guide several times in Zanzibar and now owns the tour company with his brother.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 28th, 2012, 06:02 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
ShayTay, what a coincidence, I was just e-mailing with Bill from The Wild Source yesterday. He seems very nice and extremely helpful! Within the next few days he is going to put together a tentative itinerary for me. I will look into Pongwe Beach Lodge (I have not done much research on Zanzibar yet, I'm trying to tackle one step at a time--- while planning my wedding, which is in October )

Thank you for your help!
EMKing is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 28th, 2012, 06:35 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,360
I would look into a local company and also in doing a private tour.
You will find out that a private tour may be cheaper than a group tour.

I dealt with a Tour Company in Arusha Tanzania , the fellow Stan is in Nairobi now.

A group tour from my city was waaaay more expensive than a private tour.

The group tour company here ( say Collete)has to make money also.

With private tour you have a lot more freedom and options...it is your tour and you are the boss !!

Most people underestimate the amount of driving required to get from one place to another.

I left the Serena Lodge at the Mara River at 7 AM and got to the Serengeti Lodge at 5 PM....that is 10 hours.... and I had an excellent Driver/ Guide....

mind you we detoured to Lake Victoria at my request ( you can do that on a private tour !!).
Percy is online now  
Reply With Quote
Aug 29th, 2012, 07:45 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
EMKing, I'm glad to hear that! Bill and his Ops Mgr Shannon are great to work with and will be quite responsive to your requests. Our group of 8 had a really complicated set of logistics (all had different arrival and departure flights, locations, and extensions.) Once on the trip, we had flight delays, cancellations and lost bags. Shannon kept it all straight and helped us when we needed it. I can't say enough about Deo and Hosea, our guides. They were great! Let me know if you have questions about Zanzibar; I've been there 5 times and also on Tanzania's northern circuit 5 times.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 30th, 2012, 07:46 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
I'm still waiting to hear back from The Wild Source. In the meantime I received a quote from Roy's Safaris. I thought it seemed fair and straight forward $3940 pp (11 days-7 day safari 4 day Zanzibar) . Without knowing much about what places I REALLY SHOULD SEE, how does this look:

Day Program
Arrive Kilimanjaro Airport. Met on arrival and transfer to Arusha for overnight at African Tulip Hotel-(BB).
-1 -08h30 Drive to Tarangire National Park(120km,2hrs) ,with picnic lunches game drive in the park. Dinner and overnight at Wild Palm Campsite.
- 2- Breakfast, game drive as you exit the Tarangire National Park. With picnic lunches drive to Lake Manyara National Park.
Later drive to Ngorongoro for dinner and overnight at Simba Campsite.
3-Early breakfast, drive to Ngorongoro & descend into Ngorongoro crater for a tour of the crater. Picnic lunch at a location within the crater.
More game drives. Return back to Simba Campsite for dinner and overnight.
4-Breakfast, drive to Northern Serengeti National park with picnic lunches, viewing wildlife en-route the Camp. Dinner and overnight at Seronera Campsite.
5- 06h00 Sunrise game drive, return for late breakfast at 09h00. With picnic lunches . Afternoon/evening game drives. Dinner and overnight at Seronera Campsite.
6- 06h00 Sunrise game drive, return for late breakfast at 09h00. With picnic lunches . Afternoon/evening game drives. Dinner and overnight at Seronera Campsite.
7 -After breakfast, game drive in Serengeti area in the morning en-route the SERONERA airstrip in time for a REGIONAL AIR flight to Zanzibar. (flight is included in the price, as is our stay at Next Paradise Beach Resort)

How does that sound for a proposed itinerary? Should I ask for any changes? Again, I'm trying to gather as much information regarding companies and itinerary's before I commit.

THANK YOU!
EMKing is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 30th, 2012, 08:05 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Point of reference... On Day 4, note that Seronera is NOT the northern Serengeti, rather it's Central, which is fine. Just wanted you to be aware of what's where.

EMKing, you really should have started your own thread rather than tagging onto that of the OP.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 30th, 2012, 09:53 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Sandi is probably right about starting your own thread. Still, I'll go ahead and comment. As Sandi notes, Seronera is not in the northern, but central Serengeti. Since you're planning to travel in June, that's where you would want to be (or in the Western Corridor.) Because you're listing "campsites" rather than tented camps or lodges, what accommodations will you have? This would seem to indicate mobile tented camps, but they aren't usually set up for two people. Given that this is your honeymoon, you might want to ask what type of accommodations they are quoting.

Day 1 - Wild Palm Campsite is outside Tarangire NP at some distance. You'll spend time traveling out from the park to it and I doubt they will actually take you back into the park on Day 2. If you want a game drive inside the park on that day, you'll need to stay in the park or closer to the entrance. You certainly couldn't get in a game drive in Tarangire, visit Lake Manyara NP and get up to the Crater rim all on Day 2. On Day 3, it sounds like you'll spend the whole day in the Crater, but you're actually limited to half day drives (if your guide follows the rules.) My preference for Crater lodging in the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge on the crater rim. It has a descent road next to it and you can get into the Crater quickly in the morning. Also, it's cold and foggy on the rim (7800' elevation), so it's nice to be indoors, rather than in a tent.

Since you only have 6 full days for safari, I think Roy's is putting too much into the itinerary. As much as I like Tarangire, I think I'd drop that and go directly to the Crater, either to the Sopa or even Ngorongoro Farmhouse down by Karatu on Day 1. Give yourself that day to recuperate a bit from the jet lag and do a leisurely drive cross county. Then, do your Crater drive on Day 2, staying at the Ngorongoro Sopa. On Day 3, travel to the Western Corridor area of the Serengeti to a tented camp and stay there for 2 nights, then move back to the Seronera area for your last two nights (or stay in the Seronera area for all 4 nights.) This will give you time to fully explore the area, then fly out of Seronera through Arusha to Zanzibar.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 30th, 2012, 02:55 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
EMKing -

So wedding in Oct '12 and honeymoon June '13... not at all unusual as no rule that says honeymoon has to be immediately after wedding.

Those campsites are 'public' so with shared facilities - showers and loos. I know with a budget these can be attractive, but do you really want to share when on your honeymoon? Ask Roy's if they have any 'special' campsites at these areas, where your guide/cook will set-up the tent, a private loo and shower (sufficient hot water) or a permanent or seasonal tent camp. "Special" campsites aren't that much more expensive, per person. No harm asking even if June is peak season.

Agree with ShayTay, a bit 'busy' - so why not consider:
Day 1 - Arusha - o/n
Day 2 - Tarangire - o/n
Day 3 - Tarangire in morning; drive via Manyara (no game drive), but can stop at Mto-wu-Mbu, then onto Ngorongoro - o/n
Day 4 - Ngo; morning crater tour; drive to Central Serengeti - o/n
Days 5 & 6 - Central Serengeti; the Western corridor is only a 2/hr game drive away, so you can over these days visit at both.
Day 7 - Fly to Arusha; connect to flight to ZNZ.

Bearing in mind you are on a budget, but still a honeymoon, so if you can afford a step-up from basic camping, consider in Central, stay at Mbuzi Mawe Camp or Bilila Lodge (the latter is beautiful), of if in the West at Mbalageti Camp (the chalets are lovely if pricey, but they do have lodge rooms), and the grounds and views are amazing. You can fly from either Central or Western via ARK to ZNZ. Ask and see how the prices work out.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 31st, 2012, 08:05 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Thank you Sandi and ShayTay!
EMKing is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 10th, 2013, 05:05 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 36
Decided to go with Globus, not the least inexpensive, but very reputable and had a good 15 day program.
cdrcos is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:44 AM.