Last Minute Booking

Mar 24th, 2007, 02:06 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Last Minute Booking


I've been looking through previous posts and found lots of good advice but still have a question that I'm hoping someone can help with.

My mother and I will be travelling to Kenya in mid-July and are interested in booking a mid-range 3 night lodge/tented camp-style safari, likely in Masai Mara but we could be flexible. The challenge is that we have specific dates and a number of operators that we've contacted so far are already booked since it's high season. My usual travel agent doesn't typically book this type of trip so isn't very helpful. Can anyone recommend a service based in the US or Canada that could (reliably) do the searching on our behalf and provide a couple of options?

Thanks!
seeking_advice is offline  
Mar 24th, 2007, 02:38 PM
  #2  
 
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Seeking Advice,

Here are some agents that you can google.

Africa Adventure Company, a big presence in the US

Africa Serendipity, a smaller US-based East Africa specialist

Good Earth has a US office and does Kenyan safaris

I don’t know of any Canadian agents other than this one that I happened to meet on safari-- The Great Canadian Travel Company. www.greatcanadiantravel.com

These folks were on their 22nd Africa trip and were really nice. They gave me lots of hints about travel in parts of Africa where I have not been.

Another Fodorite, Calo, posted this comment for a Canadian looking for an Africa travel agent:
“Here is a website that might help you...TOPAC = Tour Operators Promoting Africa in Canada: http://topac.org/members.php "

Lynda, a Fodorite, offered this assistance to another Canadian looking for an agent.
“The Vancovuer agent is Leslie Nevison of Mama Tembo Tours, she posts on this board sometimes under the name of MamaTembo. She is a very active safari agent and will help you plan a private safari. The only thing I see from the website though is that she plans Tanzanian Safaris, and I see you want to go to Kenya. Maybe she has other contacts though, it would be worth a try.

Her web site is http://www.mamatembotours.com

Good luck!
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 24th, 2007, 03:03 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Hi Seeking Advice,
In addition to cantacting the TA's mentioned above I would contact the lodges directly. Last year I had the same problem getting a specific lodge in the Mara and EVERY TA/TO I contacted said I would have to be waitlisted. I contacted th lodge directly and they told me they had availability so I booked directly with them. That was the 'push' that encouraged me to book my entire trip independently and it wasn't as difficult as first thought.

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Mar 24th, 2007, 06:34 PM
  #4  
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Thanks so much for these great tips! I haven't had much luck contacting lodges directly, but I'll send off more emails, along with contacting some of the travel agents mentioned.
seeking_advice is offline  
Mar 24th, 2007, 07:11 PM
  #5  
 
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Imelda, did you book your Burundi stay independently also?
matnikstym is offline  
Mar 25th, 2007, 08:47 AM
  #6  
 
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Good one Dennis.

Seeking advice,
How about Lion World Travel
www.lionworldtravel.com
in Canada

I'd call the North American operators, not just email.

atravelynn is offline  
Mar 26th, 2007, 01:35 PM
  #7  
 
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Ah, at looonnnggg last I can post. For some reason I couldn't post for the last two days (I was getting a blank screen!) and I was itching to reply here but I suppose now the 'moment' has passed

BUT ... just to answer your very 'bold' question Denis - No, we were lucky enough not to need accomodations in Burundi so we didn't book that independently
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:46 AM
  #8  
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Many thanks for all the advice! If anyone else is in the same situation, the links suggested are very helpful. I also ended up jumping from one of the links to the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (www.katokenya.org), which turned out to be a wonderful find as a simple "request quote" button generated lots of quick replies and great options.

I haven't made a final booking yet but plan to within the next day or so.

Thanks again!
seeking_advice is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 11:00 AM
  #9  
aby
 
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seeking_advice - if you put your great options on the table here, we can analyze 'em & maybe help you decide
aby is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 09:09 AM
  #10  
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Thanks for the suggestion ... but I've now made my decision and gone ahead with a deposit since the time is drawing near and camps seem to be filling up fast.

For the benefits of others looking, though, here's a quick summary. We were looking for a 4 day/3 night mid-range lodge/tented camp safari departing from and returning to Nairobi.

In the end, I received about 10 quotes. About half were for Masai Mara only; the rest were for Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru. A range of lodges/camps were suggested in both places.

Costs ranged from $600US per person (road transport, Masai Mara only) to about $1800 per person (air transport, 2 private luxury camps, personal guide who would travel with you). The bulk of the options were in the $800-1200 range for this type of trip, with the higher end typically including flights rather than road transport. All options included morning and afternoon game drives. Some included a walking safari as well.

We ended up choosing an option in the middle - flying to and from the park but not one of the higher end camps and are crossing our fingers for a great trip! We decided to only go to Masai Mara rather than ending up spending a good deal of time on the road.

Thanks to everyone for your advice!
seeking_advice is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 04:45 PM
  #11  
 
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Looks like a good plan Seeking Advice. You'll have a great time in the Mara.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 12:53 AM
  #12  
 
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You won't regret your decision, we spent 3 nights there last July and it was fantastic!!

Imelda
OnlyMeOirish is offline  
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