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Africa2012 Aug 13th, 2011 05:26 PM

I am planning on going on safari in January 2012 and am trying to find reliable local tour operators in Tanzania and/or Kenya. My budget is $5000pp, and I'd love to see the Great Migration. I am pretty open other than that.

I've reached out to make American operators, but I'm not having much luck planning a safari I'm pleased with. I've heard cutting out the middleman cuts costs significantly, so I was hoping for some good advice from some fellow Fodorites.

qwovadis Aug 14th, 2011 02:31 AM

my personal fav late June best for great migration

for reputable locals careful MANY scammers here/there

Never wire money always pay with CC

Careful research always wise.

Have seen folks lose thousands choosing poorly.

Migration is awesome if you catch it right.

Somtimes not for the faint of heart though

Real circle of life type things happen.

Happy Hunting!

laurie_ann Aug 14th, 2011 04:21 AM

In 2009 we worked with Gamewatchers who are also the agent for the Porini camps. We cannot rave enough about Gamewatchers. The helped us with all the detail of safari and then a week on the coast. When a mix up happened with our flights (the airline fault, not Gamewatchers) they were right on top of it and changed arrangements easily and with no extra cost to us. and the Porini camps were fabulous.

cary999 Aug 14th, 2011 04:55 AM

Migration is an iffy thing for time and place. I tried it in Tanzania in Feb of 2011 and although did see some, was expecting/wanting to see more.
We used Roy Safaris out of Arusha, they did excellent job at good price. Safari averaged out close to $450 pppn with only two of us in a vehicle. (Six of us altogether, 3 vehicles). Excluding international air to/from.

regards - tom
ps - my Fodors trip report, Tanzania 2011 -

sandi Aug 14th, 2011 08:00 AM

If for the Migration in January, know this takes place in Tanzania. In the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and/or Southeast Serengeti. At this late date it's already difficult to find space, if any. People book for this area one-year out, so you'd have to be very lucky.

Why not concentrate on Kenya where prices are at mid-season (Tanzania is at peak-season), and maybe just pop into Tanzania to visit the Ngorongoro Crater which is unique to this country. Otherwise, you'll see much the same or more game in Kenya as you would in Tanzania, but for the migration. But, as mentioned often... "there's more to safari than just the migration."

What kind of issue are you running into currently in designing an itinerary? What has been offered?
- How many people traveling?
- How many total days in-country?
- What parks/reserves?
- How many days at each?
- Which accommodations (lodges/camps)?
- Driving or flying?
- Avg daily price per person vs your actual budget?

There are many Stateside companies that have competitive prices, but then also those in-country, which names appear often on this Forum... even in the link carry999/tom shows above.

Whichever you choose, better get moving

ShayTay Aug 14th, 2011 03:58 PM

If you choose to work with a Tanzanian outfitter directly (my favorite in Kibo Guides), then expect to pay via wire. I doubt if any (or very many)are set up to take credit cards.

Africa2012 Aug 15th, 2011 05:48 PM

Thanks to all for your replies.

I have been pondering the Kenya vs. Tanzania thing for quite a while. I just don't know if I am "missing out" not going the migration route.

To answer some questions:

2 of us traveling.
Want to do about 10 days of actual safari.
Don't really care about the reserves as long as game viewing is plentiful. I'd really like to catch a rhino or two if possible (even if not both white and black). Currently, I am toying with doing Arusha (2), Tarangire (2), Ngorongoro C. (1), Serengeti (4). I was thinking about using a private guide for my entire time at safari -- budget permitting. I was hoping not to break the bank completely so was aiming at $500ppn without taking into account international fares and incidental expenses.

atravelynn Aug 15th, 2011 06:39 PM

I see you've added Botswana into the mix too, based on another post.

On a first and possibly only safari to Africa, I think you should try to see the migration. Your plan looks good.

Africa2012 Aug 15th, 2011 07:00 PM

Thanks for the advice. This safari planning can get a bit overwhelming - almost like planning a wedding. LOL.

Africa2012 Aug 15th, 2011 08:40 PM


I've read some of your other posts where you've commented on Allen Mnyenye. Could you give me some more information on this guide?

sandi Aug 16th, 2011 10:14 AM

The price pp/pn is within reason.
Problem likely to be availability as I mention above and also on your other thread same subject.

FYI - No reason to run two threads on the same subject. Just search on your screen name and the original thread will appear and you can continue to add to and receive replies.

Africa2012 Aug 16th, 2011 04:36 PM

Actually, the second thread was intended to be different - as I was at the time considering Botswama. I've been disuaded. Tanzania, it is. Here's the proposed itinerary:

Day 1 Arrive in Arusha. Overnight.
Day 2 Arusha National Park.
Day 3 Leave Arusha in morning to Tarangire [Is it incessary to stay in Arusha overnight the second night or is a morning game drive with time to make my way to Tarangire sufficent?]
Day 4 Tarangire
Day 5 Lake Manyara In afternoon, leave to Ngoronogro Crater
Day 6 Ngorongoro Crater
Day 7 In morning, leave to Serengeti central
Day 8 Serengeti central
Day 9 Serengeti central. In afternoon, leave to Serengeti south
Day 10 Serengeti south
Day 11 Serengeti south
Day 12 Fly back to Arusha and make my way home.

sandi Aug 17th, 2011 06:19 AM

Arusha NP is usually at a full-day price... little savings for half-day, but doable.

Even though you can make it down to Tarangire (about 2.5/hrs) before dusk when, depending on where staying (availability issue again), if inside the park, have to be there before dark. No driving on park lands in the dark.

However, know that the overnight in Arusha will be way less expensive than if at Tarangire (per nt room/tent rate, park fee), so I'd head to Tarangire next morning. Spend 2/nts. and skip Manyara. Just head to the Crater from Tarangire.

Otherwise the routing is fine, now it's a matter of finding space. Good luck!

atravelynn Aug 17th, 2011 06:58 AM

One reason to spend the first full day in Arusha is for it to be a buffer day in case you are delayed or your bags are delayed. Also, if you are late or suffering from jet lag, a full day in Arusha can give you more leeway on when to start your safari. I am practicing what I'm preaching and have a full day in Arusha on my upcoming trip.

I think you'll want more time in Tarangire, which is provided with a morning departure to the park and then a second whole day. Tarangire is often a highlight of an East African safari. Don't shortchange yourself there, especially if you like eles.

If you are running short of days I like Sandi's suggestion to skip Manyara.

I think this is a nice Jan itinerary. Since this is such a popular time to visith the Southern Serengeti, I'd move forward with this plan now if I were you.

pcex Aug 22nd, 2011 07:30 AM

I'm doing a very similar itinerary next month, with the addition of Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru. We are using Duma Explorers in Tanzania and GameWatchers in Kenya. Both have been highly responsive and very flexible, a pleasure to work with. Now let's see how the actual safari goes! Happy to give you more info if you want; will post a review upon return.

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