Looking for cheapest reputable tour operator!

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Feb 5th, 2004, 11:05 AM
  #1
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Looking for cheapest reputable tour operator!

hey guys,
a lot of you seem to have quoted numerous operators when planning trips to east and southern africa. just curious what people found to be the cheapest operator for trips to south africa and botswana. i live in the US but dont mind using operators from around the world as long as they are reputable. i have used 2 separate operators myself and now know the area pretty well so hope next time to focus on price more than before. any thoughts would be appreciated. thx.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 12:16 PM
  #2
sandi
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Cheap is relative. You don't say
- where you want to travel,
- when you want to travel,
- how you want to travel,
- independently or with a group,
- stay in hotels, or lodges, or camps,
- or backpacking in a pup tent
- your budget for cheap

While I believe we all want value for our money, cheap isn't always the answer. Expereience, reputation, communication and comparison shopping, are!

If you already have operators with whom you have worked, try them again. There have been many tour operators listed here (either stateside or overseas) - try them. Or if you know the area pretty well, try doing it directly with certain accommodations (hotels, lodges, tented camps, mobile tent camping, semi-permanent tent camping - and don't forget to include inter-location travel (air or land) transfers, park fees, meals, guides, etc. When working thru a tour operator all of these things should be taken care of; on your own these become your responsibility.

So cheap is relative.
 
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Feb 5th, 2004, 12:37 PM
  #3
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sorry i should have been more specific. mainly i am looking at wilderness safaris camps. if anyone has a found a tour operator that quoted cheaper prices at wilderness camps in south africa and botswana, thats what i am looking for. i know can quote 20 different people, just figured i could save some time and hassle if someone who had already done so and found someone to offer better rates than others.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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When I visited the Wilderness camps in Botswana, I booked through Taga Safaris out of Johannesburg. At the end of the day, I think the prices at the Wilderness camps are pretty established and most agents quote very similar prices. Supply is very limited and I think Wilderness gets what they want, although I think you may be able to secure some good deals in Zimbabwe where I understand they have closed some camps.
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Feb 6th, 2004, 04:54 AM
  #5
sandi
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bigcountry -
Wilderness Safaris'prices are set and they only work thru tour operators (not direct with clients). And with the limited number of space at their camps - they call the shots.

You might want to consider the "green season" (read kind of wet) when the prices are lower and there are packages offered by most tour operators for this period (which is between Feb-Apr, depending on the rains)

Check the Wilderness Sites (which does't have prices), but select those that might be of interest and have tour operators compile an itinerary for you.

Or you can check particular tour operator sites and look for "specials" where these Green Season programs are usually found. Lots of luck.
 
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Feb 7th, 2004, 08:53 AM
  #6
 
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We're booked through ccafrica for one of their "specials" -- 6 nights in Botswana, 3 different camps, including air between at $1586US per person. We'd considered a couple of potentials, which were more "camping" (although most everything was done for you...) oriented, but we just thought we'd prefer the ensuite facilities,and more permanent tents/lodges this trip uses. Also, going in May is off-season. This looked like a good introductory option for us.
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