Looking for East Africa tour package

Reply

May 19th, 2003, 09:01 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 70
Looking for East Africa tour package

My boyfriend and I recently made a decision to visit Kenya and Tanzania for 2 weeks over Christmas. We've settled on using a tour company in order to simplify planning matters, but are stumped as to which one to use.

I've reviewed all of the suggestions on this site and have looked at a myriad of operators. Trips like those provided by A&K, Micato and Big Five sound great to us but are a little out of our price range as we'd like to spend only about $5,000 to $5,500 each for air and land. We're looking at Borton Overseas but are not sure about the quality of the services.

Luxury isn't a priority, we just want to ensure that we stay in clean, well run facilities with the best accesibility to what we're there to experience. Reliability and good service from the tour operator (no broken vehicles, small group size, knowledgable and friendly staff, etc) is key as well. Like everybody, we want to feel like we experienced a unique, amazing 2 weeks in Africa.

Is this a tall order to fill in our price range? Does anyone have any suggestions/experiences they can share with us, both positive and negative as to agencies? Any help would be appreciated!
SmileyFace is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 11:07 AM
  #2
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
All comments about www.2Afrika.com have been good. Quite a few on this board have used them and they all have had good experiences. They are as cheap as anyone I've ever seen. I'm sure some of them will post here about first hand experience. They look good to me.
I've been to East Africa a few times and go on private safaris now, but 2Afrika sounds better than any of the group safaris I did when I first started going there. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 11:32 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 70
Thanks for your reply Liz. I have looked at 2Afrika's site and emailed them, however, we are a bit restricted in our travel dates, and their current departure dates don't work too well for us.

You mentioned that you now do private safaris. I am assuming the cost is substantially higher, but for future reference, is there a company that you recommend that will organize a complete package?
SmileyFace is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 12:11 PM
  #4
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'd still recommend 2Afrika. Ken will do that and I believe he will still be cheaper. Read his site and he mentions this. He usually emails back within the day, or you can call him and I believe he will call right back. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 03:27 PM
  #5
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Smiley Face - Well here's one more to check out:
www.africasafaris.com
The company is Africa Tours

- their website is very easy to navigate - and Nickie can do a private tour for you. But you do realize Christmas is not likely to be cheap, prices always go up over the holiday. However, with them you can depart whenever and she can adjust itinerary to fit your budget, but do make sure you spend some time in a tented camp, because Africa isn't Africa unless you sleep under canvas for at least a night or two.

If you need air tickets, check with Premier Tours out of Phila. They are a tour operator and air consolidator. Check for their website, don't have it handy, or their 800 number and ask for their air department. They've gotten us the best prices for all flights to Africa and no one has yet done better.

Bye the way, Borton Overseas has been around for years and is quite reputable, but check out Africa Tours, just tell Nickie that Sandi sent you.

 
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 04:47 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
SmileyFace:

Try Roy Safaris, who we used for our trip last year to Kenya and Tanzania. They had the best prices around and tailor made a safari for us. We stayed at some of the best camps (Tortilis in Amboseli, N-Crater Lodge and Sand Rivers both in Tanzania) and their prices were better than anyone else's. Their e-mail address is: [email protected] and the website is www.roysafaris.com I have used them as has a friend from Utah. Also, I believe that Liz (who posted earlier) has looked into them and thought they were reasonable as well. As Sandi pointed out, the prices are a bit more over the Christmas holiday. Might you be able to fudge on those dates at all? Anyway, drop Roy Safaris a line or two and see what they come up with.
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 06:12 PM
  #7
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes, as Susan said, I did contact Roy Safaris. I thought they were strictly Tanzania, or I would have said to contact them. Very fair prices. If they also do Kenya, then yes I would get a quote to compare to others. Also I thought someone here used 2Afrika for a private safari. I wonder if it was Gina. Someone did and was quite happy with the trip. I personally have never used Ken because I've never had an opportunity to. I would be using him now if I hadn't booked Governors Camp on my own. Which by the way looks to be a problem now. I guess I am the jinx on problems interfering with African travel. I REALLLLY want to go too. Why is there this dark cloud over my Africa plans?
Anyway both Roy Safaris and 2Afrika will sell private safaris. In my opinion and some others here, its the best way to see Africa unless its your first safari, then a small group is fun and it can be reassuring to have someone else who hasn't been before. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
May 19th, 2003, 06:51 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
You can also check out SafariMagic, www.safarimagic.com They only do private safaris (and one or two group trips) and are priced quite reasonably.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 20th, 2003, 03:48 AM
  #9
flipper
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi SmileyFace,
$5000 and Christmas is a tough combination for your budget. Check out this really cool site, www.uyaphi.com, who specialise in southern and eastern africa. I had a friend who booked a gorilla viewing tour in Uganda through them, which was both reasonable in cost (1800 for 8 days)and excellent as an African experience.However, your budget may be ok if no one is travelling come Xmas in light of recent events and the tour companies are desperate for business.
 
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 09:51 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 37
SmileyFace,

My wife and I went on a two week mobile camping Safari in September 02, and we used Borton Overseas to arrange everything. They used Kibo Safaris in Arusha as their ground operators. We have nothing but praise for both Borton and Kibo. It was the trip of a lifetime. While we were aranging the safari, Borton was always available to answer any and all questions. And the folks at Kibo were just tremendous. I would strongly recommend both Borton's and Kibo to anyone wanting to experience both the animals and the culture of Tanzania.
teresaandgreg is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 09:57 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 37
SmileyFace, let me add one other thing. As far as your budget, as I said, we went in September and for the two of us, airfare included, it came to about $9200. I'm not sure how much extra you would pay to go at Christmas.
teresaandgreg is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 12:54 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1
Hi SmileyFace...(s)
I just happened upon the website a couple of days ago and spotted your query.
I've been taking groups on Kenya trips for the last 5 yrs now, and have gone there on my own since 1985 (14 trips).
I'm taking a small group with me this September, so you're certain welcome to join us, altho I didn't quite understand whether you decided during Xmas to take a trip to Kenya, or whether you decided to take a trip during Xmas time..(s).
It sounds like you probably want a Xmas trip, which would be great.
The trips I arrange are not the typical high-street tour, but a much customized trip to allow the traveller to appreciate three of the more interesting parts of Kenya; this is opposed to travelling around to 10 different camps in 10 days as many of the tour companies provide.
The "land" cost of my trips (15 days from home to home) is about $4000 and with airfare from UK being about $1000 now (KLM), the total is about $5000.
I do not want an uncomfortable holiday for me or my people, so all of the camps are either luxury-tented camps or cottages. I know the drivers, and am comfortable with the fact that they know all of the areas that we visit plus they know the places to stay away from (for safety's sake).
This year, after my group returns to the UK, I'm staying on for a few more days and will trek to see the gorillas in Rwanda. For me, this will be one of the most exciting journeys I've ever been on...being there on 'their' terms ... ...face-to-face.

Anyway...I can certainly arrange any sort of holiday you'd like. If you'd like a week in Kenya and a week in Tanz, I can arrange it for you, understanding that your cost figures are limited to 'around $5k to $5.5k. Let me know and I'll make some enquiries.
If you care to join my group in September, let me know that too. If so, it would be great if you could find another couple to join, as I want to limit the number of bodies in each veh to no more than 5...and 4 would be great.

Cheers, and good luck to you.
Dick
P.S. By the way, I'm from Cleveland but live here in UK now.


DickK008 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 01:15 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 230
We went to Kenya and Tanzania in 2001 with International Expeditions and were extremely pleased with the variety of experiences, the quality of the guides, and the accommodations. Their web site is ietravel.com. We paid about $5,000 each for 17 days, including air, although prices may have gone up since then. They also can arrange independent travel in addition to their small scheduled groups. Give them a try--we loved our experience.
lilla is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 02:27 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
My first safari was to Kenya and Tanzania in 1999, and I initially ordered the A&K brochure to get an idea of itineraries and prices, but after some research, I realized they had an incredible mark up and that I could book an identical trip myself for about half the price. What I did was contact the Kenya Consulate in New York (at that time I worked with Pam Oyugi, but I have no idea if she's still there). Anyway, the put me in touch with a Nairobi-based operator, who put together a private tour for us that was less than half of A&K's rate, and we stayed at the same lodges (we were able to identify the A&K crowd by their identical hats), but while they had around 6 people in their vehicles, we only had 2 and we were able to stay out as long as we liked and were not dependent on a fixed schedule. I understand that Roy's is very good, and they likely have a counterpart that they work with in Kenya, so I'd suggest pricing with them.
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 03:02 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 20
Smileyface:

I hate participating as a tour operator in any forum, and i am definitely not posting this as an advertisement to this post. I just thought that while you consider other options - if you like - I don't mind working on a quotation for you. I do not expect a booking or anything, it's just to help you determine a reasonable price to negotiate with the tour operator you choose.

I work with Africa Safaris [in operation for 8 years, offices in USA and Kenya, and member of KATO / APTA] as a Safari Specialist and i think it may be possible for a tour operator to customize a safari for you around that price range.

You can send me an e-mail [at [email protected]] with what you have in mind or visit this page for a custom safari builder: http://tulipweb.com/custom_safari.html

[i'd rather not post prices and itinerary on this forum as that would probably be unfair practice]

I can then just send you a quote based on the prices we charge and you could just use them simply for comparison purposes.
soniya is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 06:00 PM
  #16
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'd say yes to Roy Safaris, but absolutely NO to International Expeditions. Bad experience. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
May 21st, 2003, 06:36 PM
  #17
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Soniya-
The purpose of this forum is to share information with other travelers. I kinda have a problem with your last post. If I'm the only one then I guess its okay. But most of us want to know itineraries and prices. I would think that if business is obtained outside of this forum its okay. If its done here then why not post it all right here? Just what I think. It sounds like otherwise you're acting as tour operator with commissions, etc. Thanks, Liz.
 
Reply With Quote
May 22nd, 2003, 09:00 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 20
Hi Liz, I agree with your post and how it may seem that way. I just thought it would be the other way round, that is, if i posted itineraries and prices here it would mean i am trying to 'sell'. So basically, i know now that it works as a bad idea both ways! I am sorry if offended anyone else..guess i was just trying to be helpful.
soniya is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 22nd, 2003, 12:19 PM
  #19
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Soniya-
Sometimes you just can't win for losing, right? Sorry if I made it sound that way. I disagree that if you post itineraries and prices you are worse off. You don't have to get that specific. We are better off. As long as it is above board you raise less suspicion, but as a TA you are always suspect. I think most people want real travelers (as opposed to agents on fam trips) comments about the good, bad and ugly. Most have their own agents opinions and aren't looking for more of that. I think they want people's opinions who have nothing to gain or lose. Agents get a commission even if its just for a referral, so it doesn't seem genuine to promote something where it will cost one of us more than we might get it from someone who recently found a 'good deal'. ;-D
Liz
 
Reply With Quote
May 22nd, 2003, 02:02 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 20
Actually, Liz I am not just a 'travel agent'. I lived in Kenya my whole life and just moved to the USA. We never accept fam-trips, we like to pay our way and show up un-announced and experience the places just like the average traveler [like you] would. Furthermore, i haven't been a travel agent my whole life. I co-produced the Pictorial Kenya CD with a friend which was a Kenyan Tourism promotion we did at our own expense. During the production of the cd i travelled Kenya extensively, - again at my own expense.
soniya 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



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:09 AM.