Looking for Shay Tay & Sandi.....

Jan 13th, 2008, 08:03 PM
  #1  
Ve
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Looking for Shay Tay & Sandi.....

Author: Ve
Date: 1/13/08 9:46 pm

Is this better? Be patient because I'm brand new to Forum's, trying to learn technical lingo on them and breaking in a new satellite computer system, but I'm getting there and just surprised I made it this far.

As far as traveling with a small group....that would be wonderful, guess I forgot to mention that detail. I'm still a single traveler though.

Feel free to ask me any questions because I may have forgotten to mention some things last time around.

One thing I'd like to know is....If I asked a company to change just a couple of things on their advertised itinerary, does that make it a "custom" trip and does it change the price dramatically ?

Hope you find me amongst all the other posters (see, I'm already learning) so I can get some help here and you can answer some of my questions.
Thanks, Ve

Ve is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 05:08 AM
  #2  
 
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I'm taking the liberty of moving your original post here for those who reply have the context:

First time posting, first safari trip....
Author: Ve
Date;1/12/08, 10:54 pm

Just read aknards post and I was amazed at the similarities over our trips, personal info, etc. and, upon further reading, glad she joined Shay Tay.

I've been on this Forum for weeks and weeks and it has helped me at least to figure out where I want to go and for how long, what my budget will be and what I want to do. I've even started getting my shots before I've even booked, that's how dedicated I am in taking this trip.

I would like to go in Sept. 08 to Tanzania with Zanzibar after the safaris for approx. 14 days total and hope my international airfare can be included in all of it. My budget's about $7,000 and I'm also traveling solo. Want to get in on a ton of safari's so I can photograph the wildlife, would prefer a mixture of lodges and tent camping, just as long as any tent I stay in has bathroom facilities,and I'm in good health and don't mind some short hikes, plus I can run fast if need be.

My biggest dilemma right now is what tour company to choose (betcha you've heard this before). I'm in touch with 4 now and not that crazy about most of their itineraries, some being not so informative.

Going through some brochures and surfing the Internet, I've noticed that some companies include international airfares in their price quotes, say perhaps on a 14 day trip. That means that at least 2 out of those 14 days are spent in the air.....am I right? Then there are other companies that just provide the tour, not including international airfair so you don't lose any of your trip time flying...am I right again?

I'm sort of leaning towards trying some companies again with a better explanation of what I'd like to do and work on my own airfare. Some have offered to come up with an airfare just about equal to Expedia or one of those types of companies. Do they get good airfares for you also?

After being on Fodor's Forum so much I noticed how much Shay Tay, atravelynn, Sandi, Kavey, hguy47, plus many more, are always helping out newbies like myself.

I've traveled a lot all over Europe by myself, but trying to plan a safari is totally different and a lot more difficult than I'd planned on, especially choosing what tour company to go with. Would like to finalize choosing a company before January ends but I guess I'm just not sure how to express myself to the tour companies in what I'd like to do once I get to Tanzania. As for Zanzibar, I don't think I'll have difficulty in finding things to do. After all, how hard is it to lay on the beach, snorkel and beach comb ? Just finding it hard to express what I want to do, don't know locations/names of lodges and/or camps I'd like because there are soooo many to choose from.

Any help for you regulars will be great. Signing off for now...Ve


sandi is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 09:36 AM
  #3  
 
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If you choose a group departure, it's unlikely you'll be able to make any changes to the itinerary.

Where in Tanzania did you have in mind? Northern Tanzania is often done as a driving (or one way drive) safari. As a solo traveler a private, custom driving itinerary it would be somewhat expensive as you don't have anyone else to share the cost of the vehicle with. If you wanted a custom itinerary, you could compare the cost of a flying safari where you're paying on a per seat basis on scheduled flights and using the lodge/camp's vehicle for your game drives on a shared basis with other guests once you arrive.
Patty is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:15 AM
  #4  
 
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I like your commitment of getting the shots first. After enduring that painful ordeal (and I am referring to the costs) you gotta’ go.

As for the your willingness to “run fast if need be” that is inspiring as well, but a no-no in the bush. It makes you look like prey. But you may need that sprinting talent to make your airport connections.

Why don’t you post some of the itineraries you have received. If you wish, include the agent and the cost. Then you can get more detailed feedback on them.

As to booking your own fare or going with the agents, find your best fare on your own. I like kayak.com or going directly to the airlines website. Then see what the agent comes up with. If the agent’s pricing is good, there is an advantage of going with them because if there are changes in air or ground, that can be coordinated.

When you mention how hard can it be to lay on the beach and snorkel, the snorkeling part can be hard if you are alone since you should not snorkel by yourself.

Sept is a great time for wildlife in East Africa. The wildebeest and zebra migration will probably in Kenya rather than Tanzania at that time of year.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 10:25 AM
  #5  
Ve
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Thanks for your help Sandi. Instead of having "Looking for Shay Tay & Sandi" for the title should I change it so your names don't stick out like a sore thumb or just leave well enough alone ? Most probaby shouldn't have sent such a long message with so many questions, but I could start out fresh with just a couple of questions each time until I have all areas covered. How sad for me that I can't get this Forum even right, let alone pick a tour group. Think I'll just hide in my closet for the rest of the day....Ve

Ve is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:16 AM
  #6  
 
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I know that some people have had trouble with OAT cancelling at the last minute, but I did their Tanzania trip in 2004 ("Safari Serengeti") and it was good. You just have to double-check the paperwork coming out of their Boston office. They use Kibo Guides for this trip, which have great guides. If you're willing to be matched up with a roommate, I don't think they'll even charge you with a single supplement. If you want your own room/tent, the supplement is only $395. From New York, their September trips are about $5000, including air.

www.oattravel.com

You can then do a "breakaway" and book your own side trip to Zanzibar. OAT charges a small fee to do the breakaway, which basically means you fly back to the US several days after your group. I've used Ocean Tours Zanzibar three times and have been happy with them.
ShayTay is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:36 AM
  #7  
Ve
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Hi Patty, Thanks for your help and at least I know I can't change things on a group departure, and I'll live with that.

For starters, one trip I'm interested in is with Tanzania Adventures. They list a "Special Offer"-Safari and Beach Zanzibar
(14 days), no int. flight included, and goes to N.Tanzania I believe. Includes Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti and off to Zanzibar after that.

It's listed as a private Tanzania Safari but has a sin. suppl. I'm not sure if the sin. suppl. is for a 3rd wheel traveling with a couple or if it's for a solo travelere like me.

They pick you up from Arusha and take you either to Oasis Lodge or Molvaro Coffee Lodge, depending if you take the camping option or hotel option (think for me it'll be hotel) then day 2 is Lake Manyara, day 3&4 is Ngorongoro, days 5&6 are Serengeti with days 7-14 in Zanzibar. Not crazy about spending time in Stonetown, would rather just stay nearer the beach, but that's life, as you said, you can't change it.

Off hand would you know the length of the drives between these places? I really don't mind the drives as it would be a sightseeing tour for me and with someone else behind the wheel. This particular tour sounds good but have another couple in mind which I'll look up shortly and share with you all. I think extra flying between places will only add to my budget, so I'm not sure about that. Thanks, Ve
Ve is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:59 AM
  #8  
Ve
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Hi Lynn, This is so great that some of you are responding so quickly. More than I'd hoped for.

On Wed. I'm going for my YF and Typhoid shot. Hep.A (part 2) comes later. The Health Dpt. at the University of New Mexico in Las Cruces gave me a list of shots they recommend I take, but that was for when I WAS going to Kenya/Tanzania last spring (my appendix got in the way) but now aiming for Tanzania/Zanzibar. I really couldn't believe the cost (about $1000.00) of all the shots they recommended. I only am taking some of those shots since I've changed my destination. Which brings up a good point. Did I choose getting the right shots/meds for Tanzania/Zanzibar? Got flu/tetanus from my regular Dr. then Hep. A (a 2 parter), typhoid, YF and will get anti-malaria pills later. The health clinic had rabies on this list of theirs (a 3 parter at $191.00 a pop) plus a ton more. Would like to know what shots/meds others took for Tanzania/Zanzibar. One other thing I'd like to mention and something I've never seen on the Forum yet (I may have missed it). When you're over 60 y/o (I'm so over 60), your reg. family type Dr. has to sign a form saying you can receive this shot (it must be a doozy). If the Dr. doesn't think you're healthy enough to receive ot, there's another form he can sign waiving all responsiblity, but you can still get it, with or without the Dr.'s blessings, just need a signed form either way when you're over 6o y/o. Guess he thinks I'm healthy enough because he signed it ok. At least that's how it was for me in New Mexico, being that someone's giving me a shot and I'm not injecting myself. Enough said on that subject.

Lynn, I was only kidding about running if need be, I really did know better, just have a weird sense of humor. I'd never go snorkeling by myself, but bet I can find some type of outfit in Zanzibar to take me along with a group.

Thank you for all your info. you included and will certainly look into it. I'll be back with another Q & A session, in the meantime maybe you'd like to look at the response I sent to Patty. Thanks, Ve
Ve is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:02 PM
  #9  
 
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Is this the itinerary you're referring to? http://www.tanzania-adventure.com/special_safari.htm

If so, I think the single supplement just covers the extra amount that the lodges/camps charge for single occupancy of a room/tent (i.e. two people traveling together but wanting separate rooms). I don't think it's the cost of one person traveling solo on a private safari, but I could be wrong. I'd inquire directly.

I was referring to group departures offered by companies like OAT (mentioned by ShayTay above), Tauck, 2Afrika, and other such companies. Those you cannot change.

Most itineraries posted on the websites of local, Tanzania based operators are just examples. They're not scheduled departures, so you can feel free to contact them for proposals if you want something different. They may or may not offer to put you together with other clients. Some do and some don't. And even if they do, sometimes it's difficult for the local operators to find other clients who are willing to share, want to go to the same places, have the same approx budget, etc. as you do.

A flying safari will probably cost more than a group driving safari but may not be more than a private driving safari, so I wouldn't rule it out in case you can't find a group to join with an itinerary you like.

Patty is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:12 PM
  #10  
 
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The itinerary from Tanzania-Adventure is short on safari days (only 5). If I only had 14 days total, I'd skip Zanzibar and spend more time on safari, or at least cut the Zanzibar portion to about three days. In September, the Migration will be in Kenya, not Tanzania. I'm watching the situation in Kenya right now, but am still planning on taking a group there in September.
ShayTay is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:21 PM
  #11  
 
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You can leave the title as is.

If traveling in September, I would seriously recommend being in the Masai Mara in Kenya that's where the migration is taking place. You can just as easily arrive Nairobi and visit the Mara... then head into Tanzania and Zanzibar. Unless you stay in the farthest north of the Serengeti in September, with few reasonably priced accommodations (any you definitely need a flight back to Arusha), Kenya is the place to be.

That said, the detail you indicate from Tanzania Adventure, has you rushing thru game viewing then plopping you down on Zanzibar for 7/days. Traveling to Africa to sit on a beach (for a week) is a long way to go, when we have some of the finest beaches right here at home or nearby. Also, I'd check just how "private" the tour.

You can consider:
Day 1 - Arrive Nairobi - o/n
Day 2 - Drive or Fly to Masai Mara -o/n
Days 3 & 4 - Masai Mara - o/n
Day 5 - Fly to Nairobi; drive to Amboseli - o/n
Day 6 - Amboseli - o/n
Day 7 - Drive to border, drive to Arusha, drive to Manyara - o/n
Day 8 - Manyara, morning drive, drive to Ngorongoro; afternoon crater visit - o/n
Day 9 - Morning crater tour; drive to Arusha - o/n
Day 10 - Fly to ZNZ - o/n
Days 11, 12 - ZNZ - o/n
Day 13 - Drive via Stone Town; town tour; transfer to ZNZ airport for flight to connect to homebound.

KLM, BA and Emirates have flights arriving NBO and returning from DAR (which is 15/min flight from ZNZ).

The above covers: the migration; elephants and views of Kili; blue monkeys and tree-climbing lions; the crater and finally the beach.

Besides the flights to/fr Zanzibar, the flights to/fr the Masai Mara, add maybe $275 to the price. With the exception of the time in the Mara, if you fly, thus having a shared seat in lodge/camp vehicle, the balance of the safari is private - Amboseli and all safari locations in Tanzania.

Depending on level of accommodations chosen, lodges usually less than camps (but not everywhere), you can probably get for about $6,000+/-; then with air from the States in the $1,500 range, you're close to budget.

But do remember: Visa costs, inoculations and malaria meds, trip insurance, tips for guides/camp staff, souvenirs and beverages at lodgings.

my 2-cents!



sandi is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:29 PM
  #12  
Ve
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Hi Shay Tay, You all are so awesome with these responses so quickly....I'm just tickled pink.

Funny you should mention Oats Shay Tay. That was one of the companies I was checking on, but let me tell you about a phone conversation I had with one of the gals at Oats around spring of 07',which is when I originally was going on this trip (rotten appendix), and was then going to be Kenya/Tanzania, and maybe that's why the s.s. fee difference I was quoted.

I was told it was $800.00+ BUT if I was willing to share accomodations they would only charge me $400.00+. If they came up with another solo traveler to share with me, then they'd refund that $400.00+, if not, they'd keep it. At least it was one of the few companies that would work with you in that sense, especially since I'd checked with some others that weren't interested in doing that at all.

I have read on this Forum about Oat's cancelling at the last minute. Sort of worries me that I'm a solo traveler and maybe the 1st to get the boot. Plus the fact that I'd have to leave from El Paso, Tex. to get to the east coast...what then? It's sort of a trickle effect when one thing doesn't work the rest of it bombs too. I'd hate any company canceling this trip after making all these arrangements.....who wouldn't ?

Now that you've sent me additional info. on Oats, I'll be sure to re-check again, perhaps even give them another phone call......Thanks, Ve
Ve is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:41 PM
  #13  
 
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Hi Ve,

If you're interested in going with OAT, then I'd ask them how many people are signed up for your specific departure. If there are only a few, then I would have them confirm that in writing, in case they try to cancel you at the last minute. They are supposed to go "first come, first served." Too bad you don't want to go with us to Kenya! There are several solo females thinking of going. We're all just waiting to see what happens there.
ShayTay is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 01:28 PM
  #14  
 
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Another poster mentioned that most of the last minute OAT cancellations were on cruises.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 08:28 PM
  #15  
Ve
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Shay Tay, atravelynn, Sandi and Patty:

Many thanks for your help, lots of good suggestions and I am waiting for a few responses back from Tanzania - adventure, Another Land and Go2Africa. Can't quite connect up with Predators Safari Club yet, but that's the other one. Gave them additional info./request and will post some itineraries soon.

One of you made a suggestion for me to see the migration from Kenya. If I see it from Tanzania, I'll consider it a bonus, but still not considering Kenya now, which was my original plan. My hats off to any of you that are still going.

Tomorrow I get my YF and typhoid shots so wish me luck. All that's left is my anti-malaria pills. Thanks again to all of you.......Ve
Ve is offline  
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