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Looking for Tanzania Safari Company for reasonable cost

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Mar 7th, 2012, 06:00 AM
  #1
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Looking for Tanzania Safari Company for reasonable cost

My wife and I have begun searching for a Tanzania Safari Company and I am interested to get feedback from people who have traveled there with various tour companies. We would probably travel with two other couples (6 people) so we need vehicles that accomodate 6 persons. We are retired but healthy. I have found about 15 different tour companies on line and need to narrow down the selections. We can pay up to $5,000-$6,000 per person if necessary for a 10 day trip, not including Air Fare from US. We would probably go in February or March 2013. Reputation and reliability of Tour Company is important because we want to avoid surprises on the trip. We want to deal with an American representative. I've seen lots of information on Tauk and Hippo Creek but they are very expensive.

I've looked at Thomson and Africa Dream Safaris and they seem in the right price range but don't know ANYTHING about their reputation and quality.

Can anyone comment on Thomson and Africa Dream Safaris? Are there any others in this category and price range that we should consider?

Appreciate any help that you can give me.
JessePenn
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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Hi Jesse,

I went on a safari in Tanzania last year, it was a 6 night safari and I visited the crater, Seregenti and Tarangire, all were simply amazing.

I used a UK travel agent, Escape Worldwide who were pretty good, I spoke to a guy called Mark and he arranged it all for us, I had a complete package with flights which cost just over £2,000 each and included a couple of nights in Zanzibar afterwards. He did quote me without flights as I was going to use my airmiles so he might be able to help you. Our guide, David, on safari was bril and was a local who really knew his stuff. Escape Worldwide are just an agent and we travel with a company called Somak Safaris who organised everything brilliantly.

Escape worldwide's website is http://www.safariescapes.co.uk and his number is +44 208 989 0970.

Hope this helps, have a fantastic time, Tanzania is simply amazing...I'm jealous!

James
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Mar 7th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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Hi jesse, have a look at my trip report http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...rip-report.cfm

Sounds like it may fit your needs. Good luck!
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Mar 7th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Tauck does 'group' tours and can be rather expensive for the accommodations they provide. Hippo Creek is very reputable for their 'private independent' itineraries, but prices tend to be expensive.

For 2013 travel, know that prices will not be available before June 2012 earliest, maybe later.

There are many US companies that specialize in Kenya and/or Tanzania and are not that more expensive, if they even are, that dealing with an in-country outfitter.

There is a thread here on Fodor's - something titled "New East Africa Trip Reports" by LyndaS - with trip reports from many who have traveled here, with ideas for itinerary routings, the tour operator/outfitter used, etc.

I'm pretty lousy on being able to locate such threads, but if ShayTay or atravelynn or another can find it... please post for the OP. Asante!
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Mar 7th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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"We want to deal with an American representative."

That trip report index is not up to date anymore. Sorry.

You could try Africa Serendipity (NYC) Eben Safaris (Virginia & Tanz), The Africa Adventure Company (Ft. Lauderdale). I've used the last 2 with good results.

Your request of 6 people/vehicle is what most vehicles hold.

From what I've heard and read, the quality of your two agencies is fine. They are well known. But you want to get the most trip for your money.

You can post some itineraries for more suggestions.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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I'd also suggest "The Wild Source" out of Golden CO. The owner Bill Given is also a wildlife biologist and does a great job of planning safaris based on his knowledge of the wildlife and uses some great guides. While price is important, your guide can make or break a safari.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:30 PM
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Agree with ShayTay, your guide is the most important element in your safari. I've had about 15 different guides over last 6 years and why I favor/return to some camps.

regards - tom
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Mar 7th, 2012, 10:22 PM
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I can recommend Good Earth Tours, http://www.goodearthtours.com/ a Tanzanian outfitter with an office in Florida.

Regards,

Pol
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Mar 8th, 2012, 04:51 AM
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5,000 dollars!!! Is there a Four Seasons in the parks I don't know about?

Once in Arusha budget safaris (either camping or hostels) average $150 a night.
You pick from all the parks, crater, etc. as they usually take walk-ins and coordinate small groups mostly consisting of backpackers, volunteers, and the likes who are
already staying in Arusha based on where you want to go.

This was 2 years ago but of course, you gotta insist on this price! Lol!!!!
Figure out the current cost of the compulsory park fees and then add in your type of accommodations and things that are included to get a feel for a fair price.
You can always tip the guides directly so don't feel like you are cheating anyone.

Overland options I used Kumuka from Nairobi to Cape Town once to get my bearings and now it is all independent for me!
Out of all the overlanding companies, they had the best trucks.
(As of 2 years ago)

Locally, the ritzy folks use Roy's Safari. I have never used them as they book the more expensive options like the cool tree house lodges and fancy tents, but they do have an office and are legit.


Good Luck! Take Me with you! Love Arusha and miss my babies at Nkoaranga!!!!!

Maybe someone can chime in on Roy's customer service.
I am curious for my future travels!
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Mar 8th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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Did anyone suggest C&W? (Country Walkers)
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Mar 8th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Roy's does safaris from basic camping, lodges, tents and at all budgets... you want cheap, they'll give you cheap. You have more to spend, that too they can provide. Cheap or ritzy, your choice.

Customer service and guides are outstanding, a full service and well established/respected, that's why many choose them.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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Thank you so much Sandi! Are you African?
I am new and enjoying your posts.
When I started doing safaris and Africa travels I was already traveling frequently to Arusha.
That is why I am shocked at the 5,000 price tag.
(That could pay for 4 kids to go to
boarding school for a year!)

My base has always been compulsory park fees + $50 (give and take) per day camping.

I want to add that this included great vehicles and professional guides. The low price reflects a camping option as in Girls Scouts style. 2 woman tent, sleeping bag, and a flashlight. Lol!!!!!!
Same parks, same animals!

Visited Roy's a few times but never booked and why I mentioned them as legit.
I can see where the 5,000 price tag comes in as it looks like you are paying 2 travel agencies, and of course, when you come from the West you can afford to pay more.
I hope the guides get a big chunk of that!
Because I agree with you. They are the most important part.

Love that area and great hospitality from all even on a shoestring budget.
Africa welcomes its guests. Pole-Pole!

I can only guess how a dream safari would be and one day I will do it!!!
;')

Enjoy the beds everyone!
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Mar 8th, 2012, 04:58 PM
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I didn't read all the replies, and you may have your answer, but just wanted to say that I took a private safari with Africa Dream Safaris in 2008 and thought it was excellent, from the service of the California office to the local rep, to the driver/guide, the stretch vehicle for two persons and all the little extras like expedited visa on arrival included. Recommend them highly. I liked dealing with a US person, as it made the logistics of paying easier (I just sent a personal check in the mail and got a 5% discount off the published costs). They also belong a California Travel Restitution Fund that protects you from financial default by the operator.

Have fun whoever you chose to travel with.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 12:07 AM
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Thomson's got great camps with great locations (like Kogakuria and Enashiva). Especially when going in july-september, when migration is in the north (Mara section). Sun Safaris uses them too.

Roy's seems - on average - a bit less qualitative compared to, say, Nature Discoveries. A friend told me that he went for the latter (via Sun) as the camps Roy gave him in the south of TZ were a bit less. Like Sable Mountain Lodge in Selous, which is far from center (good part) of the reserve. And like some other camp (forgot name) that was outside Ruaha borders.

Then again, it may have been just this itinerary. All companies mentioned so far are very well known and have a good reputation.

OP, your safari needs should be no challenge at all for these companies.

Ciao,

J.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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For as many types of travelers, there are as many types of Tour Operators and/or Outfitters. A cover for every pot! You just have to find the one that works for you and your budget.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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travel2eat, actually, some of the "bush camps" we've stayed at knock the socks off any Four Seasons, and that includes the cuisine! I think it's great that East Africa has an option that fits every budget. True, same park/animals, but some people really want the comfort as well.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Hi Jesse,
My wife and I went to Tanzania for our honeymoon in Oct 2010 with Thomson Safaris. They're based in Watertown Ma and we live in NH so it was nice to be able to deal with someone local.
The trip was simply amazing and the service provided by Thomson was superb.
While it was the only safari we've been on and I have nothing else to compare them to, they set the bar for ANY travel company we've ever done business with.
They took care of everything and were meticulous in the details. They truly are excellent at what they do.
Give them a call and see what they can offer you.
If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to address them.
Chris
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Mar 10th, 2012, 03:26 AM
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Was with Roy Safaris Feb 2011 for two weeks, Ndutu, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, stayed at better lodges, private vehicle with only two photographers per vehicle. Cost was less than $400 per day person. Roy's vehicles are the best ones on safari, custom made long wheel base, no pop top corner posts, interior seats can be taken out for better window access. All for better photography. Started Arusha, finished Arusha. My Fodor's trip report here -
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-tanzania-.cfm

Travel2eat appears to be native African who is comfortable with "roughing it" since they have cultural "street smarts". Which is fine, but for me, a rich stupid tourist , I feel more comfortable with advice and details handled by someone like Roy Safaris.

regards - tom
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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We used Roy Safari a couple of years back and loved their service. Baraka was one of the best guides we have ever had. All of our communications were with Susan Wood, stateside and she was fabulous in helping us decide everything for the trip. Reasonable and great options.
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Mar 11th, 2012, 05:38 AM
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I used Eben Safaris for my first trip to Tanzania. You can click on my user name to find the trip report. Very satisfied. Even though it's billed as "luxury" safari, he'll do any level of comfort you want. We went with a "mid level" and it was super comfortable, reasonable cost, great fun.

I also used Africa Adventure Company for a trip to Botswana, but they do trips all over Africa. Also very pleased with that company's service, although I don't know how their prices would compare to Eben's.
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