Luxury Tour Company for African Safari

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May 24th, 2012, 08:18 AM
  #1
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Luxury Tour Company for African Safari

We have some friends that are looking into taking an African safari for a big anniversary and would like to do it in luxury. Would love some feedback into what tour companies folks have traveled with and your personal experiences. Anyone travel with Micato?? Thanks!
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May 24th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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To which African country for safari?

There are many reputable Tour Operators in your home country or in-country outfitters who can prepare an itinerary to meet your friend's wishes for as luxe as they want... on their dates, where they visit and importantly the accommodations they select. Prices for operators/outfitters can vary widely, so do suggest they do research to determine exactly what they want to accomplish. If they haven't done so yet, have them pick up a copy of Fodor's 'Complete Safari Planning Guide' that contains info on all the safari countries - where, when, lodging, health, transport and other very useful information. Even a list of tour operators/outfitters. Or guidebooks for the individual country/ies of interest.

As to Micato whose specialty is Kenya & Tanzania (they're located in Kenya and with offices in NYC), and more recently expanded to the southern African countries where they outsource the ground operations, know that unless you choose to do a 'private' safari, most of Micato's tours are 'group' departures on set dates, with set accommodations and way overpriced for those offered. And, if choosing to go private with Micato, the costs will be further overpriced.

So, do your friends wish to travel with a group?

There's a thread here on Fodor's by screenname LyndaS titled 'New East African Trip Reports' with lots of useful info. I don't have the link to this though a search on this forum might bring it up. Or, if anyone sees this and has the link to the thread, please post here.
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May 24th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Trip report (with link to photos) of our 40th Anniversary spent in Tanzania. It was wonderful! I would highly recommend ATR to do safari of any style.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...and-selous.cfm
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May 24th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Here's LindaS' thread that contains links to many trip reports:

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...port-index.cfm

We used &Beyond ( formerly ccafrica) and had a great trip.
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May 24th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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Thank-you so much for your replies, I appreciate it!!
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May 24th, 2012, 03:00 PM
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I think your friends would do better with a private safari, rather than a group as Sandi notes. There are two areas for safari, East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and southern Africa (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa). Botswana has some really high-end camps in private concessions, such as the Wilderness Safari camps. However, you can find high-end accommodations in every country. The important part is the quality of the guides. They can make or break a safari. They should use a reputable safari planning company such as Africa Serendipity or The Wild Source, both of whom I've used. Once they've determined their budget, the time of year and where to go, then they can work with the planner on the details.
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May 24th, 2012, 10:42 PM
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I agree with ShayTay; private safari seems like the way to go.

With that I mean; since they travel in group, they should look for an itinerary that guarantees that they do not have to share their vehicle with anyone else.

Coincidence; just had Sun Safaris assemble a trip for a friend; 3 weeks of pure safari in the east part of South-Africa, from north to south. Mashatu Main -> Klaserie nThambo -> Sabi Sands Inyati -> Phinda (forgot which camp). He's on his own, and wants private vehicle and guide throughout.
Including all local flights it's about 16K€. But don't let that price fool you; imagine splitting the cost of a private vehicle and guide among all travelers in the same group. The point I try to make is; you can get a top notch private safari, and it does not necessarily need to be more expensive than a "regular" safari. Not if you shop around.

Ciao,

J.
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May 25th, 2012, 08:00 AM
  #8
TC
 
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I agrere with PixilP on this one. You don't have to pay more to get more. We have been to Africa twice. Once ten years ago we did a typical package safari with a reputable and highly regarded company. The trip was sold as a 17 day tour. The cost of land only for that trip was $7200 per person for the 17 days - of which, Day 1, "Depart U.S.", Day 2 "Arrive AMS", Day 3 "Arrive Nairobi settle in", Day 15 "Back to Nairobi", Day 16 "Depart for AMS", Day 17 "Arrive US". So of the 17 days, 6 were just travel to and from and I paid for the International air on my own. There were additional days spent only transiting from one camp to the next either in a vehicle on the road or by air.

Ten years later, we started to plan our return. I did all my own planning and booked with ATR. We spent 22 full days in the bush in Southern Tanzania. I did a cost analysis between the latest trip and our first one. Our first safari was a total of 17 days for about $15,000, of which we spent only 5 or 6 full days on game drives. The rest was all moving from one place to the other. Making the cost per game drive day nearly $3000 each. Compared to our later itinerary of 22 full days on the ground, in a vehicle, in the bush for $18,000. Making those game drive days cost a little over $800 each. Definitely more bang for the buck.

You may have read my trip report by now, but I will add a bit about our 40th Anniversary celebration. Each and every one of the camps made a special effort to do something unique for us to mark the occassion. Selous Safari did a private champagne dinner for us on our tent veranda. Jongomero had a champagne dinner for us complete with special entertainment by the local tribesmen. Mwagusi upgraded us to the honeymoon suite -- an amazing living space built into the rock face adjoined our tent. Sand Rivers surprised us with a cooked to order bush breakfast one morning. As we rounded a corner we saw a beautifully laid out table with crystal and china and our camp cook waiting to attend us. We felt like royalty at every stop. ATR and the camp managers really made sure we had a sterling celebration at every location.
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