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Need to hear from anyone who went on safari with Good Earth

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Jan 20th, 2005, 11:21 AM
  #1
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Need to hear from anyone who went on safari with Good Earth

Good Earth Tours is coming in with good prices for our customized Tanzania safari, but I haven't heard much about them compared with Roy's & some of the others. I would feel better about booking with them if I could hear more from others who went with them. Any feedback whatsoever would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Jan 20th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Lisa,

I feel like I've heard good things about them, but I'm not sure from where (a guidebook?). In any case, you should also try posting this question on the Africa branch of the Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree--it's really not ALL backpackers over there! I ended up going with the company we used because of a few recs from people posting on Thorn Tree (they said their parents used them...good gosh, I'm only 34), making sure they were registered with TATO, and asking for recs/e-mails of former clients. Sort of a pain, but in the end we were very satisfied.
Leely
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Jan 20th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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I have read good reviews on the Frommer's message board. I have a trip booked with them late September thru mid-October. I would also be interested in comments from others who have used Good Earth
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 01:13 PM
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anyone?
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Feb 4th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Lisa -

We are in the process of getting quotes for a custom safari in October 2005 for 2 weeks. Good Earth is also coming in with good prices for us - about 20% less than Roys and 25% less than WildTrek. What have you decided to do?

Also Good Earth is registered with TATO and have no complaints on the BBB website. A friend of a friend traveled with them on a somewhat budget Kili climb and Safari and had a great time with Good Earth, but did say that the vehicles from Roys were newer (mind that she was in a van with 7 other people...). I am going to ask Good Earth how old the vehicles are.

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Feb 6th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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lorib1: I did a search on Frommer's and found some very positive comments and nothing negative. Also found a positive comment on Lonely Planet. I would be interested in anything you find out about the age of their vehicles or any other details. I too noticed they have no BBB complaints and are TATO-listed, although of course those are not guarantees. Overall I am encouraged though.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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Lisa -

I'm also going to email my friend who used Good Earth in early January to find out more info. Granted, we are plannning to do a private safari for just me & my husband, so the vehicles may be different, but will keep you posted.

- Lori
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Feb 7th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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Lisa

I think you should go for it with Good Earth if you are happy with the quote. I've never heard a bad thing about them either.

Since you are doing a lodge safari (I assume) with only the two of you, you wil have to be extremely unlucky to have a bad experience.

But I would ask them the following before payment:

1. To send you a picture of the vehicle
2. To ensure you that there are no mileage limits
3. To find a driver that shares your interests - maybe you like birds or have specific interests in flora, or cultures.

Most driver/guides are very spirited and enjoy exclusive use safaris - regardless of who they work or contract for.
Eben
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Feb 8th, 2005, 05:10 AM
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I heard back from Good Earth on the vehicle questions.

- Vehicles are under 5 years old, in excellent condition and there are no mileage limits.
- Safaris are of unlimited mileage and game drives - so you get to decide how many drives you want to do.

I also just received a quote from Eastern & Southern Safaris (based in Kenya). Price is comparable to Good Earth, but with a lesser room at Fundu Lagoon (we are planning to finish our trip in Pemba for 3 nights). Also, E&S cannot guarantee a private safari in Masai Mara and includes a few less meals.

Has anyone traveled with E&S?
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Feb 10th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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So I think that we are going to go with Good Earth for our 10th anniversary October 2005 trip to Kenya & Tanzania (private safari). Since sending out my tour requests 2 weeks ago, I have found them to be extremely prompt with replies, and clear to answer all my questions.

Along with the good price and positive feedback that I've heard, it seems like the way to go. Our itinerary is:

1 nt Nairobi - Intercontinental
3 nt Masai Mara - Serena
1 nt Arusha - Arusha Coffee Lodge
2 nt Tarangire - Swala Camp
2 nt Ngorongoro - Serena
3 nt Pemba - Fundu Lagoon
1 nt Dar - Holiday Inn (early flight in morning back to US).

We are flying from Nairobi RT to Mara, and also from Nairobi to Kili. Other flights include Arusha-Pemba, and Pemba-Dar.

Thanks to all who have provided input. I'll continue to read and post, and will be back with lots more questions as our trip nears!!

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Feb 10th, 2005, 05:32 AM
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Excellent!

It's a nice itinerary without rushing from park to park and at a good price it seems! This should be a very good trip.

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Feb 10th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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lorib1 -- We will be very eager to hear about your trip when you get back, because we are planning to stay at Swala as well as Ngorongoro in late Nov.-early Dec. of this year...and are also likely to book through Good Earth I believe.
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Feb 10th, 2005, 03:07 PM
  #13
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lisa - better check whether Swala is opened in November/early-December - it's the "short" rain season and might be closed.
 
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Feb 11th, 2005, 08:55 AM
  #14
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I did check -- they are saying it is open.
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Mar 29th, 2005, 08:49 PM
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I'd also like to know if anyone else has used Good Earth or Kenya.com. Just as an FYI - Kenya.com thus far has provided great service but prices are higher than Good Earth. Any feedback on either company would be appreciated.
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Mar 30th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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I too have recently booked a September, 2005 trip with Good Earth. GE was very prompt and accomodating. I also dealt with Roy's who seemed to be pushy telling me that every lodge in Kenya and Tanzania was almost sold out. GE was able to book every lodge I wanted without a problem and at a good price. Here is my itinerary ($4,660/person):

Sep 4th 2004: Arrival Nairobi
Arrival in Nairobi in the morning, met and transfer to Norfolk Hotel
Sep 5: Drive to Lake Nakuru, game drive in Nakuru, Sarova Lion Hill
Lodge
Sep 6: Drive to Mount Kenya Safari Club, B,L,D.
Sep 7: Drive to Sweetwaters game reserve, game drive and floodlit game
viewing, Sweetwater Tented Camp, B,L,D.
Sep 8: Drive to Samburu, game drive in Samburu, Samburu Serena Lodge,
B,L,D.
Sep 9: Another game drive in Samburu, Samburu Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Sep 10: Flight (time: 9:15~10:45am) from Samburu to Masai Mara, met by
other driver, and have game drive in Mara, Mara Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Sep 11~12: Game drive in Mara, Mara Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Sep 13: Drive to Sirari border (Mara~Serengeti border) with picnic
lunch, cross the border (you need to have Tanzania visa before arrival),
change of drivers and vehicles, enter Serengeti, game drive en route,
Kirawira Tented Camp, B,L,D.
Sep 14: Game drive in Serengeti, Migration Camp, B,L,D.
Sep 15: Another game drive in Serengeti, Migration Camp, B,L,D.
Sep 16: Another game drive in Serengeti, then drive to overnight in
Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Sep 17: Descend into Ngorongoro crater, game drive in the crater, Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Sep 18: Descend into Ngorongoro crater for another game drive, then
drive to Arusha to connect the 3:30pm flight to Z’bar, arrival Z’bar at
4:30pm, met and transfer to Z’bar Serena Hotel for dinner and overnight,
Z’bar Serena Hotel, B,L,D.
Sep 19: Z’bar Serena Hotel, B,D.
Sep 20: Drive to East Coast, Matemwe Beach Village (Suite), B, D.
Sep 21: Matemwe Beach Village (Suite), B,D.
Sep 22: Transfer to Z’bar airport for a flight that leaves at 6:50pm,
arrival Nairobi at 7:30pm, B.
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Mar 30th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Thanks vacationbennett for your willingness to share your itinerary and costs and for your candid comments on operators. It should be a super trip.
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Apr 11th, 2005, 10:19 AM
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Since I originally started this thread, and vacationbennett was good enough to share his itinerary and costs, I thought I should do the same, especially since so many people on this board were so helpful with advice and suggestions. We just put down our deposit today by credit card -- finally! We did pretty exhaustive research, revised our itinerary several times, and can't wait for our trip. The fact that Good Earth accepts credit cards for the deposit and allows you to pay the rest in US traveler's checks upon arrival in country were two factors in their favor (no wire transfers to foreign banks were required). We also liked the fact that Good Earth has an office here in the US with a toll free number which we used for our dealings with them (in addition to e-mail). We have also found Narry to be very responsive. Most importantly, they ended up being hundreds less per person than the other 9 companies we requested prices from (only 8 companies responded). And others had good things to say about them too. Here is our final itinerary, price, and inclusions for 15 days & nights in late November/early December:

Day 1 arrive JRO 9:20 pm, met and transfer to overnight at Kia Lodge.
Day 2 morning flight to northern Serengeti, game drive, overnight Migration Camp, B,L,D.
Day 3 full day game drive, overnight Migration Camp, B,L,D.
Day 4 full day game drive, overnight Migration Camp, B,L,D.
Day 5 full day game drive, overnight Ikoma, B,L,D.
Day 6 full day game drive, overnight Ikoma, B,L,D.
Day 7 full day game drive, overnight Serengeti Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Day 8 full day game drive, overnight Serengeti Serena Lodge, B,L,D
Day 9 full day game drive, overnight Serengeti Serena Lodge, B,L,D
Day 10 full day game drive, overnight Ndutu Lodge, B,L,D.
Day 11 visit Olduvai Gorge, Shifting Sands, Masai village, afternoon-evening crater game drive, overnight Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Day 12 morning-early afternoon crater game drive, overnight Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, B,L,D.
Day 13 morning crater game drive, drive to Gibbs Farm, overnight Gibbs Farm, B,L,D.
Day 14 game drive in Lake Manyara morning-early afternoon, drive to Tarangire, afternoon game drive in Tarangire on way to Swala, overnight Swala, B,L,D.
Day 15 full day game drive Tarangire, overnight Swala, B,L,D.
Day 16 morning game drive, drive to Arusha, day room & dinner Kia Lodge, depart JRO 10:25 pm, B,L,D.

Price: $3,945/person
Price includes:
-Guaranteed Departure, Guaranteed Price
-Private safari for 2 people
-Arrival and departure Kilimanjaro airports transfers
-Accommodations and meals (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) as indicated on the itinerary.
-All park fees, and government taxes.
-Services of our Professional English-speaking driver-guide.
-Game drives in Land Rover/Cruiser with pop up roof.
-Bottled water while on safari.
-One way flight: Arusha to Serengeti including taxes
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Apr 11th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Lisa,
Sounds good, and I think that's a fair price.

I'm back on the official hunt for an itinerary--my old TC (and best friend since high school) and her mom have committed to safari in 2006. Yay! Now the work begins.

I can't wait to hear about your trip, and, as other posters have noted, Good Earth is a reputable company.

p.s. re: your comment in another post: I also saw "The Lost Boys of Sudan." Really had me in tears.
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Apr 11th, 2005, 02:57 PM
  #20
 
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I have had a hig recommendation for Good Earth, but I heard a bad reccommendation for Kenya.com. I hope mdneedsinfo is still reading.
csuss (hello all)
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