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

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Apr 11th, 2005, 02:58 PM
  #21
 
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I meant to say good recommendation for Good Earth - I'm not sure what a hig is.
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May 1st, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #22
 
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I'm a woman who is thinking of booking a safari w/Good Earth for Jan. or Feb. of 2006 - their prices are so much cheaper than other companies. But does anyone know if their style is appropriate for someone going alone? I've travled in groups before, but these were real "groups" I would feel awkward if, for example, my group was just me and members of one family. Any handle on whether Good Earth would be a good choice for me?
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May 4th, 2005, 08:32 AM
  #23
 
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Lisa,
Do you mind telling me what other safari agents you sent your itinerary to for pricing besides Good Earth. Also, did you send the exact same itinerary to everyone, and were they all able to book you into all of the lodges or camps you requested?
Thanks, Brandywine
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May 4th, 2005, 11:47 AM
  #24
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Yes, after checking lots of websites and guidebooks and researching others' recommendations on lodgings and outfitters, we sent our original itinerary (different from the one we ended up with) to 10 different companies: Bushbuck, Predators, Good Earth, Roy's, Tanzania Serengeti Adventures, Zara, 2Afrika, Africa Dream Safaris, Peacock, and Sunny. This was very easy to do, since we just sent the identical e-mail to all 10 companies (separately, of course). Then I made a spreadsheet to put down each company's price quotes, inclusions/exclusions, etc.

Sunny and Predators never responded, so that left 8 companies in the running. The price quotes ranged from a low of $3,250 (from Good Earth) to a high of $4,150 (from Bushbuck, which refused to quote some of the lodgings we had requested) -- quite a range.

Of the 8 who did respond, Bushbuck and Africa Dream Safaris were both completely out of the ballpark on their price quotes relative to the other companies, and did not want to price out the itinerary we had requested, wanted us to use other lodgings, and ADS basically said our itinerary was not doable for under $4,000 -- so we crossed both of them off our list (sadly, because I liked ADS's website a lot).

Then we were left with 6 companies. After seeking out suggestions on this board and from some of the outfitters, we revised our itinerary somewhat, switching to slightly nicer accommodations for a few places, and sent it back out to all 6 operators that were left in the running.

2Afrika never responded, and Peacock's quote was far higher than all the others, so that left 4 companies: Zara, TSA, Roy's, and Good Earth.

Once again, we tinkered a bit with our itinerary (yes, upped one or two of our accommodations a notch again), and sent a third and final request for price quotes to the 4 remaining companies. Zara did not respond, so we crossed them off our list. The other 3 companies were very patient with us and responsive and helpful, especially TSA and Good Earth. Good Earth's quote was still the lowest (as it had been at every step along the way) -- about 10% less than TSA's -- and TSA's was about 10% less than Roy's -- Roy's was the highest of the 3 finalists.

My husband called Narry at Good Earth and had a lengthy conversation with him, asked a lot of detailed questions, and liked what he heard. Based on that, recommendations from others, and on their price, we booked with Good Earth. Added bonus: We were able to put the deposit on our credit cards rather than wiring money as the other 2 would have required. I'm very comfortable with our choice, but the true test of course is months away!

Hope this is helpful.
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May 4th, 2005, 12:00 PM
  #25
 
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Yes, very helpful. Thank you for being so specific with names and numbers!
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May 5th, 2005, 03:22 AM
  #26
 
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Wow Lisa, that was very helpful, thanks for being so open. I really like your itinerary and lodge choices, can't wait to hear your trip report. Hope that you will be happy with Good Earth and that you have a great safari!
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May 5th, 2005, 09:59 AM
  #27
 
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Thank you Lisa - this was very helpful for me. I've made my spreadsheet, and I am just about to embark on the emailing faze (got a bit busy with actual work lately).

csuss
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May 5th, 2005, 12:47 PM
  #28
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Good luck! I don't know who all you are requesting quotes from, but if I had it to do over again knowing what I know now, I would probably just request quotes from Roy's, TSA, and Good Earth. Let us know what happens!
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May 6th, 2005, 08:01 AM
  #29
 
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Hi there

I've been emailing Narry at GE for the last few weeks now. Did anyone else find them quite slow to reply? I cant help getting the feeling that narry doesnt like me!!

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May 6th, 2005, 09:09 AM
  #30
 
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amfs,
How long has it been? I think someone mentioned they were having problems with their website last week, so it could be that they were also having problems with their email. Have you tried sending another message just to see if they received your last inquiry? Or it could be that Narry really doesn't like you (kidding) I contacted them a couple of times and they responded promptly (1-2 days).

For others in the quote process, I just want to mention that prices are dependent on the lodges/camps you select and the same tour operator may not always come back with the best price. A lot depends on what contract rates they have with the particular lodges/camps. In my case, Good Earth came back with the highest prices out of 3 tour operators.

On the other hand, price shouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor. Good communication and a tour operator who is responsive to your needs is important. Good luck finding that perfect combination!
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May 6th, 2005, 10:20 AM
  #31
 
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Patty, did I miss something? Is your itinerary finalized? (I've been busier than usual at work lately.) would love to hear about your plans.

And, Lisa, thanks for all the details re: your itinerary. It really does help.
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May 6th, 2005, 10:30 AM
  #32
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amfs -- maybe double-check the e-mail address again just to be sure? The one we used was [email protected]. If you are filling out a contact sheet from their website, that may be the problem as they appear to have just re-done their website and it may have some glitches -- so I would try e-mailing directly if you haven't done that yet. Or, they have a toll free number, 877-265-9003.

By the way, I totally agree with Patty that a lot depends on the operator's rates at the specific lodgings you are interested in, and would not be at all surprised if another outfitter was less expensive for a different itinerary than the one we happened to be interested in...
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May 6th, 2005, 11:01 AM
  #33
 
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Leely,
No, not yet... I have my Kenya portion pretty fine tuned but still haven't decided what to do with Tanzania or whether to include to Tanzania at all. I'm all over the place with that one. I think you said too many choices, right? And I'm still waiting for my miles from Chase to post (where's the little 'impatient' smiley, I need to find that one).
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May 6th, 2005, 11:39 AM
  #34
 
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Patty, you'll never know how great Tanzania is unless you visit...of course I'm more than a little biased. Still, I think the riding "safari" sounds really interesting.

Yes, so many choices, all of them intriguing. What an itinerary I could cook up for myself given unlimited $$ and time!

Good luck.

And Lisa, sorry for hijacking your thread. October: you haven't too long to wait.
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May 6th, 2005, 02:59 PM
  #35
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Amazing how we've forgotten about the telephone. If the email address doesn't work, just call. Most tour operators have 800# and for what a LD paid call costs these days, it doesn't amount to much.

Websites do go down on occasion.
 
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May 11th, 2005, 05:49 AM
  #36
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Hi all

It might have been a problem with their mail alright. I ended up ringing him but I cant do that everytime I have a question, as i am based in ireland.

Their new website is great - very informative
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Aug 22nd, 2005, 07:19 AM
  #37
 
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Lisa,
My husband and I just returned from a trip with Good Earth tours, and like you we had heard great things about them. Unfortunately, the guide and cook we had (private safari) were untrustworthy and somewhat incompetent, had terrible attitudes, and often disappeared for half a day at a time, taking our drinking water in the jeep with them! In the end, we wish we had spent a bit more money for a better company.

Hope this helps.
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Aug 22nd, 2005, 12:20 PM
  #38
 
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mmcv -

We are traveling with Good Earth at the end of next month on the recommendation of a friend who had a great experience with them earlier this year. We are doing a private safari in Kenya and Tanzania (my itinerary is in this thread above).

Can you provide some more details on your experience, where you traveled, your guides names, etc.?

Thanks.
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Aug 22nd, 2005, 07:43 PM
  #39
 
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mmcv -

I too am going with Good Earth and leave in 10 days. Can you expound on your experience?

Thanks,

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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:04 AM
  #40
 
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Yes, I'm happy to answer these questions.

We traveled on the northern circuit on a private safari with Good Earth, doing Taragire (2 days/2 nights, camping), Serengeti (3 days/3 nights--stayed in Lobo Lodge for 2 nights and camping in central area one night), Ngo Crater (2/2 nights days; camping), then we did the Maasai walk through this company.

I think, honestly, that these problems--misguided information, itinerary changes (and attempts to), etc, could have been avoided with different guides. The cook was also our trekking guide, but we were supposed to have a ranger and a Maasai guide, too. We didn't for part of this walk, and on one of the days we were without a guide at all for several hours. In addition, our regular guide driver often disappeared (with the vehicle) every afternoon after dropping us off, and didn't return until the next day. This would have been okay, except he never told us he was leaving and he always took the bottled water (in the jeep!) with him. One day we had no water for over 5 hours, in a very hot area and after an especially exhausting day.

I would specifically ask to avoid Abdul (driver guide) and Joshua (cook). The latter was extremely macho and on day one made several inappropriate culturally-related remarks at breakfast that out us ill at ease. We are not narrow minded people, and we travel quite a bit and often do off-the-beaten-track type voyages because we have genuine interests in the countries.

Our trip was still great--we have awesome memories of the experiences we had, but the guiding was really problematic. We are contacting Narry at Good Earth to let him know of the problems, but in general I would suggest asking for different guides than those we had. We saw other people having dinner with their guides, and the guides generally interacted with them more, telling them interesting and useful tidbitsd such as what to do if a lion enters the camp (Serengetic--happens often where we were) and just were generally much more friendly and people-oriented. We actually talked with other guides every chance we got (Good Earth and other companies) and learned much from them.

Hope this helps. I know you'll have a wonderful trip, and I think if you are in lodges many of these issues will not be a problem for you because you will deal with/see a cook, the guide, etc less.

Melissa
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