now to the safari service!...

Old Aug 14th, 2003, 03:01 PM
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now to the safari service!...

Thanks for everyone's input about accommodations and guides! Here's where we stand. Our goal is to spend a few days in the Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and a day or two at Lake Manyara. We have 12 days in November to take my dream trip! We've narrowed it down to these groups:

1) go2africa, staying in Sopa lodges with two nights in tented camp in the Mara.

2) CCAfrica, staying in deluxe accommodations like Klein's Camp, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and Kichwa Tembo

3) Cottars camp (although the itinerary is still rough around the edges, we probably wouldn't be spending as much time in Tanzania)

Any experiences with these tours and guides? Should we just throw caution to the wind and go deluxe?

Thank you all so much! I've had so many great vacations because of advice on these boards.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2003, 05:55 PM
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I would just urge you to do your homework as far as tour operators. For our trip, I looked at both CCAfrica and Go2Africa. Turns out they were more expensive than others for what we wanted. By doing a bit more homework and thoroughly looking into other tour operators and sending out an exorbitant amount of email inquiries, we found one less expensive and subsequently were able to add more time (3 more days!) to our trip. Just make sure you exhaust all your tour operator options before making a decision. Having said that, however, I have friends who have traveled with both and were thoroughly happy with their experiences.
SusanLynne is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2003, 04:18 PM
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You're all over the place as far as prices and type of accommodations are concerned.

The Crater Lodge is so expensive, the other places won't come anywhere comparing in surroundings, food, price.

Also, how will you be getting fr/to the Mara from Tanzania? By road you have to go via Nairobi by road or fly then to/fr Arusha in Tanzania. And if you'll be driving through Tanzania, and the Serengeti is your last stop, I strongly recommend you fly back to Arusha.

The Sopa Lodges are nice, but I would do Kichwa Tembo (a tented campt) in the Mara. In Tanzania, we found the Serena properties the nicest, though they are lodges with the exception of Kirawira which is in the Western Serengeti and one of the loveliest tented camps we've experienced.

And for not wanting to spend "that much time in Tanzania" - all the places you listed with exception of the Mara - are in Tanzania.

I know it can be quite confusing as to what you want to see, where, and accommodations. But based on what you have listed in your first paragraph you seem to be doing a trip to Tanzania.

As to tour operators, CCAfrica is expensive and rarely recommends anything other than their properties. Go2Africa is a South Africa based company.FoEast Africa, alot of people have used 2afrika, which from first glance seems a budget operator, but if you want more mid- to hi-range properties, they can do it for you.

Contact - their new prices are due out Sept 1, but they can probably put together a tentative itinerary for you in the meantime.

While Susan recommends sending out an exhorbitant amount of emails, I find that all the more confusing. But as she says and I concur, you've got to do your homework first - this is your trip, so know as best as possible what you want and ask for it. I find that no more than 4 tour operators - Using the top-of-the-line to see what they offer, what accomm they use and price. And 2 mid-range operators where I usually wind up; and budget, just to reassure myself, I won't go that way.

You've got to do more research.
Old Aug 17th, 2003, 07:32 PM
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Thanks for the input. I realize it seems that we're all over the place with price, but we've found a special deal with CCAfrica that's a relative steal (based on articles I've read and what I've seen their tours to normally be). Cottars is definitely the most expensive on the list, but even that's not too bad. And the hiking has an individual appeal to it.

We would spend most of our time in Tanzania EXCEPT with Cottars (sorry for the confusion -- we would only be in the Serengeti then, with the remainder in Kenya).

I've sent e-mails or called about a dozen different tour operators, and of those who responded -- which isn't all of them -- the prices weren't very far off one another by less than a thousand a person between highest and lowest. I don't know if it's the time of the year, or the economy, or if my luck (good or bad)!

We've been quoted prices to fly from Nairobi (Wilson airport I believe?) into Tanzania, then driving or flying, depending on the company, to Lake Manyara. And again depending on the company we'd be driving or flying from the Mara back to Nairobi before heading into Arusha.

From searching the 2Afrika web site, it didn't seem that they offer customized tours, and the dates of their pre-scheduled trips won't work for us. I'll try to contact them though and see what they can do.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2003, 05:19 AM
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Have you contacted Roy Safaris in Arusha, Tanzania? That's who we used. It may be worth a try. As for Sandi's comment about the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, it is fun to stay there the night, but I found I liked some of our other accommodations better. The Crater Lodge is ornate and people "dressed" for dinner. I like a place a bit more casual when on safari. It is an experience to stay at the Crater Lodge, with its chandalier bathrooms and sitting areas and private butler, but I actually felt it was "over the top." Is it worth the money to stay there? I have mixed feelings about that. All I can say is that I was much more comfortable and at ease in some of the other places we stayed. Fly into the Serengeti - its spectacular!!
SusanLynne is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Try this site I found on 2Afrika's site:
It appears to me that they do arrange private safaris, and will give you a comparison quote, which generally they say they can beat. I'm on their email list and I know I've read that they say they arrange many private safaris.
I've recommended them here quite a lot, but I would like to know how they compare if you'd let us know. If they aren't good, I'll quit, but I know their groups look quite cheap and those from here who have gone on them have raved about them upon return. Liz
Old Aug 18th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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I sent 2Afrika a message last night and hope to hear from them soon -- I'll let you know where they hang in the balance!

We did try Roy Safaris but they were pretty expensive. I have read great things about them on this board though -- probably worth the extra money!

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge really isn't our speed, but since it's part of the package deal (and Klein's Camp is in there too) I guess we'd have to take the great with the excessive...

Thanks everyone -- I'll keep plugging away at our choices and the advice.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Old Sep 13th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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Liz, just to follow up (and welcome back!) wanted to let you know that almost four weeks after I sent 2Afrika the e-mail, and three weeks after I faxed them a quote we'd obtained from another company I still haven't gotten anything back from them. I've spoken with Ken three times and he says he's working on it but since we have about two months before taking off, we'll be making our reservations elsewhere. From what Ken mentioned, the worm virus and the blackout affected their systems to the point that they have been struggling to get things organized again.

And sorry SusanLynne - Roy Safaris was actually reasonably priced but I had trouble with their giving me an itinerary that matched the camps we wanted to see. It was Taga that was pricey!
hlphillips2 is offline  
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