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Opinions on Safari Companies - East African, Roy, ATR

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Aug 31st, 2004, 10:42 AM
  #1
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Opinions on Safari Companies - East African, Roy, ATR

Hi all!

Well, this is my very first post on fodors, which is very exciting, because it means that we are now planning our very first trip to Tanzania! My husband and I are heading to Tanz. in December/January for 25 days (the most we could get off of work) and we've done alot of research and planning already, but were hoping to get some opinions about which safari company to choose (probably the most important decision one can make!). We're going to do a safari, with trekking in the Crater Highlands and Lengai, a Mount Meru climb and then a few final days in Zanzibar... We have wonderful-looking quotes from:

1) East African Safari and Touring Company
2) Roy Safaris
3) Africa Travel Resource

Has anyone travelled with any of these guys before? We're particularly looking to hear about East African Safari and Touring Company because they're talked about less often, and have a very interesting itinerary for a little bit cheaper...

Thanks so much - any opinions, stories (good and bad) would really be appreciated!
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Aug 31st, 2004, 11:00 AM
  #2
sandi
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The only companies I'm familiar with are Roys and Africa Travel Resource, but no one can know all the outfitters providing services.

Are you doing a custom itinerary? Are all the companies providing the same services and accommodations? In other words, are you comparing apples-to-apples?

You might want to list the itinerary you are planning along with the accommodations, whether lodges or camps so we have an idea of what a 25-day itinerary looks like, since most of us rarely do such a long trip, or have the time to do so.

 
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Aug 31st, 2004, 02:09 PM
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We just booked our Tanzanian and Kenyan safari with Roy Safaris. I spent months researching outfitters and am very comfortable with chosing Roy's. I am glad that you have found this board as I believe the people who contribute here have provided me with excellent advice. I try to read posts daily. We started out to "go to Africa"...not knowing even what country to consider first. After lots of research we chose East Africa for our first safari, then selected Tanzania and Kenya, hoping to catch the Great Migration (June 2005). Once we decided on Kenya and Tanzania I continued research of over 25 operators, both US and local. I bet I have 30 catalogs and brouchures on East Africa alone! After many emails and calls were chose Roys for the best service and price. OUr itinerary:

1. Fly to Amsterdam - Overnight there.
2. Fly to Nairobi - Giraffe Manor
3. Fly to Amboseli Tortilis
4. Amboseli Tortilis
5. Drive to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
6. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
7. Drive to Ngorongoro Serena
8. Ngorongoro Serena
9. Drive to Serengeti Serena
10. Drive to Kirawira
11. Kirawira
12. Kirawira
13. Fly to Arusha. Fly to Amsterdam.
14. Overninght Amsterdam.
15. Return to US

The land package for this for 3 of us is about $10,000.

I also considered Aftican Travel Resourse but they were much more expensive for "lesser" accomidations. Never heard of East African Safari and Touring Company. Hope you enjoy the research process as much as I have. I feel that we have a "luxury" safari for the price of an off the rack entry from a "big name".
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Sep 1st, 2004, 01:36 AM
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We are travelling to Tanzania on September 12th for 2.5 weeks and have booked through ATR so I will be able to give you some feedback upon our return if that is of any help. So far, they have been very helpful and enthusiastic about Tanzania.
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Sep 1st, 2004, 03:14 AM
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My family used Roy Safaris for a 13 day trip in July this year. We were extremely pleased with their services, prices, and general attitude. We would definitely use them again.
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Sep 1st, 2004, 05:49 AM
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To JazzDrew-
Thanks to people on this post my husband and I are using Roy's in December. I am curious what your accomidations were for each leg of your planned trip in June.
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Sep 1st, 2004, 06:32 AM
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Hi,

Thanks everyone for your responses so far - I only wish that some of you had used East African Safari Company before - we really are curious for some feedback.

Jazzdrew, isn't it exciting planning such a trip? Of course, it sounds like we're planning it much closer to travel than you - we're heading out on Dec. 26th and still haven't booked so we need to get the show on the road! We've been researching for a couple of months and have been dealing with about 8-9 companies, and now have narrowed it down to these 3, whose itineraries (and reps) we seem to like the most... Now comes the hard part of making that final decision...

Basically, we now have quotes from the 3 different companies and they definitely aren't identical (EAS has us camping far more than ATR, ATR has us doing more driving than hiking, etc.), so we aren't comparing apples to apples exactly, but they all have itineraries that we are interested in... Here's the gist of them (keep in mind that our trip is going to be just the two of us - Jazzdrew, is yours private just the three of you for that price?):

1. 4-day Mount Meru trek (camping on the mountain of course)

2. 5 or 6 days of full-out safari - each of the companies has us doing some private semi-luxury camping, as well as at least 2 nights in a permanent tented camp

3. 3-4 days of trekking in the Crater Highlands, all itineraries include a climb up Oldonyo Lengai, as well as some time at Empakai and Lake Natron...

4. 3-4 days in Zanzibar, spending a couple of days in Stone Town and a couple of days on the beach - Pongwe Beach Resort or Palm Beach Guesthouse (any opinions on either of those?) We're actually meeting up with Canadian friends of ours who happen to be living in Rwanda for the year, so it should be a fun leg of the trip...!

The itineraries range from $7100 to $8400 for both of us...

Any opinions on these? And again, if there's anyone that has used East African Safaris, it would be great to hear from you too! Although the more opinions the merrier on any of the three companies!

Thanks guys for all of your help!
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Sep 1st, 2004, 02:42 PM
  #8
sandi
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Whichever outfitter you decide on, suggest you get moving with booking as you'll need rooms during the Christmas/New Years holidays. I don't think you want to get closed out of and suggested accommodations, specifically the permanent tented camps.
 
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Jun 10th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Hi, did you tried East African Safari finally?
I'm about to reserve a safari with them and I haven't found any opinion yet. Maybe u went with them.
Can you help me?
thanks
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Jul 19th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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Hi Gluelace,

We did in fact use them in December/January 2004/2005 and we loved every minute of it! Although I can't give a blanket opinion of the company (because we had such a personalized itinerary), I can certainly say that our experience was wonderful and our guide was superb - his name was George and I highly suggest that you recommend that he be your guide.

I have written (most of, sorry ) a very detailed trip report - I'm not sure whether I know how to properly copy and paste a thread, so if the below thread link doesn't work, just do a search for it - it was entitled "26 glorious days in Tanzania":

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34569264

Enjoy! And please feel free to ask any other questions you may have about East African Safari Co....
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Jul 20th, 2005, 02:06 AM
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We used East Africa Safari Company (based in New York) for a trip in 1988. Everything was handled by A&K in Tanzania, and it was an outstanding trip. Our guides, Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott are well known in Tanzania, tho I don't know if they are still leading trips. They followed Schaller studying the lions. David illustrated all the guidebooks for the parks, and they have collaborated on a number of books. East Africa Safari did a fine job for us, and I spent a lot of time comparing companies!
I'd be glad to answer any questions.
Diane
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Jul 27th, 2005, 11:08 PM
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To Knightsound/Diane - how nice to find you here! You weren't sure if your former safari guides still lead safaris in TZ, and the answer is that we do, though only rather special ones since we moved to Tucson in 2003. We're looking forward to spending some time in Serengeti in January.

Re this thread, safari companies - E.A.Safari is a safe bet, A&K took a nosedive a few years ago but once again has an excellent manager in TZ. We never worked with Roy but have heard good things about them.

Karibuni Tanzania! A wonderful country.

Dave
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Jul 28th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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I used ATR to plan my Botswana safari for 2006 - great experience. Constant dialogue, really got a feel for what I wanted and then got it done. I got into six high demand camps without a hitch with excellent pricing. They also booked some of my activities in advance and I got a significant price break. They are definitely worth checking out. They also got me a great travel insurance package at a fraction of the cost of what other companies wanted to charge me. I go June 2006.

Stanleys Camp - 3 days
Macatoo Camp - 3 days
Duba Plains - 3 days
Lebala Camp - 3 days
Savuti Camp - 3 days
Tongabezi - 2 days
Singabezi - 1 day

A
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Jul 28th, 2005, 05:13 PM
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Maybe this info is somewhere and I've missed it, but does anyone know who ATR uses on the ground in Tanzania? I'm assuming they don't have their own guides/vehicles, but perhaps I'm wrong?
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Jul 28th, 2005, 05:38 PM
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Leely,

(It feels so weird following East Africa threads now!)

ATR uses Nomad Camps. For January - May, they will use (Nomad) Masek and (Nomad) Piaya. They also seem to favor Olduvai Camp and will likely dissuade you from using Dusini (Sanctuary).

They were not hesitant to book me into Mbuzi Mawe, which was a nice surprise (imagine that, being able to pick your own camps, what a concept!). Really, the only other alternative would from ATR would have been Ronjo Flycamp...not quite a grand way to end one's safari in the Serengeti.

For other places, ATR will steer you to the following camps/lodges:

Arusha - Moivaro Coffee Lodge

Lake Manyara - Initially they suggested Gibbs Camp, but when they saw I was willing to open my wallet, they did not dissuade me from Manyara Tree Camp (CCA).

Tarangire - They dissuaded me from visiting here in late February, saying that driving would be very difficult and the wildlife would be greatly dispersed rather than concentrated. I took their advice and that is how I booked Manyara Tree Camp. Had I insisted on Tarangire, I believe they would have put me at Oliver's Camp. They were not too crazy about me staying at Swala (another Sanctuary lodge, which I am sure is great, but probably doesn't have the closest ties with ATR).

Zanzibar - ATR did not mind booking me into Emerson & Green but did try to push me to the Matemwe Bungalows afterward instead of the Palms Zanzibar. However, they were perfectly willing to book me into the Palms, they just thought that Matemwe Bungalows was a better value in a possibly better location. I thought that the Palms Zanzibar was too good to pass up. Only six private villas, each measuring nearly 1400 square feet with private jacuzzi/plunge pools and all inclusive.

I don't care if I end up paying for everything anyway, but there is nothing like an all-inclusive place...never having to open your wallet or signing a tab and settling up later. That is SOOOOO ANNOYING. Let me pretend like it is all free and you just really like me!
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Jul 28th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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Hi Leely

Mt Kilimanjaro Safari Club is the Ground operator.
Cheers

Sarvo
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Jul 28th, 2005, 05:48 PM
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Okay, I am retarded...didn't understand Leely's question until after reading Sarvowinner's response. It will be awhile before I am fluent in East African!
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Jul 28th, 2005, 08:37 PM
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I think ATR uses a few different ground operators one of which is Mt Kilimanjaro/Tanganyika and which operator they use depends on which camps you've booked. That's my understanding anyway. Sarvowinner, are you staying at any of the following - Ronjo, Mawe Ninga, Olduvai? I believe those are Tanganyika camps.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 09:35 PM
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We are staying at Oldupai & Ronjo but I was also referring to the fact our driver/vehicle for our entire safari is being operated to MKSC - according to our itinerary MKSC is also responsible for our accommodation at the camps.
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Jul 29th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Sorry, I meant different clients may get different ground operators not that one client will get passed from operator to operator, although I do believe bat mentioned that they're switching guides/vehicles mid-trip because of the particular camps on their itinerary. I suppose it's not really much different than doing a guide/vehicle swap when you cross the border between Kenya/Tanzania.
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