Overseas Adventure Travel ..Safari Serengeti

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Aug 29th, 2006, 08:19 AM
  #1
JCH
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Overseas Adventure Travel ..Safari Serengeti

Can anyone give me the benefit of their experiences with Overseas Adventure Travel? We have have a group of 12 friends planning a trip to Africa. We are looking at the Safari Serengeti Tour. Anyone been on this particular one? Any input on the accomodations, food, guides, etc. would be appreciated. Ideally, what we would like to do is combine this area with an extension to South Africa. Does anyone know of a tour company that might do this? OAT does not. Thanks for your help.
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Aug 29th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Definitely run a search on this board for OAT. It might be helpful to search the Asia board also, just to see what people think about the company.

Some people swear by them and say they had the greatest time travelign with them. But some have had some horrible unsatisfying experiences. Just guessing off the top of my head, it seems like 75% of the time I read about them, it is great.
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Aug 29th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Nothing against OAT, but with 12 people going, please get a good operator and plan your own trip. You can plan it according to migration times (or probable times anyway!), enjoy your own vehicles and guides, and in general have total flexibility. This board will guide you through it!

What say you, East Africa gurus?
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Aug 29th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I agree with cooncat. With 12 people, you should plan your own custom trip. You could even contact OAT's ground operator in Tanzania, Kibo Safaris, to arrange it. Most of the negative comments I've read about OAT seem to involve communication issues with their US office.
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Aug 29th, 2006, 11:05 AM
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JCH
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I think the reason the group wanted to go with the package is because of the airfare. If you do your own airfare, they credit you a little over $1000. Airfare on your own will cost twice that. I will contact Kibos and inquire about a custom trip and compare prices. We would rather have flexibility in our fly times and layovers anyway. Thanks
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Aug 29th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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I agree with Patti and cooncat. I went on this OAT trip in 2004, then put together a group trip with Kibo in 2005. I'm currently working on a June 2007 group trip with Kibo. OAT has cut out two parks from their trip, Arusha and Lake Manyara, no doubt to keep their costs low. They also don't use Kibo's best mobile tented camps, the main difference being the toilets. Their Boston office usually messes up something, so you have to watch your paperwork carefully (I've traveled with them 3 times.)

You could customize your trip if you worked with Kibo directly. For instance, I kept Arusha NP and added a day's trip out to Lake Eyasi to visit the Hadzabe bushmen. Also, we're flying back from the Serengeti. I like Kibo and I think you could work with them to put together a great trip that would be better than OAT's. You can contact Josiah at [email protected].

The advantage that OAT has is the great prices they get for airfare, which they include in their prices. You could work with a company like Born Free Safaris air department to get lower airfare, though.

As to going to South Africa, OAT used to do that as an extension to this trip, but they finally realized that it was not a good idea. The travelers that did it on our 2004 trip thought that it was a waste of time. We did our own extension to Zanzibar and had a great time. You might consider that.
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Aug 29th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Hi JCH,

Your response came in while I was writing mine. As I noted, you might check with Born Free about air costs. Right now, I just had them book one of our travelers from Atlanta to Arusha for about $2350 for next June. It would be less if it were "off season", leaving in late May. I guarantee you that OAT pays more than $1000 for their airfare, so you're not getting full credit for what they pay.
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Aug 30th, 2006, 05:54 AM
  #8
JCH
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Thanks for your suggestions. I have emailed Kibo Safaris and I'm waiting for a reply.
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Aug 31st, 2006, 10:18 AM
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I did a short trip report. If you search "OAT Tanzania Sinya" it will appear.

While I enjoyed the trip, I agree that with others who suggest arranging your own tour for your group. My main objections to the OAT trip were there were a couple of wasted days and the game drives were shorter than I would have liked. However, the price was considerably less than doing it on my own.

I travel independently most of the time, but have taken two OAT trips. This particular OAT trip was definitely not as terrific as the OAT trips to India and Egypt.

The food ranged from very good to mediocre (sometimes the portions were too small). Our guides from Kibo were also mediocre. I thought the accommodations were just terrific (mostly permanent tents), except for Mama Wilson's in Arusha which was gloomy but had a nice pool. Since I had gone on an extraordinary safari trip a few years ago which cost over 3x as much, it might not be fair to compare. Botton line... OAT to TZ was fine, just not terrific.
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Aug 31st, 2006, 08:37 PM
  #10
JCH
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I did read your report and it was very helpful. I did not get a response from Kibo but did from Naipenda Safaris. She said that my email had been forwarded to her from Kibo since they do not often do direct bookings. I thought that was a little odd since others have booked directly through Kibo. I also have put a travel agent on to looking at possibilities. Thanks again for your help.
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Aug 31st, 2006, 09:43 PM
  #11
 
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In that case, try looking through the East Africa trip report index and contacting a few other Tanzanian operators that have been used by posters here http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34860283
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