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Photographic safaris and transparency - now that we have the rack rates -

Photographic safaris and transparency - now that we have the rack rates -

Jan 12th, 2009, 03:50 AM
  #1  
tau
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Photographic safaris and transparency - now that we have the rack rates -

Hi,

Now that we have the rack rates available on the travel website of a TA who's also offering photographic safaris, we can make some calculations.

EOA and Andy Biggs are offering a 10-day safari in July 2009 to WS properties at the following cost:

14.975 USD for one day in JNB, 3 days in Chitabe, 3 days in Kwetsani and another 3 in Savuti.

Cost of the camps in Botswana:

9 * 900 = 8.100 USD

Cost of the hotel in JNB and transfer JNB-Maun: 1.000 USD (roughly guess)

Cost of the intercamp flights: 1.000 USD (250 * 4) (roughly guess)

So that gives a total cost of 10.100 USD if you are doing this safari without a photographer.

So you pay for the service of the photographer and the private guide = 3.875 USD per person

So if they have ten people joining them, they have brut earnings of 3.875 per day. I don't count the fact that the partner who isn't interested in photography most likely is joining and he/she is invited to pay the same amount.

Let's say their is no commission on the excess cost (3.875 USD) for the TA, than the TA earns 3.030 USD per person if the commission is 30%. I wonder what service you get for that price???

I can clearly see the winners here but also the losers.

Also if you are serious into photography, I won't see the point of joining other people as you have to compromise with them on the following issues:

Which animals do we focus on;
How much time do we spend at a sighting.

Also the more people in the vehicle, the more movement and noise (scaring animals and birds away).

I can only see this for people who set their first steps into the wonderful world of safaris and don't take time to do some homework before they book a trip.


Also I thought excessive earnings where a not done now that most of us are suffering because of the global economical crisis.

Hopefully those people have some award winning photographs afterwards.


Cheers,

George
tau is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 03:54 AM
  #2  
tau
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I made a little mistake.

It should be 4.875 USD instead of 3.875 USD.

Cheers,

George
tau is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 08:12 AM
  #3  
 
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So what's your point, George? No one is forcing you or anyone else to sign on for this very expensive photographic safari. But it's nice that the option is available for those who want it.
julia1 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 08:58 AM
  #4  
 
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George,
I have a question for you-Are you for real??
Ted
Temba is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 09:31 AM
  #5  
 
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I have costed that trip out and without the photographer the 9 night trip with the night in JNB and all the internal flights and the internationals JNB - Maun and LIV - JNB should cost $10,050 so your figure of $10,100 pp was just about bang on
Bear in mind that this is rack and you should always be able to negotiate a discount with your tour operator off this price. Also if travel was in June then one of these nights would be free
So if you were to take this trip privately you would pay considerably less and I agree that the pricing of $14975 is way over the odds (especially given that you could have your own private guide with WS for $380 net per day)
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 09:38 AM
  #6  
 
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Well tau and TTO, all kinds of people go on safari and photographic safari. For some of those people a $15,000 safari is -pocket change-. Even after you add on their first class airfare. If you think it is not worth the money, then it probably isn't for you. Kinda like julia1 said above.

Or, just like some people prefer Jaguar cars over Mercedes

BTW tau, do you have a brother known here as "mgts"?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 09:48 AM
  #7  
 
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i think Tau's point is that this price is unnecessarily high given that you should be able to get exactly the same trip considerably cheaper
IE you still get a Jag in either situation, its just in one case you pay lots more than you should
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:03 AM
  #8  
 
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TTO , "get exactly the same trip". NO, not by a long ways. You would not have professional photographic instruction. And with someone who has photographed the area several times, who knows the terrain, when to go where for the light, etc. You would also not have the camaraderie of fellow photographers. Those are the two biggest differences I see about safari with a pro leader versus doing it alone. And those are BIG differences.

Is it worth the additional $$$$? For some people it is and being a keen amateur photographer I understand that. There are a few here who have safaried with pro photographers, and with pros that do not participate here on the forum. Perhaps those folks will chime in with comparisons, price, experience, value, etc. I personally do not have such experience, but I'd like to

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:22 AM
  #9  
 
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You won't get exactly the same trip if you don't get Andy Biggs! And you won't get Andy Biggs for the cheaper price, at least you won't until the market changes and no one signs up for his trips and he decides to drop his prices.

I've never been on one of Andy's photo safaris, and I'm not in a position to afford to do so, but I'm willing to bet that almost everyone who goes with him thinks they got their money's worth. He wouldn't be in the business, or he wouldn't sell his trips at his prices, if that weren't true. He's charging approximately $500 per day for his time and instructional and organizational skills, all day, every day, for nine days.

As tanzaniatouroperator says, '... you could have your own private guide with WS for $380 net per day ...' - well, you may be right about that, but a private guide isn't Andy Biggs and probably doesn't have the photo skills to share that Andy has. For $120 more per day, you could have Andy!

I have been on several week-long photo workshops and for a keen amateur photographer, doing so is a real thrill and gives one a 'high' long after memories of cost disappear into the mist. Spending a week shooting in Morocco with others of like mind, shepherded around by a fine professional photographer and his assistant, having the 'best shots' handed to me on a plate, as it were, all the while receiving in-depth assistance and advice and critiques to guide me toward defining my individual style and vision - that's a week that will stay with me for as long as I can still handle a camera.

julia1 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:39 AM
  #10  
 
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I don't understand the point of this thread. I think we all realize that experts charge a fee to run, organize and join a trip.

I know that I could by a book to teach myself guitar, or I could hire Eric Clapton, and I'm sure he would not be cheap. I could likewise by all the ingredients for a fancy dinner and prepare it myself, or I could dine at a Michelin 3 star a pay a lot more.
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:46 AM
  #11  
 
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Wow, I just took a look at this thread before completely signing off for good. Back from a nice dinner with friends, and somebody is taking a poke at my costing structure.

All I can say is that your base cost is not correct, and that I charge market rates for my time. $10,000 or so cost is just not correct. I am not going to get out my spreadsheet to defend all of my costs, but my safaris are far from rack rate prices, because there are many things that are value added in the process.

Who are you anyway? Sounds like a way of (yet again) baiting somebody into a thread that should have been starting in the first place. Sounds like somebody else I know!
andybiggs is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:50 AM
  #12  
 
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just to defend tau for the hell of it i can confirm that $10k is about right rack rate
though this is for a straight wilderness trip without fancy photographers
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:53 AM
  #13  
 
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Tau - Given this thread and your previous thread about transparency you should phone Wilderness in SA and get them to confirm the rack rates to you. Then you will pay what you think you should be paying
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:58 AM
  #14  
 
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julia1, who are you using for your photo trips? That sounds very interesting. If you don't want to post it here please send me an email.

tau, it seems like you think you had a big eureka moment but you are just being silly. Of course photographic safaris cost more because the person leading the safari adds his fee to it. Did you think they do it for free? Do you think the people paying to go on these trips don't know that?

I have been able to find rack rates on nearly all of the camps by searching the internet so it's not like you solved some big mystery.

While you're at it go ahead and tell us that the big tour companies charge a huge fee but you go to the same places that other people go for way less money (Micato comes to mind but there are others).

I've been to Africa 8 times beginning in 2002. I went with a pro in 2005 and 2007. Yep, worth it to me. I've also been to British Columbia to see the Kermode "Spirit Bears" with a pro. And I'm leaving in a couple of weeks for the Falkland Islands with a pro. And in March to photograph eagles in Homer. With a pro. Worth it to me? Yep. I could certainly do these trips cheaper on my own but choose not to. And yes, I know I am paying the pro's wages. Leading photography workshops is his job and how he earns a living.
sundowner is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:09 AM
  #15  
 
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tau says in replying to his/her original posting - "I made a little mistake. It should be 4.875 USD instead of 3.875 USD" I'll tell ya, this does not give me any confidence that they know what they are doing with prices!!!!!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:22 AM
  #16  
 
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This thread is simply insane. Early on Temba Ted and then Andy implied that this tau (George) might not be quite what he presents himsself as. I must agree, his comments here and elsewhere suggest a genuine kook. My own thought on the subject is that for the quality of safari Andy offers, his expertise, and as Tom points out the fellowship of other enthusiastic photographers, these trips are a bargain. Of course one has to be able to afford them but nevertheless, given the quality of instruction and the experience offered, it is to my way of thinking, a very fair value. I'm afraid our origianl poster "tau" George (or whoever) really wants a trip to the San Diego Zoo and a stay at the Holiday Inn. This forum is being overun with Trolls and once identified they should be ignored.
Regards All-Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:26 AM
  #17  
 
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Tom, what's funny is that those numbers are still way off!

Chartering a couple of Cessna Caravans or a Cessna 206 and a Caravan can get expensive, all in the pursuit in avoiding the dreaded 20Kg (44 pound) weight limit. Then let us know what numbers you come up with. And pick up inner-Africa air. And JNB hotel. And meals there. And all transfers. Sheesh.

When you get back from safari, don't complain to people that you grossly underexposed the leopard in the tree and don't know why. I have had past travelers rejoice that they were traveling with other photographers, and picked up tons of information that they would have never gotten otherwise.

Enough talking before I turn blue (bleu?) in the face.

andybiggs is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:32 AM
  #18  
 
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I agree, Chuck. Time to ignore.
andybiggs is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 12:20 PM
  #19  
 
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Having tried to assist this fellow, I realised it was a waste of time too...
mkhonzo is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 01:03 PM
  #20  
 
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It's not especially challenging to take potshots at someone while remaining anonymous.

Ethically challenged, certainly, but not difficult to do.
DonTopaz is offline  

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