Picking a time and safari company

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Feb 21st, 2001, 08:35 AM
  #1
Dick Snyder
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Picking a time and safari company

My wife and I are considering going to K and TZ next February. We have heard that it is somewhat rainy then (1 out of 3 days?) but that it is good animal viewing. Can you give us any advice on this time of year for a visit?

We want to find a good safari company. A&K seem great based on feedback. What about Park East or Micato? We are trying to figure out how to pick a good company. We assume word of mouth is the best way but if there is someone who rates the companies, that would be a valuable resource too.

Thanks in advance for your replies!
 
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Feb 21st, 2001, 01:27 PM
  #2
Margie Wolfe
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My husband and I had one of the best trips weve ever had last January 30-February 19, a Princess cruise/safari from Capetown to Nairobi. The Pacific Princess cruise was great. Princess surprised us by upgrading us to a mini-suite with a stocked bar and a butler who came with snacks every afternoon between 4 & 5. The Micato Safari people met our ship in Mombasa on February 10 and showed us a delightful time in Tanzania and Kenya for 8 magic days. We stayed in luxurious lodges and were driven around in safari vehicles with the tops up so we could stand up and look around at all the animals. Our first surprise was to be flown to Kilimanjero International Airport to shorten the LONG drive to Lake Manyara. After Lake Manyara, we visited Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater Crater, Arusha, Amboseli National Park and Nairobi where the safari ended. I would go back in a heartbeat. We cannot remember having rain. It was warm and wonderful. Bon Voyage.
 
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Feb 21st, 2001, 05:49 PM
  #3
monica
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Hello Dick Snyder:
We had the same question not long ago about choosing a great safari company. There are so many of them and some of them are great. After reading many comments on this forum we talked to a few of them and decided on Baobab Safari. We just returned from our 15-days/14 nights (excluding flights to Nairobi from Newrk and back from Kilimanjaro to Newark via Amsterdam) safari to Kenya and Tanzania. Everything was beautifully organized, planes on time as we flew between the camps, well trained guides and staff. We stayed in tented camps with hot water and flush toilets. Every night we found a hot water bottle in our bed. Also in every camp we had a large bed not two singles. Food was great. The best part is a fact that we paid less than half what A & K charges for very similar safari. We saved enough so we can plan another safari next January. When A & K advertise 14 days they count a day when you leave from the US in the evening. Which means you arrive in Nairobi on day 3 of your trip.
One camp was in Lewa Downs. A few months ago there was an article in New York Times Travel section about this place. Also we flew from camp to camp without going back to Nairobi each time and then taking a plane to the next camp.
Next time we will skip Tarangari Park in Tanzania. This was only one place where we had too much rain and there weren't as amny elephants as we expected. February is a great time to go. Bring your sweaters, gortex jackets and lots of film with a great camer and extr batteries. For our next safari we will bring our own soft pillows. Have a great time when planning this trip. Animals were amazing in Lewa, Masaai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro.
 
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Feb 22nd, 2001, 10:21 AM
  #4
Peter
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The rainy seasons are in the Spring and Autum. I used Micato for a flying safari in Kenya last July and can't say enough good things about them! I plan to use them again in May for a 17 day safari to Kenya and Tanzania. If you have more qustions, please feel free to contact me.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 12:01 PM
  #5
Hans
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We travelled with A&K last June and it was wonderful. Although it was certainly more expensive than the others I think it was worth it. Micato Safaris often travelled on the same flights as we did betwen parks and we would often talk with them about their accomodations and their guides. While they were very pleased with their trip, on more than one occassion they mentioned how they wishthey had out guide or were staying in the same place we were. With that said, and as amazing as A&K was, being able to see the animals in their natural habitat is simply amazaing so I am sure if you go with any of the reputable companies you will have a wonderful time. In terms of rain, Kenya has been experienceing a severe drought and so you may not have any rain. It rained one morning in the Mara for about 2 hours but it really did not pose a problem at all. Have a greay trip it is a remarkable one.
 
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Feb 25th, 2001, 01:25 PM
  #6
dick snyder
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Went to Africa two yrs ago June. Went with sue's Safaris out of Calif. Designed our own trip. Botswana, Zimbabwe(Victoria Falls), South Africa. Trip went smoothly, no glitches, accomodations were excellent. it was their winter, a bit chilly but no forestation so better viewing for the animals. Need more info, e-mail me: [email protected] HelenPS There's a book by Nick Nolte? which rates the different countries and was very helpful to me.
 
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Feb 28th, 2001, 06:02 PM
  #7
Jan Goss
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Dick:

I just returned from Kenya. I arrived in Nairobi 1-16 and returned to Boston 2-2. I flew from Nairobi to Amboseli's Ol Tukai Lodge for three days where we got up and personal with hundreds of elephants, flew back to Nairobi and transferred to Mombasa and then spent 5 wonderful nights at Satao Tented Camp In Tsavo East, then drove to Shimba Hills for two nights, had 1 night in Mombasa and the final night in Nairobi. I was a 60 year old female traveling alone and booked with Southern Cross Safaris in Mombasa. They handled all Kenyan arrangements and are a class group. They had a private driver and car for me for over a week, had me go out on the Tamarind Dhow for dinner, etc. I really can't say enough for them. If you are interested E-mail [email protected]. The weather was absolutely perfect, in the 80's, breezy, with rain only one night. Mombasa was hot and steamy but I was there only one night in an air conditioned apartment. Total in-Africa cost was $3600.00 which included Nairobi Serena, tented camp, private car and driver, park fees and all in-Kenya air flights. Torben can set you up with anything you are interested in in Kenya or Tanzania. The only thing I needed to do myself was arrange my flight (get two separate tickets, much cheaper - I had round trip Boston - Amsterdam and round trip Amsterdam-Nairobi (1,000.00) and get my shots and malaria medication. I was so impressed with this group that I am going to return in the fall to pretty much the same itinerary. If you have further questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Jan
 
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Mar 3rd, 2001, 03:01 PM
  #8
Peter
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In response to Hans post I had the opposite experience when traveling with Micato last July. People from other tours would sometimes corner our guide in a lodge and ask questions which their guide apparently couldn't answer. We stayed at the most luxurious lodges in each park. In fact when we were at Sarova Shaba in Samburu, we suddenly got an influx of people from another tour who had mutinied because of conditions at their lodge and were tranferred to ours. There were only four people on our safari, and we always had our guide and a driver.
 
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Mar 5th, 2001, 09:05 AM
  #9
Fay
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I agree with Peter. My husband, mother-in-law and I went to Tazania in Jan. 2001 for 14 days. I priced A&K and we saved half. We used Predators Safari and booked with Forum International out of Ca. they did all the arrangements. A&K stayed at the same camps and while on safari they were looking at the same animals. Air was on the same flights you just save half. Jan. was wet but you could manage the heat. The crater was cool be sure to take long sleeves. Do not drink the water at all!!!! and take lots of pepto.
 
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Mar 20th, 2001, 12:32 PM
  #10
Aaron
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Can anyone tell me about the flights when on safari in Africa (not the ones to Africa)? I do not love small planes but want to try it anyway. Are the planes small? Flights long within Africa?
 
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Mar 21st, 2001, 01:16 PM
  #11
Lisa
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Hi Aaron,
If you can be more specific about which flights in Africa you are concerned about, and which countires you are looking a, you might get more information Maybe post a new question under a new heading.
It varies betweeen different countries and airlines. Airlines and countries have different standards and some are not recommended, no matter how large the plane is.
 
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Mar 27th, 2001, 06:25 AM
  #12
Sharon
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My husband just gave me a safari in Africa for a birthday present, but left it up to me to decide when, where, and how to go. After reading all of these messages, I'm reeling. How does one decide what company to use?

I think we'll go to Kenya next February, but beyond that I have not made any decisions. I've looked at brochures from A&K, Wildlife Safari, Big Five, and United Touring Company. Reading what most of you have said about A&K, it sounds like we can do better money wise with another company.

Any advice on month to go, places to be sure we see, length of trip and safari company would be very much appreciated. This is a once in lifetime trip for me.

sharon

sharon
 
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Mar 30th, 2001, 02:09 PM
  #13
Fay
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Hi Sharon we went to Tanzania in Jan. 2001. Took a small plane over to the North and than we drove back. The plane was new and looked likes it was maintained well. Flying time about 3 hours. Yes it is a trip of a life time. We used a company out of Ca. I have booked with them in the past and they do a good job. The number of tour companies a great. A&K is over priced and they book the same locations as the other good companies. My travel consultant does a wonderful is well traveled and will take good care of you. E=mail Forum International.com Have a great time. PS: Be careful on KLM Airlines they lost my luggage and have yet to find it. They gave me $640.00 for my loss. That did not began to cover the cost of replacement.
 
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Mar 30th, 2001, 03:09 PM
  #14
buck
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Hi Sharon,
In response, check out the Go Ahead Vacations Kenyan Safari. Very good price and excellent tour. We just got back and had a wonderful time. It started to rain the night before we left and we got stuck in the mud for a hr. The rains start in march, we got there March 17 to the 28th and the weather was perfect. A & K is overpriced as we stayed at the same places. As for flying between the lodges, we enjoyed the ride in the bus and became very close to our mates. We always arrived in time for lunch with rest stops in between. Who wants to go to an airport and hassle with plane rides as the country is so beautiful and you get to interact with the Kenyan people who are warm and friendly.
We had a direct flight from SFO to London and a day room in London for the overnight flight to Nairbori. You will not be sorry for using Go Ahead. Check them out on the web, as they have a excellent site with all the details of there tours. If I can be of help, yell, Buck
 
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Jun 7th, 2001, 04:09 AM
  #15
Judy Mayer
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I was just in Kenya May 16-22 and did a much lower budget trip then all the others previously mentioned. It was through Magical Holidays although some on the tour found a bargain on SkyAuction. Rhino Tours did the ground portion in Kenya and the vehicles and guides were fine. We stayed at the Ark, Lake Nakuru Lodge, and Mara Simba Lodge and took plenty of game drives.

The weather was wonderful with only a couple hours of light rain one day. It was not hot but warm enough to swim in the lodge pools. Nights were cool and we needed jackets for the 6:30 a.m. game drive. The zebras were migrating and we saw all the animals except hippos which we heard. We also saw some 4 month old lion cubs nursing as well as a 15 minute old water buffalo kill by 7 male lions. It was the best of nature!

I will be glad to answer questions about what I saw or things to take/leave home.
 
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Jul 17th, 2001, 09:33 AM
  #16
sallie jo
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I used 2afrika.com for my safari in April and it was a steal. Basic tour price for Rules of the Wilds $1900 - airfare, transfers, meals, lodging - 3 nights Masai Mara - 2 nights lake nakuru - 1 night nairobi. I added two night at Amboseli for about $700 more.
 
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Jul 17th, 2001, 09:33 AM
  #17
sallie jo
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I used 2afrika.com for my safari in April and it was a steal. Basic tour price for Rules of the Wilds $1900 - airfare, transfers, meals, lodging - 3 nights Masai Mara - 2 nights lake nakuru - 1 night nairobi. I added two night at Amboseli for about $700 more.
 
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Jul 17th, 2001, 10:07 AM
  #18
jhm
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About 5 years ago, I went on Big Five safaris in Kenya in December. The weather was lovely -- no rain -- and balmy, in the low 60s F. I would thoroughly recommend it -- I thought it was one of the best trips I have ever taken. Please feel free to write me if you have any questions.
 
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Jul 29th, 2001, 07:38 AM
  #19
lorena Aguilar
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Graet tips, can some one be so kind to provide address or contacts for Micato and Baobab tours.

Thanks
 
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Aug 1st, 2001, 12:09 PM
  #20
Lynn
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Just returned from a 12 day safari in Kenya with Micato. They were absolutely wonderful. Would go with them again in a flash. Since they are based in Nairobi, they are able to make changes and take care of any glitches immediately. We seemed to be always travelling with A&K groups - stayed at the same places - ate the same food - but to be honest, I think we got the better accommodations (views, etc.) My only recommendation is that if you don't want to travel with children in the group, make sure you have an adults only safari. Sometimes the kids get tired, bored, cranky, etc. I truly love kids - but sometimes it got to be a bit much. Enjoy - I can't wait to go again.
 
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