Recommendations for tour company to Africa???

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Nov 25th, 2018, 12:44 AM
  #1
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Recommendations for tour company to Africa???

My wife and I always travel independently, never with a tour group .... except ,,,,
We're thinking about going to Africa on a tour with a mix of accommodations/lodges and safari camps.
We're a bit nervous about attempting that independently, so am possibly looking for tour company recommendations.

We'd likely head to Tanzania and/or Zambia and/or Kenya. (Or possibly, instead of the north, head to the Botswana, Namibia, South Africa area.)
Would probably spend 2 or 3 weeks, and would probably fly from the US independently of the tour, maybe stopping for a day or two enroute.

We're in our mid 70's, but quite active (still hike, bike, ski, but not as much as when younger) and still a bit adventurous.
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Nov 25th, 2018, 06:20 AM
  #2
 
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I would highly recommend not going with a group. You can get a custom safari with your own itinerary on your own schedule and likely have your own vehicle and guide in many camps. I would consult a safari planner (not a generic travel agent) and let them know your wishlist for destinations, what you want to see, time of year, budget and total time on the ground. Iíve worked with several safari planners at this point and Iíd recommend the Wild Source who just booked my last safari in kenya which was my best yet. Bill there also books other countries too so he can help with a multi country itinerary. He is a wildlife biologist by trade so really knows where to book for great wildlife experiences. I also like Access2Tanzania for TZ and Treks2Rwanda for Rwanda if youíre interested in those, they are the same company and Karen there is great.

editing to add: most itineraries include all services from when you land in Africa to when you leave, like any in-country or infra-country flights, transfers to/from airport, etc so thereís really nothing for you to worry about other than booking your flight from home to Africa.

Last edited by amyb; Nov 25th, 2018 at 06:37 AM.
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Nov 25th, 2018, 10:33 AM
  #3
 
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I agree with the poster above, you don't want a group, you want a safari planner to arrange a trip. I've traveled on safari four times, twice to Southern Africa and twice to East Africa. The trips were planned by different agents specializing in the areas. For Tanzania, we used Africa Dream Safaris from Southern California and did a private safari with our own guide (vs flying to camps and using camp vehicles)--they also pointed us to an operator to arrange the Rwanda portion for gorilla trekking. We had 100% control over the safari, with a unique itinerary, and these trips were seamless. For a trip to South Africa (and Tulli area of Botswana), we used a South African agent who booked us into camps where we did activities in camp vehicles with other guests. The agent, Tanya Kotze of Africa Direct, arranged ground transfers and some intra-country flights. Again, it was all perfect and quite affordable, if not as wild/remote as the first safari. We also added some non-safari stops such as Grootbos and Bushmans Kloof in the Western Cape along with Cape Town.

Our most recent trip was Namibia, Botswana and a return to Cape Town which was arranged by Ultimate Africa Safaris near Seattle (Ian Proctor and Lorna Davidson). This was a fly-in safari where we used camp vehicles. They arranged all the transfers, including light air flights, and it was perfectly executed in all regards.

I thought all three agents were super.

So the first thing I'd suggest you decide is where you want to go and what type of safari you want--private vehicle, few flights (Tanzania works best); fly-in (Botswana or maybe Zim/Zamb); one with non-safari activities (South Africa); etc. Once you decide that, you'll find lots of recommendations (here and Safari Talk) for safari organizers. I found recommendations for two of the three I used here at Fodors, and the third was mentioned here but I only chose them after a referral from Wilderness. In each case, I got one or more other quotes before booking. That works well for East Africa, where nothing is booked/held until you commit, but for Southern Africa, the agents tend to hold space as soon as you inquire, so you have to be careful. In each case for me, the agent I chose seemed to click on their first proposal, where others seemed to have a canned trip they recommended whether or not it met my desires/needs.

Grain of salt--this is all my personal, obviously subjective opinion, after a small sample of safari travels.

Best of luck.
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Nov 25th, 2018, 10:58 AM
  #4
 
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I agree with the posters above. Don't go with a group!

Read around here on Fodors to get an idea of itineraries and then go to safari planners for quotes or fine tuning. Even if you go to only one camp they will arrange for you to be met on arrival in country, transferred to your hotel or regional airport and then picked up on your way back out of the bush. The agents take care of all of the logistics of flights, camp transfers, hotel transfers, shopping, trips to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Manor, etc to make your trip run smoothly. BTW, I put you in Kenya. I've been to the countries you listed (except Zambia) plus more and Kenya remains my favorite.
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Nov 28th, 2018, 04:00 PM
  #5
 
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really no need to join a group. just you two with the same guide and vehicle throughout is much better.I whole-heartedly recommend Lion World Travel. spent 9 in Tanzania this past Sept. and loved every minute. their web page lists many available tours and most, if not all can be customized. also book for locations not listed in itineraries.
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Nov 30th, 2018, 10:00 AM
  #6
 
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I agree that you would be better off on your own rather than a group. The big decision now is where to go.

Kenya is your quintessential safari destination with the Maasai Mara providing excellent wild life viewing. An operator for Kenya that I'd recommend is DK Grand Safaris who also has a North American rep if you're more comfortable with that. Daniel the owner was a guide for many years before starting his own company.

If choosing Tanzania/Zanzibar I used Warrior Trails for a northern circuit safari which included Ngorongoro Crater & the Serengeti then onto Zanzibar for some amazing beach time. Clamian the owner is a Maasai and offers incredible cultural visits to his village. You can even spend a night in a boma!

Whatever you decide you'll have a fantastic time!
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Dec 1st, 2018, 05:52 PM
  #7
 
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I went to Kenya and Tanzania with Overseas Adventure Travel and I thought it was great. They have small groups- there were only 10 in our group and I enjoyed every minute of it- except when we got stuck in the mud when we were looking for rhino's.

I am a single traveler and I don't mind tours at all- enjoy meeting new people from around the world and the company of others to travel with
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Dec 1st, 2018, 10:51 PM
  #8
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Thanks for all your responses. They've given me lots of varied ideas to explore
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