Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page >

safari companies for southern parks/reserves of Tanzania

safari companies for southern parks/reserves of Tanzania

Jun 16th, 2009, 01:45 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 20
safari companies for southern parks/reserves of Tanzania

We are planning a week+ safari in S. Tanzania for July 2009. I like the looks of the Swala website but have not heard from them despite repeated emails. Has anyone been on safari with them in the past 6 months? How was it for organization?

Does anyone have any alternated suggestions for safari companies for the southern parks?

Thank you.
RuadhCamel is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 06:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
That happens to me about 30% of the time. I try and try to contact a company but nothing. On my upcoming trip, I eventually gave up with Company #1 and booked with someone else, which turned out to be a great choice. Then almost a year later, I get a response from the first company stating there had been problems, etc.

Maybe give Swala a phone call in case there are technical problems preventing emails from getting through.

Hopefully you'll get some first hand advice on S. TZ, until then...

Foxes and Authentic Tanzania have southern trips that have been given good reviews. Good Earth, which has been praised for Northern Circuit trips, has a Southern route too.

The itinerary I really like is Flycatcher Safaris with 3 Mahale chimp trips, Katavi, Ruaha, plus 3 nts in N. Serengeti. They have variations on that where you do only southern Tanzania. Their prices seem reasonable because they do small groups with their own charters and you stay in their mobile tents. The permanant camps are probably nicer, but at a cost. I certainly don't think they rival Greystoke.

I've emailed Flycatchers a couple of times over the past year and--like what you've experienced--no response. But I was asking about travel WAY in the future. When I get more serious I'll call them in Switzerland, where they are based.

Good luck and let us know what you come up with!
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 07:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 20
Thank you for your help. I'll follow up on these names and links.

Is it possible to drive to Mikimi, Selous, Ruaha parks? People are flying to these parks to save time, correct? We have six weeks to play with so no time constraints.

The safari I was hoping for is 9 days including walking time at Udzungwa and Morogoro mtn/hill areas.

Visiting the chimps might have to wait for another year, due to logistics of getting in and out of the area. Thanks again.
RuadhCamel is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 09:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
We're using Authentic Tanzania for a southern/western Tanzania trip this September. Yes, it's possible to drive to those three parks. We're driving to Mikumi, then on to Ruaha. From there, we are flying to Katavi and Mahale. AT will have semi-mobile camps set up in Mikumi and Ruaha, but they do mobile safaris in all three parks that you mentioned... certainly something to check out, given your lengthy time-frame. I'm sure that they could set up the walking time that you're looking for, as well. David Barker at AT has been quite helpful and responsive. I met him last year when I was traveling out of Dar and feel comfortable using Authentic Tanzania for our upcoming safari.
ShayTay is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
I just booked 21 days in Southern Tanzania for January 2010 with Lenny of Africa Travel Resources. He was a jewel to work with. Very prompt in returning emails and phoned me several times from UK to talk about our trip. He has been to Tanzania many times and is very familiar with all the camps -- knowing many of the managers personally. He was able to book anything I wanted and went so far as to save us some money even after I had finalized and made the down payment. I would highly recommend this company.

TC is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Would you care to share that Southern Tanzania itinerary? How many people are traveling with you?

I had been looking for a thread that extolled the virtures of driving through Southern Tanzania as opposed to flying over and missing a lot. Couldn't find it but somebody much preferred driving.

atravelynn is offline  
Jun 16th, 2009, 08:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Hi Lynn, This trip is in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary. We fly from US (thru AMS) to Dar es Salaam. Will stay 2 nights at Southern Sun hotel in Dar upon arrival to rest from the flight. The first night we only just arrive in DAR after midnight. Then off to safari. We spent 3 weeks in Kenya and Northern Tanzania 10 years ago and while it was beautiful, the one thing I did regret was all the moving about. We stayed only 2 nights in each camp, so only had one full day's game drive in each place. I vowed never to do that much traveling about again. We really like staying put and getting to know a place and the people. To that end:

From Dar es Salaam
Fly via Coastal Air, DAR to Jongomeru Camp in Ruaha
4 nights Jongomeru
Game drive transfer to Mwagusi Camp in Ruaha
4 nights Mwagusi Camp
Fly via Coastal Air to Selous Safari Camp, Selous Park
3 nights Selous Safari Camp
Game drive transfer to Sands River Camp
4 nights Sands River
Fly via Coastal to Mafia Island
4 nights stay at Pole Pole Lodge for whale shark diving.
Fly home from DAR.

My husband and I did all the research for this trip (thanks to many on this board) and were pretty set on our itinerary prior to making first contacts for quotes. I wanted to ask for quotes on a specific plan so as to compare pricing. I was told by at least two companies that there was no way we could do such a high end safari within our proposed budget. Very discouraging. However, in the end, Lenny was able to put together the exact itinerary I had asked, plus add an extra night at Sands River and Mafia Island (instead of Zanzibar) keeping the whole trip well under our budget. He even put us in touch with a UK company for the travel insurance that was $1000 (yes!) less than quotes from US companies. All in all -- we are over the moon!

Now the hard part....waiting.
TC is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 03:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 88
for southern Tanzania you should certainly look at the combination of Selous and Ruaha. flight wise you are looking at about $750 per person (dar - selous - ruaha - dar)

Prices for the lodges are roughy as follows - pp pn including park fees in high season (this is not a definitive list – but most of the lodges are as below)

Beho Beho - $1,100
Selous Safari Camp - $795
Sand River - $970
Impala - $575
Lake Manze - $410
Jongomero - $720
Kwihala - $450
Mwagusi - $570
Mdonya - $370

And some of these lodges now have deals on – free flights or 4 for 3 etc …

If you want to see videos of these lodges and locations please see http://www.tanzaniaodyssey.com/video...ssey-video.htm

Hope this helps
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
I don't mean to start a war of words here, but you really shouldn't be advertising in the first place "tanzaniatouroperator".

However, since you have put yourself out, I shall say that your pricing is very high. In fact, you were one of the tour companies that told me I could not do my proposed itinerary within my proposed budget. By the above calculations, only a portion of our itinerary would cost over $12,000 per person -- not including the two nights at Southern Sun, 4 nights at Pole Pole and the flight to and from Mafia Island. I was able to put the entire itinerary together for just over $8000 per person. That is a HUGE difference. This is exactly why I put my own itinerary out for bids by several consolidators. One really must be able to compare "apples to apples". In the current economy, anyone with the money to travel should be able to find deals galore.
TC is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 20
We have quotes from Authentic Tanzania for our itinerary. One is for mostly camping over the 14 day period, but at B&B rates. Meaning we will have to find and pay for 10 lunches and dinners. Any suggestions on how much this will add to the cost of the trip? We could be staying at:

Mediterreaneo in Dar B&B then drive to Selous
Selous River Campsite 3 nts. B&B
Tan Swiss 2 nts. B&B
Mbuyani farm full board
Authentic Ruaha full board
Hondo Hondo-Udzungwa 3 nts. B&B

Thank you
RuadhCamel is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Where does one "find" 10 lunches and dinners while camping on safari? It isn't as though there are cafes on the corner. I'm no expert, but it would seem this is just a way of making the initial price quote sound less expensive than it really will be in the end.
TC is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 88
well we are a Tanzaniatouroperator and we are not touting for business. All i posted was what the rack rates are for the most of the lodges in the south of tanzania. I did state that there were various deals on currently which would obviously bring the price down considerably. Some operators also do then undercut rack, but that is their own commercial decision
tanzaniatouroperator is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
RuadhCamel, I'd ask Authentic Tanzania to clarify what they mean by "B&B" at those locations. It looks like you're staying in small guesthouses such as Tan Swiss. That may be why you are on the "B&B" plan.
ShayTay is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,839
Tan Swiss lists their prices for half, full board and lunch boxes http://www.tan-swiss.com/news.php?readmore=11

You could try emailing http://www.selousrivercamp.com/ about their meal rates. You could possibly self cater here too.

I can't find Hondo Hondo.

You could ask Authentic Tanzania to quote full board as well.
Patty is online now  
Jun 17th, 2009, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
Huh? No email in return?? Weird business ethics.

My pal David will surely respond to every mail sent. Try www.claws-safaris.com


pixelpower is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thanks for the itinerary TC. And Happy 40th!
atravelynn is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:11 PM.