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Safari Cost Comparison

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Nov 13th, 2013, 07:57 AM
  #1
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Safari Cost Comparison

I'm going to start pricing out safari's in November to east africa. I've read here some recommended agents/operators and have come up with a pretty good plan I want to follow. I don't want to cause any friction, how is the best way to get two different quotes on the plan....
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Nov 13th, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #2
 
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You could do what a lot of us did. Contact the operators you have in mind, how many travelers, your budget and what you'd like to see, how many nights you have, etc. They will also ask you what else they'd need to know. They'll put together an itinerary based on those facts. They'll be used to this and probably assume you are comparison shopping. Be honest and forthcoming in what your budget and expectations are. Good luck and come back here if you need to run anything by the rest of us!
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Nov 13th, 2013, 10:54 AM
  #3
 
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I agree with amyb other tour operator have online booking form well organized where you can fill all necessary details of your safari.
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Nov 13th, 2013, 11:01 AM
  #4
 
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I used Happy World Safaris for my trip in Tanzania, you can check their online booking form
http://happyworldsafaris.com/booking.php
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Nov 13th, 2013, 12:37 PM
  #5
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ok, thanks, I'm used to just doing all this myself, but there seems to be the need for the "middle man" to interface with the ground folks and the end user. This is not a disparaging comment as I completely value the agent concept, but it does require me to use their time and effort to generate costs for a trip I might not book with them...
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Nov 13th, 2013, 03:29 PM
  #6
 
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"but it does require me to use their time and effort to generate costs for a trip I might not book with them..."

But that's what tour operators do. Any good TO or agent will spend a long time helping you work out a good trip.
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Nov 14th, 2013, 01:29 PM
  #7
 
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All of the above.
And while You might feel you'd prefer to book your own lodge/tent accommodations, know that you'll pay them the highest (rack) rates vs an 'agent' (as you call it) who instead get discounted prices. Also, how do you plan to get from one area to another?

Unless, of course, you are a true backpacker and don't care how long you wait on the side of road for anything with wheels to come along, public transport not always agreeable to westerners. An 'agent' / operator / outfitter will take care of everything from the minute you land till you depart. And work with your budget. But do remember that prices are seasonal and vary throughout the year.

Suggest you check for list of names of outfitters found thru reading this forum or if you'd prefer to go with an in-country outfitter, check the KATO www.katokenya.org site for names.
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Dec 8th, 2013, 07:49 AM
  #8
TC
 
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Shop your itinerary around and tell each agent that you are doing that. If they don't want to participate its their choice. I have gotten very good pricing by pitting one agent against the other. I am always up front with each, but I have a set budget and I'm not going to give my money away. On our last safari to Botswana, I had two agents tell me that the trip absolutely could not be done on my budget. A little more effort brought it in right on target. Do your research and don't be unrealistic....but don't cave in to the first bid either. These agents have a lot of wiggle room. When I get a better price from one, I send it right on to the other. Sometimes a good agent will tell you why the first bidder can't really deliver....and then you've learned something to ask. It's all a process of educating yourself.

Good luck.
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Dec 9th, 2013, 08:28 AM
  #9
 
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I suggest that you really do your research, design your own itinerary, send it out to different agents ASAP and do not settle for substitutions. Agents commission structures from a given property are often directly tied into how many bed nights per year they sell so they are often motivated to steer you to a property where their commission may be much higher than by sending you to the specific property you originally requested.

But, that suggestion is if you really do your homework and you're confident that you're selecting the best property or the one that at least works best for you. If you don't do your homework, then you are best off relying on the suggestions of the agents.
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Dec 9th, 2013, 01:04 PM
  #10
 
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Roccco, dear friend - Don't think it's necessary to confuse OP with 'commissions' as they are handled differently between East Africa (OPs interest) and those in Southern Africa.

Best is for OP to do his research, submit requests and based on his budget, await their replies. He can then return here for further input/comments.
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Dec 10th, 2013, 10:02 AM
  #11
 
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Sandi, my only regret of my one trip to Tanzania, was allowing my safari agent to steer me towards properties not on my original itinerary. I will not allow that to happen again whether I'm going to East Africa or Southern Africa.
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Dec 10th, 2013, 11:01 AM
  #12
 
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Roccco - Believe you went with ATR! Staying at Oldupai Camp where you didn't want to place your head on the pillows... ugh! Amazing how good my memory is.

Guess you should have let me handle your Tanzania safari
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Dec 10th, 2013, 02:52 PM
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Yes, indeed. Great memory! Olduvai or Oldupai was horrendous. I've seen classier homeless tent cities here in the USA and classier refugee camps in Africa (on news footage, anyway). What a waste of a beautiful location to have such a run down camp.
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Dec 10th, 2013, 02:52 PM
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ATR did threaten legal action against me for what amounted to nothing more than an honest Yelp review.
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Dec 12th, 2013, 05:02 PM
  #15
 
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http://www.tanganyika.com/en/our-age...n/olduvai-camp

Olduvai would be ok for many safaris but not when the customer (me!) was staying at places like Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and other five star camps. That just doesn't work. It's like eating at top restaurants by the finest chefs day in and day out and then being served McDonald's for a couple days.

https://www.andbeyond.com/journey/af...accommodation/
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Dec 12th, 2013, 10:18 PM
  #16
 
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After two weeks gorging myself on wonderful safari camp food, I'd give $100 for a simple Big Mac!!!

regards tom
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Dec 19th, 2013, 09:37 PM
  #17
 
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Roccco, is that you, Rocco from days gone by, now sporting an additional C in your new look?

Perhaps you've been back for some time now while I've been out of the loop for a few months.

Cooper, getting several quotes is routine and the interaction with a couple of agents can also serve as an education for you, not just in the area of price, but in wildlife movements, habitat, lodging, etc. It's nice to keep the various operators informed of your plans and timelines and that you are considering several proposals. That is expected.

Also to not cause friction, be sure to thank the agents you do not end up using and don't just never respond back. Who knows? For your 2nd, 3rd, 10th trip you may wish to enlist their services.

If you do a trip report, you can mention the good service and advice you received from the agents that you did not choose.

You can always pass some of the info you receive by those on the forum. Do be aware that some itineraries explicitly state "not to be shared publicly."



RoseBauer on Dec 11, 13 at 5:56pm

"Hello!

Guys is it Olduvai or Oldupai?"

The correct word is Oldupai, which is Maasai for the sisal plant. The v in Olduvai slipped in there by accident in a European translation as I recall.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 08:47 AM
  #18
 
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Atravellynn,

Yes, it is I, the one and only. Returned a couple months ago as I was planning my own South African safari, as a civilian, I assure you, for my DW (2nd and final DW of 5 years) and my DD who will be all of 14 months at the time of the trip.

I've become quite the runner since leaving this forum and leaving my first marriage and I'm up to 127 marathons and 14 ultras (defined as 50k (31 miles) or further) and after my wife nudging me to finally run the Comrades (89k/55mile) Marathon (it's been on my bucket list), I wasted little time and put together what I think is a great self drive itinerary that will have us in Durban for the first 3 nights and then over the next 11 nights have us on safari for 8 nights and at the beach for 4 nights.

My daughter won't remember a bit of it when she's older but she'll get her first passport stamps, notch her third continent and be in plenty of cute photos!

Hope all is well with you. What's next for you, Africa-wise?
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Dec 20th, 2013, 08:49 AM
  #19
 
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Bad math...it is 15 nights, total, 3 nights Durban, 8 nights safari, 4 nights on the beach.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 02:47 PM
  #20
 
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It's like getting a Christmas card from you! How wonderful you are returning to Africa. And how wonderful so many other areas of your life are going well. Nice to have you back planning something special, Roccco.

Apologies for the digression, Cooper. I'm headed to Tanzania too, but in Feb.
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