Safari costs/no credit cards accepted?

Old Mar 18th, 2008, 02:12 AM
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Safari costs/no credit cards accepted?

We're starting to plan our first safari for next summer and it appears that none of the safari companies accept credit cards - should I keep looking for a safari company that does or just resign myself to having to wire the money.

thanks!

nelder is offline  
Old Mar 18th, 2008, 02:22 AM
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Nelder,

what is your travel destination?

Our opertor does take credit card for Kenya or Tanzania but you pay a lot of extra cost. In the end it is cheaper to wire the money for us.

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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 05:08 AM
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With few exceptions, most African tour operators/outfitters work on a cash basis, so wire transfers.

For those who do accept credit cards, they assess a fee which can range from 5-10% of your total trip cost.

Wire transfers cost on average from $35-$50, a whole lot less than 5-10% if using a cc.

There are plenty of threads on this board re wire transfers, just do a search.

This method works quite well.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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You sure Sandi? Many many oeprators/agents accept credit cards. Some even Amex.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 06:12 AM
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Where are you going?

My experience with operators based in East Africa is that if they accept credit cards (some don't), there's usually a surcharge added.

When I was planning my Namibia trip, I did find a Windhoek based agent that would accept credit cards without surcharge.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 06:17 AM
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If you're planning on visiting East Africa, especially Kenya, could you demand that your operator accept credit card, without paying any surcharge? Surely, with the decline in visitors, you have some leverage and can dictate the payment terms. If they won't accept your credit card, look elsewhere -- when you tell them that, I expect they'll accept payment by credit card. If they haven't done so, they can join paypal, which is what I forced a South American operator to do -- I told them I'd look elsewhere unless they permitted me to pay by credit card. It was too many miles for me to sacrifice, plus convenient and secure.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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We worked with a Tanzania based safari company (that has a US based rep) and were able to use credit card. We paid upfront deposit with cash (personal check), and balance with credit card -- and negotiated a lower % towards service charge.

BTW, while we were in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, we found many places only accepted cash, and if they did take credit card, it was Visa only. We underestimated the amount of cash we would need for our safari tips, museum fees and incidentals, but were able to use our Visa card towards a cash advance at an ATM. We had many days of worry, however, as we didn't reach a city with an ATM until 8 days into the trip!
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Paypal only supports a limited number of countries when it comes to receiving money https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/we...ntries-outside
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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Hi everyone,

thanks so much for responding. We are going to Tanzania(Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Zanzibar) and I've tried to sweet talk the few outfitters I've been corresponding with and none will budge.

If anyone does know of an outfitter that takes credit cards please let me know the name!!
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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It is often the credit card companies themselves that restrict how their merchant accounts can be used. They are quite restrictive when it comes to travel, even with travel agents or planners in the USA. I imagine it's even more so with foreign companies.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 07:17 AM
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I have worked with R?hino-Africa for Namibia and South Africa and they do take credit cards without a surcharge. I have found them very responsive and they were less than some others I corresponded with.

I have never been to East Africa but they do handle that as well.

When you have a confirmed itinerary, they send you a secure link that is good for 42 hours that you can use to pay by credit card.

We have worked withe Leigh Ann.

They have a US 888 number you can call them.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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thanks!
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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Good Earth Tours is an Arusha based operator that has an office in the US. They indicate that they'll accept credit card payments for the deposit only up to a maximum of $750pp. I don't know if they have their own merchant account. If they do, setting such a limitation on credit card acceptance may violate US Visa/MC merchant account agreements. I don't know how much you want to push the issue but this is something you could bring up. If they don't have their own merchant account and use a service like paypal, then I don't know if this applies.

I believe Africa Travel Resource (based in the UK) will accept credit card payments, but they tend to push clients toward Tanganyika Expeditions properties on their Tanzania itineraries and you have to be really firm if you want something else. The other issue is I'm not sure if they process the charge in USD or GBP. If the latter and you're in the US, your credit card company may charge you a forex fee of up to 3%. This also applies to South Africa operators/agents if they charge in ZAR.

2Afrika is US based and accepts credit cards. Rather than say they surcharge credit card payments, they indicate that prices on their website reflect a 3.5% cash discount (I think this is to circumvent merchant rules).
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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We have a trip planned with Rhino Africa and paid for it with our credit card. There was no surcharge.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 09:53 AM
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my sister just used access2tanzania and loved them. They let us pay in full with credit card. I say us because i was supposed to go too, buuut htats a long story! Usually if you offer to pay in full, they are more likely to allow you to use credit card. i think the surcharge was 2.5%.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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From the Africa Dream Safaris web site. "A credit card authorization form for your $500 per person deposit, along with a completed reservation form, is required in order to confirm your reservation. Deposits are not charged until all accommodations have been reserved and you are completely satisfied with your custom-tailored safari itinerary. The balance of the safari price is due no later than 90 days prior to departure. Payments may be made by credit card or personal check. A 5% discount is available if paying by check." I'll be taking my first safari with them in May.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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When dealing with Foxes of Africa for trips to both southern and northern Tanzania we were able to make deposit and final payment with personal check to their office in England. Was max of $5,000 for single check and no additional fee for that method of payment.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 01:29 PM
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I did say "most" not "all." Some will accept deposits in cash, then you can pay final on arrival so they can swipe your card and are likely to charge a fee.

As "nelder" says "none of the safari companes accept credit cards" is indicative as to what is usual in East Africa.

Many of the US-based companies who accept credit cards, have already built the fees into the price they are charging for your safari.

Paying by check (in USD) is the same as cash. But, then it takes quite sometime to reach Africa by regular mail, plus the clearing process between foreign/domestic banks. If you mail by FedEx or DHL their charges are almost as much as a wiring fee.
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Old Mar 19th, 2008, 07:34 AM
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Hi everyone,

thanks so much for helping me navigate this. Sounds like I need to put on my big girl panties and just do the wire transfer if I want to use the companies I've been dealing with. Plus, I really can't afford to pay an extra 3-5% if I can find another company.
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