Safari Help Please!

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May 3rd, 2005, 12:57 PM
  #1
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Safari Help Please!

Hi There!

Kavey pointed me here, since I'm currently looking into booking a Safari this summer (late notice, I know) for myself and one other, and thus I would appreciate some advice etc on our current ideas...

The basic outline is thus:

We're looking 9-13 days away, with at least 6-7 days of actual safari/game viewing, preferably between 9th/10th July and 20th-22nd July, in either Kenya, Tanzania, or Namibia.

Flights aren't an issue, as they're pretty much a constant fare down to Nairobi (or where ever is nearest), so our budget for the holiday itself is around the $1500 (£800-£850) bracket per person, with room to increase that a little if needs must or if transfer flights are required. Accomodation wise, lodges would be preferred, but mixed camping and lodges would probably be ok too.

One last thing would be for this to be a private or very small group safari, but we appreciate that this isn't often possible within our budget, so isn't essential.

So far we've looked at companies such as Exodus, Explore, Go2Africa, and Safari2Go, but we're finding it hard to find something that fits all our above criteria. Does anyone have any recommendations of specific tours, or general safari companies that we should approach?

TIA,

Manic
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May 3rd, 2005, 02:19 PM
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You mention 6-7 days of safari. What are your ideas for the remaining days and is the $1500 per person budget just for the safari portion or the entire holiday? That's about how much we spent on a private 6 night safari in Kenya in Jan/Feb (also high season) staying mostly in tented camps and traveling by road. If staying in lodges, you can reduce that cost a bit. If camping, the costs vary widely depending on whether the tour operator is providing all of the services/gear/supplies or if you're pitching in and helping. What would you lean more towards? You'll find more information on camping safaris on the Thorn Tree board at lonelyplanet.com. Once you narrow down where you'd like to go (I would do it quickly), then you can get recommendations for tour operators based in the country you'll be visiting that you can contact for prices.
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May 3rd, 2005, 02:38 PM
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If you're not really choosy about accommodations I'd say you certainly can do it. A friend and I did it last year, with maybe only 6 weeks lead time on deciding to go (I think we started planning late March).

I too was considering Namibia, but flying to Windhoek was (from San Francisco) a little too pricey for us.

We went to TZ, did the standard Northern circuit safari, a mix of camping and lodges. I'm definitely not a backpacker, but the camping was not a big deal--they practically tied our shoes for us.

It was, no kidding, the absolute best experience of my life, and I'm now planning for 2006.

We used Easy Travel and Tours in Arusha. A lot of people have also recommended Good Earth. Just make sure to check references of whichever operator/outfitter you use.

As Patty said, also check in on Lonely Planet' Thorn Tree Africa branch.

Go, go, go!
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May 3rd, 2005, 02:45 PM
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Whoops, meant to say ours was a private safari, just my friend and I. Late July might be better in Kenya than Tanzania, though. I'm sure the many very helpful experts on this board can advise you further.

Best of luck!
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May 4th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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Hey Manic!

Can I just clarify, putting aside for the moment cost considerations, if you could do either would you prefer a completely private safari for just the two of you (private vehicle, guide) or would you actually rather be in a small group (by small I mean 8 or less)?

Secondly, I'd work on establishing in more detail your wish list in terms of what you actually want before getting bogged down with the decision on which operator would best provide it... it's worth keeping an eye on what various operators offer just to check your wish list is in line with the kinds of prices available but easier to compare operators when you can better differentiate between their product.

Thirdly, what elements are most important to you (rank them) out of the big cats, elephants, the other bigger animals, smaller animals (bushbaby, hare, porcupine, civet etc etc), open savannah landscape (like the traditional stereotypical dream image of africa), bushveld (not as open), wide open desert landscape, birds, permanent lodge accommodation, tented accommodation (if tented must it be ensuite or are you ok with private facilities in a nearby tent?)...?

Didn't think either of you were into beaches - are you thinking of spending the non-safari days on a beach or in a city/ doing cultural activities?
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May 5th, 2005, 03:08 AM
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Following out MSN chat have recommended checking out Roy Safaris, 2afrika and Let's Go Travel.

Let us know when they come back to you?
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May 5th, 2005, 03:55 AM
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Hi Kavey.
We would prefer a private safari, just the two of us because, as you know, we don't get to spend a lot of time together. Try going on a romantic holiday with 8 other people! This is why the safari/beach option I'm sure he told you about sounded good to use at first. We would have some safari time and some alone time, just the two of us.

As far as animals, I think it's safe to say we are intersted in big game and open spaces. Tented accomodations are fine but because I have a phobia of frogs/toads, I would really appreciate ensuite facilities.

I know we are being picky for our budget and I know we have to compromise some things, this is why we were thinking of a shorter safari and then the rest of the time on the beach or something but we would much rather spend the entire holiday on safari but that is just not possible at the moment.

June
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May 5th, 2005, 03:57 AM
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Hey June!

Yeah I can totally appreciate the preference for a private safari. I opt for group tours only when what I want isn't available any other way or when there's an advantage to it that isn't there travelling alone (such as the recent festival of wildlife trip which provided access to lots of advice and workshops from various experts in their fields). Otherwise we always prefer to travel alone. We still meet people along the way but they aren't in our face the whole time.

Hopefully Roys and 2afrika will get back to Manic with some good news/ ideas/ prices?
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Jun 25th, 2005, 02:39 AM
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Hi Maniac, I hope I'm not too late, only just became a member. Maybe there is still time if you mave fast. A few years ago I had a similar problem, as I am NOT the type of person who enjoys a holiday together with several other visitors, I was referred to an operator in Namibia who specialise in personal attention and preferences.

We made use of him and must say that I cannot remember a holiday I enjoyed more! I know it is easier for us from the UK to get to Windhoek, but a friend of mine in the USA also made use of this operator, and was thrilled. I do not have the e-mail address anymore, but maybe if you look up the website you will find it there. I think they were called: "Southern Skies safaris", or something like that.

Hope it will help, Anne
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Jun 25th, 2005, 03:32 AM
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Anne
After looking at various options and contacting various operators they decided to table the safari dream for the moment - until they have more time to research and book just what they want - and are spending the holiday in the UK instead.
Thanks, though!
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Jun 27th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Hello Manic,
I thought I should also chip in someting. For the cost of safari, in Kenya prepare $ 150 Per per day sataying in lodges and in Tanzania $200 per person per day. About your itinerary, this is something that can be fixed on your arrival, noting that you are only two, I do not see any problems with getting accomodation both in Kenya and Tanzania. We do offer safaris and incase you are interested please drop me a line [email protected]

Peter Muthinja
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