Safari Tour Companies

Nov 7th, 2009, 04:29 PM
  #1  
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Safari Tour Companies

I am looking to go on a 12 day safari to Tanzania June 2010. I've narrowed possible tour companies to Mbango Safaris; World Tours & Safaris; and possibly Classic Escapes. Our interest is birding & wildlife.

Any comments or tips for good safari company that is reasonable? We are school teachers, so a price such as Eagle Eyes $6225 is too high.

Thank you.
Birder57
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Nov 8th, 2009, 06:05 AM
  #2  
 
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Of the three mentioned, only Classic Escapes sounds vaguely familiar, but not sure.

June is the start of peak season for Tanzania, so prices will be high; $500/day isn't all that unusual. But, without more info on the Eagle Eyes safari - which parks visiting, how many days, where staying, transport (driving/flights), any beach extension at conclusion of safari segment?, or other - so it's difficult to comment whether cost is justified or what you can expect to pay.

Or what specific info did you send to these outfitters and what did they offer. Maybe post the offerings, so some can comment.
sandi is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 11:22 AM
  #3  
 
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Agree with Sandi about prices. Specifics would help determine if the price is right.

Tom---what a lame answer. Not cute. Not clever. Not funny. Not helpful.
MONYLINE is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 02:37 PM
  #4  
 
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Yeah, well, I can't bat 1000!!!
birder57 brought it up.
Why isn't it helpful? If they feel underpaid and undervalued in their work, they should move. I have little sympathy for teachers complaining about their pay. Maybe it was true 50 years ago but today with the Teachers Unions they are doing just fine. Did you check out that link to Califronia pay? Or, how about not CA but the midwest, say Ohio, $35k to $72K in 2006. And for 10 months work.

But will agree, somewhat off-topic for this forum.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 03:13 PM
  #5  
 
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My momma taught me never to put my hands in someone else's pocket, and I don't.

There are many families who earn $70K annually, who can save and put all their kids thru college (ok State schools), while others with $200+K, can barely make it. Different strokes, life-styles, spending and/or savings habits. What's important to one, is not for another.

My mom's brother recently passed and it was most surprising to her and others what he amassed on his mostly (and part-time) municipal salary... over a million dollars left to a few family members.

The OP mentioned that they felt $6200 was too high. School teachers or not... it's more than they can afford to spend!
sandi is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 03:31 PM
  #6  
 
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Birder57,

Just ignore the insults and back to the trip.

Most of the safari outfitters can offer you a good birding trip. If you are world class birders, then you may need a specialist. But then the cost is higher.

Try Eastern and Southern Safaris.

http://www.birdtours.co.uk/triprepor...nya-feb-05.htm

I'd suggest a company like E&S and do a private trip so that you can focus on birds.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 03:47 PM
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Tom,

If you think it's fun to insult the Birders and their rinky dink education, assuming they have a Masters, you'll have a blast picking on that teacher from Canada who took 41 students to Egypt.

Ok, back to lilac breasted rollers, Lake Nakuru, etc.
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Nov 8th, 2009, 04:07 PM
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Birder,

You'll want to be sure you state straight away to whatever agent you use (unless it is a birding co) that you are serious birders so you get a guide who can accommodate you. The very best time for birds in East Africa may be during months when you are unable to travel (Nov-Mar), but anytime should produce 100-200 new species. If you happen to be on sabbatical and can go during Nov-Mar, don't tell Tom. He might never recover.

Another money saving hint is to stay at lesser accommodations, such as bandas to save money. I have done that in the past and am planning on doing that with E&S. They are open to such strategies. You are in the same park, just staying at more budget lodging. I believe keen birders are notorious for this approach.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 04:30 PM
  #9  
 
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Was the $6200 for both of you or for each of you? I just returned from Tanzania...our guide identified many different species of birds and spotted some in the brush that we didn't even notice. And our price for each of us was much less than $6200. We stayed in Luxury and Mid priced tents and lodges..and had a 10 day private safari in Tanzania with Warrior Trails Ltd. It was terrific~!
SandraJoy is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 10:54 PM
  #10  
 
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I surely do admire teacherCanada.
I've read his entire Egypt trip report. So interesting and well written. (He must have a Masters Degree ).

I really do admire his enthusiasm for teaching, to do all that planning and take all that responsibility is wonderful. He is well worth every penny he gets paid .

And if I apologize if I severely offended teacher birder57 . (But please, no twitchers on my game drive vehicle ).

And now back to the mosquito netting and thigh high waders

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 12:19 AM
  #11  
 
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Birder57, there are many guides in East Africa who would love to share their passion for birds with someone who is interested. Every time we go on safari we get more and more pleasure out of the birdlife … it is just so amazing. Even guides who began by showing us just the mega fauna got noticeably more excited when we stated that we were interested in birds as well, and were quite content to sit with them for long periods.

It may be worth your while contacting the ornithological society in Nairobi as they have specialist walks and tours which sound very interesting.
twaffle is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 01:22 AM
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Yes Twaffle,good advise to Birder57.Don't pay such kind of money just to realize latter that you even know more birds than your Guide.Will you get your money back?????? A budget birding safari should not be more than USD 200 and a Luxury not more than USD 250 per day in any lodge in Tanzania.Play your cards well.
marshal6060 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 05:29 AM
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Would still like to see the details of that itinerary at $6200!
sandi is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 10:10 AM
  #14  
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Wow. I had no idea my question would generate such a response Tom, I was not offended, but rather taken aback as the salary issue wasn't the heart of my inquiry. First of all: the salary question: I teach in a Catholic HS in Florida; I have two solid Masters Degrees, one in English, and one in Library Science. I choose to work where I do, and my comment re the price was in no way a complaint, just a statement of a reality. In my group that wants to go, there are 3 of us teachers, and one retired teacher.

SandraJoy: The $6225 quoted is per person. Thank you for the name of the tour group. I will look into that today. I appreciate your enthusiasm and share it for birding. I found on our trip to Kenya, that the couple in our group who weren't interested in birds, by the 3rd day were calling them out and got excited.

ATravelynn: Good to see you are still on Fodors. It has been a couple of years since I posted.You have always, anytime I've posted, been so very helpful. For my Tanzania trip, and my Galapagos and Machu Pichu trip, your advice was so reasonable and helpful. Your latest is no exception. Thank you.
To all the rest of you who gave me helpful hints on the birding, and names of safari tour companies, a big big thank you. I will look into all your suggestions. My first trip to Africa--Kenya--was with the St. Louis Audubon Society and was a budget trip. Evenso, I was impressed with our accommodations. Airfare back then was included. Times are different now. When I went to KEnya,the St. Louis Aud. S did the trip through Park East, so we used PE for our TZ trip. Park East merged with International Expeditions. Our southern Africa trip was a mixed bag experience, the company folding in September of 2005 just after we returned. So I appreciate any help I can get re companies from those who have been to TZ and were satisfied.

I welcome any further suggestions.

Very sincerely, and gratefully,
Birder57
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Nov 9th, 2009, 02:06 PM
  #15  
 
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First of all this is for Cary999 (Tom)

Tom: You should be very embarassed and your comment was not called for at all. You persisted. I may not have brought you up except you really irked me the whole day. Please either try to be helpful or be on the quiet side altogether.

Firder57 - there were many mentions of Kiliwarriors on Fodor's. I have never traveled with this company but I know that the owner is an expert on Tanzania and will advise you properly. He is from South Africa and his office is in Virginia. I looked them up on the list of Tanzania Association of Tour Operators and so I copy what I saw:
Website URL http://www.kiliwarriors.com

Activities
Activities Safari • Bird Watching Safari • Walking Safari • Mountain climbing • Hiking • Diving • Fishing • Horse riding • Boating • Ballooning • Beach vacation • Relaxing in hidden places • Cultural tourism – Visits to local villages • Cultural tourism – Visits to local crafts shops • Cultural tourism – Cultural performances • Cultural tourism – Olduvai Gorge / Oldonyo Lengai • Supporting a local community

Good luck with your planning!
mkulove is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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With 3 of you, a private vehicle becomes more cost effective. Thanks for your comments, but maybe I'm not so helpful. I was thinking you were going to Kenya. If it's TZ, maybe Good Earth, Roy's or Kiliwarriors.

(RE: The waders--they will precede me on this next Alaska trip with the help of FedEx.)
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 01:39 AM
  #17  
 
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Hi Birder 57,

I went on safari this year and had a particuilar interest in birds and photographing birds.

We used East African Safari and Touring Company (because we had used them previously and liked them) and our guides were fantastic when it came to birds and bird identification and very patient when we wanted to stop and look at birds.
Malpa is offline  
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:05 PM
  #18  
 
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Clamian, the owner of Warrior Trails in Arusha, was with Roy's Safaris before he started his own company 4 or 5 years ago. He's Maasi, grew up in the villages, but today is a very modern and well educated family man. His company is small with a very personal touch. The guide we went with, Jackson, identified and spotted many birds and we called him "eagle eyed Jackson" Check them out if you chose to at
www.warriortrails.com or contact them at [email protected] Good luck
SandraJoy is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 05:36 AM
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If anyone are thinking of renting and driving yourself, stay away from Erikson Rover Safari. We have just returned a group of 20 people who had planned a professional course in some of the national parks In Kenya and Tanzania. The 5 cars we rented were too old to rent out to people in my opinion. The following happened with one or more of the cars during the trip:
- The windscreens suddenly stopped working during a heavy rain, so that the driver bumped into a cow.
- In the car we drove, there was a leakage of petrol making that we travelled in strong smell of petrol longer distances. The motor was soaked with wet petrol.
- The locking mechanism on the petrol tank did not close properly resulting in a fountain out of the tank when going uphill with full tank.
- The handbrake did not work in a couple of the cars, which is a challenge when driving in towns with steeper hills with cars behind.
- The radiator boiled by a couple of occasions in a couple of the cars.
- One of the cars had something wrong with the steering mechanism so that the car went out against the left when driving straight forward.
- Later the steering rod broke after a minor hit, which may have meant that it was partly broken in advance.
- The fan belt broke in a couple of the cars.
- The front position of the wheels was suddenly changed and both front wheels headed sideway, giving an abrupt stop.
- They claimed that we received the cars with full tanks, and had to deliver it with such. The tanks were not even full enough to make it to the nearest petrol station but needed filling with the jerry cans soon after take off.
- The safari company says they are experts in the border crossing. When entering Tanzania from Kenya, the authorities did not like us to do that, they wanted money extra. The application process, particularly to have the cars registered for frontier crossing was troublesome. Some few advices from the safari company would have eased the crossing as to bring a copy of the driver’s passport and driver’s license.
There were two mechanics following us. They were clever and helpful. If it had not been for them, we have still been stuck in the middle of no-where in Serengeti. There was a cook following who arranged nice food, and the tents and the sleeping facilities were also nice. But the cars! Firstly it is dangerous. Secondly very interesting parts of our programme had to be cancelled. (The reason why we originally came there.) Do never choose Eriksons safaris"
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