Safari Tour Operators

Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Safari Tour Operators

Hi,
I'm just beginning my research but I'm finding endless tour companies from Ker and Downey, A & K on down. I'd like something less extravagant, keeping a ten day safari in the $4-6,000 per person price range without air. But I want a safe, reputable company with flexibility. Anyone have any suggestions? Also, Kenya or Tanzania for landscape, people and the big five? Thanks!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 02:24 PM
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Kenya or Tanzania? The biggest factor in deciding between the two is what time of year you wish to go.

Both have beautiful landscapes. People are friendly in both countries. By picking your parks carefully I believe you can slightly increase your Big 5 chances in Kenya, but luck plays a role too.

Here is a link to the best time of year to view wildlife in different parks, which is also the most expensive time and with the most visitors.

http://www.africa-adventure.com/dsp_besttime.html

You can certainly do better than the A&K prices with as good or probably better safari, even a private one.

Here are some companies that have been used succcessfully by Fodorites for Kenya and Tanzania. You can type these names in the search box or google them.

Africa Adventure
Africa Serendipty
ATR Africa Travel Resource
Eastern & Southern Safaris
Gamewatchers
Good Earth
Roys
Southern Cross Safaris
Thomsons (just Tanzania)

Finally, here is a link to an East Africa trip report index where you can read about many Kenya-Tanzania trips to get ideas.

Please post as your ideas narrow and your itinerary develops.

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Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 02:26 PM
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...and that index link is here

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34725679
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Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Lynn, the thread link for the New East Africa Index is
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34860283

I just knew I was going to get myself in trouble by making a new one, sorry about the confusion!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2006, 04:46 PM
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Thank you, Lynda, and I have updated my records!
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Thank you for the links. I'm overwhelmed I guess. There are so many tour operators and I see in August of this year there was a Kenya travel warning for US citizens. I am short on time trying to set this up, but I see a lot of people used Good Earth and it also seems affordable. I'm thinking perhaps now Tanzania. Anyway, I'll fumble through, thanks!
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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When were you thinking of going? If you'll let us know, we can give you better suggestions.

Don't be too concerned about the travel warnings to Kenya...they've been there for years and tourists have traveled there without incident. I was in Kenya the week after the embassy was bombed and had a wonderful time. This was their "9/11", though, and it was sad to see the shock and pain the country was going through.
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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I just saw your Egypt post and see that you might be traveling in either June or September. If you want to see the Migration: June - Tanzania. September - Kenya.

I've got a group going to Tanzania in June 2007 with Kibo Guides ($3695 for an 11-day wildlife and cultural safari). There are some spaces open because of some cancellations (and NO, I'm not a travel agent!) I've traveled with them twice before and think they do a great job for a fair price. If you'd like more info, e-mail me at DIVEDIVE99 at aol dot com. Should you decide to contact them directly for a private safari quote, you can reach them at josiah at kiboguides dot com. The East Africa trip report index will also give you an idea of other companies that Fodorites have used in their travels.
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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We had a U.S. tour operator do our safari. The company is called Intrav (you can find them on the Internet). We did not have one complaint. The safari was wonderful from start to finish.
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Old Dec 9th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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lenlu,
That Kenya travel warning has been there for many years and is updated every six months.
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Old Dec 10th, 2006, 03:16 PM
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Guys, thanks for the advice re: travel warning and other tour groups. I'll check it out. Because of our schedule and those caring for my two boys, my husband and I can really only go to Africa in either June, August or September and maybe April. I'd been leaning toward Kenya my whole life...but now I just want to go somewhere where it's attractive scenery, where I can see an elephant, a lion and a zebra and meet some locals. I want nice accomodations or tented camps, I am nervous about too much driving...tend to get motion queasy...and am now considering a short safari (6-7 days) and then spending 4 in Egypt over Zanzibar. I'd rather do Mauritious and it's too far. I'm not the best outdoors or bug gal but I do want to go once in my life! My husband is bugging me about S. Africa but I don't want the flights to be any longer than what I'm trying to set up. Throwing in Egypt is making this harder but I don't know when I'll be in Africa again....when my two year old is 20! I kind of wanted a tour company to just magically make this happen but after reading, it's a lot more complex, obviously. Any suggestions on Kenya over Tanzania? Seems like one should see the Mara, Ngorogoro Crater and the Serengeti. Thoughts?
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Old Dec 10th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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lenlu,

August or September would be better than June or certainly April for Kenya. The migration of wildebeest and zebra is in the Maasai Mara in Aug-Sept. April is the rainy season.

For Tanzania, the migration in the Serengeti would be more plentiful in June. August or September would be best for the Ngorongoro Crater, but June is fine too. Again April is the rainy season.

It is not necessary to see the Serengeti AND the Maasai Mara. You can choose one or the other, based on when you go, since they have the same wildlife. With 6-7 days on safari, I'd choose either the Mara or the Serengeti.

For lion, ele, zebra, meeting locals and nice scenery, Kenya or Tanzania would work equally well.

For Tanzania in June you could do

Manyara -1 (or eliminate)
Crater-2
Serengeti Central and Western-2 nights each for a total of 4 in the Serengeti

For Kenya in Aug-Sept you could do

Samburu 2-3
Maasai Mara-4
I'd suggest flying to Samburu, then to the Mara

Instead of Samburu, which is a ways away, you could do a Mt. Kenya camp, Lake Nakuru or Amboseli--all less distance from Nairobi or the Maasai Mara. I like Samburu because of its abundant wildlife and it has several different species, including a different kind of zebra (Grevy Zebra).

If you really wanted to see the Ngorongoro Crater, but also wanted to do Kenya, then in Aug-Sept you could
do both of these. You would likely need a transportation day in between. So you'd have to see if losing a day to transport was acceptable.

Agents--here are some that have been used with success

Africa Adventure
Africa Serendipity
Africa Travel Resource (ATR)
Eastern and Southern Safaris
Go2Africa
Good Earth
Roy's
Southern Cross

They can magically make this happen and offer you good advice. They can also tell you what is available when. But you will want to get going.

I know nothing of beaches or Egypt.
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