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monahanati Feb 8th, 2012 01:34 PM

Safari Venture tour Company

My husband and I have been looking into a safari and found today's Groupon. It is with Safari Ventures. Does anyone know anything about this company? How does the itinerary look?

Any feedback would be great! Thank you!!!

atravelynn Feb 8th, 2012 05:45 PM

Groupon comes to the safari world. It was bound to happen.

$5700/9 days = $633 per person per day

Not huge savings by any means.

2 nts Lake Manyara = 2 nts for a first time trip of this short length, especially depending on what time of year you are going, seems too long.

Ikoma and Robanda are in Central to Western part of Serengeti I believe. May/June is when the migration is likely around there.

Don't know the lodgings at the crater.

If this were discounted further, I'd be interested. This seems fairly typical, not a deal. Don't know Venture Safaris.

Just as an example, compare with Good Earth in Tanzania

Compare with Good Earth in Kenya

Compare with The Africa Adventure Company in Ft. Lauderdale.

monahanati Feb 8th, 2012 06:31 PM

Thanks! I agree that I can't believe that I'm considering a Groupon for my safari! It does seem like a better deal than the other companies since it includes the flight from DC to Tanzania and taxes.

pixelpower Feb 8th, 2012 11:24 PM

I assume you coul justify 2 nights @ Manyara as follows:

- do something else than Manyara during daytime (Tarangire for example), and arrive at the lodge in the evening
- sleep there
- spend next day in Manyara, together with a visit to Mto Wa Mbo you can certainly fill a day
- sleep in same lodge again
- since that lodge is already west of Manyara, you got a good head start to get to Serengeti

The above would only work if you do the crater on the way back though. Otherwise for that 2nd night I'd chose Sopa so that I'm first on the crater floor in the morning.

But I agree on the price; 633$ pppn?? Wow. We did a similar trip to the Northern parks of TZ, but double as long (including 4 nights on Zanzibar with a flight to/from the island). Our price was about 3000€. I admit, it was a few years ago, so prices have gon up since. But still...

Ikoma was also a camp we stayed at, and the only one we didn't like; food was bad, and there's almost no wildlife in that area; it took us one hour of driving every day before we started seeing the first animals.



atravelynn Feb 9th, 2012 06:10 AM

Some more figuring. When I went directly to Safari Venture to review the trip, it showed international airfare was NOT INCLUDED. But the groupon site shows AIRFARE IS INCLUDED, at least from DC. With air included, the deal improves. If you back out $1500 on avg for the international round trip flight, then this is $4200 for 9 days or $433 per person per night.

To get more specific, you have 8 nights (even though 9 days--Groupon itinerary includes the days you are flying so it appears longer at first glance.) So take $4200/8 = $525. Nothing special.

<b>Before booking something like this, do check some other places,</b> such as the links I posted above or any other companies.

I have heard similar complaints several times about Ikoma. The other camp mentioned as a Serengeti accommodation is owned by the same company as Ikoma, so I'd expect similar.

For a real deep discount, I'd be enthused about these properties. <b>But this does not seem to be a real deep discount, even with airfare included.</b>

If you are looking to do an African safari for little $$, look at <b>Lion World Tours</b> in Canada.
The safari is in Kenya, not Tanzania. I know a couple who did this a few years back and were thrilled.

If you search Lion World on Fodors, you'll see another positive report on it.

Of the companies mentioned above, I've used Eastern and Southern and The Africa Adventure Company. Just great. I'd go with Lion World or Good Earth.

sandi Feb 9th, 2012 07:30 AM

Forest Lodge, as I recall is NOT on the crater rim so you'd be outside, have to enter next morning, then out for 2nd o/n. The accommodations are in the low-mid-prices range.

Groupon has been offering these coupons lately, and they're not really the best deal. You can probably do better with a specialist safari company in your home country or an in-country outfitter. Also, being able to select your own accommodations.

As show on the itinerary, appears that ET flight arrives 1:30am, why the o/n at KIA lodge. And, then next day, 1/hr drive to Arusha, and another 2.5/hrs to Manyara, probably why the 2/nts here.

ET fares out of IAD are way less than $1500, they do give KLM a run for the money for this destination.

Again, check around before committing.

ShayTay Feb 9th, 2012 08:12 AM

You can also check out Overseas Adventure Travel's "Safari Serengeti", which includes air. As an example, their June 2012 trips would be 14 days including travel time and the price including air from IAD is $5095. Their flights are on KLM via Amsterdam. Their itinerary includes Tarangire, rather than Lake Manyara, a better choice in my opinion. They also include a lot of cultural activities.

Taga_Safaris Feb 9th, 2012 08:40 AM

I had a phone call the other day from Groupon but have to say I declined. They ask for too much and give nothing of value in a Safari Trip. My beloved partner has used them before in motor vehicle repairs and it turned out to be a disaster. They have an unrealistic value of price.

Yours on Safari

atravelynn Feb 9th, 2012 10:46 AM

Interesting to hear from the other side of the Groupon deal.

The OAT trip on KLM is a low cost.

sandi Feb 9th, 2012 11:36 AM

Mark, interesting input. I'm sure they're not with it as far as safari costs.

I too feel, OAT offers a better deal even without a coupon.

Taga_Safaris Feb 10th, 2012 08:33 AM

Hi Sandi
Yes, you are right. They have no idea of what the travel industry is all about. They wanted a 60% discount on all my prices. Imagine that. No wonder Singita and Mala Mala won't even talk to them.

Yours on Safari

ShayTay Feb 10th, 2012 09:47 AM

I've had local service providers say that they will give us a better discount if we DON'T use their Groupon deal. For travel, that kind of discount that Mark quotes is totally unrealistic.

Taga_Safaris Feb 10th, 2012 10:03 AM

Hi ShayTay

That is great. Confusing but can you share with links.

Yours on Safari

sandi Feb 10th, 2012 11:57 AM

60%... Crazy!

Taga_Safaris Feb 11th, 2012 08:59 AM

Hi Sandi and ShayTay
Had a chat with my "Best Friend" today who is an accountant and very well connected in the financial sector and his advise was "Stay Away" which of course I did.

There is a saying in Afrikaans which I will translate and it basically says if you buy cheap it will cost you more.
At the end of the day you get what you paid for.

Lets drop it now and move on.

Yours on Safari

rehematours Mar 26th, 2012 10:22 PM

You will have to look at a company that you are comfortable with. than taking any company that comes upon.

sharonjohn Apr 3rd, 2012 08:47 AM

I hope you did not follow the advice of those who responded to your question, especially the friend who had "close ties to the financial sector". Obviously his expertise does not apply to the travel sector. I did purchase the groupon for $4917, and just returned from the first trip offered on March 21. After subtracting $1305 for airfare, and dividing by nine, the cost per day was $401. I chose to use nine days because the first and last days were great days.
This trip was fabulous and so well organized that it exceeded our expectations. After checking with several safari companies I found that all considered the Northern Circuit in Tanzania to be an appropriate first trip to Africa. The company had been highly rated by National Geographic in 2009, and was still owned and run by the same man.
The tented cabins we stayed in added to the experience. We saw lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, warthogs, hyenas, baboons, zebras, giraffes, chameleons, monitor lizards, hippos, mongoose, ostriches, gazelles, impalas, and rhinoceros. All but the endangered rhinos were less than 15 feet away from us. Our guide, Wilfred, went far out of his way to find the wildebeest migration that was not following its usual route because of lack of rain. Wilfred's knowledge of the plants, animals, and cultures was beyond compare. The small group of six that we traveled with made it an outstanding trip.
What a loss for you if you didn't buy this trip!

Taga_Safaris Apr 27th, 2012 03:27 AM

Dear sharonjohn
I just received a Groupon voucher to have a meal at a restaurant which is a Rump Stake with starch at a discount of 55% for R125.00 For crying out aloud I buy my meat for a 10th of that.

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