Safari with NEI

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Mar 9th, 2005, 07:50 PM
  #1
cz
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Safari with NEI

I'm new to this Board. I could use some advice. Has anyone traveled on safari with Nature Expeditions International?
I've been in conversation wtih the people there. They seem eager to please, and to engage my business. They offered to give me references before we sign up. I couldn't find any references when I searched. How about Thompson Tours or Africa Adventures?
I'd really appreciate any input.
CZ
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Mar 10th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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cz

Don't know NEI. Thomson Safaris has a good reputation, but I never used them.

I've used Africa Adventure in Florida. I copied a previous post I made about them here:

The only agent that I have "really put to the test" was Africa Adventure when just before a scheduled departure to Uganda in 2001 for myself and three friends, there were security problems that fell short of a State Dept warning, but made us feel uncomfortable going there at that time. Africa Adventure re-did that portion of the trip last minute, omitting all our Uganda activities, with no cancellation fees, and not charging us for a total of 12 gorilla permits. They replaced the Uganda days with the Kenya & Tanzania camps and activities I requested. It also required changing airline tickets just days before the flight and they got us changes without any fees or penalties.

Another time in 1998, as I was returning home, Air Botswana redirected its scheduled flight elsewhere, without a replacement, stranding all its passengers. A collect call to Africa Adventure got me on another airline's flight, only one day late when some of the other passengers were still stranded.

What kind of Africa trip did you have in mind?
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:09 PM
  #3
cz
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This will be our first trip to Africa. I've been reading about various safaris. The one that Nature Expeditions International is discussing with us is private for my husband and myself. It starts in Nairobi, goes to Aberdare National Park, Samburu Game Reserve, Sweetwaters Game Reserve, Masai Mara National Reserve, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti NP, ending in Arusha.
We want to add a week that we have already reserved near Mombasa at the end. We would like to start in SA, with some time in Cape Town; would like to see more of SA, but don't know how feasible it is. We figure we will be gone about a month, with the 13-14 day in country safari. (In August)
I had found Africa Adventure's book,Africa's Top Wilderness Countries, in our library several weeks ago, and that is what has started all of this. I know we are choosing a busy season, but it is an ideal time for us to travel.
At this point in time, we are trying to compare various companies and their offerings. NEI had a nice combo of places, accommodations, and activities, including gliding, ballooning, hiking, and driving. But no one seems to be responding to my query about their service.

Thanks for your interest.
Chris Z
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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cz,

I only 100 days until we leave for our first african safari, and I believe I understand your desire to search for a reputable operator. There is so much information to be learned that it can be overwhelming! I believe that this board is a tremendous source of real life experience. I have been reading almost daily for over a year the experts here have made all the difference for me. I hope that you continue to explore your options and ask questions!

I researched scores of operators. I do not know Nature Expetitions International, but their web site indicates they look legit. I would strongly suggest that you also consider exploring local operators.

Here is my story. We started by looking at A & K and Micato brouchures. After lots of research we learned that these US based operators simple act as middle-men and hire local operators to provide your safari. A few examples I found were: 2 Africa uses Predators. Born Free uses Rangers. etc.. I believe that Thompson's uses their own vehicles (but you certainly pay a premium).

YOU can contact the local operators (like our operator Roy Safaris) and save ALOT for the same lodges, service etc... As a matter of fact for our Kenyan and Tanzanian holiday we are using some of the most expensive lodges and camps cost and paying about 50% of the price of the safaris I read on NEI's site.

After lots of emails and phone calls I sent bids to lots of companies and the range of quotes were very wide. Our philosophy is that we are getting an upscale safari for the price of the basic US operator safaris.

My suggestion is to spend a few hours searching this message board on this subject. There have been many, many posts on this very subject. Almost everyone who does this research ends up saving money by using local operators. Read the trip reports. Ask lots of questions.

You can do a private safari for the cost of a group. Get an idea of what you want to see and do in Africa. Send for the fancy brouchures and plan your itinerary. Ask the experts here to comment on your itinery. Then solicit bids from a few US based operators and from some of the local operators you read on this board. COnce you see the price difference your will be amazed. We chose a respected oocal operator - Roy Safaris and have been thrilled with them so far. Web site www.roysafaris.com. We are dealing with the president, Sanjay.

I'll write a detailed report when we return and share our experience with anyone who want to read it when we return in July. I certainly would like to help others like I have been helped. Good luck!
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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cz - I remember this post from that really got things started for me (thanks Roccco!)

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...t=0&dirtyBit=1
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:56 PM
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oops - I don't know how to copy and paste past posts. The post I was refering to is:

"How to guide to designing your own itinerary and getting the best prices... "

I think the link is:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=4
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Mar 10th, 2005, 07:57 PM
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Sorry again. It doesn't seem to work. I'll try topping the post...
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