Safaris in Tanzania (OAT, Thompson)

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Jun 10th, 2002, 04:46 PM
  #1
Catherine
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Safaris in Tanzania (OAT, Thompson)

I'm considering booking a safari with Thompson Safari or Overseas Adventure Travel to Tanzania and would be very interested in hearing any experiences/advice from anyone who either went on one of their safaries or decided against doing so. How did you decide which company to go with and how did it work out?
 
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Jun 11th, 2002, 10:54 AM
  #2
laura
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We also considered Thomson safaris due to their fantastic reputation. However, they were too costly for us. So, we have ended up booking our trip with Roy Safaris, based in Arusha. They have received good writeups in Lonely Planet and Bradt Tanzania guidebooks, and I thoroughly enjoyed planning this trip with Sanjay (their owner) -- he has been wonderful to work with and very timely with replies. They are reasonably priced, as well. We haven't traveled with them yet, so I don't have first hand experience. We are headed for our safari with them in a couple of weeks (June 26-July 13).
 
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Jun 15th, 2002, 08:53 AM
  #3
ellen
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A good, VERY well traveled frined of mine took the OAT trip to Tanzania and said it was the best trip she had ever been on. I travelled with OAT to Botswana and Zimbabwe and it, too, was an outstanding trip. I believe that OAT is less expensive than Thompson and I can certainly recommend OAT without reservation. The accommodations, guides, small group, food, and internal Air transport were all excellent and completely reliable. Godd Luck, Ellen
 
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Jun 26th, 2002, 08:57 PM
  #4
Jennifer
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I just returned this past Saturday from a Safari with Thomson and it was absolutely amazing. It's not cheap but it was well worth it. I did a fair amount of research before deciding which company to use - I also contacted a travel agent that I had used before. Just as I was making up my mind (leaning towards Thomson) I mentioned the trip to a friend at work who, coincidentally, had traveled with Thomson last year and had nothing but good things to say about them. I also considered Overseas Adventure Travel (and quite a few other operators) but decided on Thomson for a number of reasons - including the fact that they specialize in Tanzania and they offered an itinerary that combined wildlife viewing and cultural activities. Let me know if you have any other questions - it was a fabulous trip - I hope you enjoy it whoever you go with.













 
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Oct 8th, 2002, 11:40 AM
  #5
Marilyn
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Hi,
I just read Jen's post about the Thomposon trip to Tanzania. My husband and I are considering going there this summer 2003. Jen, could you tell me more about your trip? What were the campslike? Were the guides knowledgeable. We are thinking of going to the Serengetti and then onward to Selous in the south. My husband has been to the later before, but I thought it would be great to see the Plain and the Gorge... Our other thought is to go to Botswana with OAT. Any ideas or comments would be gladly welcome.
Thanks!
 
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Oct 13th, 2002, 06:19 AM
  #6
Susan
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Hi Catherine. We just got back last week from a 17-day safari in Tanzania and Kenya. I also looked at Thompson Safari, but opted to go with a tour operator based out of Arusha, Tanzania. The company was Roy Safaris Ltd. and they were fantastic. Very responsive to all of our questions, very well organized and fantastic guides. And they were about 1/2 the price of other tour operators, and we stayed at the same camps! Do your homework and make sure you are getting the best price possible. The price differences between companies based in the US and UK and those actually located in East Africa are drastic. Good luck with your trip. Ours was spectacular and we are planning to go back in 2004 - and we will once again use Roy Safaris!
 
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Oct 14th, 2002, 05:18 AM
  #7
Marilyn
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Hi Susan,
My husband and I were thinking of going with Thomson Safari but I was wondering about Roy Safari. Do you have their email or phone number?
Thanks,
Marilyn
 
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Oct 14th, 2002, 01:08 PM
  #8
xxx
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Oops! I smell a rat. Could this be the same Susan who works for Roy Safaris? Funny the way your message came out. I looked at Roy Safaris too but Thompson has an 800 number in the US, and includes airfare. Quite a difference when you leave off the expensive things. Also with Thompson you get recommendations, etc that most of us need when planning a trip. Haven't used either and am not a travel agent but I would use someone I could talk to so I could get more of a feel about the service. Unless you post a trip report or more than I've seen, better to leave it alone. xxx
 
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Oct 19th, 2002, 06:37 AM
  #9
Marilyn
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Hi,
I agree. I have been speaking to the people at Thomson and they have been very helpful with info and references. They haven't been rushing us to purchase a trip, but willing to answer questions and get back in touch with answers. Just thought I would let others know that. We are considering going with them on a safari this summer.
Marilyn
 
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Oct 22nd, 2002, 04:22 AM
  #10
Moses
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Hi Catherin
I hope your about to do safaris with Thompson but i would like to advice you that you can still find some more cheeper comapany like fortune Travel and Tour we have very good services and rate too we can offer you cheep package for your holiday let us know how long you wanna stay in tanzania

Regards

Moses
 
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Oct 22nd, 2002, 05:23 AM
  #11
kavey
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Moses
It is against Fodors' policy for commercial business' to advertise on this board.
This forum is for travellers to share information with other travellers about their experiences, destinations etc.
Kavey
 
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Oct 26th, 2002, 04:33 PM
  #12
Susan
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Hi Marilyn! Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but I was having computer problems. And for the record,I am not the same Susan from Roy Safaris. I live in New Hampshire, although it was Susan Pundit from Roy Safaris who did our trip. First off, I would recommend you go to Selous. We stayed at Sand Rivers for three nights and absolutely loved it. We never saw another vehicle while on game drives, subsequently we felt like we had Selous to ourselves. Another plus to Selous is being able to go on walking safaris, with a park ranger, of course. Again, we loved it and would go back to Selous in a heartbeat. By the way, the website for Roy Safaris is www.roysafaris.com If I may be so bold, we received quotes from seven US based tour operators for our itinerary and Roy was significantly less, but their service was fantastic. Good luck.
 
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Oct 26th, 2002, 04:37 PM
  #13
Susan
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Sorry Marilyn. I forget to give you what you wanted! Telephone number 255-27-2502115, or 2508010 or 2507940
Fax number is 255-27-2548892
E-mail address is [email protected]
Our trip was booked entirely by e-mail, although we did meet the owners when we were in Arusha. Young, enthusiastic, serious about their clients, and their business is booming, so much so they have to move to larger offices. Good luck.
 
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Oct 26th, 2002, 07:21 PM
  #14
Liz
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Susan;
Don't you find it difficult to do an entire safari by email? Did you ever call Roy Safaris? How did you ever get all of your questions answered?
I'm having a real hard time trying to get the information I need to make a decision. Forget Thomson Safaris. Roy Safaris seems willing but the distance and my lack of knowing what all I need to ask leaves me questioning if its possible to do from such a long distance. Thanks for sharing. liz
 
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Oct 27th, 2002, 01:40 AM
  #15
chris
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Liz, I recommend you get a book on the wildlife in the different parks and than you can make the decision where you would like to go. I used Lonely Planet's "Watching Wildlife in East Africa" in planning my 2 safaris. By researching first what each Park has to offer I was able to make my decision where to go, then I researched which lodges I wanted to stay at in each of those parks and decided how to get to the Parks (fly if you can afford the extra cost and remember you'll gain a few days of game viewing time by flying). We do a combination flying/driving between the Parks.

When I had the Parks, lodges, and mode of transportation decided I then emailed a few Safari Tour Operators for quotes. They were all very accomodating and responsive. For Kenya I used Let's Go Safari and for my upcoming Tanzania/Zanzibar trip I'm using United Touring Company. Everything was done by email/fax.

Planning this way afforded me to have the safari exactly how I want it, maximize my time, and MUCH cheaper than many of the big US based companies "packaged" safaris.

For example on my last safari I had a customized safari met at NBO Airport on arrival by Let's Go, 1 overnight at Hotel Boulevard Nairobi with tour of Giraffe Center and Karen Blixen Museum, all airport transfers, flight to Amboseli from Nairobi overnighting in Amboseli Serena with Lodge providing game drives, flight back to Nairobi where we were met my driver and drove through Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru for overnight at Nakuru Lodge, drive to Mountain Lodge for overnight, then drive to Samburu for 2 nights (all these drives were done by Let's Go), then transferred to airstrip for flight to Masai Mara for 3 nights at Siana Springs tented Camp (drives done by Camp). Flight back to Nairobi where met by Let's Go driver, day room at Hotel Boulevard until night flight home with transfer to Airport. Total cost was about $1800 per person. By visiting these Parks we saw the greatest variety of animals.
 
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Oct 28th, 2002, 02:09 PM
  #16
Susan
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Hi Liz! No, I never called Roy Safaris directly. I booked the entire trip via e-mail. What I did was decide beforehand where I wanted to go. The Mara and Amboseli in Kenya were musts. The Crater was a must for Tanzania. Doing a lot of research, I determined that I would also be interested in Tarangire National Park. And then I decided I wanted to go somewhere a bit more remote, so research also resulted in my choice of Selous. After determining where I wanted to go, I told Roy Safaris this is what I want to do, can it be done? Susan at Roy Safaris answered all of my questions, and believe me, I had a ton. That is very, very important - make sure you ask a lot of questions. We went on a private safari, meaning at all times it was just my husband and me in the vehicle, with our guide. We paid more for that, but we determined it was worth it. From talking with friends, I knew which camps I wanted to stay, or at least what standard of camp I wanted. Roy Safaris was very accurate in describing our accomodations and never seemed bothered with all my questions, although I am sure there were times Susan wished she had never heard from me! It is daunting and overwhelming planning a trip to East Africa, but prioritize what it important to you and take it from there. I took about a year to plan our trip and save the money, but it was worth it.
 
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Oct 28th, 2002, 06:09 PM
  #17
liz
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Susan-
Your posts were quite helpful. Susan at Roy Safaris seems very nice and obliging. I'm just used to picking up the phone and having a two way discussion and getting feedback instantly. By the time I email and get an answer back, I have a bunch of new questions. I know where I want to go but I expect recommendations and its harder to get someone to understand that in an email. Susan seems willing to help though.
I've been to East Africa before and don't want to do it all. We will have a private trip with just my husband and me, but it will take a while I'm sure to get it all put together. Thanks for your posts, again it helped me to try this direct, and I know I'll be happier.
By the way, have you posted your trip report? I don't think I've seen it. Hope you will. liz
 
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Oct 29th, 2002, 04:37 AM
  #18
Susan
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Hi Liz! Glad I was able to be of some help. I know your concerns about getting answers to questions, etc. via e-mail. But as frequently as I touched base with Roy Safaris with questions, my telephone bill would have been in the thousands of dollars. Even though I did decide where I wanted to go, I did have Susan make some suggestions/recommendations and she was very helpful. She and her husband were both born and raised in Tanzania. I did try to post my trip report, but unfortunately only Parts II and III actually got posted. A brief summary of Part I was that we arrived late in Nairobi, where we were transfered to our hotel. We stayed at the Fairview Hotel, which was clean and quiet. I didn't want to splurge on a hotel that we were only going to spend a few hours in. We left early the next morning for Wilson Airport, where we caught our flight for the Mara. We stayed at the Mara River Camp, which I absolutely adored. Just outside the park, the camp is right on the Mara River and we could hear the hippos walking around our tents grazing on grass at night. Not super-duper luxurious, but my favorite all the same. Large tents with ensuite facilities, wonderful food and a staff that is bar none. The manager is a Kenyan old-timer (he used to conduct hunting safaris) and has some glorious stories to tell about living in Kenya. Anyway, the Mara was spectacular. We saw a crossing of wildebeest (waited 2 1/2 hours for it but was worth every second), spent quality time with a leopard and its kill, and had breakfast one morning in our vehicle while two male lions ate theirs no more than 25-feet away from us. The Mara is everything I dreamed it would be and exceeded all of my expectations. The weather was fantastic - crisp at night but warm and sunny during the day. We spent four nights at the Mara River Camp, before flying back to Nairobi, from where we drove to Amboseli. Follwing a long, bumpy and dusty ride, we arrived at Tortilis Camp, which was truly luxurious. Very comfortable accomodations, wonderful food (although a bit too gourmet for our taste) and the view of Mt. Kilimanjaro was spectacular. Again, Kenya did not disappoint me and Amboseli was everything I dreamed it would be. We saw plenty of elephants and had herds of 20-25 pass within 20 feet of our vehicle. We watched as a baby elephent chased a hippo away from where the hippo was lounging in some mud, and I looked into the eyes of a beautiful matriarch and saw the intelligence of the magnificent creatures. We came upon two prime lionesses lounging in the morning sunlight and I swear they literally posed for us! It was in Amboseli that we visited a Masai village. We were driven to the Namanga border and into Tanzania, where we spent the rest of our trip. (Parts II and III are posted.) Anyway, that was it in a nutshell. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for Kenya and Tanzania, and both countries not only met but exceeded every expectation that I had. You've been to East Africa before, so I know you can relate to what I am saying.
 
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Oct 30th, 2002, 01:52 PM
  #19
Norman
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I am considering July--How is it for the animals-weather??Kenya & Tanzania
 
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Oct 30th, 2002, 06:59 PM
  #20
Susan
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Hi Norman! We traveled to Kenya and Tazania in mid-September through early October. A friend of mine, however, went to Tanzania in mid-July and saw a plethora of wildlife. She posted a trip report just a few days after her return, which you may be able to find if you do a search of this site. Have a wonderful trip!!!! I am pea-green with envy that you are going. We have to wait a bit to restock the bank account but are aiming to return in 2004.
 
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