Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Suggestions for a tour company that leads safari trips in Africa
Notices

Suggestions for a tour company that leads safari trips in Africa

Reply

Nov 2nd, 2012, 10:32 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 81
Suggestions for a tour company that leads safari trips in Africa

It will be our first time in Africa, we are interested in animal viewing as well as the scenery. It looks like Kenya and Tanzania are most typical and we also would like to visit Victoria Falls. We prefer to take an organized tour (first for us), any suggestions on good tour companies for Africa?
Yaar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 3rd, 2012, 04:00 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4
I went with kruger Tours, but that was Kruger National park, south africa, good though.
andiejc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 3rd, 2012, 06:04 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2
For Tanzania and Kenya contact Distinctive Journeys www.distinctivej.com email: [email protected]
lmandar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 3rd, 2012, 08:07 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Kenya and Tanzania are typical for Trip #1. So is South Africa. If you want to go to Victoria Falls, viewed from either Zimbabwe or Zambia, then you'll be much closer to South Africa. To save time and money flying around the continent, do consider a South Africa and Vic Falls combo.

Some other questions to help decide where you'll want to go for your safari, include:

What time of year do you plan to travel?
How much time do you have?
How many is "us"?
Is Cape Town of interest to you?
Were you thinking of including gorillas?
Is seeing the wildebeest and zebra migration a must for this trip?
How important is seeing the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, ele, buffalo) to you?
Are there any animals that you particularly want to see?

A word on the "organized tour."

In East Africa it is very common to work out a detailed and organized itinerary with your safari provider that tailors the trip to your wants and provides a private vehicle for just your group, be it a couple or a family. You usually have the same driver/guide throughout the country. It is possible to fly from camp to camp as well, and use a private or a shared vehicle. You leave home knowing where you'll be going/staying every step of the way.

In South Africa it is very common to work out a detailed and organized itinerary with your safari provider that tailors the trip to your wants and sends you by vehicle or scheduled flight(s) from lodge to lodge where you share safari activities with others. Usually about 6 (sometimes up to 10) in a vehicle. Check on numbers. About 6 on walks or other activities. You leave home knowing where you'll be going/staying every step of the way.

A word on numbers in the vehicle: The more important photography is to you, the fewer people you want in the vehicle. If you'll just snap some vacation memories, then if it is 10 in an open vehicle in South Africa, that is fine and cost effective. For the closed vehicles in East Africa, only choose an option where everyone gets their own window, regardless of your photography interests.

So for tour companies:

If you really want a set group departure, consider Overseas Adventure Travel or Lion World Tours. They do group trips in East Afria and Southern Africa. These are lower cost options. There are some good reports on each. No personal experience.

Some very expensive group trips are Micato, Tauk, A&K. No personal experience and I feel they are way overpriced. There are some good reports on each.

Even if your preference is for a group tour, it is to your advantage to contact a couple of companies who do tailor made trips in which the "group" is you and "tour" is what you have planned together. It's always an education. You pick up some hints. You may decide that having some input on the makeup of your trip is beneficial. The cost is less than those expensive group trips and just a little more than OAT or Lion World. I usually go this route.

Here are a few suggestions where you can design a trip for just your group. There are a whole lot more good companies out there in addition to these. Others will likely chime in with their favs.

In East Africa:

Kiliwarrors/Eben Schoeman Safaris-one trip made and one in the making. Based in Virginia and Arusha, Tanz.

Lion Trails--lots of the folks who used to work at the Nairboi-based company I used to go with are now here. I hope to use them in the future but have not yet. I have traveled with their staff members, though.

Africa Serendipity--In NYC. Sandi gives loads of helpful info to posters here. She works there. No personal experience.

All of Africa:

Eyes on Africa--in Chicago, I've used them for South Africa. Have a short SA visit in the works with them now. One of the owners is South African.

The Wild Source--really want to use them some day. Very good reports on them. Biologist owned. In Colorado.

The Africa Adventure Co--In addition to tailor made trips they also usually have some set group departures. In Ft. Lauderdale. I've used them for East and Southern Africa. On a couple of occasions, when various problems arose that sometimes can in Africa, AAC stepped up to right the situation.

Happy planning and travels to you.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 4th, 2012, 04:37 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 62
We worked with Nicky Amy Eyes on Africa for our South Africa Safari and were absolutely pleased. From the time we got on the plane in LA to getting off in LA we were never unattended. The trip was perfect
1ladyrep is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 5th, 2012, 10:33 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 415
We had a phenominal Kenya Safari with Lion World Tours in Spring of 2011 catch my trip report at http://ofmyheart.net Marsha's Monday Blog archives April 2011. It was more than I could have ever expected.

Now I wish they could put together more budget safaris to different countries.
Neuman605 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 5th, 2012, 09:58 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 81
Thanks to everyone for responding to my question on tour companies. Special thanks to atravelynn for lots of good information and suggestions. To answer the questions:

What time of year do you plan to travel? We are flexible
How much time do you have? About 1 month
How many is "us"? 2 people
Is Cape Town of interest to you? Mildly yes
Were you thinking of including gorillas? Yes
Is seeing the wildebeest and zebra migration a must for this trip? It is very important to us
How important is seeing the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, ele, buffalo) to you? Yes,a must
Are there any animals that you particularly want to see? Besides the ones mentioned above, we would like to see elephants
Yaar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 5th, 2012, 10:45 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
There's always Abercrombie & Kent -
http://www.abercrombiekent.com/trave...africa-safari/

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 6th, 2012, 06:30 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Well, with a month to travel and your goals, I'd go to both East Africa where the migration occurs and where you see gorillas (Uganda or Rwanda) AND Southern Africa where I'd spend about 2 nights in Vic Falls enroute to the country of South Africa where seeing the Big 5 is easiest, leaving Cape Town as your last priority if time permits.

Because you mentioned "animal viewing as well as the scenery" you could include the sand dunes of Namibia and/or the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Are these of interest to you?

Fortunately there are several places in East and Southern Africa that are outstanding for elephants and many places are good for eles.

Now it depends on your budget and how willing you are to spend the money and the travel time moving around to increase the types of scenery/landscape you see. There are many options for a fantastic trip, whether you settle in for numerous days in fewer places or skip around to maximize the number of unique and beautiful destinations you see. I'm a fan of the former.

One more company to consider is Natural Habitat in Colorado. They mainly do group nature trips, but also do private trips. I've only done their group trips to places other than Africa.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 6th, 2012, 10:23 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 81
Thanks to cary999 and atravelynn.

Considering our 'wish list', what month will be best to visit?
Yaar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 6th, 2012, 03:21 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
June, July, Aug, Sept

June--Migration is in Serengeti in Tanz. If you go early enough in June, you may catch some price breaks.

July--Grasses are lower than June and water sources are drying up (good for seeing animals). Migration is in Tanzania and starting to enter Kenya's Maasai Mara.

Aug--Grasses are even lower than July and fewer water sources. Migration is in Maasai Mara and also departing Tanzania. Probably going back and forth. Busiest month as many Europeans take off. Can be windy in Southern Africa.

Sept--Lowest grasses, fewest water sources. Migration in the Mara but may be heading back to Tanzania or going back and forth. Bit of a price break on airline tickets from summer travel. May get some price breaks in South Africa.

I like Sept.

But if you are trying to take leave of cold weather at home, Feb can be good too. Migration is in Southern Serengeti.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 6th, 2012, 10:08 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 81
Thank you very much. We live in CA so no problem with cold weather. Looks like Sep. is overall best.
Yaar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 7th, 2012, 09:53 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You can start with Sept, do some planning and pricing and see how it works. If another month pops up as much better, depending on how your itinerary takes shape, you can make a switch.

Please post again, on this thread, with your next phase in planning.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 8th, 2012, 07:05 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 81
Will do, thanks.
Yaar is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:58 AM.