Summer Family Safari

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Oct 4th, 2005, 01:48 PM
  #1
MPJ
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Summer Family Safari

Just about to book with Micato safari for their Stanley Wing safari - Amboseli, Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Mt. Kenya - would love to hear from anyone who has traveled with them. Am aware that many on this board prefer to book locally; my husband is anxious about travel to AF so is more comfortable with well known organization.
All advice very welcome.
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Oct 4th, 2005, 03:20 PM
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MPJ,

In my opinion, you would be wasting your money by booking with Micato. Other operators, including operators in the USA and Europe, will beat Micato by thousands of dollars PER PERSON.

Here is my advice...take that same Micato Safaris itinerary and e-mail it off to an operator like Africa Serendipity and see how the prices come out.

www.africaserendipity.com

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Oct 4th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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Hi,

I'm looking at Micato also for late June for my 15 year old son and myself. As Micato is always rated #1 and we are going a long way and want everything right I see know reason to go with an unknown. I'm waiting to hear back on their recommendations for me and a 15 year old "city kid". Will keep you posted.
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Oct 4th, 2005, 06:31 PM
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patw,

Is it reason enough that another operator is capable of selling the exact same accomodations for possibly a 1/3 discount?

Hmmmm....$15,000 with Micato or $10,000 with another operator for the exact same itinerary in identical vehicles with equivalent guides?

Micato, however, is not without purpose. I love the fancy brochures from Micato and Abercrombie & Kent. They make excellent coffee table reading and provide me with nice ideas for itineraries to send to competitive operators who are then able to offer fair pricing for the exact same product. I guess those brochures get pretty expensive so if you do end up with Micato, I do thank you for the brochures.
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Oct 5th, 2005, 02:39 AM
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Hello MPJ and Patw,

I understand your husaband's concerns about booking with a local company, but there are smaller US-based companies which offer the security of booking with an American company but don't mark up as highly as Micato.

I second Rocco's recommendation to get a quote from a US-based Africa specialist operator like Africa Serendipity or Eco-Resorts. They are certainly not 'unknowns' -- Eco-Resorts was listed as one of the top agents for east Africa by National Geographic Traveller. Both Africa Serendipity and Eco-Resorts are US companies.

Any operator can book you into the lodges Micato uses -- the only difference is the glossy brochure and the hat they give you.

Cheers,
Julian
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Oct 5th, 2005, 05:14 AM
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the synics have spoken, they are right.
However you get what you pay for, quite honestly if you want the extra attention, piece of mind, insurance, etc. micato is a hard act to follow. They are Kenyans and family owned, most gracious people and will host your trip, not simply book hotels and arrange the wheels.

If you have the bucks and want to rolls royce of service work with Micato. Obviously if these elements are not impportant to you, then buy for less through a variety of operators--Ever thought of Pacific Delight Tours for an inexpensive kenya Tanzania Safari? They too have highly competitiive pricing.
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Oct 5th, 2005, 05:40 AM
  #7
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MPJ:

I looked at Micato because my very long term travel agent (20+ years) uses them for Africa referrals. They were too expensive for us but more than that what I learned as I did more research is that they sent their guests on itineraries that did not make sense for the time of year (for TZ/Ky). So the guest was paying an extraordinary premium and would not even be where the "action" was for the migration. Once I came to that realization I was no longer interested in them no matter the price. Frankly, I felt it was somewhat unethical to charge that kind of money and place guests in the wrong location.

I understand the reluctance to book directly with a TZ company. I felt the same way. It is not the right choice for everyone. But that does not mean you are limited to a set itinerary with Micato as the only alternative. You have many choices for top rated companies who will prepare a very specialized itinerary for you.

Do you want U.S. based?

Friends of mine raved about "Deeper Africa." I have not traveled with them (I learned about the referral after I had made my deposit) but have studied their website extensively and have had a conversation with the owner. In TZ they use a local company whose name escapes me now but I researched it at the time and it was locally owned and looked good. They book TZ and Kenya and have relationships with some of the families that own some of the camps that they use. They won an award from the TZ tourist Board in 2005.

http://www.deeperafrica.com/

Other companies in addition to those named above that are U.S. based are Africa Dream Safari (which has a very descriptive website). http://www.africadreamsafari.com/

Also, Africa Adventures [you will find a recent post comparing AA's pricing with that of Africa Serendipity with AA almost $2000 more pp] but they are certainly very reputable in terms of their service.

Regular posters, IMO when you give Sandi's company a referral I think you should mention that it is her company--there is nothing wrong with you doing that. But if you don't mention it then you put her in the untenable position of participating in a thread in which her own company is being touted without the OP knowing it. Even though this came up in a recent post, you cannot count on the new OP knowing about that other thread.

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Oct 5th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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MPJ, I haven't traveled with Micato, so just consider mine another voice in the chorus giving you an opinion you don't need/want. Is the Stanley Wing safari a private or group trip? My reluctance would be to pay that much money for a group trip when you could book with another company for a private one.

Regardless, Micato does have an excellent reputation and therefore I'm pretty sure you'll have an excellent trip. Enjoy!
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Oct 5th, 2005, 09:12 AM
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MPJ:
Second what Leely said--I was assuming that it was a group tour with a set itinerary.
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Oct 5th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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Leely,
The Stanley Wing safari is a fixed roup departure. The itinerary can be found here -
http://www.micatosafaris.com/2005bro...fs/Stanley.pdf

mkhonzo,
Aside from one dinner with the Pinto family in Nairobi, I'm not sure how much 'hosting' is really involved. And what extra attention are you referring to? I estimate that one could easily put together this trip as a private itinerary for $5K less than Micato's price. Wouldn't you receive more personalized attention on a private safari? Piece of mind I can definitely understand, but the other reasons listed are somewhat questionable IMO.
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Oct 5th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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Oops, make that 'group' and not 'roup'.
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Oct 5th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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And of course, it's 'peace' of mind but I only take partial responsibility for that one
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Oct 5th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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Bat:
Can you clarify for a novice? What's "IMO" , "OP", and which is Sandi's company?

Thanks-
Cyn
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Oct 5th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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IMO = In My Opinion
OP = Original poster
Sandi= Africa Serendipity
But in her defense she gives a lot of free, good advice to all of us even though we don't all use her company!
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Oct 5th, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Leely:

Why do you say "in her defense." I do not think that you have to "defend" Sandi that she owns a company. There is nothing wrong with her having a company nor receiving referrals and business from this forum. Everyone agrees that she makes many valuable contributions to this forum. I have said it before and I will say it again--my ONLY reason to bring it up is that I believe that there should be disclosure. Frankly, I think that disclosure will gain business for her. But I think that referrals should mention it.
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Oct 5th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Thanks for the info Cooncat. And I agree, her postings are VERY informative - and now I will view her suggestions/comments as coming from an expert, and pay special attention.

Cyn
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Oct 5th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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Hey, bat, don't drag me into this! I've been in a meeting all afternoon.

I never said anything re: "in her defense." That darn cooncat's always gettin' me into trouble.

(kidding, cooncat!)

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Oct 5th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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bat
 
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BIG oops. I started to write to catch it hopefully before you saw it but you posted while I was drafting. SORRY [I want to get this apology posted quickly so I do not have time to look for the sheepish smiley--insert one here.]
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Oct 5th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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Hmmm.... I was just being friendly when I said in her defense, because some folks may not take too kindly to operators being on the forum, yada, yada, yada. Disclosure is fine. No need to get our hackles all raised up!!!! That's for us s !!!!
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Oct 5th, 2005, 06:55 PM
  #20
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Not sure what the equivalent to hackles is for a bat--but mine are raised. Probably should wait until morning but not going to--

Cooncat--I believe you felt that you had to come to her defense for whatever reasons.
---implicit in needing to rise to her defense is the suggestion that I was attacking her. Did I violate some code of conduct? I would like to know.

In my short time on the forum, it is my sense that people are touchy about TAs about whom there is SECRECY.

I have tried to make my intentions clear. I have tried to indicate that referral to her company without indicating that it is her company does NO favor to the OP --who would like to know that it is her company. And IMO [I am not going to pretend that it is an IMHO] it does no favor to Sandi for whom that information will inure to her BENEFIT not her detriment.

Sandi--if you have thought that I was attacking you in any way--let me state FOR THE RECORD that was not my intention. I have learned alot from you from reading your posts. Frankly when I first saw the post about your company my reaction was "darn, I wish I had known that before I booked."

Trust me, if any one wants to make a referral to Sandi's company without an indication of such--feel free, you will not hear from me about it. I think you are making mistake. But so be it.
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