Thinking of a safari

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Dec 22nd, 1999, 10:07 AM
  #1
Mike
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Thinking of a safari

Hello, My girlfriend and I were looking into a safari for the 1st time and we had some questions. It seems like one of the best places for wildlife is tanzania..is this true? can anyone recomend any 16-21 day safaris? what about prices? we would be flying from Boston, Mass. We also wanted to know if it is better to fly there and book a safari from a local person or set one up altogether at the beginning. We would also like to get to beaches. If anyone has any info, I would GREATLY appreciate it!
 
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Dec 22nd, 1999, 11:48 AM
  #2
Lee
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Hi Mike,

A tour company called Abercrombie and Kent offers some of the most deluxe and diverse safari itineraries out there...Each country is noted for different wildlife and you can go stay in hotels/lodges or experience tented
safaris in Tanzania, Botswana, S. Africa, Uganda,Kenya, etc.
My recommendation is to go to a travel agent to help you plan....get a referral(if you don't know a travel agent) from someone you trust because a good travel agent can REALLY help you with planning the best itinerary for you and keep track of the all of the many details required for this sort of trip.
If you don't find a travel agent, call Abercrombie & Kent directly and they'll help you...An African Safari is not a BUDGET travel experience nor destination. Please don't go with unknown or cut-rate suppliers for this trip. Have fun !

 
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Dec 22nd, 1999, 03:03 PM
  #3
Louise
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Hi, Mike - there are quite a few good companies which do safaris in Africa. Our experience has been to Kenya and Tanzania with Maupintour almost three years ago. This was an excellent trip and we saw much wildlife. In May we went to Botswana with Fish Eagle Safaris. As much as I liked the first trip, Botswana is an absolutely amazing experience - almost spiritual. There is a feeling of being one with the animals and although we saw not quite as many beasties there is such a feeling of peace. Very rarely saw any other people other than our six travel mates and the guide and hostess and the camp staff as compared with many other tourists in Kenya and Tanzania. We stayed in four different areas, flying between camps. Being in a canoe or mokoro (dug-out canoe) in the Delta is fantastic. The above mentioned Fish Eagle Safaris is wonderful to deal with. You can expect to pay $5,000 per person and upwards for a first class safari. If you have any questions please ask (will be changing e-mail address the 28th tho').
 
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Dec 22nd, 1999, 07:20 PM
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April
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It depends on what kind of trip you're looking for. I went with Geurba (booked before leaving home) for a few reasons - one being that it included visits to the coast and Zanzibar. In Zanzibar we were free to choose our own hotels and arrange trips to nearby islands. Some nice beaches there. We rarely saw tourists but maybe times have changed. These days I'd check out Dragoman too (and Abercrombie and Kent).

 
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Dec 23rd, 1999, 02:47 PM
  #5
bly
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Hint: If not going through a tour operator -ie. A&K - that includes air from the states,its usually cheaper to book a flight into Europe and a separate flight to Africa. Last spring, we flew Denver to JFK, JFK to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Nairobi. By booking Denver to Amsterdam as 1 flight and Amsterdam to Nairobi as a 2nd flight, we were able to save $500-700/person. We were able to check luggage all the way through.
 
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Dec 27th, 1999, 05:44 AM
  #6
mm
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I posted this in an earlier message. My husband and I went to Tanzania in June, 1999. We booked via the internet and used two Tanzanian agencies who delivered for us. You can make your tour as short or as long as you want it to be and you can pick out the places you want to stay at. I used Bobby tours (e-mail address is: bobby [email protected]) for the northern circuit and Coastal Travel (e-mail address: [email protected]). They also have web pages you can check out. I dealt with Mustaq at Bobby Tours and Nahid at Coastal. They were both personable and even took the time to meet us to ensure that everything was fine. Coastal also operates one of the local domestic airlines. We did book our flight to Tanzania by ourselves though. Using a local agency helps the Tanzanian economy. To help keep costs down we, paid Bobby Tours in cash upon arrival. Coastal took a credit card without charging a fee. We spent three days on Mafia Island which was a really quiet spot (read - not too many people around). The roads to the resort were bad (as it is all over most of Tanzania) we thought it was worth it. It is best to book from here so you can guarantee someone is going to meet you. A safari is the most expensive trip you will probably take and it can be hot and dusty. But you have to take into consideration that most of the money is also used for conservation purposes and that costs when you are on the actual safari include lodging, food, transportation and guide services. We intentionally chose June because it was after the rains and before the start of vacation in the U.S. This meant that it would be cool enough, no rain, the very start of the tourist season (the staff are still fresh and are always available to assist you). By the way, if you ever go to Selous, on the southern circuit, you will find the manager of the Mbyuni Camp is a New Yorker named Sal. Good luck. Oh and by the way, check the CDC page for innoculations that you may need. Your local county hospital may have an infectious disease unit that handles vaccinations for international travel. Our county hospital has one and a doctor interviews you to find out what you need and explains the various medications. They may cost a lot but most definitely cheaper than just going to any doctor.
 
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Dec 27th, 1999, 11:25 AM
  #7
Hans
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Mike: My wife and I just planned a safari for this coming June/July. We did a lot of research and ended up deciding to go with Abercrombie & Kent on thier Wings over Kenya Tour. We decided on A&K because everything we heard about them was outstanding. We decided on Kenya only because we could not afford a flying safari for both Kenya and Tanzania and the Kenya trip was reputed to be better (we'll see) (several friends who have gone said the accomodations and services are much better in Kenya and Kenya is safer but did say that the Nogorongoro (sp?)Crater was amazing--everything else they said was as good if not better in Kenya). Many people told us the roads in Tanzania and parts of Kenya are absolutely horrid, so we decided on a flying safari where we fly between the parks. We spend a day in Nairobi and then head to Sambaru, Amboseli, Mt. Kenya and Masai Mara national parks--its considered a 13 day safari but is really 11 when you take out the flying days. The total came to about $4700 per person without airfare to Nairobi but includes most food, great accomodations, and all the guides etc!! Not cheap! Rather than have A&K do our ticketing, I found a cheap flight to Paris from San Francisco and then, beleive it or not, are flying from Paris to London and then on to Nairobi on British Airways. By starting in Paris and connecting in London (onto the same flight that A&K or BA would book us on) we are saving about $400 per person!! The only sense I can make of it is BA is trying to compete with Kenya Airlines which flies from Paris non-stop to Nairobi. By doing the flights this way, we do miss out on the day room A&K provides at Gatwick (which they will not credit us) but $800 was worth it to me (that basically takes care of the travel insurance which, from what I heard, is very important.) I have dealt directly with A&K, rather than through a travel agent, and have found them to be wonderful-- very patient and willing to offer suggestions and advice. Despite catering to some of the rich and famous, they seem to realize that for most of us this is a huge expense and want to make sure we are very happy. So far, I can recommend them highly. Hope this help! Hans
 
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Dec 27th, 1999, 04:57 PM
  #8
April
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I'm a little surprised on the comments about bad roads in Tanzania. I guess I never expected them to be good knowing there was a strong likelihood that at some point we'd have to push the truck out of a rut or two. Going on rough back roads meant fewer tourists (or more often than not, no tourists) - no cluster of vans parked around lions, cheetahs, etc. The road down into the Great Rift Valley was horrendous with giant boulders and switchbacks but, in its way, was also utterly fantastic. Sure, we nearly got hurled out of the truck at times, and sliced by the thorns of acacias passed by too closely, but that to me was just part of the experience.
 
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Dec 28th, 1999, 04:59 AM
  #9
mm
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I agree with April about the Tanzania road conditions as being part of the experience. We certainly rocked back and forth over the roads but we just laughed about it and considered it also as part of the adventure. You certainly cannot expect to be out in the wilderness and expect smooth roads. (There were a couple of smooth one though.) If you think you would feel more comfortable booking with an American company, I suggest you go ahead. However, in my own experience, we stayed at the same hotels and camps that A&K were using, ate the same food, travelled the same dusty roads, saw the same lions, elephants, gazelles, etc. that those using the more expensive outfits saw.
 
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