Thumbs up for Thomson Safaris

Jan 17th, 2011, 08:01 AM
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Thumbs up for Thomson Safaris

My wife and I took our first trip to Tanzania in October 2010 with Thomson Safaris as our safari operator.
We couldn't have been more pleased. Everything was absolutely perfect. The nyumbas, the staff, the guide, the food, heck even the Land Rover was cool. We did the Highlights of Tanzania safari which is 12 days door to door.
Is Thomson more expensive than some of the others? Sure. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not! Thomson never let us down. Not once. They were always very responsive and helpful when we had questions and concerns. In fact, one of the major reasons we chose Thomson was that they did respond so quickly to our questions when other companies did not. If I'm going to spend a large chunk of our income on something, I'm going to need exceptional customer service. They never failed to provide it.
I won't bore you all with a blow by blow of our trip as it seems like there are far more experienced travelers here than us but definitely feel free to ask us any questions you may have about our trip with Thomson. With people asking a lot of questions about who to travel with, Thomson Safaris needs to be on your list of options.

They are a great company to work with.

Some of the photos I managed to get during the trip can be found here:

KezerPhotography is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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Some very nice shots there. I particularly like those of the serval.
Femi is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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Omg, amazing serval photos, im so jealous . And leopard as well, you have been fortunate!
Nikao is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 04:04 PM
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Thanks! We were very lucky on that trip.We saw 3 leopards and 3 Servals. Lots of lions, a Kudu and a bunch of everything else.
KezerPhotography is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 12:44 AM
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3 servals?! omg.. you're killing me hehe
where did you go? looks like mara/northern serengeti?
Nikao is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 05:56 AM
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You have the photos to back up the serval claim! Nice hyenas too. Great job with the rollers.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 06:18 PM
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Servals??!!! WOW! Where?
KathBC is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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Welcome back! Yes, isn't Thomson Safaris the best? I am glad you had a great time with Kileo, who is a trusted friend and my head guide. Wonderful photos, and thanks so much for sharing.

andybiggs is offline  
Jan 18th, 2011, 07:40 PM
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Chris, I forgot to say a huge congratulations for your recent wedding and honeymoon!
andybiggs is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 06:54 AM
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Pongezi kwa wewe, picha kubwa !
TigerPhotog is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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We saw two Servals in Ngorongoro Crater and one in the southern Serengeti near Robanda (?). The first one was a fair distance away and heading away from us near Round Table in the Crater. The second one was hunting mice kind of in the middle area. Quick little buggers. The third was lounging around in some tall grass. It was the one time I saw something before our guide, Kileo, did.

Thank you for the kind words, everyone! I'm not new to photography but this was my first foray into nature and wildlife shooting. I can't wait until the next opportunity.

Hey Andy! Thomson is a great organization, and I love talking about them and the trip they set us up with. Thanks for the congrats and also for your awesome Kiboko bag. The bag kicks butt.
KezerPhotography is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Asante sana, Tiger!

(yeah, still a newbie to Swahili,I had to look up what you said.)
KezerPhotography is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 02:32 PM
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Love those Serval Cats.

You got better pictures then I did for sure.

Mine were half hiding in the grass.

Like the others I am jealous.
Percy is online now  
Jan 20th, 2011, 04:35 PM
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Nice photos - enjoyed looking and of course especially those cats.... but do you get 1 cent every time you mention THOMSON SAFARIS? or something? ;-) I think everyone got the message guys..... thank you, and sincerely sorry for the interruption.... maybe you are just baiting Nyamera? Talk about the trip, why don't you?
kimburu is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 06:31 PM
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kimburu, to each their own but I, for one, believe in promoting companies or services that treat me well. Word of mouth is a big part of my business (sales) and Thomson did right by us.
I don't know who Nyamera is and with all due respect, I don't really care. This forum is about sharing information about travel destinations, yes? I'm not here to get paid by or bait anyone into anything.

Want to hear about our trip? I'd be happy to share!
The trip was 12 days total, door to door.
We arrived in Arusha and went to the RiverTrees (?) Lodge where we spent the night. Very nice, quiet, little place that was very welcome after such a long flight.
The next morning we took off for Tarangire National Park and did our first game drive before heading to the Nyumba for the evening. We spent the next day driving around Tarangire. Saw lots of animals and even watched a failed hunt by a lioness. Back to the camp for showers, a quick nap, dinner and sitting by the campfire.
From there we went to Ngorongoro Crater, drove up this crazy, windy little road to the ridge and saw one of the most incredible landscapes I've ever laid eyes on. The Maasai were doing a controlled burn of some of the grasslands in the crater which was neat to watch. We hit the Nyumba, got cleaned up and then went to visit one of the Maasai Bomas. I felt a little weird about the visit as it seemed a little too touristy. I didn't want to treat people like an attraction but they did not seem to mind and we actually had some good conversations with them. It was a better experience than I thought it was going to be. The next morning we drove down into the crater nice and early and immediately came up on the big male lion with his mate. No other vehicles anywhere near us. It was pretty awesome!
We left for the Serengeti the next morning. Funny story, I had to charge my camera batteries by that point and I had been waiting for that day since we had been informed it was going to be a long drive. That was one heck of a bumpy road and I spent a good portion of it holding my charger into the powerstrip (mounted to the roof) in the Land Rover. I lost all feeling in my hands but I'm pretty stubborn and it was worth it. Kileo, our guide, kept laughing at me. Next time I'm packing some duct tape to hold the charger up there without me having to hold onto it.
Anyway, we had a quick stop at Olduvai (Oldupai) Gorge and got back on the road.
We had a quick game drive before heading to one of the coolest camps I've ever seen. Before we went off to take showers we were asked if we'd be interested in going for a walk around the camp after cleaning up. Heck yeah! We start walking with a couple of the camp staff and eventually they led us to a table covered in snacks and a small variety of drinks...and two chairs. This was out in the middle of a good sized clearing and it was facing a perfect view of the sunset. Completely unexpected. It was absolutely incredible.
Next day we went out searching for more animals, visited the Hippo Pool and even got to see a leopard hunting a gazelle.
After that, we moved up into to the northern Serengeti, played in a bunch of lion-filled rock infestations and got to watch a whole boat load of wildebeest cross the Mara river. Oh, crocodiles are big. Really big.
There were so many things going on during the entire trip. There was never a boring part. Even when we were just driving from one place to another, looking out the windows at the scenery kept us completely entranced. The food was excellent, the accommodations comfortable (very) and the staff exceedingly friendly. The land, the animals, the people... neither one of us wanted to come home.
KezerPhotography is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:36 AM
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Thanks for the writeup, Chris. I remember that first feeling when I visited Ngorongoro, and it took my breath away as well.
andybiggs is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 02:58 PM
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Thank for sharing. We went on a trip to Tanzania with Thomson Safarisin 2007 and had a wonderful time. Reading your comments makes me "homesick". They were a bit more expensive but they did a flawless job and infected my wife and I with the Africa bug!


PT123 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 05:17 PM
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Glad to hear it, PT!
We can't wait to go back and see our friends again.
KezerPhotography is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 06:19 PM
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KeezerP.... I agree with "to each their own" and I am sure Thomson Safaris treated you right - they have a good reputation in so far as running safaris goes. This forum has a sad history of people going too far in pushing products, even (especially) their own. You may think that is okay, but as you said yourself the forum is really about sharing information about travel destinations. That can certainly include sharing information about certain products or services, but if the objective of your and Andy's posts is to promote products, to me that is fundamentally different from "sharing".

Again, sorry for the interruption - I am just explaining where I am coming from, and not lecturing (even if it sounds like that - some things just aren't going to come out the way you intend in writing). I don't want you to think I am incredibly rude. It's just a point of view.

You can "Nyamera + Thomsons" search if you like - or not. Andy knows, but indeed it does not really matter.

Thanks for the mini-report - sounds like you had a great time and (as we knew from the pictures) some fantastic sightings. It's no wonder you're happy. The charging story is a funny one. I normally charge at the camps in East Africa, but I guess not possible in this case? Also, I guess the power strip is running off the car engine and is for convenience when there are multiple people in the vehicle? Could someone take their own car charger along if they were on their own, to avoid the cramp (as an alternative to duct tape)?
kimburu is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 08:41 PM
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Paul, do you know how many people post trip reports and mention the company they went with? Pretty much everybody (that's the point). Chris had a good experience and posted them on the forum. Chris had contacted me independently a while back with some photography related questions.

I read your trip report from your latest trip to Botswana. Maybe you shouldn't mention your own experiences with your safari outfitters, or we will start to accuse you of earning money under the table, similar to how you accused Chris earlier in the thread.

Of course, my own reply warrants a nice smile to end.
andybiggs is offline  

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