Too low a quote from Bobby Tours?

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Jan 5th, 2006, 07:00 AM
  #1
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Too low a quote from Bobby Tours?

I got quoted $1445 for a private (single person) safari - 7 days, in Serengeti, they specifically said it would just be myself, driver and cook. I thought Bobby Tours was "reputable", but at this rate for one person, it seems very very low.

They also said it would be much cheaper if I had another person, so if you think Bobby Tours is legitimate, anyone want to go on a two (or three) person private tour starting around Feb 23, 24, or 25 (or I could go walking first and go on safari March 1, 2 or 3).

They also said rate included a sleeping bag. That's the only place I've seen where they don't charge you $5 a day.

So is Bobby Tours really reputable? This is a good deal...and would be a lot better with one or more other people (another couple?) to bring the rates down more.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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Do a search on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree site. I recall some very positive reviews and some sufficiently negative that I crossed them off my list.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 10:18 AM
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I think Tuskerdave paid $ 200 per day for a single person camping safari with driver and cook in Kenya.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 10:34 AM
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shedwannabe, Be careful that the driver guide has qualifications and the vehicle you hire is in good condition as in east africa, the roads are terrible and I have met alot of people who miss half the fun of the safari because they donnot have enough milage because of the low cost and also the vehicle breaks down all the time and the driver guide is not a good spotter of wildlife and is not good at tracking animals. Also in march there are some areas in serengeti which have very less wildlife. U could find yourself at a campsite someplace which is available but not very good for wildlife viewing. I prefer lodges/luxury camping to budget camping ,the public campsites may be crowded so be careful and have a great trip. It would also not be a bad idea for you to join a fixed departure tour going to serengeti and ngorogoro. It would reduce your cost and u can still go with a reputed tour operater, best of luck, Sonali.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Ah, but there's the rub...who is a reputable (budget) tour operator? Someone above had heard good... and bad things about Bobby Tours. Are there any "budget tour operators" with good reputations, or does one hav to go to a luxury camping tour to find someone with a good reputation? And sonali74 recommends going on a fixed departure tour. i've only found one or two fixed departure tours on the web, and none with my departure time possibilities.... Going on safari for once in a lifetime is turning out to be much more of a hassle that I first thought (maybe I'll get an inheritance next week.... and not have to worry)
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Jan 5th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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Lisa suggested a search on Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, so I did, and this is what I found:

"DO NOT GO WITH BOBBY TOURS. I was in Arusha for a kilimanjaro climb, safari and zanzibar trip this past September. Thank goodness I did not book through Bobby Tours but unfortunately did my laundry with their company's laundry service. They stole the good items out of my laundry and ripped off my group of 4 people by charging us $20 US dollars each ($80 total) just to do our laundry. Furthermore, they did not give us a receipt (so they could steal our clothes) and then lied to us, wasted our time, and bribed the police officer.

I have also heard that they steal stuff from their clients while they are out of safari...away from the police. Bobby Tours has a bad reputation in Tanzania and I can see why. Bobby Tours cannot be trusted."

Sigh.... I do hope to get to Serengeti someday.....
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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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If I were you, I would e-mail some of the other safari operators frequently mentioned on this board that people have had good experiences with and tell them the itinerary you would like to do and ask them to price it for you as a solo traveler. I know that companies like Roy's, Tanzania Serengeti Adventures, Good Earth, etc. do basic camping safaris in addition to high-end ones. No, you do not have to do a luxury tour in order to have a good experience. Be as specific as you can in your request. Also look at their websites and see what they offer in terms of fixed departures (maybe there are other small groups of budget campers looking for another person to help reduce costs). We had a great experience on our private safari with Good Earth -- not budget camping -- but in my research before the trip I found several people who had done budget camping trips with them and raved about their experience. I'm sure there are plenty of other operators out there with good reputations too.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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shedwannabe,
I've also read/heard mixed things about Bobby Tours. I think even our guide said something a teeny-tiny bit disparaging about them on our trip, and this was very out of character for him.

On the other hand, we saw more Bobby vehicles than any other, so they probably get things right at least 60% of the time.

Try Sunny Safaris, Good Earth, and maybe a couple of others from the TATO list...or Eben's list of licensed operators, which I'll try to find for you.

Personally, I'd rather cut a day and go with a better-reviewed operator.

And by the way, we did some budget camping on our last trip; it's a wonderful experience, and certainly nothing like any camping I'd ever done before. I never bring a cook to the redwoods, for instance.

Best of luck, and hang in there.
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Jan 5th, 2006, 12:34 PM
  #9
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Leely and shedwannabe:
Here is the list eben gave to us:

http://www.tourismtanzania.go.tz/Doc...t%20Agents.pdf
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Jan 5th, 2006, 04:37 PM
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shedwannabe,
Someone posted a trip report about a participation group safari she went on booked through GAP. The local operator GAP used was Bobby.

Here is the link to her report if you're interested:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34703556
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Jan 5th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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Shedwannabe, most of fixed departure tours and believe me there are plenty if u do a search on the web, go to the ngorogoro and serengeti route. They cater to budget/semi luxury/luxury camping as well as lodges on their fixed departures. So if you have a budget of X$, the cost would be lower if you are going on a group departure, so maybe you would be plesantly suprised and upgrade your style at the same rate as fixed departures are usually very cheap. Believe me all budget trips to tanzania are very exciting and enjoyable, as I have heard from past encounters of various people, but it is essential to find good outfitter
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Jan 5th, 2006, 09:28 PM
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shedwannabe,

Just to give you another price comparision (though I realize Bobby Tours is dead in your book), I was recently quoted USD 1315 per person for a private trip on the Northern Tanzanian Circuit. That works out to $146 per day...a bit cheaper that yours,though not quite analgous since yours is solo. My quote seems extremely reasonable to me. The operator is Multichoice Safaris from Arusha. There would be a total of 4 in our group. This is not a camping trip, staying in what I understand to be upper-end lodges(but not luxury...mostly Sopa lodges and similar).

However, that quote is 6 weeks old, and I understand the government, as of Jan., raised the park fees from $50 ppd to $100, so my price will likely go up a bit.
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Jan 6th, 2006, 09:07 AM
  #13
 
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Try Ranger Safaris in Tanzania. we had a great experience with them in November.
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