Tour operators

Mar 11th, 2011, 08:32 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1
Tour operators

We are looking into a 7 or 8 day safari in Tanzania late March (the last few days of the month) to early April. I know it's the rainy season, but that's the time we can go. So, we know where we're going, when we want to go, the places we'd like to stay at, and what is the most important to us: privacy/private tour, seeing the animals, and a good guide who cares and knows what he's doing and wants to be there. Those are really our only requirements. I've narrowed it down to three companies: Africa Dream Safaris, Roys, and Access2Tanzania. I'm waiting on quotes from Roys and Access, and ADS came back with $5200 per person for 8 days. We'd like to stay within about an $8000 budget (not including airfare). That seems like a lot for 8 days. Any advice on choosing one out of these?
kenc5 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 03:17 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 206
I used Africa Dream Safaris for a trip of 11 days in 2009 and was very happy with them. The guide was fantastic, vehicle large and comfortable and everything top notch. They were easy to deal with and I thought we got value for what was paid (visas included, drinks included, etc.) Don't have any experience with the others to compare. I know people here like Roys, so I assume they are good. I saw couples on safari with them and other companies in vehicles that were not of the "stretch" variety. You should ask how many seats are in the vehicle so you can be sure you are comparing apples to apples. We liked having room to move around, as well as room to carry a table and chairs for bush picnics, a cold box with drinks and the like.

Have a great time on safari.
traveler318 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 04:18 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642
I can recommend Good Earth Tours http://www.goodearthtours.com/ as I have had 2 successful Tanzanian safaris with them.

If you email Narry with your requirements he will tailor a private safari for 2 to meet your needs and interests. I would also suggest requestung Raphael as a guide if you end up booking with GE.

Happy planning,

Pol
Treepol is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 07:40 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 123
I just booked Tanzania for 16 days. A good guide was my most important concern. Second concern was pricing- i.e. no 'extra' charges and the best terms the lodges could give.

A couple of Safari Outfitters provide their own discount as well and some provide sharp pricing from the start so no discounts. However, IMO, if u break down the components of pricing to rack rates, long stay discounts, flights, national park fees, crater fees, private vehicle and guide charges/day, Flying Doctors insurance, extra activities charges ( if pre-booking those ) you could have an handle of the pricing. Also remember if you have your own guide/vehicle throughout and not camp based vehicles/guides you would be able to take the Full Board option and not the Game Option package from the camps. All of the above EXCEPT long stay discounts, individual outfitters PV/guide charges per day and these outfitters' own discounts ( if any )you can get from the web/searching this forum. The internet can also give you an idea of some range of long stay discounts based on previous years but thats just an approximation. I'll give you a list of outfitters I contacted based on wonderful feedback from this forum and comment on their responsiveness and list a couple of guides there that I requested for based on again internet search and feedback here. I think all of them gave decent pricing except maybe one was an outlier but IMO this experience has been different for different people with the SAME outfitters.

Of your list, I only contacted Roy - Their first 2 responses were after a day but the last response was around 5-6 days later- this itself is not concerning as my contact person was travelling but the other guys were really very very responsive- many responses intraday! The other 2 on your list are recommended very highly here in Fodors too.

Please note there could be other very good guides with these or other outfitters but I am sharing only my knowledge of outfitters & guides I could recommend out of this one recent booking experience. Depending on when you are going these guys could be available/unavailable

Warrior Trails
my contact person: Emmanuel ( very very responsive)
guides recommended/I requested : Clamian, Jackson

The Wild Source
my contact person: Bill Given ( very responsive and systematic even though was out in the bush on a safari)
guides recommended/I requested: Deo/Felix

Good Earth Tours
my contact person: Narry ( very very responsive and precise answers)
guides recommended/I requested: Moses, Raphael

Duma Explorers
my contact person: Stacy ( very very responsive and unbelievably systematic in her responses and followed up with the camps on multiple queries I had)
guides recommended/I requested: Isack, Ebeneeza. (Shani has had good feedbacks to on tripadvisor)

Bottomline- your own excel sheet and database on all components of your trip is very very essential ( IMO)

Ask your outfitters the same questions and judge their responses on things like vehicle- 3 pop tops ( gives more 'corners' to place camera/beanbag) or 1 pop top, seats, space, cooler, books, beanbags, binocs, night vision glasses etc etc ( depends on your priorities), unlimited milage during the private safari, distance between each camps,location of migration camps, time taken to enter national parks/crater if staying outside, other recommended extra activities of the camps you finally select, packed breakfast and lunches flexibility if doing full day game drives etc etc...

If you provide the camps you have in your list, there are many regulars here who could recommend several good alternatives to bring down the cost. My own experience of booking and research is restricted with Asilia & Lemala and I didnt really research other great options.

All the best!

Anita
tanya_1976 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 08:17 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Just got back from 15 day Tanzania safari with Roy's. Everything Roys handled was great. Roys uses specially constructed vehicles with more room inside. They can also configure the "pop-top" as a pop-top or canvas roll back. The canvas roll back is better for photography since there are no corner post supports in the way. In talking with our guide he said NOW they are entering the slow safari season and work is very scarce. So would expect good rates from all Tanzania operators. Less than $500 pppn depending on your camp choices. Are you working with Sanjay at Roys? On occasion he is a bit slow but he will respond. Keep after him. Also, his African Tulip hotel in Arusha is a nice modern small hotel to stay when arriving Arusha from JRO the night before safari.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2011, 10:04 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 18
@ cary999 reply ,My aunt jayne and her kids ross and liz gave us stories of wonderful experiences during their 5 day safari to Tanzania in the month of October 2010 after using Roy's.

nice planning

anbery
caribbeanbery is offline  
May 10th, 2011, 06:44 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1
I used Africa Overland (http://www.africa-overland.co.za/)for a 9 day Tanzania Tour. I can highly recommend them. The tour was great and everything was very well organised.
JanaH321 is offline  
May 10th, 2011, 10:26 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
Africa Dream Safaris isn't an outfitter, as they are just a US-based agent for Unique Safaris. Just a clarification.
andybiggs is offline  

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