tour operators Kenya and Tanzania

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Sep 6th, 2005, 11:21 AM
  #1
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tour operators Kenya and Tanzania

I am planning a trip to Kenya and Tanzania for June 2006. I have been looking at various tour companies on the web. I found one called Africa Point that has a great trip at a reasonable price and uses the Serena Lodges primarily. They are so reasonably priced that it seems almost too good to be true. Is anyone familiar with this company? They are a member of ASTA, so there is an arbitration option if we are unhappy with anything. All the same, I would love to hear from someone who has used them before. I would prefer to have everything go smoothly, even if it means paying more. I would love to get the names of some of the better tour operators. We are not the outdoorsey type and prefer to have comfortable surroundings, nice bathrooms,etc. We will have our 13 year old daughter with us -- she is definitely the princess type! However, we cannpt afford the Abercrombie and Fitch fly-in luxury trip, either. We are looking or quality at a reasonable price. Can anyone help?
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Sep 6th, 2005, 12:13 PM
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Hmmm, they are cheap! $1999 for 13 days in June 2005 staying in Serena hotels! $154 pppd?

Which tour are you looking at? Do you have the 2006 rates for June?

We are in the planning stage too and looking for tented camps and not chain hotels but I think we can do some Serena at these prices!

I've been quoted camping safaris at this price!
Janet



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Sep 6th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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I'm not familiar with Africa Point. Is this a group or private itinerary that you're looking at? Do you have a preference? It sounds like there are 3 of you, so it shouldn't cost much more for a private itinerary vs a group one.

The following are just some of the Kenya and Tanzania based tour operators that are frequently mentioned here (including one that I've used). Any of them can put together a private, custom itinerary with your choice of parks and lodges in both countries. Some of them may be able to put you together with a group if that's your preference, but I'm not sure. I think you'll find that they're about half the cost of companies such as A&K.

Eastern and Southern Safaris (I've used them)
Southern Cross Safaris
Wildtrek Safaris
Good Earth Safaris
Roys Safaris

You may want to take a look at the websites of these operators and choose a few to contact and see what they can provide you.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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If you're interested in a private itinerary--which would be wonderful for a family--there's no shortage of operators.

I was quoted a very low price for a private safari from Shidolya (TZ only) June 2006, but I haven't used them. They are the ground operator for Responsible Travel in the UK, and they had gotten some good reviews from posters on Lonely Planet.

The itinerary was using all Serena properties, except at Manyara where they were using Kirurumu.

I'm "roughing it" for my next safari, so I decided not to use them. Had we wanted something more lodge-based (sounds like you do), I would have then proceeded to get references from some of their former clients.

Good Earth has good prices (so I've heard) and can do a Kenya/TZ combo easily. Roy can too, although they're sometimes a tiny bit more expensive.

I'm not sure about arbitration options.

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Sep 6th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Okay, so I just had to look at Africa Point.

Are those prices for real???

I'm committed to a probably overpriced camping itinerary for next year, but I still wonder: how can they Africa Point offer such low-cost private safaris?

(Sandi, climbhigh, et al: you probably have the answers. This baffles me.)
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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Just remember, you get what you pay for! I originally booked a 12 night "cheap" safari package-$3750.00 including air from sfo and after discovering Fodor's and much research found out the lodges were more like hotels, huge amount of people at each one, long drives (daylong) between lodges, etc. etc. decided to pay more to get more.
Dennis
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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OK you guys made me go and take a look.

Their 2005 prices actually seem pretty average to me for what they offer - a safari staying at Serena lodges and traveling by road. They don't look so cheap that I'd question their reliability. Or have I lost my mind?

Leely,
I thought the price for the very first quote you posted on your thread was just as good or better (believe it was less than $200pppn?) considering the park fee increases for 2006.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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But look at their Southern Circuit prices--aren't those really good or have I lost my mind?

We're basically shooting the works this one time, so I'm happy with what we've planned and what we're paying. I'm aware of where exactly we started to really jump off the budget train when planning (Kirawira/Mbalageti...and it took off from there .

I guess I just don't have a firm grasp of what "good" prices are. Hey, I've got to start saving for my next (far more modest) safari.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Oh, and you're right, Patty, the initial very very soft quote for a June itinerary 3pax mostly sharing was, I believe $1700 pp for...9 nights, I think. So even with increases it might have been under $2000 pp.

It seems as if I've somehow doubled my budget.
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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bwanamitch
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These ARE good prices.
 
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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Leely,
I'd only glanced at their 13 day Kenya/Tanzania itinerary previously, but just took a look at their southern circuit offerings.

Africa Point
http://www.africapoint.com/tours1/va...?vacationid=32

Good Earth
http://www.goodearthtours.com/southern_tanzania.html

The two itineraries look the same to me and the price is slightly cheaper from Good Earth for 2005.

Did you get a new quote from ATR for Mbalageti or did you decide to stick with the Nomad camps?
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Sep 6th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Patty,
We're biting the bullet and Nomad camping. My friend and her mom saw the Nomad website and, forget it! They "dreamed of Africa." In fact, when we had some trouble with our dates, my friend said very nonchalantly, "Oh, fine, we'll just stay at Grumeti." As if that were a step down!

I should have never told them about Fodor's...

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Sep 6th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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Vicki -

First, I believe you meant Abercrombie and Kent - Abercrombie & Fitch - wrong company. Okay, that aside (this error has been made before by others).

Just took a peek at the itinerary and my bottom hurts and I'm not even in that vehicle. There are way too many long long drives. And your little princess isn't going to be a very happy camper, nor do I think will you be.

The drive to the Mara is a good 5-6 hours on lousy roads; likewise from the Mara to Lk.Nakuru; and so many of the other legs. The final day getting back to NBO - WOW - hurts bad!

You don't mention your budget, but you may want to search on this board for a recent trip taken JazzDrew with his wife and 11-yr old son. Some of the accommodations may be on the high end, but it gives you an idea of what a custom itinerary can look like. They had a wonderful time.

If someone out there can find the link and that of his photos - please provide for Vicki (I'm so bad at that "link" business).

Patty provided a good list of outfitters who can design an itinerary for the three of you that will probably suit your needs much better - timewise, routing and accommodations.

With prices up for 2006 - lodging in both countries - and park fees in Tanzania, it'll probably cost more then Africa Point (I'm sure their prices for '06 will increase).

Take a look at the websites of those outfitters Patty mentioned and send emails direct to each company - tell them when, where, type of accommodations (and consider some camps which can be priced the same as lodges - are quite safe and a true African experience - with indoor flush toilets and fluffy towels), your budget and anything else you feel important for them to know.

Once you get replies, post the itineraries and prices here and we'll be more then glad to comment and help you put it together.
 
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Sep 6th, 2005, 03:08 PM
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bwanamitch
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Well, I've done such trips before, these long road transfers to the Mara, Samburu and Serengeti, more than one time - along with my parents (my mom was 74, and my dad 81), my sister and her 12-year son. Now, after a decade, we still remember those roads - but also the great adventure it was!

Mitch
 
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Sep 6th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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this is jazzdrews thread that sandi asked for.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34647066
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Sep 7th, 2005, 04:40 AM
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Thanks Dennis.
 
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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I'm so glad someone else is asking about this company!
We are going to book the Twin Attractions Special through them for June 2006. I have been exchanging emails with the company for about a month and they are always VERY prompt and helpful with their reply.
I know there will be a lot of bumpy long road trips, but the itinerary and $$ make up for that I think.
They seem to use the same lodges and camps that other higher priced companies use as well.
Our trip is:
http://www.africapoint.com/tours1/va...?vacationid=10
There will be just 4 of us on the trip and the 2006 price is $1335 pp!
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Sep 7th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Hi Vicki J,
I have been to Africa 5 times and putting together a trip again in Jan. to do both Kenya and Tanzania. Feel free to write and I will help in anyway I can.
[email protected]
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