Trying to decide on a safari tour

Dec 10th, 2018, 02:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 32
Trying to decide on a safari tour

I am interested in doing Kenya and Tanzania as a group tour with an extension to Rwanda. Looking at Wilderness, National Geographic and Micato.
Only Micato seems to offer this and it is pricy. I do want really nice accomodations and great guides. Any thoughts or recommendations. Would be for summer 2019 Thanks fellow travelers
travelsusan is offline  
Dec 10th, 2018, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,101
I used Extraordinary Journeys for our private safari to Tanzania this past July-August. They were wonderful, but not cheap as they are a luxury outfitter. They will put together whatever you want. I was very pleased with the safari, planning with EJ, our consultant, and the attention to detail.
laurieco is offline  
Dec 10th, 2018, 05:10 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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I did a safari to Kenya last year and doing another next, both including Uganda and last year Rwanda. I used two different operators. In Kenya I used Gamewatchers, which I will use again and in Uganda /Rwanda I used Churchill but will not use them again. Instead I will use Gorilla trek Africa who are very responsive and prices are reasonable. Both companies will let you choose which every type of accommodation that you like.
live42day is offline  
Dec 11th, 2018, 04:06 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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i think what we are all trying to tell you is to go on a private safari and avoid a&k and micrato. we have gone on 2 keynan safaris over the last 2 years and have used chalo africa both times, with amazing success. you plan your own safari. imho, the most important thing is the quality of the guides. vehicles are also important, as well as intimatcy of camps (8 tents max, smaller even better), conservancy vs reserve, style of doing (communal?) and activities like walking safari and night safari. we have used kicheche camps both times and cannot rave about them enough.there won't be much, if any, price difference and you will be on the safari you want. happy planning.
plambers is offline  
Dec 11th, 2018, 04:21 AM
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Hi travelsusan, I'm reposting what I answered to someone else with your similar question. I also highly discourage going with a group and especially at the expense of what those companies charge. I've done 5 safaris independently now and cannot imagine being tied to the schedule of a tour operator and a group of other people I don't know who might not share my interests. If you do a custom safari, you will be able to dictate what you see, how long you sit at a sighting (it can take hours for a hunt to play out, what if someone else wants to leave??) and how early or late you go out (I never miss a sunrise, that's when the cats are most active, but what if others on a group tour want to sleep in?)

Here's my previous response:

I would highly recommend not going with a group. You can get a custom safari with your own itinerary on your own schedule and likely have your own vehicle and guide in many camps. I would consult a safari planner (not a generic travel agent) and let them know your wishlist for destinations, what you want to see, time of year, budget and total time on the ground. I’ve worked with several safari planners at this point and I’d recommend the Wild Source who just booked my last safari in Kenya which was my best yet. Bill there also books other countries too so he can help with a multi country itinerary. He is a wildlife biologist by trade so really knows where to book for great wildlife experiences. I also like Access2Tanzania for TZ and Treks2Rwanda for Rwanda if you’re interested in those, they are the same company and Karen there is great.

Most custom private itineraries include all services from when you land in Africa to when you leave, like any in-country or infra-country flights, transfers to/from airport, etc so there’s really nothing for you to worry about other than booking your flight from home to Africa.

What you need to decide before you contact a safari planner:
1) Your budget (excluding international flights) -- know that this is all inclusive usually, but for the tips. I take very little spending money with me as it's just tipping local staff. Sticker shock usually hits until you realize this is ALL meals, ALL entertainment, ALL room and board for the entire trip.
2) Days on the ground available and time of year (excluding travel time to/from Africa) -- migrations, rainy seasons, high seasons, all factor into overall costs and when it's best to go to certain areas.
3) Your interests -- Big cats? Elephants? Reptiles? Birds? Beach time? Village visits? Some areas are better than others for certain wildlife.
4) Lodging types -- do you need soaker tubs and swimming pools? Do you want to stay in tents in the bush (with beds and full bathrooms)? Do you need electricity/wifi/ solid walls?

We can help you with the above if you want to kick around ideas!
amyb is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 09:46 PM
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Posts: 32
Thanks so much
travelsusan is offline  
Dec 20th, 2018, 09:49 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Thanks so much really appreciate OK so will do a private tour And are the 4x4 vehicles the way to go?
travelsusan is offline  
Dec 21st, 2018, 06:16 AM
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travelsusan, if your safari planner books you into camps or lodges, that usually includes the camp's or lodge's own vehicles along with guides/drivers/spotters, so that's not really anything you have a choice or say in. It's really only if you're booking a guide/driver separately that you'd need to consider that. But yes, you want 4x4 but those come in various formats.
amyb is offline  
Dec 29th, 2018, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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amyb - thanks for all the info above. I've kind of been lurking here, am planning a first safari for my sister and me in late summer 2019. Although I have planned many a trip to Europe, Asia, South America, and Central America, I know next to nothing about Africa, so was actually reluctantly considering a mainstream tour company (Road Scholar, Nat Geo, OAT, etc) even though I'm pretty sure I would NOT like spending week or so with a group of strangers vying for camera shots and having long tedious conversations about past travels. (Sorry, but I went on one such tour years ago and said never again)

I have been in touch with Wild Source, and I am so impressed with the information and the quick response time from them. Right now considering a couple options for a custom safari for the two of us.

Thank you for pointing the direction!
scdreamer is offline  
Dec 30th, 2018, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Scdreamer, glad to help! No matter who you book with, I think you’ll be pleased with your decision not to go with a larger group and to go just the two of you. There’s time to meet other people at meals or around the firepit at night, but no need to be with people all day long stuck in a vehicle with them! Good to hear that Wild Source has been good so far! I’m waiting to hear from them on my next itinerary.... ;-)
amyb is offline  
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