Urgent!!! Travel operator made a mistake!!

Feb 23rd, 2006, 03:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 21
Urgent!!! Travel operator made a mistake!!


Need your help as travel operator made a mistake and gave us the wrong prices. Quote was provided in AUD and she says now it was a mistake prices are in USD.
We didn't pay any deposit as we were waiting for confirmation of international flights.

Now we have to start all over!! sniff sniff

Can you please recommend a travel operator for Africa, I live in Australia getting married in Italy and would LOVE to go to Tanzania (Safari & Zanzibar) for 10 days.

How much can I expect to pay for the whole trip (without int'l flights) in a middle range accomodation?

Thank you!!!

ps.My previous post: 1 night Ngorongo crate and 3 nights serengeti?? http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=4
Faccina is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Oh no! What a disappointment.

Here are some East Africa agents mentioned and used by members on this board. Sorry none of these are Australian.

Africa Adventure
Africa Dream Safaris
Africa Serendipty
Africa Travel Resource
Eastern & Southern Safaris
Fish Eagle
Good Earth
Southern Cross Safaris
WildTrek Safaris

My concern is that if the correct prices were that far out of your range then the above agents will not be that much different. Unless you have no more trust in the current agent, could you work with him/her and ask for a discount for their error and your inconvenience?
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
People have also been happy booking with Ranger Safaris in Tanzania as well.

Was the itinerary just 3 nights Serengeti and 1 night Ngorongoro? I know I posted on that thread but I can't remember. Also, is this in June? Kenya in June may be a bit less expensive, and Lamu is a very interesting destination; I'd certaily love to go there (I've been to Zbar). The migration will be in Tanzania for sure, but people on this board say the Maasai Mara is always an excellent experience.

You could potentially cut costs that way. It's also usually a shade or two cheaper to fly into Nairobi than Kilimanjaro.

Just some ideas. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
Leely is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 03:53 PM
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Also add Sunny Safaris to the list. They're a budget operator in Arusha and have been recommended here. Good luck!
Patty is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I think the link provided to your other post is a dud. Here is the correct one:


Mnemba is very expensive, isn't it? It's probably fabulous for a honeymoon, but you could certainly take it down a notch or two on Zanzibar.

Out of curiosity I did a currency conversion AUD-USD, and, ouch, that is a big difference!
Leely is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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As an Africa lover and someone who had a destination wedding in Italy (2.5 yrs ago) may I make a suggestion for a plan B?

I am fairly certain that it would be less expensive to do a multi-stop trip from Aus-Italy-S.Africa- direct flight back to Australia rather than connecting from Italy to East Africa.....as for your options in South Africa in June you would be in low season/winter and be able to get lots of good deals, even if you wanted to wait to the very last minue and book through MT Beds.co.za for a lux bargin. Just another option to keep in mind in case East Africa doesn't work out.
cruisinred is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 06:14 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Thank you so much for your help. After I hang up with the operator I was in tears thinking that it might be too late to find something for June.

Now after a few hours I feel better and will start again planning my honeymoon

I will contact other operators or look at the alternatives suggested by you.

yeap! it was a big difference in $$, we will need to pay AUD$2,000 per person extra just for the currency mistake.

If Mnemba is very expensive which places can you recommend in Zanzibar?
Faccina is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 108
Hi Faccina, cheer up. Sometimes you can get more lucky booking later than 'medium term before departure'. I only got my booking round about 2 weeks ago for a June 2006 trip. I first dealt with another operator, but they couldn't assure me the nights where I wanted. Then my second favorite operator (Tropical Trails) did manage however. They adapted to my new itinary, made new requests at the lodges, and got me final confirmations in about 2 weeks time or something like that (I'm no good in time remembering). I got the itinary I fully had in mind, being 2 nights at Ngorongoro, 3 nights around Serengeti Seronera and 2 nights Serengeti North West (just to increase chances of seeing the migration, plus good resident wildlife).
The first operator I had contacts with, Sunny Safaris, were very sportive about me choosing for another operator, and if ever I go again, I will certainly strongly consider maybe doing it with them then. As they deserve it after all their patience. If you search on my name, you'll find more details on my itinary. Sunny asked me 2400 USD for 10 nights safari (nights in arusha and others are cheaper) and Tropical Trails asked me 2600 USD for 10 nights per person. Hopefully you'll get your trip organised okay, and just don't stress
janischa28 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 369

If your agent was that incompetent to give you the prices in the wrong currency... you're probably very lucky that you're starting over with a new one. I think you'll probably look back on this happily !
simbakubwa is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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My apologies if this is presumptuous, but I thought you said part of your itinerary included Mnemba.

Here are the rack rates for Mnemba Island Lodge:


Not sure if your operator broke down costs, but staying at Mnemba is a significant chunk of change.

Unfortunately, I'm no Zbar expert, nor am I a honeymoon expert, but I'm sure you can do better than that although the experience may not be as exclusive.
Leely is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 513
Faccina - oh no! I would have been in a panic!

I recently returned from Zanzibar. We visited the coral reef out by Mnemba, and I heard by many how luxurious and pricy it was.

We stayed at Matemwe Beach. It far surpassed my expectations. It wasn't the Ritz, but it was a lot nicer than I was thinking. Everyone had a hut just off the ocean (about 100yards), it was very quiet there, I swear the most people I saw on the beach during the day was 5people, and they all emerged around 3pm. Many people go to Matemwe because of its proximity to Mnemba (45mins by boat) and its diving reputation. So during the day, we practically had the place by ourselves!

But correct me if I am wrong, I thought it was rain season in Zanzibar at that time, and that the beaches close May and June because noone wants to visit. ????? Maybe I'm wrong, but I could've sworn that's what they said.

Matemwe Bungalows - the other lodging option - we saw from the boat, and while they boast more private and luxurious accommodations, I don't know that I'd stay there. It's set up high on a cliff, and in order to get to the beach you have to walk awfully far to get there. I really liked that I walked about 15 seconds and the ocean was right there.

Good luck with your planning!
BostonGal is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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I have contacted a couple of operators from the list that atravelynn mentioned. I'm waiting for quotes

The operator that made the mistake came back with a new quote actually is the same amount but all hotels are different. For example in zanzibar is now Ras Nungwi.

For a 9 nights 10 days Safari and Zanzibar top of the range hotels, the cost would be around the USD 6,000 pp. Is this right?? (no that I have that kind of money, unfortunately )

how much can I expect for a high (not the top) or mid range acommodation? Now I'm so confused about how much money we will need for our honeymoon as I don't trust anymore the operator I was working with.

Thank you all for your posts and support.

Faccina is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 02:30 PM
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Can you list the exact itinerary and properties offered for $6000pp? No way to gauge if it's about right without knowing those details.

See janischa's pricing for an example of a June itinerary using mid-range lodges and camps.
Patty is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I agree--it's hard to know where you might be able to save (or if you're paying a hefty surcharge with your current tour op) if we don't know what you're considering.

Seeing Mnemba makes me thingthe other spots are all in that league which is going to be expensive.

How much you'll spend will really depend on your accommodations.

Leely is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 09:09 PM
Posts: n/a
Beware of a guide/driver from Ranger Safaris called Ahmedi Sakala.......he is awful!!! Had the worst ever experience from him in 2002......Awful driver/lazy/old and very rude........

He even went to the extent of telling me that, he was assigned to our group by Ranger Safaris because we were from India and most of the good guides were assigned to Westerners......

It's only natural that i discovered safaris in Southern Africa......and have not returned to East Africa since....
Feb 25th, 2006, 02:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 21
Original quote was for Lake manyara tree lodge (1), Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (1), Serengeti Safari camp (3) and Mnemba Island (3).

Faccina is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Hi Faccina,

I went with EASTCO with my children many years ago and again quite recently and the operators are two Australians who are very helful...and reasonable rates.
Malpa is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 04:22 AM
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Those are top end CC AFrica lodges--all at about $600+ pppn (looks like you are at about that rate for Mnemba because if I read correctly you are going in June which is a low season rate for it--otherwise rack rate is $880 pppn). I believe the Serengeti Camp CC AFrica refers to on its web site is Nomad--about $500 pppn. You would then have airfares and transfers in addition.
bat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 05:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Faccina -- I am so sorry this happened to you -- I guess the only upside is that at least you didn't lose any money since you hadn't paid a deposit yet.

I would recommend you contact Good Earth Tours -- we recently returned from a wonderful trip with them and their pricing was the most reasonable of ten different operators we contacted. They have a website at goodearthtours.com and you will find an e-mail address for them there. I can't speak to Zanzibar, but our 15 days in Tanzania at very nice lodges and luxury tented camps averaged $265 per person per night including our flight from Kili to Serengeti and all of our meals and private vehicle w/ driver/guide and everything. This was in November-December 2005 so things will probably have gone up a bit since then. You can see photos, etc. from our trip at homepage.mac.com/lisaandmarktravel to get a sense of what it was like where we stayed in Serengeti & Ngoronogoro.

A friend of mine recently returned from a honeymoon in Zanzibar and stayed at Fumba Beach Lodge in one of the Baobab suites, which he said was great and very moderately priced compared to the high-end places (and they raved about the food). I can't speak to it personally though.

Good luck!
lisa is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Just my opinion, but if you wanted to keep some high-end accommodations and save elsewhere, I'd look into staying at the Serena at the Crater and going lower-cost for the beach extension. I don't know if CCA will do this but maybe you could ask.

Check out photos of various lodges and camps on Eben's website go-safari.com. Only you can determine what type of honeymoon you'd like but if it were me I'd splurge in the Serengeti. However, I'm not a beach-resort person, so that end of things matters very little to me.

Let us know what you decide. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage.
Leely is offline  

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