Ve here: Ranger Safaris/Go2Africa

Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:02 AM
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Ve here: Ranger Safaris/Go2Africa

Anyone have an opinion on Ranger Safaris that Go2Africa uses? I've been looking into the Classic Tanzania/Zanzibar trip for Sept.08' and this is who they'll use. They claim to have a long standing relationship with them and very good & understanding rangers with minimal complaints about their driver/guides while on tour, which they were able to sort out with clients during their excursions. As you Foderites have mentioned before, a guide/driver can make or break your trip.

Sandi: You had me wondering about the long drives between lodges on this itinerary so I asked a few questions. I was told that you'd pass lots of local villages, small little towns, etc. on your slow drive through them, plus they'll make 1 or 2 stops for some photo shots, loo, villages along the way. The driver also will stop if you see anything exciting, all you do is ask. If this is true, I'll take it as a mini game drive/sightseeing tour between lodges and not as boring as I'd thought.

In looking over my print out of their on-line itinerary, I only came up with 5 game drives, but I was told there were 9 (guess you have to read between the lines) and they sent me the following:
Days 2/3 there are 4 g/drives, which matches with my itinerary.

Day 4 bothered me so I questioned it. All I saw was after breakfast you head towards Olduvai Gorge, view fossil finds, picnic lunch and continue on to Ngo.Crater and stay at the Ngo. Sopa Lodge. They e-mailed me saying there's 2 g/drives
and you even go inside the crater, another item that's not mentioned on their original itinerary.
Days 5/6 sort of bothered me thinking it was a visit to a village for a long period of time and one g/drive. Again they e-mailed me saying that there were 3 g/drives in those 2 days (didn't catch that either).

I was told they'd work with me on anything I didn't like about the itinerary, but for the most part I was semi- ok with it, and they did straighten some matters out and now it appears better. Why aren't they more explicit with the itinerary information they have listed? I was seriously thinking of backing out of this one with just 5 g/drives but after some further explanation it seemed better.

I'd hate to think anyone is buttering up this particular part of this trip with more g/drives to make me happy (They know that's my main reason for this trip) and that it won't really be that way once I got there. One thing that was explained to me is that at times they can be out for the whole day on a g/drive, but usually come back over lunch, which is the hottest time of the day. That would be perhaps on the days where 2 g/drives may occur. Since this is my 1st time for Africa (most probably my last) I really don't know how far some organizers would go and/or what they'd say to have you choose them, which would be bad for business. I'd certainly hope this isn't the case with Go2Africa because, so far at least, they've been most responsive and helpful above all the rest I've dealt with. No finalization/money put out for this yet, but anxious to hear any in-put about it. There's also Zanzibar for the last part of this trip, which I'll ask about at a later time.
Many thanks, Ve

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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:42 AM
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The outfitter should be specific about the game drives, but I guess some just aren't.

You should have at minimum 2/game drives daily... 6:30am and 4pm. Sometimes on days you are moving from one park to another, you'll have breakfast,then game drive on way to next destination arrving by lunch or thereabouts. Then an afternoon game drive.

A day basically begins from lunch thru breakfast next morning... much like a hotel with afternoon check-in and check-out 10am following morning.

When you have a full day at a particular park (camp/lodge), you can often arrange with your guide (night before) for a full-day game drive... even the hours you wish to leave in the morning; guide will arrange for boxed meals when away from lodging during standard mealtimes.

Also, you are under no obligation to go out on every game drive or at a particular hour... the benefit of a private tour vs group/scheduled. Only on days when moving from one location to another, when the guide knows how long it takes to get from point A to B, it's best to keep to the schedule the guide advises.

No comment on Ranger, but that they're probably the largest outfitter in Tanzania; expect to see lots of their vehicles on the roads.

Ve: try to keep all the posts re this trip under one thread, so we don't have to go looking for information under different headings. Believe me, it'll also be easier for you. Don't worry about how long the thread gets... it's okay!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:53 AM
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Is this the itinerary?

On Day 4, they're probably counting the drive from the Sopa out of the Serengeti as a game drive. Then it sounds like you have your first crater visit that afternoon which makes drive #2.

I don't think the information you received as far as 3 game drives on Days 5/6 is correct as I very much doubt that they'll include 4 crater visits total (if you count the first one from the afternoon of Day 4). Each crater descent costs $200 per vehicle, so it's more likely you'll have one crater visit on Day 4 and one on Day 5 (visits can be up to 6 hours). Then on Day 6, you would just be driving back to Arusha. Otherwise, you wouldn't make it to Arusha by lunch.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Rangers: Iíve used them 2x with excellent success. The agent I booked with used Rangers a lot, like Go2Africa does. They pre-screened the guides. Each time I got a good one. It seems that Go2Africa also has done safaris with the guides youíll be using. That is important because there was at least one Fodorite who was very unhappy with Rangers. The complaints were nothing like what I experienced so that makes me think they might have different ďlevelsĒ of guides.

It is true that drivers will stop when you ask them to on transfers, on drives. If this is a private trip, you can stop all you want as long as you make it to your destination.

Your trips into the crater should be very specifically stated since there is the cost to them, as Patty stated. I really donít think Go2Africa is trying to pull a fast one, but their documentation may be lacking.

If you are doing 3 game drives one day, Iíd ask for the approx start and end times for each one.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Sandi: OK, I'll stay put on this thread and make it easier on everyone. Thanks for the explanation of the g/drives too that helped me, and I wouldn't turn any of them down.

Patty: Yes, that's the one. When they replied to my questions about days 4-6, which I wasn't to happy with, it was different than looking at the on-line itinerary. Then and only then did I understand it to be one trip into the crater and the rest were g/drives. The longer the g/drives, the better and I know 4 trips inside the crater (especially at the cost) wouldn't be happening anyway in that short a period.

Thanks to you both for replying and putting my mind at ease. Now, if I could only get some pros/cons on the Ranger Safaris that would help also. Anyone out there that's dealt with them ?
Thanks a bunch, Ve

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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:33 AM
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Atravelynn: Thanks for letting me know about your experience with Ranger Safaris, that helped. Haven't seen negative reports, just wanted to know 1st hand who'd dealt with them and had a good report.

No, it's not a private safari, I'm with a smallish group and rather have it that way, but I'll sure enquire about that one day with 3 safaris. I've already e-mailed them back saying that their itinerary didn't explain in detail enough. I wouldn't have had to e-mail them with so many questions if it had been more specific.
Thanks, Ve

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