Which area to tour?

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Aug 2nd, 2005, 07:03 PM
  #1
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Which area to tour?

We are planning to go on a Tauck tour to Africa next June and need help deciding which one to pick! One is for Kenya and Tanzania with visits to the Serengeti, Samburu, and Masai Mara reserves. The second is in Tanzania only with visits to Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti. The third is in South Africa with visits to Sabi Sabi, Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls. There is also a four-day added tour to Botswana. Thank you for your help!
nankar123 is offline  
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 07:34 PM
  #2
 
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nankar123,

Save your money and send your itinerary that Tauck is offering to a local tour operator like Taga Safaris:

www.tagasafaris.co.za

A local tour operator will be able to book the exact same (or better) lodges for significantly less money.

Also, take a look at Zambia. June is a beautiful time to visit as it will not be as cold as the rest of Southern Africa, especially in South Luangwa National Park.

www.luangwariverlodge.com
www.star-of-africa.com
www.chongwe-river.com
www.kasakariverlodge.com
www.kutandala.com

I will be making my third consecutive annual trip to Zambia next month. It is a beautiful destination and offers the most value for money. If you look at the above lodges, you will see that they are not too shabby and probably nicer than wherever Tauck is including in their itineraries. If Zambia appeals to you, feel free to contact me to discuss it further. I have made some excellent contacts in Zambia and your pricing would be very good by going to the right sources.

Forget about Tauck. Now that you are on this board, you will never need to deal with a major tour operation like Tauck again...that is unless you ENJOY paying 30% more than necessary!
Roccco is offline  
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Aug 2nd, 2005, 07:50 PM
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Ditto for Tanzania.

If you "must" do Tauck, the Tanzania tour makes the most sense in June (in East Africa that is).

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Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:35 AM
  #4
sandi
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... another "ditto" for Tanzania or Kenya. We met up with a Tauck group during our recent safari in June. Were surprised to learn what they paid and except for one high-end property, the rest weren't. You can do better with an in-country tour operator for Kenya or Tanzania or both combined.

There are a number of well received in-country tour operators listed on this board who can handle the same itinerary as Tauck or create one to your own liking.
 
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:54 AM
  #5
 
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Nankar123,

The tour to Tanzania includes all nights basically on safari, that is, in the parks with the main objective seeing animals on game drives. I think all the accomodations are "hotel" type lodges probably accomodating 100 people or so (except for maybe Kirawira which would be smaller and more upscale). The price for June at least looks somewhat reasonable, but the East Africa experts on this board could better tell you that. At least you are definitely on safari, if that is your main reason for going to Africa.

Personally to me, the South Africa itinerary is unacceptable. Out of 8 nights in South Africa, there are only two nights at Sabi Sands in an actual safari lodge. Most of the nights are spent at Cape Town and Johannesburg. The price is about $598 per night for these 8 nights which I think is ridiculous. The Botswana extension (for 4 nights at Wilderness 5 paw camps) is at least 40 percent more than we just paid for 4 nights in June of 2005. We were in South Africa and Botswana in June, and I would go back there in a minute (as would many of the other Southern Africa lovers on this board) but I think you can do much better in Southern Africa than this tour. Try to contact a local operator lide Rocco suggested, or contact a U.S. travel agent that specializes in Africa travel, like Fish Eagle Safaris in Houston, Premier Tours in Philadelphia, The Africa Adventure Company in Florida, and I think there are a couple of people on the west coast. Or even contacting CCAfrica directly would be a better choice (CCAfrica has thier own camps). Please remember, it is the start of winter in June in Southern Africa (cool or cold nights and warm days.
Good luck with your planning!

brandywine is offline  
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 02:18 PM
  #6
sandi
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The prices for June avg. $440/nt and with the exception of 2-nts at Kirawira, the rest of the accommodations are Lodges. While the Serena lodges are lovely, not worth what Tauck is asking.

Granted Tauck includes the price of the hot-air balloon ride (what if you don't want the balloon ride - they better deduct the $450 they've allocated [this too, being higher then should be]), but you have to pay additional for the flight from Kirawira back to Arusha... unless you book the International air thru Tauck. Sorry, to say, but Tauck is just too darn expensive.

You can get the same itinerary through any of the well recommended in-country safari outfitters saving at minimum $1,000, probably more. And you'd have a private safari.
 
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