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Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

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Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

Hi Folks,

I'm new here and find this website so very helpful.

I am planning my trip to Kenya in June and need to choose a tour operator to travel with. I've contacted some tour operators that have top ranking in TA and got their quotations. However, after checking KATO membership, I find out that many of them are not registered. Now I'm struggling whether I should go for the one having over 100 good comments in TA but not a KATO member.

I've read the functions and role of KATO. It's sound very good. However, i don't understand why those TA top-ranked tour operators do not join it.

Is it better and more safe to go for KATO member but with less good comments in TA? or should i just stick to my original choice of non-KATO? What do you think? I'm sorry if my question has been covered before.

Any advices are appreciated.

Level Contributor
22 posts
1. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

KATO is a voluntary organisation.There are even those in KATO but wont provide better services as those unregistered.Make a choice..!The bottom line is be safe and have your dream come true excitingly as you expected..

manchester, United...
Level Contributor
1,084 posts
76 reviews
2. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

KATO gives little protection to travellers in the way that say ABTA does in the UK. It is voluntary and, as you say, not all tour operators choose to be KATO members - particularly if they are smaller or newer operators. My own travel consultant is not a KATO member and, when I asked her why this was the case, she said because KATO gives nothing in return. I guess she is busy enough and she certainly offers a superb service that's for sure.

What I would be careful of though is ensuring that those top rated tripadvisor reviews are genuine. This site is plagued by touts and fake posters. It is very obvious which are the fakes if you visit here frequently. Check any reviews and see if the posters have a history of reviewing - if not then be wary. Also if they claim to be from English speaking countries but display very poor use of the language.

Good luck.

hong kong
Level Contributor
21 posts
3. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

Thanks for the advice. I'll read the comments carefully.

Level Contributor
23 posts
4. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

I totally agree with msafiri .....Kato is just an organization , you can find the best non Kato member, who offers the best quality services .

Go for your choice and see for yourself .

All the best .


Heritage of African Jungles.

Level Contributor
1,204 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

Yet to see the value of KATO though it has been discussed a lot on here.

I've gone with Glorious Safaris twice, and others have been a lot more than me, and we've never had any issues and they are not on KATO's list.

I think if you do your research properly then you can rest assured in making the right decision - lots of non-KATO affiliated operators have great reviews on Trip Advisor and people use them year in, year out. On top of that, obviously things can happen, regardless of which club you're a member of :-D

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
24 posts
50 reviews
6. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

Being KATO registered gives credibility and you can be assured of money back if they are KATO bonded incase the company doesn't give you the safari you have paid for. However that doesn't mean that there are not many other companies out there who are good and are not KATO members.

Its also good to take caution because not everyone out there can be trusted. Make an informed choice.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
14,389 posts
55 reviews
7. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA


I'm afraid the bond only applies if the operator goes bankrupt, it doesn't apply to non-delivery by a solvent company.

To quote Fred Kaigua (KATO Chief Executive)

"the principal benefit of dealing with a KATO member is that all members are signatories to the Code of Conduct which clearly spells out what are the rights and obligations of agents/clients. This is administered by the Ethics & Standards Sub-Committee, which meets every month to review membership applications and mediate any discipline related issues (e.g. instances where a breach to the Code is reported to have occurred). The member Bond therefore comes as an added benefit of dealing with a KATO member.

Under the terms of the Bond, an Agent or client is entitled to file a claim in the event of bankruptcy of a KATO member, seeking compensation for either: -

- A refund of the deposit paid for which no services had been rendered; or

- Refund of funds required to complete the balance of services not rendered.

The Bond does not therefore restrict itself to service providers ..... it considers anyone who can demonstrate that they have a valid claim for services paid for but not rendered. The risk we are targeting to address is bankruptcy .... not non-performance. Lack of service delivery by an on-going concern will be dealt with in the usual fashion by the Ethics Committee."

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
24 posts
50 reviews
8. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

Thanks Doff for the that insight! At least their is an Ethics committee in KATO that can listen to a case incase the service is delivered! And then what do you think about being a KATO member is it helpful? This guest needs to make an informed Choice?

Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
30 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

Also it is a prerequisite that a company has to be in business for a year before applying to be a KATO member. So some great companies might not be listed due to this. This is additional infor to your original question.

Enjoy your visit to Kenya:)

Arusha, Tanzania
Level Contributor
153 posts
6 reviews
10. Re: Non-KATO but top-ranked in TA

What do you mean by top-ranked in TA? You might have noticed that Tour Operators are not listed or ranked by TripAdvisor. Under TA policies only day trips are allowed to be listed. Thus, if you are looking at one of the few companies that TA has listed, take a look at their website to see if they do offer day trips. If not this may be a sign that they are cheating the system, and maybe manipulating TA. There are many companies out there that buy fake reviews. While TA is a valuable resource, consider that much of what you are reading maybe fake.

Edited: 3:54 pm, May 16, 2013