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Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 14
Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

I have managed to organize accommodation for the duration of 5 days in different lodges ie: Arusha, Nogorongoro crater and the Serengeti for the month of August 2013.

However, now I am looking for safari company that can provide me with a very good driver/ game spotter, and who can drive us from Arusha to Lake Manyara to the Nogorongoro crater and then finally to Serengeti.

We tried contacting Roy Safaris twice but they have not returned our inquires.

Any other safari companies would be appreciated.

Ken

Mto wa Mbu, null...
posts: 21
1. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

Contact people to people tourism services (www.p2psafaris.com). Or Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (http://www.tatotz.org), you will find list of registered tour companies in Tanzania.

If you have any other questions please never hesitate to write.

Thanks.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,271
reviews: 199
2. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

Plenty of Operators named in the list #4 under Top Questions on the right of this page. Pick a few and Email them.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 14
3. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

Hi,

Thank you for the information.

Can you please tell me if I need a safari driver and a game spotter or can one person do both tasks in a safari?

Chicago
posts: 1,484
reviews: 4
4. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

The driver is your guide also.It is unbelievable how much a good guide can spot, even far away, and still be able to drive over the horrible roads.

Be sure that you ask for quotes from a number of companies-there are many to choose from. The quotes can vary greatly. Then ask questions or suggest changes if needed, many post a few sample itineraries here for comment from the experts, then go with the company you feel most comfortable with. I found Shidolya Tours and Safaris to be very good, and economical, but there are many more available.

Edited: 11:04 am, June 29, 2013
nyc
posts: 13,479
5. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

Possible as you've already booked direct your accommodations (which hope includes your meals, park fees, taxes, other), some tour outfitters may not, during peak season, have a guide/driver/vehicle to handle transport only.

Be sure that whomever you contact, you provide this info and then see who/if some one might have a guide/vehicle for you and know the daily rate provided will also include: petrol, sleeping accom for guide, his meals, park fees, taxes, other - though his will be based on Tanzanian Shillings.

Good luck!

Sydney
posts: 165
reviews: 25
6. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

We are just finishing off an excellent safari with Safari Infinity. My guide/driver was Eric. I can't recommend the company and guide enough. If you check out their website Lucia is very diligent in responding.

Guangzhou, China
posts: 21
reviews: 13
7. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

Since you have done booking on your accomodations, you should opt for mid-sized or small companies; most big companies wont do such a trip and if they do, they wont give you any of there best guidesunless you pay a +++premium. Opt for recommendations from other travellers. Weigh your options

Phoenix, Arizona
posts: 4
reviews: 1
8. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

I would very much like to recommend Shidolya (Arusha) for anyone planning a Tanzanian safari or Kilimanjaro climb. Unfortunately I cannot.

My wife learned about Shidolya during her first visit to Tanzania 10 years ago. She booked a safari through them while she shop around Arusha and had a very good experience. They deliver everything as promised. This led us to use Shidolya again for our combination safari, climb, and Zanzibar excursion in February 2012.

Through email correspondence we made detailed arrangements with Shidolya for a 6 say safari, 8 day Kilimanjaro climb using the Lemosho route, and 3 day stay at Matemwe Beach Village in Zanzibar. We were quoted $1800 per person for the safari with stays at , and $1550 per person for the climb for a party of two.

The first nasty surprise occurred upon our arrival at the Shidolya office. The safari itinerary was presented to us, but upon close inspection none of the lodges that we were supposedly reserved in our email correspondence were listed. Instead of the Maramboi Tented Camp and Kirurumu Tented Lodge, we were booked at the Lake Manyara Lodge. Instead of the Seronera Wildlife Lodge for two nights we were booked at the Ndutu Mobile Camp. Instead of the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge we were booked at the Rhino Lodge. All the lodges were switched, yet the quoted price remained the same. Had we not been paying attention, this little change would have gone unmentioned until it was too late.

As it was, we inquired why the lodges were not the same as in our prior communications, and we were told that the originally quoted lodges were all booked up, so they had to find us equivalent accommodations of the same class. Only the substitutions were not equivalent by any stretch of the imagination. We used their computer to do some quick on the spot comparison shopping, and it was obvious during a quick perusal that the Ndutu Mobile Camp was far more primitive than the Seronera Wildlife Lodge, and the Rhino Lodge lacked the exemplary view of the Crater that the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge afforded and not the same class of accomodation.

At no time during our email correspondence was it mentioned that the lodge reservations were tentative, and only after we arrived in Arusha did we learn of the change. We negotiated a $200 discount from the original quoted price, but in retrospect this was far too little a discount to make up for the difference in quality. Who could have known ahead of time that in the so-called luxury mobile Ndutu camp that our tent was to be set up at the last moment, with neither battery power for lights nor a working shower? If we were making a camping reservation, that would be one thing. But we were still paying the price a luxury lodge. This bait and switch was a bitter disappointment. It was also upsetting that had we not said anything, they would have happily offered us no discount at all in the hope that we would not have noticed the change.

Our safari also included a visit to Olduvai Gorge. The $10 cost of admission was included in our billing, yet when we arrived at the Gorge, our driver told us that we needed to pay $10 to enter the site. Apparently Shidolya failed to inform our driver that we had already paid this fee.

Our Kilimanjaro climb was successful, despite suboptimal weather. We had the impression that Shidolya actually had very little to do with the climb itself, and that they basically outsourced the climb to a third party. Since Shidolya is based in Arusha and mainly organizes safaris, this should not be surprising, but be forwarned: if you want to have your Kilimanjaro climb led by a professional team, look elsewhere.

A couple of points should be made regarding the climb. We asked about toilet arrangements, and were told that we would have our own chemical toilet. The toilet failed to materialize, and we used the tourists toilets at each campsite instead. Much has been written about these squat toilets in many fine Kilmanjaro journals, so I will not repeat the details here. Needless to say, some were less than inviting.

We also asked about emergency high altitude supplies carried by the guides, and were told that a Gamow bag and O2 would be available if the need arose. I highly doubt that either was packed for this trip.

Finally there was a bit of confusion about just how many porters would accompany us on the climb. At one point we were told 4-5, then later the stated number grew. As it turned out, we had a guide, and assistant guide, a cook, a waiter, and 6 porters for a total of 10. At any given time during the climb I counted no more than 8 people camping with us, but on the final morning of our descent there were 10 people to be tipped. Call me cynical, but I suspect that a couple of people arrived at the campsite just for that occasion.

Up to this point my wife and I were will to overlook this litany of relatively minor quibbles concerning the safari and climb. We had excellent game viewing during our safari and we made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro and back in one piece, so overall we were quite content we our program. Unfortunately the final leg of our journey – the Zanzibar excursion – is where Shidolya really dropped the ball.

We prepaid Shidolya our roundtrip transfer from the Zanzibar Airport to Matemwe Beach Village on the northeast side of the island at the rate of $60 each way. It was not lost upon us that if we made our transfer arrangements directly through Matemwe Beach Village, the cost would have been only $50 each way. We figured that the $10 surcharge Shidolya was collecting was an agent fee and we didn’t sweat it. But when we arrived in Zanzibar, there was no hotel transfer waiting for us. We stood around for an hour before calling Godfrey at Shidolya to ask if they forgot about us. Actually several calls were made, each costing us an arm and a leg with our U.S. cell phone carrier. Finally a taxi arrived for us, obviously sent after the fact by Godfrey. As it turned out, it appears that Godfrey also contacted Matemwe and had them send yet another driver to collect us at the airport, but we had already boarded the taxi. To the best of our knowledge, Matemwe Beach Village had to absorb the cost of this redundant shuttle service, because Shidolya refused to reimburse them. Consequently, the next day, the resort told that we would have to pay for our own transport back to the airport upon our departure. Several more long distance phone calls were made by us to Godfrey at Shidolya, informing him that we had already paid Shidolya for our return shuttle, and we were assured each time that Shidolya would work it out with Matemwe Beach Village to get us to the airport, and after each call Matemwe told us that Shidolya never called them back. In the end, there was noting for us to do but shell out another $50 for our return to the airport, as Shidolya had stopped answering our phone calls and left us high and dry.

So for the penny pinching of $50, Shidolya has completely lost our confidence and has made it impossible for us to give them the benefit of the doubt. These are the warning signs of a less than reputable operation that would rather prey upon their customers for each additional dollar rather than build a good reputation. The conclusion is clear: STAY AWAY FROM SHIDOLYA.

Inclusion, look for more reputable company, its worth paying a bit more and get an enjoyable experience.

I love Africa especially East Africa.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 32,271
reviews: 199
9. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

A bit of a sorry tale there frequent T. Not nice when it happens.

I hope it did not deter from your overall enjoyment.

Chicago
posts: 1,484
reviews: 4
10. Re: Safari from Arusha to Serngeti

I am so sorry that you had problems with your trip. I am very surprised as I just used Shidolya in June and all of the arrangements were just as promised and I had a spectacular trip.