Neighborhoods in Arusha

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Neighborhoods in Arusha

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Would like to hear from someone that has traveled with both. Seems like tauck has picked luxury top notch hotel stays. their trip includes a balloon ride where you pay 500 pp with Micato. I know you have dinner with the owners in their home for a personal touch. but what really is the difference as micato is 30-40 % higher in cost. You fly into Arusha with tauck and fly in Nairobi with Micato. HELP
Answer: On the surface, both are exceptional companies that deliver a high degree of service. Micato, at its core, is a safari company. Tauck on the other hand operates trips around the world. You may find the consultant/sales person on the other end of the line at Micato to be more familiar with safaris. Not to say that you won’t receive great service from Tauck, but you may end up with a generalist sales person who has had limited experience in Africa. Someone more experienced can assist you in navigating the various options and help you come to a conclusion that’s best suited for you. As a previous poster has noted, there can be details you’ve overlooked which may dictate some of the pricing differences. For example, pay close attention to the logistics and how you are moving from camp to camp. Is it driving v. short flights. Scheduled flights which may make stops prior to your final destination v. private charters that fly you directly into camp. Both will have “trip leaders” – who are they and what are their qualifications? You should also note that Micato’s definition of all-inclusive does include gratuities which can add up quickly in Africa.

Without knowing exactly what two trip itineraries you are comparing, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison. At a quick glance, it looks like Tauck is utilizing Serena properties. Serena Lodges are quite large in size and the properties at Ngorogoro and Serengeti accommodate well over 100 people. On the other hand, Micato is using Serengeti Migration Camp by Elewana in their “Tanzania Spectacular” which only has 5 tents (10 people MAX). I suppose it’s all a matter of preference, but the smaller camp will produce a more intimate experience, allow you to feel closer to nature, and likely provide a more personalized experience with higher level of service delivery.

You should also note that you don’t have to travel with a group to have a spectacular high-end trip in Africa. As known in the industry, FIT (Foreign Independent Travel) specialists will conduct a detailed consultation and propose bespoke itineraries that meet your exact needs. Booking FIT safaris will give you more access to various properties that only work on an FIT basis (a marginal percentage of high-end camps/lodges in Africa take allocation for group departure trips as they carry the risk of unsold space). Micato does have an FIT department with a wealth of knowledge and can book you into properties that may be better suited for what you are seeking. Most FIT trips, the tour operator will book meet/greet services, logistics, accommodations etc. so you don’t have to do any “work” on the trip. Micato takes this to the next level by including “trip hosts/escorts” to accompany you through your journey for white-gloved service. I suppose there’s an argument to be had about whether or not this is really necessary, but for the discerning clientele, I can certainly see the benefit in knowing that you have a fixer with you at all times. As you can imagine, the “trip host” does add to the overall cost of a bespoke/tailor made safari.

Who knows, you may have Tanzania in your mind, but after a safari consultation with a specialist, you may find that other destinations within Africa may be a better fit. The safari designers at Micato are well versed in all major safari destinations and can give you a detailed analysis between various countries, seasons, value and experience.

Kota Tabuchi – Managing Director: Africa – Travel Beyond
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