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Considering National Geographic expedition

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
4 posts
37 reviews
Considering National Geographic expedition

Has anyone taken an African tour with Nat Geo? I cannot find any reviews about the trip and I'm getting a bit frustrated. There seem to be a lot of tours out there, but the one we want to take with Nat Geo will allow us to meet the Leakey family and see their excavation. Seems pretty cool. Anyone know where I can find feedback/reviews on them as a tour company?

Thanks!

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
Level Contributor
8,188 posts
1. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

Don't know anybody who has travelled with them. if you cant find reviews I would ask them for references of previous clients. Then contact them.

nyc
Level Contributor
15,087 posts
2. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

National Geo tends to be quite expensive, maybe why no info here. I don't know which Leakey site they refer to, but if it's Oldupai, any outfitter can do the stop here.

Suggest, you can take the itinerary they show and put it out to another outfitter in Tanzania to do similar. See the www.tatotz.com site for names, send to 4-5 with exact info or the NatGeo itinerary and see what they can offer.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,878 posts
1,186 reviews
3. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

Just read a brand new review of the Serena Serengeti. The reviewer said they'd just returned from a National Geographic tour. You might want to send this person a message and perhaps they can help you.

Findlay, Ohio
Level Contributor
12,485 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

National Geographic is quite a bit over the top on cost. You will see the same things (National Geographic has no edge on going anywhere there, and for that matter seeing anyone). The Leakey's dig is on many safari operators list of places to stop off at. If I'm not mistaken, the only Leakey family members still working in East Africa is Richard, the son of Mary and Louis (who is no longer working), Richard's wife Meave (who works at the National Museums of Kenya) and their daughter Louise who with her mother conducts expeditions in the Leakey's work area of Turkana Kenya. Typically none of the Leakey family works in Tanzania any more. There is still work being done at Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys worked some time ago, in Northern Tanzania but I don't think there's any of the family working there. Since this appears to be something you want to do, I would question the National Geographic on how they are doing this since none of them are really working there, or if it's staged; and that's not cool.

USA
Level Contributor
718 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

I went to the Nat Geo site.

“Venture into a Maasai village and meet renowned anthropologist Meave or Louise Leakey** on a visit to Olduvai Gorge.

** The Leakeys are not able to join the July and August departures. Instead, meet Dr. Fidelis Masao, co-director of research at Olduvai Gorge."

The time allotted to Olduvai is not more than an average trip, so while you may get to meet Meave or Louise in months other than July or Aug, it is not an extended visit to their excavation site. But meeting them for dinner the night before would be an exclusive for Nat Geo, and not an opportunity usually available for visitors.

I looked at where you stay in the Serengeti. Western Serengeti is good in July (when Leakys are not there) but not the desired location for the other months.

Overall, the trip seems overpriced for what you get (a standard-typical itinerary, but a nice one). If the Leaky visit is a lifetime dream of yours, then that would be different.

Atlanta
Level Contributor
234 posts
129 reviews
6. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

We too were initially interested in the National Geographic Tanzania tour. However we took the advice of several posters on TripAdvisor and looked for a Tanzanian company. I sent the Nat Geo itinerary to Base Camp Tanzania (http://www.basecamptanzania.com/) and asked them for a price quote. Base Camp offered us the exact same safari (same lodges, game drives, in-country flights, etc.) at one half the price! The only thing they didn't offer was the opportunity to meet a member of the Leakey family. (We still had the Oldulpai visit with a talk by a resident expert.) In addition, our safari was a private one (just my wife and I) which meant that we could go where and when we wanted and weren't part of a 16 to 24 member hoard. Having been a member of a larger group on safari in Kenya, it was wonderful having our own private experience.

We couldn't have been more pleased with our safari. Base Camp delivered everything as promised and more. Our driver/guide Thomas was terrific and Achmed, Base Camp's owner, was a delight to work with. Check other forum posts for feedback on Base Camp and you will see that our experience was consistent with many others. Feel free to contact me if I can answer any questions or give you any more information about our experience.

7. Re: Considering National Geographic expedition

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