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Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Washington DC...
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Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

I have been planning a safari in Northern Tanzania for about a month now. I contacted a number of companies on MNRT website and reduced to three. One is Jacana Expeditions Ltd out of Arusha.

The list on TALA list on MNRT expires in 2011 so I asked Jacana for a copy of their new License. The sent it and called me to discuss any other concerns I may have directly. This makes me feel a little better, but to be honest.... I have no idea what a TALA License is supposed to look like. They told me my driver's name and even sent pictures of their trucks. I contacted TTB and MNRT and am waiting on a response.

A previous review stated not to use a company that doesn't have reviews. I have really enjoyed dealing with them and the cost is slightly less, but to take the warning of the post does anyone have experience with Jacana Expedition Limited? Thank you

Ottawa, Canada
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10,445 posts
137 reviews
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1. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Well, this is very interesting. I don't think many use the MNRT website and I can't honestly see where on the site you got any company info - but I didn't spend an exhaustive time looking.

I tend to check two other sites - which, of course, doesn't say much other than whether they might or might not be legit. One is the TATO website, which is the the Tanzania Tour Operators Association, the other is the Tanzania Tourist Board - both with lists of Operators. Jacana doesn't appear on either. Doesn't mean they don't exist, but you might think about that.

Their website is also pretty generic and hasn't been updated since 2010, or that is what I glean when I look at it. The FAQs is about climbing Kili, the photos are for lodges only and could be stock photos. There are no suggested safari itineraries and no discussions of mobile camps. Not even a photo of a vehicle.

If this is your first trip to Tanzania, I might want to consider getting some independent reviews on this company. Now, there is nothing to say that there aren't lots of smaller companies in Arusha that can't do a good job for you, but watch this thread and let's hope someone knows of them for you.

It is great when you are feel comfortable with a company. What I note you said was that they called you....have you contacted them by phone successfully? Can they give your references that you can call and speak to in person?

I don't want to discourage you, but now is the time to do some detective work, before you send any deposits.

Washington DC...
6 posts
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2. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Thank you for your response. I started using the MNRT site because it was on their embassy page and I figured that would be the most legit source to start. The TTLB list is at the following link: http://www.mnrt.go.tz/TTLB2011FINAL1.pdf It is not completely alphabetical though.

I have not been able to get on the TATO website from any computer so I appreciate you looking. As far as TTB, I did a spot check and there were more than a few that were not on that site.

There are itineraries on the site and agree no photos. He also sent me the Certificate of Incorporation and the company has only been around since 2010.

I think I have found him on Linkden/Facebook/Skype (all w/o picture). I asked him for references on the phone he stated an Italian tour company, something in England and said the people at MNRT and TTB know the company. I started with the latter two and will email him getting the specifics of the first two. I haven't heard back from MNRT or TTB, but as its only been a day.

He called me and I can confirm that the number I was called from was one listed on his site, but good idea to call the numbers listed.

This is my first trip to Tanzania. I have spent a sometime in Africa, but this is also the first time I have traveled with an organized tour. I think Jacana is legit, however the bottom line is how is the tour.

I hope some people have experience with the company or the owner and can share it.

Ottawa, Canada
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10,445 posts
137 reviews
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3. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

I stand corrected, yes there are itineraries. I was looking from their safaris link.

I would be looking for individual clients to speak to rather that agencies, if you can get it.

So, you are going alone and joining a tour? Is that correct?

Washington DC...
6 posts
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4. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

No... There are two of us on private Safari.

Ottawa, Canada
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10,445 posts
137 reviews
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5. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Ah. When you wrote "organized tour" that tends to mean a tour of multiple people joining a tour of a set date organized by the company. That is where I was confused. Then if a private safari, I would definitely ask for one or two client referrals.

And when it is all done, we would love to hear yiur experiences as it helps to get feedback on the smaller companies too.

Have a great time.

Washington DC...
6 posts
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6. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Sorry for the confusion. I just meant usually I plan and execute my own itinerary and vacation... but most of the things I travel to are stationary and a lot easier to find. In this case we are letting someone else work the logistics. Thanks for your well wishes and if I go with Jacana Expeditions I will leave a review. I hope to find a few others who have traveled with them too.

Thank you for your help.

Trondheim, Norway
1 post
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7. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Hello. I'm now in the same position as you were in july. Did you end up choosing Jacana Expedition? In that case- how was it?

Washington DC...
6 posts
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8. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

I just got back from the vacation. Yes I did use Jacana and had a driver guide named Alphonce. Bottom line, both were amazing. I requested a reference and John provided one. Based on some conversations with the reference I transferred all of the money to him. I had extra time and went to their office in Arusha... they have a staff of 4 plus 6 vehicles and driver guides. In my experience with them I consider them both friends/ acquaintances as much as people I did business with. Their price was the best and we stayed in amazing lodges and one luxury tent. I recommend Jacana and Alphonce both highly and plan on posting a full report as soon as I get some computer issues cleared up. After being to their office, they deal with many travel agencies. Only one in the US (out of NY). I recommend booking direct with Jacana and John as I think it might be less expensive. There vehicles are about 5ish years old and the one we were in was immaculate. It had two US standard plugs for battery charging. It had a fire extinguisher and new tires (plus two spare tires). The roof is pop up allowing shade from the sun, but allowing us to see. I am also going to send John some pictures to their website. Like I said, after traveling with them I trust John and his staff fully. There are things out of a the companies, but anything in their control will be exactly as John states. In fact the only change we had was a change in our flight required a change in plans. However, the hotel and location created by the change were 5 star. I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more, I will be more than happy to provide more. Plus look for my review which should be there by this weekend.

Vicenza
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5 posts
24 reviews
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9. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Hi!

Finally did you book with Jacana and John Ignas?

You are the only reviews I can find in the Internet, so please, if you went for them, tell me how it was.

Thanks

Washington DC...
6 posts
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10. Re: Jacana Expedition Ltd (Arusha)

Yes I did. It was amazing. John is great. Our tour guide Alphonce is great (I still keep in contact with him). He made the experience and was very personable. He knew the wildlife, he the knew the history of the areas. He knew local legend. I fully recommend this company and Alphonce as a driver. Everything they sent me in the quote was exactly what they provided.