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Tour Companies

Kentucky, USA
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12 posts
3 reviews
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Tour Companies

Has anyone used Micato? They are expensive, but the service, etc., seems excellent. This will be our only trip to Africa and we want to have no worries. Planning trip in May, 2012. (No, we aren't wealthy, this is a special trip.)

Nashville, Tennessee
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2,276 posts
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1. Re: Tour Companies

I almost booked with Micato until I did some research. They have a hefty price tag for things you could get through a local operator for 1/2 or even less. The mark up 100-200%.

You will be much happier for a fraction of the cost if you go with a local tour operator.

2. Re: Tour Companies

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Nashville, Tennessee
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2,276 posts
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3. Re: Tour Companies

Craig is much more knowledgeable than I am about these issues. However, he is one of the agents/operators I was referring to. Use someone like him. You will get a much better deal and more knowledgable insight from someone like him than from a Micato. I would contact a company that operates primarily in southern africa (My mispeak before- southern africa, not just africa; i.e. Botswana, S. Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia)

I agree that Micato is a reputable company and I have no doubt that they will stand behind their product (Unlike some others that have recently been reviewed here on TA- Island Safari). But they are one of the most expensive. You do not get more for what you pay extra.

My only disagreement with Craig is that I know in Kenya they were a 125% mark up on a group safari for the same lodges/activities from several local operators (with less personal service, and it was a group not a private tour). Some times to the tune of $40-50,000 USD for a 2 person 14 day tour in Kenya for moderate range lodges. Same tour in the $14-25,000 USD from about 7 other operators. (I had some inside information from one of their agents, conflict of interest stuff that caused an uproar). They do have a lot of pretty brochures and advertising to pay for.....

I usually plan these type of things myself, but south africa is a different situation. For our trip in a few weeks to Namibia, I was able to save quite a bit of money by using Gemma at Discover Namibia even compared to what I could book for. I have no doubt that Craig and others could do the same for you in Botswana and give you a better experience. (that's what I would do). However, if you are in love with Micato, stick with them.

Only my 2 cents worth.

Wayzata, Minnesota
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2,929 posts
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4. Re: Tour Companies

Hi Stephen,

I don't doubt they would have a 125% mark-up. Wow! It can sometimes be hard to get an apples-to-apples comparison when a company has guides and everything that are full time employees. Good that you are doing your research.

Craig Beal

Kentucky, USA
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12 posts
3 reviews
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5. Re: Tour Companies

Thanks for the information...after reading postings and taking a closer look at the 'very' fancy Micato brochure, I think we will look elsewhere. We know what we want to see, 12-14 days, just have to find the right agency. Really want all inclusive (with in-country travel), for simplicity. You have given us some excellent possibilities.

New York
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668 posts
62 reviews
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6. Re: Tour Companies

I am just going to put in my 2 cents and mention you look at RhinoAfrica.com. I booked my 2 week trip with them this past November to Botswana and South Africa. They are based in SA but are super knowlegable about Botswana and most of the other safari -heavy countries. They were wonderful and listened to my limited budget, expectations and lodging requests and hooked me up with a wonderful trip. Everything went smoothly from airport transfers to hotels to the little cessna planes that drop you off on a landing strip. I couldn't have been happier -- especially since I was traveling solo. Highly recommend them to anyone interested in visiting Africa.

Kentucky, USA
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12 posts
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7. Re: Tour Companies

Thanks...I didn't realize there were so many tour companies. The more I learn, the better.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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5,794 posts
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8. Re: Tour Companies

There are many tour operators, but most lodge based trips in Botswana are not what I would call "tours". They are all tailor made itineraries where you pick your camps and the tour operator books them and the light aircraft transfers between the camps. Each camp then picks you up from the airstrip and game drives are done in the camp vehicles with the camp guides. Many tour operators will advertise certain itineraries but these are more like "example itineraries" rather than tours as such.

Compare this to Kenya/Tanzania where (more likely) a tour operator will arrange for a vehicle and a guide to drive you around all the various camps where you do all the drives with the same vehicle and guide. That's more what I would call a "tour".

So when looking at "tours" in Botswana, don't feel constrained by the itineraries that might be listed on tour operators' websites. The term "tailor made" often sounds expensive but it won't necessarily work out any more expensive just to make up your own itinerary, although often the advertised itineraries will be ones which have been chosen to take advantage of certain discounts eg discounts for using one particular lodge chain, so will probably be combinations that are particularly good value.

A good tour operator should be able to advise you on how best to use those sorts of discounts in combination with picking a tailor made itinerary that suits you. What works out good value for one person might not be for another- for example, as a solo traveller I look particularly for camps or special offers with low or no single supplements, however, others will have different requirements.

Kentucky, USA
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12 posts
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9. Re: Tour Companies

Thanks, stokeygirl. I'm finding out that what you noted is true...pick the itinerary and have the tour operators find a good deal. Course, if you don't know where anything is in Africa it's a little tough! We're learning.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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5,794 posts
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10. Re: Tour Companies

Take a look at this website-

http://www.africatravelresource.com/

They are a UK operator but I've never used them so can't recommend them one way or another. However, I find their website very useful with all the maps, photos and comments on camps- also guideline prices so you can get a rough idea of what things might cost.