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Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Bristol, United...
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Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Having just got back from yet another safari – out ninth African big game safari – I wanted to write a review about the company we used, Calabash Adventures.

Four years ago we wanted a budget safari for five days in Tanzania, and Calabash did such a great job of arranging this, that we thought we'd use them again. I am so glad we did, as this certainly was the best safari ever!

Calabash is a small, locally owned company and I am a firm believer in using someone who is there, 'on the ground' for my arrangements, as you get more local knowledge and someone who can sort out problems if there are any. Not that there were any problems, in fact the safari ran smoothly from start to finish.

We were really impressed with the tented camps (some permanent, some mobile), that Calabash chose for us (I left the choice entirely up to them, the only input I had was my budget). They seem to have got a real 'feel' for what we wanted. I didn't realise tents could be so luxurious! (and no, we didn't stay in the top star places, just middle of the road).

Dickson, our driver was amazing. Again. He seemed to always know where the best place for photography was (and a great spotter), was extremely knowledgeable about birds, animals, geology, history, culture and botany, and imparted the knowledge at the right time and place, making it such an interesting trip. Another thing I really liked about Dickson was his English – a great vocabulary and an easy-to-understand accent. He's also got a great sense of humour and became a really good friend.

I can wholehearted recommend Calabash to anyone who wants personal, friendly service combined with competitive prices. And no, I don't work for them..... hehe

http://www.calabashadventures.com/

57 replies to this topic
Durham, North...
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21. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Another Calabash success story! We had a great time on our 10-day safari covering Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Seronera, Ndutu, Tarangire, and Oduvai. We stayed mostly in tented camps and ended up spending about $7800 (I know some folks have asked for ballpark figures) excluding airfare, for the two of us. It was a private safari, so we were the only folks in the vehicle. I was impressed with our knowledgeable guide Wilson, Tillya's responsiveness by e-mail, and how smoothly everything went despite the fact that we busted the suspension on our jeep in the middle of nowhere. Feel free to PM me for itinerary or more details.

Edited: 7:17 am, January 31, 2013
Harlington, United...
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22. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

We just got back from a trip to Arusha, including 6 day safari, booked with Calabash Adventures, and for the first time ever I am inspired to write a review. I cannot praise Calabash enough. The company is based in Arusha so the money you pay goes into the Tanzanian economy, unlike some of the larger companies based in e.g. South Africa, and the price was excellent value. During planning of our trip we changed our itinerary several times and this was no problem. I always got prompt replies to emails. When Calabash say they will tailor your itinerary to your wishes they are not exaggerating! We were picked up at the airport and on arrival at our hotel we were met by Tillya. One of our bags was delayed but Tillya collected it and delivered it to our hotel. Our driver on safari, Wilson, had an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge covering plants, birds, animals and the geology and history of the places we visited which included Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Serengeti National parks and the Ngorongoro conservation area. We only stumped him once with with a question and he came back first thing the next morning with the answer! With Calabash you dictate the pace of your safari and we worked Wilson very hard, being out pretty much from dawn to dusk (and beyond) every day. He was always smiling and enthusiastic and great company with a great sense of humour. Tillya also met us on return to our hotel in Arusha to make sure we were happy and to organise plans for our departure. With Calabash you will receive a personal and high quality service the likes of which I had never experienced before. Thank you Tillya and Wilson! 10/10 :) Jackie, Duncan and Amy

Isle of Man, United...
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23. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Thanks for the response.

Arusha
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24. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Thank you Jackie,

We are Please with your satisfaction.

Tillya

Guangzhou, China
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25. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

(No disrespect) This Forum looks arranged by clabash themselves, most of the people claiming to have nice safaris have only posted less than 25 times, some even once. It may be a great company but for anybody smart enough could sense the smell of wrotten fish in this post.

Isle of Man, United...
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26. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

I tend to disagree Richard.

The OP is legitimate enough. TA rules don't permit so called "Safari Operator Reviews" as they contain overnight accommodation (although there are quite a few posted under "Attractions" that seem to have charmed lives.)

So other happy travellers, anxious to praise and recommend, search and this type of post appears. So they add their comments to it.

You will get a few 'first timers' as they are unaware of the problems.

the posts to be wary of are those that are initiated by so called "One post wonders" who start a thread which others follow.

Guangzhou, China
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27. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

If you say so.

Minneapolis...
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28. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Can I agree with both of you? The OP is certainly legit... she uses TA regularly and returned to share her good experience.

I also consider carefully posts by people who join TA and give good recommendations, then disappear again. I am suspect of them whether they are initiating a post or adding to one. Sometimes they seem like fakes... probably more often they sound like folks who really did the safaris and they were encouraged to write a good review by the TO. They join, search the forum, find a thread, and add to it - and then they quit posting.

TA works best with folks who both give and take... sharing... but it is inevitable that we will have both bogus and legit "one-post wonders."

buyers - be wise and be ware!

Bristol, United...
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29. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

Like some people on here I am wary of 'one-hit-wonders' who come on the forums or reviews to post just one recommendation of a place or outfitters, and then are never to be seen again.

I am, however, equally dubious about members who come on the forums to slate postings such as these - it smacks of jealousy and rivalry to me!

Travellers write reviews for a variety of reasons - I have seen posters in restaurants and hotels encouraging visitors to write a review on TA if they have enjoyed their stay, and I have also been asked in the past by proprietors if I would write a review of their property on my return. I am always happy to do so, especially if is a small, family run place as TA reviews can be really good adverts for them.

As someone else stated above - reviews are not permitted for overnight stays - I fell foul of that myself recently (nothing to do with Calabash or safaris), so the only way to recommend would be such a forum posting. In fact, I was encouraged to so by an email from TA recently when my review about a two-day trip wasn't accepted.

It doesn't take much googling to find such threads, so what's the big deal about someone adding their tuppence-worth to my thread?

If some members spent as much time writing useful reviews rather than knocking other people's effort, TA forums would be a much friendlier place. It reminds of politicians who are far busier telling us about what's wrong with the other parties than what's right about theirs.

Oh, and please give credit to those of us researching trips - most of us are able to spot a fake review a mile off! The way some of you are going on makes me feel that my intelligence is under question!

One last thing, the poster who comments about this not being legit and cites "have only posted less than 25 times" actually only has 16 posts to his/her name - does this mean their post also has a "sense the smell of rotten fish"?

UK
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30. Re: Safari review - Calabash Adventures

I don't normally post on the fora (prefer to write individual reviews), but since I'm about to fly out tomorrow to start a safari with Calabash thought I'd add my perspective here.

I'm sure there are people (or companies masquerading behind individuals) doing some 'targeted self-promotion', but I have never had that sense about Calabash, and I have been dealing with them since January on my plans. I wouldn't have parted with a large slab of my money if I felt it was overly risky and that I might not get anything approaching what I'd paid for. Of course, until I turn up and experience the trip for myself I can't be 100% certain that I'm going to return home a happy customer... but for me this is very much a calculated risk. I'm not expecting 5* and everything to be perfect, so won't be moaning about it if it isn't.

I don't think it's reasonable to interrogate posters and question their motives based on nothing more than post count. Not everyone sits glued to TripAdvisor (or whatever forum). Not everyone feels the need to post regularly, if at all. And of course any review is opinion only: what is an amazing experience for one person is a terrible nightmare for another.

If anyone is interested in how my trip goes, PM me and I'll email you when I return.

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