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Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

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Worcester, United...
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Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

We are trying to plan a trip of about 7/8 days to the northern parks of Tanzania in 2011 (probably February/March but we are flexible) with our 3 grown-up children. My husband and I might stay on for a rest on the coast. Can anyone recommend a British tour operator that could arrange this for us? We like the sound of the independent, Arusha-based companies rather than being part of a mass-tourism trip, but think it would be good to have all flights, transfers, visas etc arranged for us. However, as we'll be treating the others, I don't think we'll be up for the luxury tent/lodge specially tailor-made options, so we understand we may have to compromise on the package element.

Any feedback would be most welcome, thanks.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

Presume you mean 2012?

Try -

Aardvark

Rainbow

ATR

Tanzanian Odyssey

Expert Africa

Not sure anyone will arrange visas for you. You simply buy them on landing at the airport ($50 US). And you'll need a Yellow fever jab and certificate to gain entry. Again, you arrange that yourself, through your GP or travel clinic. (plus anti-malarials, if needed).

You may want to think about how you share the accommodation... as this will be a factor in the costs.

Bristol
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2. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

We used Mahlatini (based in Ireland). They were fine for a standard safari but I think we paid about 25% more by using them than if we had used a local agent. (and thats a lot of money when you are paying for a safari holiday).

For our next trip we will use a local agent based in Arusha as they are a lot cheaper and (I now realise) offer far better local advice and information. If you use an UK agent all they do is act as a middleman and subcontract to a local agent anyway (making their profit from you along the way).

If you are at all concerned about "value for money" and getting the correct advice when planning your safari I would definitely use a local TO.

Just my thoughts from my experiences

East Yorkshire
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3. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

Just to share my thoughts on this ...

I was in the same place as you were, trying to decide how to progress. I started off my research through a few UK companies (Expert Africa, Real Africa, Gane and Marshall), then found this forum and looked at all the advice about booking with a TZ operator.

Once I had a firm decision about when and where we wanted to go/stay I emailed one UK company and about 4 TZ ones who had responded to my initial enquiries. I was hoping that I could make some savings on the UK based prices offered by going through local operators.

What actually happened was that I had one very low quote from a TZ operator and one that actually matched the UK operator's quoted price - for the same dates and accommodation. Two other TZ operators did not get back to me. (figures are on another thread called Safari Pricing). When I priced up the accommodation using hotel website rack rates I couldn't for the life of me see how the lowest quote operator would make any money (the quote also had to include one internal flight and transfers).

In the end I decided to go with the British company who will handle everything including booking my flights for me once they go live. I got fantastic help and advice from this company throughout the whole process and am confident that we are not paying too much 'over the odds' for their profit margin! It also helps being able to pay in £.

Feel free to PM me if you want any other info on my process.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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4. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

You should go in February, it is absolutely one of the best times to be there, you need to be in the Ndutu area of the Serengeti at that time of the year. The Wildebeest are having their calves, they will be in the Ndutu area (you never can tell for certain where they will be except for this time of the year) and this attracts a lot of predators to the scene.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

As lymond says, the UK agent should offer much the same price as the Tz operator. They make their margin by getting large discounts.

Sheps' experience of a 25% markup shouldn't happen (I know it does, but the solution is simple - go elsewhere).

Alberta
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6. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

We used African Safari Direct and corresponded with Mike Toogood in the UK and found their services exceptional and exactly as promised.

melbourne
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7. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

HughandBoss

I usually always recommend Tanzanian operators over overseas agents. However having said that there are very good UK operators with a fair bit of knowledge. If this is what you are comfortable with then I wouldn't hesistate.

The list above should give you some good comparisons.

Find out which ground operator they use in Tz. and check the reviews and make sure you are also comfortable with them.

I would go in Feburary and remember it is all a matter of options.Choose the one that suits you best.

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

Dealoing direct with a "stranger" in Arusha can be daunting but at least they are on the ground and know the ropes. Having said that, dealing with a person in your own country can be a great comfort especially as they can usually get good prices for the plane tickets.

The downside I found with "English" agents was they can tend to be generic in their offerings and if you try and move them to 'bespoke' it comes at a price.

My first ever trip was with Gane & Marshall (mentioned by Lymond) and it was excellent. That was many years back when Jeremy had barely started shaving!

nyc
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9. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

Very reputable UK operator is Aim4Africa, at www.aim4africa.com. Borne and raised Tanzanian owner.

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10. Re: Tanzanian safaris by British Tour operators

If you are going to use a UK tour op then you should use one that has an ATOL licence if you are buying a package which includes international flights. This will provide you with protection in the event of financial failure. For further protection, the tour op should also be bonded with ABTA or AITO, plus this also means they have to abide by their code of conducts.

Aim 4 Africa's website says that you will be covered under the ATOL of an affiliate company, Gazelle Travel, ATOL 4067 - I am not sure if that gives the same level of protection? - although as they are based in the EU, you do get the advantage of EU law on your side in the form of the EU package travel regulations so if anything goes wrong, you can seek redress from the UK company (the ABTA & AITO schemes make this easier but it is the same regulations that must be adhered to. Membership of ATTA & EAWS doesn't give you the customer any financial or legal protection).