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Ghost of LL

African Safari

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Does anybody have any suggestions for safari providers?  I'm generally pretty flexible, but I'm thinking either Tanzania or Botswana for next summer.

Everything looks expensive, and broadly that's fine.  At the risk of being Eurocentric, the safari thing strikes me as pretty once-in-a-lifetime thing.  I reckon that I don't have to see each Subsaharan country individually to see what I want to see (e.g., a lion or two, a zebra getting eaten by a crocodile while trying to cross a river).  So with it being a one-time thing, I can probably drop a little money on it.

It seems from my initial look-through like there are two ways to go about it: 1) a nice group tour through a provider like A&K or Tauck, or 2) a more bespoke thing.  I'm not sure I have a preference as between the two.  But I'd like to get thoughts from anyone who has done it.

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34 minutes ago, Ghost of LL said:

Does anybody have any suggestions for safari providers?  I'm generally pretty flexible, but I'm thinking either Tanzania or Botswana for next summer.

Everything looks expensive, and broadly that's fine.  At the risk of being Eurocentric, the safari thing strikes me as pretty once-in-a-lifetime thing.  I reckon that I don't have to see each Subsaharan country individually to see what I want to see (e.g., a lion or two, a zebra getting eaten by a crocodile while trying to cross a river).  So with it being a one-time thing, I can probably drop a little money on it.

It seems from my initial look-through like there are two ways to go about it: 1) a nice group tour through a provider like A&K or Tauck, or 2) a more bespoke thing.  I'm not sure I have a preference as between the two.  But I'd like to get thoughts from anyone who has done it.

Are you going to be shooting or simply a photo safari? My in-laws have been on a handful of shooting safaris. I also know somebody at Tauk if you're interested in an introduction. Junior Miller (The Ticket) just went on a non-shooting safari this past summer. I'm sure if you reached out to him via email he'd be willing to share some details. Finally, the Dallas Safari Convention is coming up at the beginning of Jan. Might be worth your while to wander around that and get a feel for things. There will be a ton of African outfitters there. Those might be mostly shooting safaris, though. I haven't been -- not really my jam -- but I hear Capetown is absolutely amazing.

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Wife has confirmed there are TONS of outfitters representing photo safaris at Dallas Safari Convention at the Omni.  This is one of the largest safari shows in the world.  Highly suggest going.

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10 minutes ago, C-Man said:

Wife has confirmed there are TONS of outfitters representing photo safaris at Dallas Safari Convention at the Omni.  This is one of the largest safari shows in the world.  Highly suggest going.

Good tip.  Yeah--it'd be one with the family.  I don't think the kids would be down with me shooting the wildlife.

Good suggestion on the Safari Convention.

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Yes, go to Dallas Safari Club convention.  It will be packed on Friday afternoon and Saturday.   If possible, go on Thursday or Friday morning.  You will get the most personalized attention and better info.

I have been many times on shooting safaris.  Mostly culling for parks, conservancies, etc...

Prices are all over the place and dependent on what you want to do.  I have been Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, etc.....

The Serengeti is very nice and there are great lodges, photo safaris, game drives, etc...   You pick your level of comfort. 

Zimbabwe is nice near Vic Falls and Hwange National Park.

 Zambia has nice resorts just across from the falls.  

I am not a South Africa fan.  Crime has grown exponentially in the past, especially if you are unguided in Johannesburg or Cape Town.  The national parks do not have any crime problems.  They are well patrolled and Kruger is a great park.

 

 

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A contractor that works for us uses REI for all of his solo trips (not married/no kids). He just got back from their Serengeti trip and raved about it. He has also done their Machu Picchu trip and one to South America. I just looked and they do have a 9 day family trip that covers Tanzania and the Serengeti.

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I'll have a booth at DSC expo. Safari's are actually pretty inexpensive when you take in the airfare and accommodations. I've kinda gotten to the point where "if I'm not going to eat it, I'd just as soon just look at it" stage in life. But don't begrudge others for killing. The meat and cash tend to go to the locals.

CHIEF

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15 years back we went to Kenya. Stayed at some sort of hippie eco-lodge run by the Masai tribe right outside the Masai Mara. It was actually pretty cool. Right on the river that borders the park. Our hut had a deck that overlooked the river. Great place to knock back a few and enjoy the sunset. Breakfast and dinner provided. Lunch to go (to take into the park so you don't have to leave the park at all during the day) and booze was extra. If you leave your hut during the night to go to the bar or to the nightly bonfire, a tribesman with a spear accompanies you to protect you from prowling leopards and baboons.

If you can drive on the left side of the road safely, I recommend you rent a Land Cruiser or similar in Nairobi and drive yourself. Get a map of the park, and you can spend 12 hours a day just cruising around, looking at shit, going where ever you want, without having to deal with caravans of tourists.

We saw the great migration, tons of elephants, a cheetah, tons of lions lounging about,  two females lions stalk and then jump a zebra (zebra got away unfortunately), hippos, and yes, crocs chomping on zebras. We also saw a hippo mixing it up with some crocs that got too close. The only thing we didn't see was a leopard. No rhinos in Kenya, unfortunately.

You can also drive to Hell's Kitchen in Kenya (it has some other, real name that I can't remember). Its a park with no large predators, so you can actually camp. We rented mountain bikes there and biked through zebra herds, which was very cool.

Just outside Nairobi is a Giraffe rescue place, where you can feed the giraffes from a tower, so that you are face to face with them.

Only downside is that Nairobi is kind of a shithole. But you won't be staying there more than a day. Just long enough to get your vehicle and your lodge reservations squared away. There are (or at least were 15 years ago) travel agencies in Nairobi that will set all that up for you.

 

Edit: Also saw a few jackals, and two different packs of hyena. And lots of birds if you are a bird person. A troop of baboons, meer cats (sp?). The great migration thing is unbelievable-- thousands and thousands of zebra and wildebeest. The great migration happens during our summer, but compared to central and east Texas, its really not so bad. Arid environment and cools off nicely at night.

You can park your car, and watch a herd of elephants walk across the landscape. They will get unbelievably close to you if you are quiet. Be wary of the lone bulls, however.

I'll see if I can find the pics.

Edited by High Plains Drifter
remembered some more stuff

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Short answer is that they're almost all the same. Atleast for Tanzania.

The parks are the same.  The animals are the same.  The vehicles are the same.  The accomodations are the same (i.e. non-exclusive).  Food is the same. 

You're paying for a guide and whatever premium the operating company charges - which is the largest variable.  And especially for Western-based companies it is unjustifiable multiples.  Like 6000$ quotes for identical content to 2000$ trips.

The model is that you tell them you have X days available, Y for budget, and you might want to prioritize things Z.  They construct a logical sequence of parks to go to.  That, and your budget, determines what type of accomodations you'll get.  The food also comes catered from that lodging (unless you book option to have an accompanying "chef" who cooks you food each night).

So if you contact 10 operators with the same parameters, you could get the exact same trip for around the same price. 

On our trip we saw about 10-20 different companys huge and small on the route.  All of the drivers/guides radio each other when they have good finds, so you'll spot the same stuff.  In the parking lot of hotels you'll see the vehicles from different companies.  The vehicles are all same vintage Landcruiser (with the odd Landrover because British cars reliability lulz).

I mean there are slight differences in the condition and fitment of the vehicles.  And you might get a lazy guide who you're stuck with for a few days (though I don't think they exist due to the competitiveness).  But we were side by side on the road in the park with old rich looking people in the vehicles operated by Four Seasons that charged $800+/night, so I don't think we got a different Safari Experience.

 

Just go to safaribookings.com and have a look around

 

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15 hours ago, High Plains Drifter said:

Just outside Nairobi is a Giraffe rescue place, where you can feed the giraffes from a tower, so that you are face to face with them.

Big deal. You can do that at the Dallas Zoo. 😁

Seriously, though, great recap. I think the hippie eco-lodge sounds a lot like where Craig Miller stayed for a bit when he went.

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Rhino Africa served me well.  They are based in Cape Town and were significantly less expensive than the American-based companies I spoke with.  The rand is very weak right now and that could potentially make South Africa more affordable.  Are you wanting just a safari, or do you want to mix in other destinations/activities?  If just a safari, I would do Tanzania.  If you want some other stuff, that is where SA shines.  Vineyards,  great white sharks, penguins, etc. and Cape Town is a great city.  We did 5 days in Cape Town, 2 in Franschhoek, and 5 in a private reserve adjacent to Kruger.  

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On 10/18/2019 at 11:09 PM, High Plains Drifter said:

15 years back we went to Kenya. Stayed at some sort of hippie eco-lodge run by the Masai tribe right outside the Masai Mara. It was actually pretty cool. Right on the river that borders the park. Our hut had a deck that overlooked the river. Great place to knock back a few and enjoy the sunset. Breakfast and dinner provided. Lunch to go (to take into the park so you don't have to leave the park at all during the day) and booze was extra. If you leave your hut during the night to go to the bar or to the nightly bonfire, a tribesman with a spear accompanies you to protect you from prowling leopards and baboons.

If you can drive on the left side of the road safely, I recommend you rent a Land Cruiser or similar in Nairobi and drive yourself. Get a map of the park, and you can spend 12 hours a day just cruising around, looking at shit, going where ever you want, without having to deal with caravans of tourists.

We saw the great migration, tons of elephants, a cheetah, tons of lions lounging about,  two females lions stalk and then jump a zebra (zebra got away unfortunately), hippos, and yes, crocs chomping on zebras. We also saw a hippo mixing it up with some crocs that got too close. The only thing we didn't see was a leopard. No rhinos in Kenya, unfortunately.

You can also drive to Hell's Kitchen in Kenya (it has some other, real name that I can't remember). Its a park with no large predators, so you can actually camp. We rented mountain bikes there and biked through zebra herds, which was very cool.

Just outside Nairobi is a Giraffe rescue place, where you can feed the giraffes from a tower, so that you are face to face with them.

Only downside is that Nairobi is kind of a shithole. But you won't be staying there more than a day. Just long enough to get your vehicle and your lodge reservations squared away. There are (or at least were 15 years ago) travel agencies in Nairobi that will set all that up for you.

 

Edit: Also saw a few jackals, and two different packs of hyena. And lots of birds if you are a bird person. A troop of baboons, meer cats (sp?). The great migration thing is unbelievable-- thousands and thousands of zebra and wildebeest. The great migration happens during our summer, but compared to central and east Texas, its really not so bad. Arid environment and cools off nicely at night.

You can park your car, and watch a herd of elephants walk across the landscape. They will get unbelievably close to you if you are quiet. Be wary of the lone bulls, however.

I'll see if I can find the pics.

There were rhinos in Nairobi National Park when I went almost 20 years ago. We saw one way off in the distance and were told we were lucky to see it. Wikipedia lists them among the fauna there as well. Didn't get to do the Maasai Mara, though.

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From my experience:

A lot of people think by paying more or using some London based company they are going to get some VIP trip and it’s not true unless it’s lodging related. For example the Abercrombie and Kent lead Kilimanjaro hike was like 400% more expensive than the group I went with and the only difference was they had a private shitter tent that some poor guy had to carry up the mountain and probably a little better food. At the end of the day you still have to climb the mountain.   

Same thing with safaris. You’re in the same Old Toyata 4 Runner no matter what company you use going to the same spots. If you want to stay in some once in a life time lodge that’s one thing but the actual safari in the Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti is all the same. 

 

This was the locally owned company I used. https://www.africanspoonbilltours.com/

They were awesome. Have referred 5 or so friends to them and they’ve given them nothing but good reviews. 

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On 10/18/2019 at 5:11 PM, Ghost of LL said:

Does anybody have any suggestions for safari providers?  I'm generally pretty flexible, but I'm thinking either Tanzania or Botswana for next summer.

Everything looks expensive, and broadly that's fine.  At the risk of being Eurocentric, the safari thing strikes me as pretty once-in-a-lifetime thing.  I reckon that I don't have to see each Subsaharan country individually to see what I want to see (e.g., a lion or two, a zebra getting eaten by a crocodile while trying to cross a river).  So with it being a one-time thing, I can probably drop a little money on it.

It seems from my initial look-through like there are two ways to go about it: 1) a nice group tour through a provider like A&K or Tauck, or 2) a more bespoke thing.  I'm not sure I have a preference as between the two.  But I'd like to get thoughts from anyone who has done it.

The trip we did (family of four and 3 other couples) was in Zulu Nyala South Africa. Middle of the road operation,and we loved it.

Spend an extra week and hit Cape Town and Stellenbosch (their very good wine region) if you can swing it.

16 hours on a plane from D.C. To And 19 back. Because of Head winds.

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8 hours ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

The trip we did (family of four and 3 other couples) was in Zulu Nyala South Africa. Middle of the road operation,and we loved it.

Spend an extra week and hit Cape Town and Stellenbosch (their very good wine region) if you can swing it.

16 hours on a plane from D.C. To And 19 back. Because of Head winds.

Wife's family did ATL non-stop to Jo-burg and I think it was 18 hours. Yuck.

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13 minutes ago, C-Man said:

Wife's family did ATL non-stop to Jo-burg and I think it was 18 hours. Yuck.

It's a long damn flight, but 2 meals, free movies and liquor.

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Wife's family did ATL non-stop to Jo-burg and I think it was 18 hours. Yuck.

That’s the kind of flight for which you actually pay for business class.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The ATL-JNB flight is one of the only direct flights to SA from the US, and is insanely expensive.   It doesn’t matter how far out you book either, it’s $4k for coach and $10k for business class, and the online points experts seem to think it’s really difficult to book this particular route with points.  Routing through Europe or the Mideast and suffering a few extra hours on a plane will literally pay for the rest of your trip.

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Before you go, read The Short Happy Life Of Francis Macomber by Hemingway. This is very important.

You can fit three United States inside of Africa. 

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On 10/18/2019 at 6:35 PM, gsoda3 said:

how much are you looking at, 10 / person?

There abouts.

On 10/19/2019 at 3:04 PM, 52-80 said:

 

I mean there are slight differences in the condition and fitment of the vehicles.  And you might get a lazy guide who you're stuck with for a few days (though I don't think they exist due to the competitiveness).  But we were side by side on the road in the park with old rich looking people in the vehicles operated by Four Seasons that charged $800+/night, so I don't think we got a different Safari Experience.

 

Just go to safaribookings.com and have a look around

 

Yeah, but the Four Seasons looks really nice.

I'm also getting the sense that the tour companies kind of run some of the lodges exclusively.  Like you can go book a tour with Yellow Zebra for $10K that has three nights at some lodge.  But if you want to try to book that lodge directly, they'll charge you $4K/night.  So it seems like you almost have to do a package deal.

Is that somewhat right?

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2 hours ago, Ghost of LL said:

There abouts.

Yeah, but the Four Seasons looks really nice.

I'm also getting the sense that the tour companies kind of run some of the lodges exclusively.  Like you can go book a tour with Yellow Zebra for $10K that has three nights at some lodge.  But if you want to try to book that lodge directly, they'll charge you $4K/night.  So it seems like you almost have to do a package deal.

Is that somewhat right?

I think the lodges are very dependent on the tour operators and they give them better deals as a result.  Also, with most of the lodges being very small and independently owned, it is also very helpful to have someone who can look at the “central reservation system” for all of the lodges and know at a glance what is a available on any given set of dates.  I do not believe that access is available to the public.  I would not normally engage the services of a tour operator, but unless you are going to self-drive, it is almost a necessity in Africa.  

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The above trip looks fantastic.  Kruger is a great park.

I would do everything I could to avoid the Atlanta to Johannesburg leg on Delta.  I think they are the worst airline for Africa travel.   They charge an arm/leg for coach and also a first born for business class.  Several years ago I tried to upgrade to business class in Dallas and they wanted $8000 each for my wife and I one way.  Got to Atlanta and tried again and they quoted $11,000 each for a one way flight to Johannesburg.   I refuse to fly that route again.  I like DFW/Frankfurt route and just got back from the Doha route on Qatar.  Love Qatar Airlines and they treat you like royalty in business class.  I paid $5000 for round trip tickets from DFW to Windhoek, Namibia. It was 14 hours to Doha.  9 hour layover at a 4 star hotel that the airline paid for, 10 hour flight to Windhoek.  Very good wines, impressive meals and the latest in business class comforts.   Individual pods, big screen tv, pretty comfortable bed, etc...  I have friends who fly Emirates and have good things to say about them.  

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Gladeite said:

The above trip looks fantastic.  Kruger is a great park.

I would do everything I could to avoid the Atlanta to Johannesburg leg on Delta.  I think they are the worst airline for Africa travel.   They charge an arm/leg for coach and also a first born for business class.  Several years ago I tried to upgrade to business class in Dallas and they wanted $8000 each for my wife and I one way.  Got to Atlanta and tried again and they quoted $11,000 each for a one way flight to Johannesburg.   I refuse to fly that route again.  I like DFW/Frankfurt route and just got back from the Doha route on Qatar.  Love Qatar Airlines and they treat you like royalty in business class.  I paid $5000 for round trip tickets from DFW to Windhoek, Namibia. It was 14 hours to Doha.  9 hour layover at a 4 star hotel that the airline paid for, 10 hour flight to Windhoek.  Very good wines, impressive meals and the latest in business class comforts.   Individual pods, big screen tv, pretty comfortable bed, etc...  I have friends who fly Emirates and have good things to say about them.  

 

 

I was actually looking at Qatar.  They have the four-person pod in business class, which looks idea for a family.  And you're right that you can add on a few days at a nice hotel in Doha for very little dinero.  I mean, on the one hand, Qatar in July is going to be hot as fuck.  On the other hand, I hear they're air conditioning the whole country now.

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I don't know that I would stay in Doha as a vacation itinerary. I have been there a few times and it is hot as balls in July/August.  They spend money like crazy over there.   The roads are fantastic and the hotels are first class with great restaurants, jazz clubs, etc...   I have only stayed in the city maybe 8 hours at a time.  I remember it being very hazy from the sand blowing, 90+% humidity and about 110 degrees outside.  OK for a layover, but not for a sightseeing trip.  If you choose this route, ask for the airport hotel.  You stay within the airport, are never out in the heat, and the rooms are very nice.  

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I did DFW to London to Nairobi on British Air and was able to fly top deck on the 747 which was a pretty unique experience. Don't know how much longer those planes will be around.

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4 hours ago, Ghost of LL said:

There abouts.

Yeah, but the Four Seasons looks really nice.

I'm also getting the sense that the tour companies kind of run some of the lodges exclusively.  Like you can go book a tour with Yellow Zebra for $10K that has three nights at some lodge.  But if you want to try to book that lodge directly, they'll charge you $4K/night.  So it seems like you almost have to do a package deal.

Is that somewhat right?

There are probably some tie-ins, but you wouldn't be booking lodges directly yourself anyway unless you were planning to rent an SUV and driving the Safari. 

 

When I was shopping different operators, I kept seeing the same lodging pop up over and over.  And since you get the car and guide to your self/party, the operators allowed 100% flexibility in dates, routings, and lodging if you wanted a particular place (e.g. in-park furnished tent).  That's when I realized it was all pick-n-mix salad. 

 

What you could do is choose the park you want to see, research surrounding places you might want to stay at, and use those as constraints when picking operators and see how they work around your parameters.

 

The distances from park to park, and within parks, are huge.  You're in a vehicle from dusk to dawn so there's very minimal time to enjoy the lodges like at a beach resort.  Routine is get in, shower, dine, beer, and pass out for another 7am start

 

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used this group to put the whole kenya vacation together.

https://www.enchantingtravels.com/destinations/africa/

the part of the vacation that was in the mossai mara was leleshwa

https://www.maasaimara.com/entries/leleshwa-camp

 

loved every second of it.  disagree with the folks that say everything is the same.  the biggest difference in what i saw was everyone packed 8-per van in 

minivan.jpg

these things and travelling around with four or five of them together all surrounding one rhino or whatever,

while my wife and i had our own driver and mossai spotter in a 

DSC_0207-1280x851-940x625.jpg

 

one of these, cruising places by ourselves and really feeling like we were alone in the savanna.

 

enchanting africa just set up a phone call with us for an hour or so and we talked about different ideas and they made it happen, including getting from one part of the country to another in little prop planes, stuff like that that is impossible to set up if you aren't physically there.

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8 minutes ago, SuingToGetAMessageBoard? said:

used this group to put the whole kenya vacation together.

https://www.enchantingtravels.com/destinations/africa/

the part of the vacation that was in the mossai mara was leleshwa

https://www.maasaimara.com/entries/leleshwa-camp

 

loved every second of it.  disagree with the folks that say everything is the same.  the biggest difference in what i saw was everyone packed 8-per van in 

minivan.jpg

these things and travelling around with four or five of them together all surrounding one rhino or whatever,

while my wife and i had our own driver and mossai spotter in a 

DSC_0207-1280x851-940x625.jpg

 

one of these, cruising places by ourselves and really feeling like we were alone in the savanna.

 

enchanting africa just set up a phone call with us for an hour or so and we talked about different ideas and they made it happen, including getting from one part of the country to another in little prop planes, stuff like that that is impossible to set up if you aren't physically there.

Agree, through Alexander and Roberts we stayed at first class safari "glamps" had a driver and a spotter in every vehicle and flew via plane to 5 different national parks. (think infiniti pools over looking the Sarangetti) It was outstanding. We would look at those shitty vans crammed full of 14 Japanese tourists and cringe. If you are going all the way there, might as well do it the right way.

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Suing and Traveling are spot on.

You don't want to be crammed into one of those horrid mini vans for 12 hours.

Rent an SUV and drive yourself. We didn't use a guide. We used a travel agency in Nairobi to book us the lodging, gave us maps, found us a vehicle rental. Probably cost more in the long run, but you get to go when and where you want in the park.

We also flew to Lamu, which was very cool. (Same travel agency handled those arrangements).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamu

 

Driving on the wrong side of the road with the driver on the right side of the vehicle was... interesting. Be careful. The hardest part to get used to was shifting with the left hand (clutch is still left foot though).

 

Still looking for pics. I think photobucket or whoever may have ditched them for being so old. I may have to re-upload them, if I can find the hard drive they are stored on.

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24 minutes ago, TexanTraveling said:

Agree, through Alexander and Roberts we stayed at first class safari "glamps" had a driver and a spotter in every vehicle and flew via plane to 5 different national parks. (think infiniti pools over looking the Sarangetti) It was outstanding. We would look at those shitty vans crammed full of 14 Japanese tourists and cringe. If you are going all the way there, might as well do it the right way.

 

33 minutes ago, SuingToGetAMessageBoard? said:

used this group to put the whole kenya vacation together.

https://www.enchantingtravels.com/destinations/africa/

the part of the vacation that was in the mossai mara was leleshwa

https://www.maasaimara.com/entries/leleshwa-camp

 

loved every second of it.  disagree with the folks that say everything is the same.  the biggest difference in what i saw was everyone packed 8-per van in 

minivan.jpg

these things and travelling around with four or five of them together all surrounding one rhino or whatever,

while my wife and i had our own driver and mossai spotter in a 

DSC_0207-1280x851-940x625.jpg

 

one of these, cruising places by ourselves and really feeling like we were alone in the savanna.

 

enchanting africa just set up a phone call with us for an hour or so and we talked about different ideas and they made it happen, including getting from one part of the country to another in little prop planes, stuff like that that is impossible to set up if you aren't physically there.

So what'd that run you, ballpark?  It seems that I'm generally looking at $1,000/person/day if I do an outfit like YellowZebra or &Beyond based in the UK or USA.  Does that sound right?

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https://www.alexanderroberts.com/destination/africa/kenya.aspx

 

We did Kenya + Tanzania The Great Migration

 

The best part is we stayed in the lodge at Massai Mara which allowed us to freeroam the park as opposed to many parks where you have to stay on the road. We were able to actually track down the animals and found a leopard which are pretty rare apparently.

Edited by TexanTraveling

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Just now, Ghost of LL said:

So what'd that run you, ballpark?  It seems that I'm generally looking at $1,000/person/day if I do an outfit like YellowZebra or &Beyond based in the UK or USA.  Does that sound right?

i think it was $500/person/day, including flight, back in '09, for the whole trip.  the trip involved time in lamu, time in a beach camp, time in nairobi, time in lake victoria, so i can't really break down how much each part was.  $1000 now for the park experience wouldn't shock me.

 

while i don't remember the mossai mara price exactly, i do remember thinking it was about 20% more expensive than doing it a crammed-van way, because i remember thinking the difference in experience being WAY bigger than the difference in price.

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4 minutes ago, TexanTraveling said:

https://www.alexanderroberts.com/destination/africa/kenya.aspx

 

We did Kenya + Tanzania The Great Migration

 

The best part is we stayed in the lodge at Massai Mara which allowed us to freeroam the park as opposed to many parks where you have to stay on the road. We were able to actually track down the animals and found a leopard which are pretty rare apparently.

we happened upon a leopard right when he happened upon a rabbit.  it was awesome.

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32 minutes ago, SuingToGetAMessageBoard? said:

 

loved every second of it.  disagree with the folks that say everything is the same.  the biggest difference in what i saw was everyone packed 8-per van in 

minivan.jpg

 

I never saw that in the Tanzania circuit.  And with the roads were were on at the speeds we sometimes traveled, those things would not survive 1 day.

 

95% of the vehicles were these Landcruisers.  Because theyre indestructible.  The other 5% were privateers or the odd Land Rover.

 

Road-Safaris-2.jpg

 

Whether you are crammed to a vehicle is entirely up to you and your budget.  People on a penny budget - and often solo travelers - would choose the option to get lumped into a "group" safari and hence crammed 6 to a car (or more). 

 

Wife and I went fully private - just us and "our" driver and "our" vehicle for the week.  LL sounds like he's doing the same thing.  For what we're looking at, your caravan scenario doesn't apply.  On the opposite side, there is no Range Rover Velar option with massaging seats and 1 servant holding binoculars up for you while another feeds you grapes.  ALL of the difference in margin of a Anglo-based opreator goes directly to a managing director and his team of salespeople and marketers.  Thats the point @Firemans4Horn and I are trying to make

 

 

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8 minutes ago, 52-80 said:

 

Wife and I went fully private - just us and "our" driver and "our" vehicle for the week.  LL sounds like he's doing the same thing.  For what we're looking at, your caravan scenario doesn't apply.  On the opposite side, there is no Range Rover Velar option with massaging seats and 1 servant holding binoculars up for you while another feeds you grapes.  ALL of the difference in margin of a Anglo-based opreator goes directly to a managing director and his team of salespeople and marketers.  Thats the point @Firemans4Horn and I are trying to make

 

 

But I want the Range Rover with massaging seats and the grape-feeding.

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1 hour ago, SuingToGetAMessageBoard? said:

enchanting africa just set up a phone call with us for an hour or so and we talked about different ideas and they made it happen, including getting from one part of the country to another in little prop planes, stuff like that that is impossible to set up if you aren't physically there.

Dunno about 2009 but today you can book simply and cheaply online Flightlink, Air Tanzania, PrecisionAir, including private/charter operators like FlySal and Coastal Aviation with little prop planes that land you in the bush.  Im not at all endorsing people go Spanky style and game their itinerary to save 20 dollars.  Im saying in todays world its very easy to inform oneself and put a finger in the planning -- IF one is so inclined to do so -- rather than walk blindly into a travel agency as my parents probably wouldve had to do in decades past.

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fav park is Ngorongoro.  and this is a good place to stay for it. 
http://www.oldeanisafarilodgetz.com/
serengeti is also cool.  tarangiri was meh and lake manyara was okay. 
 
we'll repeat the trip in a few years with kids

It seems like the prime parks would be Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Maasai Mara. Does that sound right?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Yes. Don’t know about Maasai Mara but Lake Manyara is a distant third behind Ngorongoro and Serengeti. Manyara is only a thing because of where it lies geographically for where most of the tours leave from. Breaks up the drive and let’s you see animals day 1. 

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On 10/18/2019 at 5:17 PM, Ghost of LL said:

Good tip.  Yeah--it'd be one with the family.  I don't think the kids would be down with me shooting the wildlife.

Good suggestion on the Safari Convention.

You already tried to off your wife via the cops. Now you want to arm her with a camera and send her into the jungle? The insurance company ain't gonna be too happy about that.

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53 minutes ago, bigup2dahorns said:

Good thread. Haven’t been yet but high on the bucket list. What are the opinions on best time of year to go? Summer Vs winter?

Fall is nice, and hardly any cobras then.

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