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Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Australia
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Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

I am planning a safari trip to:

Masai Mara (just 2-3 days before heading to tanzania)

Serengeti

Ngorongoro

Tarangire

Lake Manyara

I want to stay in tented camps.

We would like a private vehicle in each location, good vehicles with open side access. Just me, my partner and a guide.

My question is, is it best to "hire" our own guide that comes with us to every park, or go with a guide from each camp? Ie a different guide in each park. I imagine that would be better as they have local knowledge rather than someone with just a bit of knowledge of each area.

If i get someone from each camp, how do i know it will be a good guide?

Any suggestions welcome, Im finding this safari planning pretty confusing!

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

I like Qs which call for simple answers.

Whilst some (up market) Lodges/Camps do have their own cars and drivers and some concessions insist that you use them, most do not.

Normal practice is you arrange your Safari from, say Arusha, with one of the many Outfitters based there.

You get a driver/guide and a Land Rover/cruiser and stay with it until you return to base.

Two points. The Drivers are well versed in all Parks and know them well. It is their job. Will you get a good one? You should.

On the Northern Circuit where you are heading Vehicles are NOT usually the open sided ones for reasons that have never been explained but could be to do with the distances travelled. They WILL be open sided in the concessions.

What you will get is a Vehicle with sliding windows and a Pop top/hatch for viewing. As there are only two of you this wil work fine. If you really want to be lower down to look the cats in the eye, ride in the front pax seat and wind the window down. You may wind up on the 'wrong' side now and again but your driver should position the car for you. Mine does!

So having answered all that, to your planning.

You have an idea of where you want to go which is good.

Contact several outfits in Arusha www.tatotz.com (I am ignoring Masai mara as border crossings are involved.)with your itinerary telling them that you want Tented Camps rather than Lodges and whether your Budget is Luxury, Modest or whatever. Compare the response time and how accurately they have followed your requests. Discard any that have simply cobbled up a standard itinerary and/or that blithely ignore your requirements and offer an off the peg job. (Do NOT however ignore valid suggestions for alternatives as they could be right.)

Pick three for more details and come back on here with your ideas for an overview.

Happy planning.

nyc
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2. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Mfuwe pretty much answered you.

By law, vehicles that transit on the roads between parks have to be closed, for safety reasons. Even on paved roads, there's other traffic... it's not like you travel in an open sided vehicle back home on the highways. In the parks/reserves especially with lots of dirt, dust, gravel flying in all directions; passing thru areas with tse-tse flies that you don't need in your face/on body... nice to have windows you can roll up.

Will you see open-sided vehicles on the roads or in the parks? Yes. On the roads, these belong to locals; in the parks, these belong to some of the camps/lodges. Besides, there are just different rules for safari vehicles.

Most Arusha based/Tanzania outfitters work with a Kenyan partner, so the Tanzania folks can coordinate the Kenya segment, arranging to get you between the countries, whether by air or land and all transfers.

In Kenya if flying to/from the Mara, you'll use camp guide/vehicle for game drives shared with up to 4/other guests. The cost for exclusive use of vehicle has to be pre-booked and can cost anywhere from $200-$400/day. If driving between NBO/Mara then you have your own guide/vehicle.

Unless using camps in Tanzania that are only booked on a GP=game package basis... usually the most expensive (having to use their guides/vehicles), all other camps/lodges are booked as FB=full board, so you can have the same guide/vehicle throughout.

Australia
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3. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Thanks everyone.

mfuwe - i have just sent emails off to 4 companies at that site, using recommendations from this forum.

Here is a quote and itinerary i received from an Australian company. At $23,000 AUD this is WAY beyond my budget!! I told them i was on a budget, is this considered a budget safari??

5 Feb Transfer Jomo Kenyatta to Wilson Airport 3 Seat Vehicle Per Vehicle to

5 Feb Airfare Nairobi to Masai Mara Return Economy Adult Cost

5 Feb SafariLink flight: SL Light Aircraft Transfer Wilson Airport (Nairobi)/Masai Mara Depart: 1445 Arrive: 1545

5 Feb - 08 Feb

* Your fly-in safari includes:

* entrance fees

* full board accommodation

* airfare wilson airport-Masai Mara rtn

* game drives & walks

Kicheche Bush Camp Fly-in Safari ex Nairobi 4 Days/3 Nights Twin Full

Board & Game Drives

Today your Mara Fly-in safari finishes and you will be transferred from your lodge to a local airstrip for your flight to Nairobi.

8 Feb SafariLink flight: SL Light Aircraft Transfer Masai Mara/Wilson Airport (Nairobi) Depart: 1545 Arrive: 1700

8 Feb Transfer Wilson airport to Nairobi 3 Seat Vehicle Per Vehicle ex SL

8-9 Feb The Stanley Standard Room Twin BB

9 Feb Transfer Nairobi to Arusha by Road Private Transfer Per Vehicle

9 Feb Transfer Arusha to Lake Manyara by road Land Rover Per 5 Seat Vehicle

9-11 Feb Kirurumu Tented Lodge Standard Twin Full Board & Game Drives

11 Feb Transfer Lake Manyara to Serengeti Standard Per 5 Seat Vehicle

11-16 Feb Ndutu Safari Lodge Standard Room Twin Full Board & Game Drives

16 Feb Transfer Serengeti to Ngorongoro Land Rover Per 5 Seat Vehicle

16-18 Feb Ngorongoro Farm House Bungalow Twin Full Board & Game Drives

18 Feb Transfer Ngorongoro to Arusha Land Rover Per 5 Seat Vehicle

18 Feb Transfer Arusha to Nairobi by Road Private Transfer Per Vehicle

18-19 Feb The Stanley Standard Room Double BB

19 Feb Transfer Nairobi to airport 3 Seat Vehicle Per Vehicle

The total for the above came to $23,100! AUD

Australia
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4. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Note: the above is for 2 people.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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5. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

You need to realize that you are asking for a lot. To go to both the Masai Mara and then all the way back to Tanzania takes quite a bit. Perhaps you need to trim it back a bit and concentrate on either Kenya or Tanzania. Typically the only way to do this is to use two companies and this costs quite a bit more then just staying in one country.

If you want to do budget, then ask for budget camping. You will stay in tents, they will take a cook along for your meals. A bit rougher but quite a bit less expensive.

Australia
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6. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Good point Karl. I will probably drop Kenya on this trip and do it on a future safari.

I forgot to mention to the other companise that I wanted a private vehicle!!

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Hi African Lion,

Not sure how A$23,000 pans out in US$ or £ but anything with that number of 000s goes straight in the bin. As Karl explains adding in Masai Mara by air is responsible for a lot of those 000s.

Having said that they are certainly egging the cake.

No expense spared in putting you in the Stanley, going and coming. Private T/fs etc., etc., I ever anyone on this forum needed an illustration of why it is better to 'book direct' this is it.

Now to your TZ bit.

A private transfer from NBO to Arusha is expensive. If your African Landfall is still NBO then there are shuttle buses that will take you in 'relative' comfort from JKIA non stop, apart from Border crossing, to Arusha for US$30 each.

There you can pick up the rest of your Safari.

Sticking my neck out on price you can expect to pay US$200-250 per day for Vehicle and Driver Guide. Lets say 11 days? Call it $2500-$2750.

10 nights in the Lodges mewntioned, KTL and Ndutu (v.Nice, my stops too.) Ndutu may well be full 2009 and presume you are loking at 2010.

But say US$200 pppn = US4000.

So without Park Fees etc., you are looking at a bill of under US$7,000 TOTAL not per pax.

So get talking to those people in Tatotz and let us know how you are getting on. NB Prices have gone up in TZ since my last trip so my figures are only a guide.

Isle of Man, United...
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8. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

Follow up figures.

I have in front of me a quote of US$12,000 for 2010 but this is for 26 days so I bet my US$7,000 is not far wrong and could even be OTT.

Australia
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9. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

I've received responses from 2 of the 4 operators I contacted from tatotz - Basecamp and another.

Yes looking at 2010 but that depends on cost.

The lodges mentioned there were their choices. I'm more into tented camps which i have told the tatotz operators.

I'm cutting out the Mara, I will do Kenya on another trip.

nyc
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10. Re: Private Vehicles - Go with camp guides or someone else?

$AUD23,000AUD = $USD16,000 or $USD8,000/person for 15/days = $USD533/day/person.

Besides fact that you're traveling peak season in both countries with prices to match, you're not staying in lux properties, so that $533/day is a bit high.