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OAT in Africa

Chicago, Illinois
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33 posts
17 reviews
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OAT in Africa

Any experience with OAT in Africa? Their cost is so much less than other companies traveling to the same areas. Do they scrimp on lodging, food, drink or tour guides? Do they have large groups?

Midwest
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2,236 posts
95 reviews
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1. Re: OAT in Africa

OAT has a good reputation, and I did consider them.

At first glance, OAT looked less. However, after considering the options(notably the number of hours on game drives) they are pretty much in line with what you can get a private safari for.

Which OAT Safari were you considering?

Chicago, Illinois
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33 posts
17 reviews
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2. Re: OAT in Africa

Safari Serengeti, the 13 day tour. Unless there are a lot of add-ons, they are about 1/2 the price of most comparable tours.

Midwest
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2,236 posts
95 reviews
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3. Re: OAT in Africa

The OAT overview shows 7 days in parks for that tour, so compare that with buying your own airfare and hiring a reputable local operator.

In my case, I received 20% more time in parks than the OAT tour I compared it for the same $ In return, I didnt get some of the filler days though

nyc
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14,532 posts
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4. Re: OAT in Africa

OAT claims a max of 16/paxs and that's what they keep to... so not a large group, as groups go! They do include international air which can be a bonus for some people.

However, you mention that other "comparable tours" are 50% higher than OAT, so:

- if comparing with the likes of Micato or A&K, then yes 1/2 less (if not more), but most other similar type operators are comparable, and OAT is a good value.

Who are the "other" companies if not the two I mention?

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
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6,821 posts
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5. Re: OAT in Africa

I would've thought for the cost of a group tour 16 pax you could get a private safari with a local Tanzanian operator.

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: OAT in Africa

You don't have to have made a commitment to OAT to see their forums about their trips. If you go to their website, read the reviews about SS and if you go Community tab, then forums, Africa, you can read some of the things people talk about. There are many people who have take the same Serengeti tour several times. That to me is an indicator that it's a good trip. People also tend to stay healthy on the trips, so that would mean they aren't scrimping on food or hygiene at lodgings.

You can also read TripAdvisor reviews on some of the lodges (search by name) and you will see a good number of them are from people who took OAT trips.

I'm taking my first OAT trip in November. I'm travelling solo, so private safari wasn't an option; I liked the fact they don't charge a single supplement and the sizes are smaller; and as I was planning to piggyback 2 trips, I had a hard time finding a group tour out of Tanzania for my dates. I chose OAT because of the extra community activities and I didn't want to do 2 countries in the same amount of days. I'm fit, but didn't want to spend every day driving all over the countryside putting in over 2000 miles "hunting" game.

OATs reputation is very good. They don't seem to skimp. For an organized "tour" their prices are very good and I think this comes about because of the deals they can make with their providers due to the bulk of people who travel with them and they don't act as a travel agent giving their clients many options - you have to fit their offers. This definitely allows them to minimize costs.

There will be quite a bit of down time in the afternoons without anything to do (can't really go for a walk even), by the look of the schedules, and a few people found that a negative, but others didn't seem to mind.

Other than the cost, what else about it appeals to you? What kind of traveler are you? If you are more comfortable with a Stateside tour company, I don't think they are a good option.

Annapolis, MD
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205 posts
52 reviews
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7. Re: OAT in Africa

I did the Safari Serengeti last August. I highly recommend them. They use Kibo Guides and use Tanganyika Wilderness camps for their lodging, all owned by the same guy.

The food and lodging and guides were top notch. We had a group of about 10 split into two trucks. The cultural activities were also something you might not get through another group. OAT commits a lot of money to different educational projects in each country they do business in and you get the opportunity to visit a school as part of your itinerary. We also were able to visit a Masaai village and a home visit in Karatu with the Iraqw tribe. We did a visit to the Shanga Riverhouse in Arusha which gives disabled Tanzanians an opportunity to work. They make beautiful crafts.

We usually had a morning and afternoon game drive when we were in the parks except on days when we were traveling to a new park and saw loads of animals.

I'm doing a two day mini safari following my Kili climb and am using the same guide that did my trip through OAT. You might be able to get the same trip directly through Kibo Guides but you wouldn't get the highly discounted airfare. If you're using miles to secure your airfare, it might be worth it to go directly through Kibo. You can contact Josiah at josiah "at" kiboguides "dot" com for a quote. He's been very helpful to me.

Pictures from my trip are available at: http://tinyurl.com/3nyqh4b

Annapolis, MD
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205 posts
52 reviews
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8. Re: OAT in Africa

Actually, try info at kiboguides dot com.

San Francisco...
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269 posts
26 reviews
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9. Re: OAT in Africa

As 4sandi and noexpert have commented, you can get a private safari for 2 for about the same price as the OAT tour, so hopefully price is not your only reason to select them. I did a quick price compare on the site for their Serengeti tour (3 nights in town & 9 nights in the bush) next August versus our private tour (2 nights in town & 10 nights in the bush) next week, and including the international flights from SF the prices (for 2 people) are within $100/person, plus I think we have slightly better lodging. However if you're interested in visiting the various villages (which would be an extra cost to me), as well as avoiding the time-consuming hassle of planning your own trip, OAT may be a great choice. Sometimes it's also nicer to be in a big group and socialize.

Wheatland, Wyoming
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161 posts
28 reviews
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10. Re: OAT in Africa

Quiltingmamma

What is your start date in November? I reserved the trip that leaves on the 9th but I called today and added on the pre-trip extension and balloon flight. i agree with you take on the absence of a single supplement. 14 days from Denver for $3595 as a single, I found nothing else that came close to that price.