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How to choose a safari company

Newton Highlands
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How to choose a safari company

We strongly recommend choosing a safari company on the basis of three criteria: quality, economy and treatment of its workers. The last point is often overlooked by travelers searching for the best deal. In October 2012 we went on a 7-day safari with Nyika Treks, visiting Arusha, Tarangire, Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Parks and Ngorongoro crater. We would give this company a perfect grade. Our guide was amazingly knowledgeable and very personable. The accommodations were a nicely spaced mix including a tented bush camp, a tented permanent lodge and very luxurious hotel lodges. All of this cost less than half of what we were quoted from a different company. The owner of Nyika is a local businessman in Arusha who treats his employees well and pays them considerably more than other, more conspicuous, safari operators.

Easy Travel & Tours Ltd
Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Cultural Tours
Gosheni Safaris Africa
Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours
African Scenic Safaris
Hiking & Camping Tours, Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Climbing Tours
melbourne
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for Tanzania
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1. Re: How to choose a safari company

Judi

For somebody who did a 7 day safari you certainly gleaned a lot about salaries and what the competitors of Nyika were paying.

Can I ask you this.

Did you talk to employees of other companies-those more conspicuous.If so how many?

I agree that treatment of workers is an important factor.

Those companies I have mentioned in my post (4th down top right) have been in operation for many years- some before 1990. They still have many employees from that time.

One of the last guides I spoke to before I left Arusha -last time- was a guide who worked for leopard tours- had been for 20 years and was driving the same Land Rover all that time. He didnt saty becasue he was treated badly.

If you look at the list of companies I have suggested three- Roys, Eastco and Hoopoe- all have been operating for 20 years or more and I know some of the workers in all 3 companies -and they have all been with the companies all that time. Not all many will move on but many also are still there.

If you have had a one off 7 day safari it is easy to make conclusions and judgements especially if you have got on well with the guide.

He of course will give you his view.

In my opinion most guides are amazing, knowledgable and very personable- if they wern't they wouldn't last long in the tourism business.

Bristol
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2. Re: How to choose a safari company

I too am interested as to how Judy got all this information about how guides who work for a variety of different companies are treated and payed. Judy perhaps you could give us more details?

I have also found that most guides are generally well payed and well treated by their company if they are good at their job. Hence most guides stay loyal to their company. I think being a safari guide is a job that many in Tanzania aspire to for these reasons. There was a post on here recently where someone said a Head teacher they met wanted to retrain as a safari guide, at least in part I'm sure for these reasons.

We had a great guide from Swala Safaris who had joined the company having completed his studies and gained his initial experience working as a lodge guide and had been with them ever since. He said he liked working for Swala and was well treated and well payed and this certainly seemed to be the case. He could certainly afford to pay to educate his 6 year old daughter at an English Medium school. Yet the price we payed for Swala for our safari which was great, was one of the cheapest quotes we got.

From my experience all the guides I have had have been very knowledgeable, professional and a pleasure to be with. As NE says, they wouldn't last long if they weren't.

Edited: 07 February 2013, 08:47
nyc
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3. Re: How to choose a safari company

Judy might be a tout for this company.

Of the 2 posts Judy, the other was found on the DO NOT BOOK WITH 2AFRIKA!

... what did Judy's comments re this outfitter have to do with the issues presented on the 2Afrika thread? An error, which is possible, or not!

Bristol
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4. Re: How to choose a safari company

Yes I have to say Sandi that thought had crossed my mind!

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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5. Re: How to choose a safari company

I am a little hesitant to comment, but why not? I, of course, agree that one should place a high priority on well-compensated staff as a criteria for selecting a tour operator.

But let me just point out something: If you ask a guide while you are on safari with him, if he is compensated well by his company, the only reasonable answer, whether it is true or not, is 'yes.' If he answered no and then it got back to the company, what do you think would happen?

Bristol
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6. Re: How to choose a safari company

I don't know Brian. On one of our earlier trips we did have one guide who told us he was very poorly paid by his company. I'm not sure this was true but I think he was trying to get our sympathy so we would give him a larger tip. I'm quite sure he is not the first guide to do this. We didn't take much notice and just gave him a tip based on the service we had received, which I have to say was good, so we just tipped accordingly. I've not used the company again so no idea if his comments were true.

So I'm not sure you will ever know quite what to believe.

Edited: 07 February 2013, 17:13
Saint Paul...
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7. Re: How to choose a safari company

Good point Shep. Of course it is possible they will say no, but honestly, few will tell the truth if they are not compensated well, if they care at all about their job.

I'm not saying that's how it should be. I believe that it is reality.

Bristol
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8. Re: How to choose a safari company

I agree Brain i'm sure that is often the case.On our last safari we actually visited the school our guide paid to send his daughter to which was far better than the standard government schools. Having talked to the headmaster we knew the sort fees he would have to pay for this. So this seemed to back his comments that we was reasonably well paid by Tanzanian standards.

New York City, New...
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for Aruba
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9. Re: How to choose a safari company

I am in the process now of picking a tour operator for my safari. I started this process by reading through hundreds of posts to try and determine a decent itinerary as well as highly recommended companies. I followed this up with a few private e-mails to some of the destination experts and I want to express my thanks for your help.

With this information I developed a proposed itinerary which I have sent to a number of travel operators that I have preliminarily vetted on this site. Over the past couple of days, including today, I began to receive responses from tour operators, many of whom have suggested some modifications to my itinerary. I also posted my itineray for comment. Over this coming weekend I will modify my itinerary to what I believe will be close to the final plan and I will send that back to those operators that responded in a professional and timely manner to my original request. I already have a sense of those which are higher priced based upon their initial response but I will ask them all to requote the trip based upon my final schedule.

My plan is then to delve a little deeper into the first three or so lowest cost operators including messages to some of the experts as well as some people who have written reviews to validate the quality of the operators. I will then be comfortable in selecting the operator that seems to work best for me. I realize that price is not the only objective but I have already seen quotes differing in cost by $2,000 per person for the same itinerary.

Again, thanks to all for supporting all of us as we plan our trips.

Bristol
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10. Re: How to choose a safari company

Sorry Brian I called you Brain!! or perhaps you would prefer that.