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Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Bolton
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216 posts
18 reviews
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Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Hello

I have started to receive quotes back for identical itineraries from tour operators. Are there any essential questions that I should be asking before choosing one of them?

Regards

Tiggipaws

Bristol
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2,557 posts
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1. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

The sort of things I asked apart from the obvious when planning our the trips included:

Age of vehicles and how many did they have ( bear in mind a new vehicle may not actually be any more reliable than an older one)

What happened if vehicle broke down

Was mileage unlimited

How many guides did they have and how long had they worked for them

Were vehicles pop up or roll back tops

Did the guides use a radios (I can't stand the constant noise from the radio it can be really irritating, I much prefer a guide who relies on his own knowledge and training)

Were guides also trained mechanics.

Confirm that the timetable for each day would be flexible and planned with the guide on a day to day basis.

Was water provided in the vehicle?

Were binoculars and wildlife books in the vehicle.

List of people I could contact for references.

Others will chip in with more questions I'm sure but these are some of the things that spring to mind.

Bolton
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216 posts
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2. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Thank You

I didn't t think of half those questions. Wouldn't like to think what sort of safari I would be going on, if I wasn't on tripadvisor.

Regards

Tiggipaws

Ottawa, Canada
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10,073 posts
137 reviews
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3. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Tiggypaws, Shep is becoming a regular African traveller and knows her stuff. Plenty don't ask half these questions on a first safari and have a great time. But that is the value of TripAdvisor.

If it is important to you, ask whether the vehicle can charge your camera/batteries, etc.

melbourne
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
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6,746 posts
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4. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

I would also ask....

If they own they own vehicles and if the guide you are using is permanent or a contractor.

You will find many high profile companies hire some of their landrovers from a pool available in Arusha.

I would also make sure you are in the right location within the parks for your time of visit.

Bristol
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72 reviews
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5. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Hi Tiggipaws,

These are just my suggestions and the answers I received gave me some peace of mind when I booked my first safari through a Tanzanian Operator. If you aren't worried about these sort of things then you don't need to ask. As QM says plenty don't ask any of these questions and have a great time. But you will also read trip reports from people who do encounter some "hiccups" on their trips which might have been avoided if they had asked a few more questions in the planning stage or done a little more research.

But please don't feel you have to ask these things.

Bolton
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216 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Hello

Thanks for all the replies. I have every intention of asking as many questions as I can. I normally do research before going on holiday. I like to know the ins and outs of everything before I book. I have been on safari once a long time ago in Kenya and loved every minute.

Regards

Tiggipaws

State College, Pa
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760 posts
123 reviews
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7. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Tiggipaws,

Yes, ask lots of questions. But, read numerous trip reports as well as contact previous travelers listed by the companies. The answers companies may give could be "spot on" but getting comments from other safari goers when the "peddle hit the metal" so to speak say volumes. We have been on several safaris now and I never thought of half of the questions (although sensible and reasonable) mentioned earlier.

Dick

Chicago
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2,007 posts
4 reviews
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8. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Also ask if the vehicles are assigned to the guide or do they just get assigned from a pool. If the driver knows and cares for the vehicle it makes a difference.

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Shep gave a great list. I didn't ask many questioins either, but I already knew (or thought I knew) the company.

It does seem that the subcontracted vehicles and drivers can be the ones that may add hiccups; but not always.

Pop up roofs make the equatorial sun less of a problem.

Unlimited mileage is important if you want all day safari driving. This is one of the things that can become an issue, when a driver starts to make excuses about not doing early afternoon drives - always wanting to return to camp for lunch.

Better that it all be spelled out so that you have it in writing for back up.

Edited: 05 September 2013, 13:30
Bolton
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216 posts
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10. Re: Any Essential Questions To Ask Tour Operator

Hello

Thank you all so much. I think I may have narrowed it down to Sunny Safaris although I have about 3 other quotes I'm waiting for. Had quotes from several others for identical itineraries but Sunnys is the best up to now. I see that they get excellent reviews on Tripadvisor as well. They have replied to emails very quickly and the advice given has been excellent.

I think they have their own fleet of vehicles according to their website and they have a fully equipped workshop to ensure that the vehicles are comprehensively serviced. It also says " in the unlikely event of a breakdown they always have back up vehicles that will be deployed immediately so that there are no interruptions on your safari."

Regards

Tiggipaws

Edited: 05 September 2013, 16:51