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Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Bolton
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216 posts
18 reviews
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Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Hello

I'm just wondering if it is just a matter of luck if you get a good driver/guide from your TO? Or is it worth getting in touch with other clients of the company and getting opinions and then make a request for the one that would seem to be the best one for us?

Both my husband and myself are both easy going and try to get on with everyone. We would like a friendly guide with good knowledge of wildlife and good driving skills.

Is there any tricks of the trade to get the best from the driver/guide?

Regards

Tiggipaws

Ottawa, Canada
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11,076 posts
138 reviews
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1. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Speak to your TO about meshing you with a guide that will fit your expectations and personality. Some get their driver's email addresses and communicate, or talk on the phone, but I find that drivers are on the road so much that email might seem erratic or nonexistent and on the phone habit is to keep calls short. So if TO makes a suggestion, you can ask for references from him and contact past clients. Good idea.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,485 posts
8 reviews
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2. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Know that most driver/guides are very good; and when most first time safari goers return from their safari they think that their guide was the best ever. Use a good safari operator and you will most probably get a good driver/guide.

Bolton
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216 posts
18 reviews
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3. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Hello

I'm using Sunny Safaris. A couple of negative posts recently have made me slightly worried as they were about the guides?

Tiggipaws

Ottawa, Canada
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11,076 posts
138 reviews
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4. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

To #3. Then I would address your concerns to the TO. Explain you have read some negative driver reports, and that you have concerns. Explain what you expect as far as early starts, full game drive days, out til dusk, that sort of thing and explain your expectations that the drive be HAPPY to accommodate this and know beforehand. A question - are you contracted for unlimited mileage?

Sometimes others have complained about drivers wanting late starts, early ends. This can come up as a way to limit fuel use because client not contracted for unlimited mileage. Also, life as a driver is hard. It seems not uncommon for some companies to run their drivers 24/7 for months on end. They might just run out of steam. This isn't meant as an excuse for less than expected service, but just an observation.

Bristol
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2,766 posts
73 reviews
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5. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Tiggipaws when you first asked about choosing a TO I suggested a variety of things to check with a TO. This included making sure mileage was unlimited and that guides were flexible and happy to amend the itinerary each day to fit in with you. Assuming you checked this with Sunny then you should be fine. You can try and request a particular guide if you want But as Karl says in reality most guides are good (just think how many trip report you have read where it is stated "Our guide was amazing, he was the best!!). I'm sure you will be fine.

Nashville, Tennessee
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2,273 posts
206 reviews
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6. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

I would be more specific about your expectations.

"We would like a friendly guide with good knowledge of wildlife and good driving skills" This is a very bland statement that doesn't really portray your expectations. Everyone states this. No company is going to give you a "jerk that doesn't know anything and wrecks a lot."

Be more specific about whether you want long days, like photography, like briding, language needs, talkative and conversation verses more quiet, cultural experiences and knowledge, medical needs like needing to drive more slowly due to bad back, seeing sunrises or sunsets and those sort of things.

Isle of Man, United...
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37,636 posts
374 reviews
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7. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

I agree. Most guides are up to their job. They don't last long if they are not. I saw the latest negative post on sunny and formed my own opinion on where the problem lay. I think the client forgot they were in the driving seat and should have not put up with that from JB..

So there is your first guide line. "We don't want JB as our guide!"

As to others, no need to become Mrs Bossyboots but you are the client and the Guide is there to do your bidding (as long as it is legal and possible.)

Get some rules of engagement from Sunny that make this clear. If you want early doors and/all day Game drives, let them know that. If you want a leisurely morning out and/or early afternoon slobbing by the pool, that is your £ and your choice. If, for example your interest is in plants, birds and not just the so called big 5, say so up front so the driver knows. Sadly they are programmed to find the mega fauna as this seems to be what they think everyone wants to see until you tell them otherwise.

On my next trip (40 sleeps) I will have a totally new guide for me to break in to Mfuwe's way! I hope he/she is a fast learner or he/she will need his/her bus fare back to Arusha earlier than planned.

But don't worry over much. Over 90% of trips are successful.

Bolton
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216 posts
18 reviews
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8. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Hello

Thanks for the replies.

Quiltingmamma Yes I am contracted for unlimited mileage? also according to my itinerary there are picnic lunches every day plus a couple days with breakfast boxes.

ShepofBristol . I did ask all the questions and got positive answers for everything. But sometimes companies tell you one thing and do another

I will have a word with Jesca who I have been dealing with.

Regards

Tiggipaws

Edited: 01 November 2013, 09:44
Bolton
Level Contributor
216 posts
18 reviews
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9. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

Hi

I sent an email this morning to Sunny Safaris asking the following:

How do you allocate driver/guides to clients?

Am I contracted for unlimited mileage?

I would like early starts and out as long as possible and our guide/driver to be happy to accommodate this and know beforehand.

I would like a driver/guide who is flexible and happy to amend the drives each day if required.

I need a guide who can speak good English and is easy to understand

I would like a guide who has a good knowledge of all wildlife including birds.

I would like a guide who respects the wildlife and doesn't drive off road if not allowed to

I received an answer a couple of hours later

We usually allocate driver guides at least 3 days before the safari commencement, unless if the client has a special request on a certain driver guide then we take the pleasure of allocating that driver to our client.

With your interest we shall allocate a driver, Dearson Godson who suits your criteria and speaks good English.

We shall provide extensive game drives for you and also you can discuss with your driver on what to do to make your safari a memorable one, kindly note that parks are opened and closed at 6am/pm and after that time no vehicle is allowed to roam in the park.

Crater tour is 6 hrs maximum.

Please note in Tanzania we practice eco –tourism and off road driving is highly prohibited and penalted if rules are provoked .

I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip with dearson and please let me know if you have any suggestion, Always at your disposal.

I think that ticks all the boxes. I think I should give Dearson a go.

Tiggipaws

Isle of Man, United...
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37,636 posts
374 reviews
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10. Re: Guides/Drivers Is It Just A Matter Of Good Luck?

I don't think you can get it better than that. IN writing up front. OK things can happen to change it at short notice such as sickness etc., but I think they have promised what you need in a very open way.

Good for them and you.