Adventures in Tanzania Safaris Wildlife
Web guide about beachs holidays and African safaris
Please remember that I am an African wildlife photographer and not a tour or ground operator. However my extensive experience in these regions enables me to advise you on the best tour and ground operators - those who live in the area, who will take care of you best and for the best prices.
Safaris are very expensive! This is why I recommend directly contacting local tour operators who live on site in Africa; they alone know the tours really well (they are at home).
The best optionUsing my advice you choose a local tour operator, a professional (who speak and write English) who lives on site in Africa, a member of the association that monitors tours operators , i.e. TATO (Tanzania association of tour operators) for Tanzania and KATO (Kenya association of tour operators) for Kenya. These agencies that I recommend have vast safari experience, climbed Kilimanjaro, Masai etc. - sometimes for 30 years. Feel free to ask me about my ground operators !
Watch out for swindlers! How might you be swindled?
At the time of writing, I have been advised of many safari swindles!
For example at the moment: there is a technique to make you believe that you will be staying in a lodge on the game reserve, while playing on words - you will in fact
only be staying in a lodge of the same name, or almost, but outside the reserve! (Cheaper and a waste of time)
If you have purchased a "last minute" flight ticket beware because as soon as you arrive in Kenya, you will be easy prey! You are bound to be looking for an "inexpensive"
safari, and there will be many people who will offer you one! They may offer you, by chance, "cheap" safaris! You are 100% guaranteed to be conned!
Also beware of strong pressure from some hotels that will frown upon the fact that you are not doing your safari with them! It's business! However, if these hotels look
after your room and meals themselves, it won't be them who take you on safari - that is what annoys me! Personally, I want to know "who" will take me on safari; if not, how do you expect me to
give an opinion on the service if the tour operator changes at each hotel negotiation!
Be aware that it is common practice to cram people into a minibus or a 4x4 in order to make as much profit as possible (the more passengers you have, the cheaper it costs).
Also be aware that every intermediary takes his own profit margin, including the hotel. So, make sure you ask the right questions! How many customers are in the vehicle? (A good TO does not have
more than 4) How many hours of "game drive" will there be? The standard is 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon, minimum 5 hours per day on game drives within the reserve!
Be discreet and play with the competition!
You can go with an agency that has their office on site, (a real office with a real sign) but above all, never purchase "cheap" or "good price" safaris from "beach boys" or "touts" on beaches or in town! Especially those called "Captain" followed by a name, such as "Captain Maurice" for example! All these "Captains" are "beach boy managers" - i.e. head touts (they like calling themselves "Captain". I can promise you with absolute certainty that you will be ripped off, irrespective of the method - a guaranteed swindle! Some of them even operate on the internet! Fortunately, I now know their technique, to "take you in" using extreme kindness to sell you a "cheap" safari that will in fact prove to be "very expensive" because they will play on the reserve's entry and exit times (late entry and early exit, you will pay for 2 days and they will only pay one day to the rangers (50$ to 60$ per day and per person). If not, they will blatantly try to avoid paying these official entry fees and control points, by bypassing them (with 4 people in the vehicle, they earn more than 200$ per day) and if the dishonest TO is caught out during a ranger check, he will say that it was you who did not pay! So it's his word against yours! Do you want to take the risk? Park managers and the government have decided to fight this scam, but that does not change the fact that dishonest tour operators will always try to bypass checkpoints. They will always find successful ways to get into reserves without paying, and without it seeming strange to the client. Then again it's like everywhere - as long as it works!
If you nevertheless want to do this, please follow my advice. Before paying and leaving for the safari, you must ask the TO to give you the tickets or the card that the
rangers give at the park entry against your payment. Next, always ask for a detailed safari programme. Even for a 2 day safari, and regardless of the number of hours on the road, as well as the
number of "game drive" hours (looking for animals on the reserves) It is very important to know what is and is not included in the price - otherwise you will see supplements appear at the end
of the safari!
Another very important factor is the car! Before paying for your safari, always ask to see exactly which car you will be in. Be aware that they will show you that it
is "this kind of car" - do not accept this! Ask to see the "actual" car that will take you. Look at its condition - it's your safety at stake! There are so many old bangers there.
Finally, ask exactly how many passengers there will be, as well as you? Especially if it's a minibus, as they will "fill it up" to maximum! This is a way of keeping
the price down. The more passengers, the cheaper it is! Obviously all this does not relate to serious safari agencies, but how can you recognise them for certain?
Regarding camping check that you are camping on the actual reserve, if not you will waste a ridiculous amount of time on the road. It is one way for your safari to fail!
The solution is to use those I've told you about, as I have tested them. If they meet my very strict criteria, they will certainly also meet yours! Always remember
this: in Africa, even though you have said "NO", this will mean "YES"! Even if you have not said a word! Say "NO" gently but firmly and the person will not bother you anymore.
In summary ..........
if you want the best safaris that are as safe as if you were in Europe, simply write to me and I will give you my best contacts - those who I use to take my wildlife
photographs. They are the best and the cheapest! And they will not rip you off!