Tour Operators

Is a private safari vacation for you?

It sounds incredibly luxurious and ultra expensive.  But it turns out a private safari doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive — especially if you’re thinking of going with friends (which we were).  Here’s what we considered, in deciding whether to book a private safari:

Did we want to go with other people, or on “our own”?

We […]

February 20th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Getting Started: Choosing a tour operator (Part 1)

We could have booked via a travel agency in the US, which would have been much easier logistically.  But after reading tons of online reviews, and emailing back/forth, we decided to book directly with a Tanzanian agency, keeping costs lower.

We spent many hours on TripAdvisor, an absolutely fantastic resource. Ultimately, we booked with Basecamp Tanzania, which we […]

February 19th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Our itinerary (Part 2)

Once we’d narrowed down on an itinerary for our vacation, we sent it to multiple travel agencies (all of whom had good reviews online) so we could do a cost comparison.  Here’s the itinerary we sent to each tour operator:

Day 1- Arrive in Arusha. Visit Arusha National Park.  (Ilboru Safari Lodge)
Day 2 – Tarangire (Boundary Hill Lodge)
Day 3 – […]

February 18th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Price Comparison (Part 3)

Here are the price estimates we received from the tour operators we contacted.  (See “Our itinerary: Part 2”, in the “Choosing a Safari Tour Operator” section).

All of these tour operators seemed to have pretty good reviews, and any that had even semi-scammy sounding reviews, we ignored.  TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet both have great forums.  Sunny Safaris, […]

February 17th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Safari – Price Comparison…Continued (Part 4)

And then we did a comparison of some of the additional activities that were offered by the various tour operators.

This included walking safaris, night game drives, Maasai visits, canoeing, doctor’s insurance, balloon rides…and more…

Here’s the additional detail:

Walking Safari, Boundary Hill (USD)
Night Game Drive (Boundary Hill) (USD)
Maasai Boma Visit (USD)
Canoeing, Arusha (USD)
Flying Doctors (USD)

Flash Safaris
10 pp
50 pp

Basecamp Tanzania
15 […]

February 16th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Operator Details (Part 5)

Inevitably, each tour operator made their own tweaks to our itinerary.  For example, some tour operators swapped out different lodges.  Others included the costs of different activities.  Our tour operator initially neglected to include the last day’s room and board.  We’ve also heard of cases where the tour operators didn’t give the final, final price – […]

February 15th, 2014|Tour Operators|

More Operator Details (Part 6)


This was also one of the two most thoughtful responses we received.  They offered to cost out different lodging options in each area, and provided some critiques about the itinerary, including how to best break up the driving (so we wouldn’t have a super long drive to get to the lodge one day, followed by […]

February 14th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Final Vacation Cost (Part 7)

So, what was the final cost estimate for our vacation (excluding souvenirs, of course!)?  The number we shared with our friends came to approximately $7400 / person.  We came in pretty close (there’s some discretion in what activities each person wants to do, etc.)  Below is the spreadsheet we shared with our friends.  When applicable, […]

February 13th, 2014|Tour Operators|

One more vacation day!

We had asked each of our tour operators for ideas about what to do if we suddenly had an extra day for the trip.  The chances of actually having an extra day were slim, but we also figured that some tour operators might come back with new ideas, which might cause us to change our itinerary […]

February 12th, 2014|Tour Operators|

Tour Operator Challenges

Overall, our trip was wonderful.  There were a handful of items that could have gone better, though nothing major.  It was inconvenient to have these details neglected, but we all also know that nobody is perfect (and some of the items below are probably things we could have helped avoid as well – but isn’t […]

February 11th, 2014|Tour Operators|