Safari - 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, though, in addition to having some great reviews - also did have a few negative reviews on LonelyPlanet, which were mainly thoughts that Sunny Safaris had overbooked and sometimes even lacked guides. (We don't know if that's actually true.)
We've included the costs from the different tour operators below. Most of the tour operators made at least slight adjustments to the itinerary we sent over. Some changed the order of the locations we visited, while others changed the lodging, or gave us different options on the lodging. Still, you can see that there's a pretty wide range of pricing.
Some tour agencies changed the lodging, or the order of the lodging slightly -- but it was only slightly -- so even factoring that in, we felt there was still quite a range to our initial requests for price quotes! On the low end, we had $2,150 per person (for 2 people) - with a single supplement cost of $340. For what looked like approximately the same tour package, we also received a quote for $3,010 per person (for 2 people) - with a single supplement cost of $775. Given that we did have a budget, we'd be just fine going with the cheaper option, and saving over $1,000 per person!
We decided to ask around and see if any of our friends might be interested in going. It turns out that a lot of people have thought about going on safari ...but have just never gotten around to planning one. Within a few more weeks, we found another four friends who were interested in going. That immediately cut our costs by another $600 per person! It was also a great chance to catch up with friends we hadn't seen in a while - what a reunion!
Note: One thing to be aware of is that you're comparing exactly the same items.
For example: lodging. We found that even when we asked for specific lodging, the tour operators would often come back with alternate lodging. We didn't think this was bad, because it's always good to have options. Some lodging options may be cheaper, while others are nicer but pricier, and still others may be in a less than ideal location, etc. But it did mean that we had to be very careful about doing direct price comparisons! After all, if you're staying at the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons...you'd expect the price to be a lot different than if you were staying at a Motel 6 or Best Western! So just make sure that when you get your quotes, you're paying for the exact same things! (After a while, we did get tired of this, so I can't say that the tour operator we chose really was the best value overall - which is why I won't unreservedly recommend it. We did have a great time - but then again, it's SAFARI! - so of course we loved it! =D)
Another example is that some tour operators included the price of certain excursions in the overall pricing, while others did not. We've listed some of the main differences in Safari - Price Comparison...Continued (Part 4).
|cost per person, based on 2 ppl (USD)||cost per person, based on 6 ppl (USD)||single supplement cost (USD)||payment methods||Rwanda Tourism Help?|
|Flash Safaris||3,860||3,010||775||bank transfers only||can help organize, as there is a partner agent in Rwanda|
|Basecamp Tanzania||2,700||2,150||400||bank transfers only||can refer to a travel agent in Rwanda|
|Sunny Safaris||2,625||2,025||340||bank transfer. 3-5% surcharge with Visa or Mastercard|
|Park East Africa||3,795||3,350||545||bank transfers only|
|Swala Safaris||3,370||2,790||550||bank transfers only||Yes. Has an office in Rwanda,and can help organize|
|Roy Safaris||3,040||2,514||560||bank transfers only||Cannot organize to Rwanda|
|East African Safari||3,460||2,970||430||telegraphic or wire transfer or paypal||For a group of six, 4 days/3 nights: $2200 pp including flights between Nairobi and Kigali, return to Kilimanjaro (or Serengeti for safari).|
|Good Earth Tours||4,095||2,795||400||Mastercard, Visa, check, money orders, wire transfer for paying the deposit. MC and Visa for paying the remaining balance, incurs a surcharge of 3.99%||Yes, does run tours to Rwanda.|
|Warrior Trails||4,120||2700||750||Wire transfer|
|Duma||4,800||3,600||475||Mastercard or Visa for deposit. Final balance by check or bank transfer||No|
Next: If you want to see how the price quotes from different tour operators differed, see Safari - Price Comparison...Continued (Part 4).
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- Is a private safari vacation for you?
- Getting Started - Tour Operators (Part 1)
- Our itinerary (Part 2)
- Safari Price Detail (Part 3)
- More Safari Price Info (Part 4)
- Safari Tour Operator Detail (Part 5)
- More Safari Tour Operator Info (Part 6)
- Final Vacation Cost! (Part 7)
- One more vacation day! (Itinerary Planning)
- Tour Operator Challenges
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