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  
safaris.com 3,890 3,230 700 credit card  
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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Comments

Thanks for this information . It is very helpful. I hope that the next time you travel to Uganda and Kenya .

I wish every body was like you . Thanks for your time and May God Bless you . You can also look at our website for Uganda safaris .http://www.adventureugandasafari.com or http://www.gorillas-safaris.com

Thanks so much for letting us know!  I'm really glad you have found the site useful - Have a wonderful trip!

Your website has been very helpful in giving us a start in planning our safari to the famous Tanzanian parks. Very thoughtful of you to write in this much detail about your trip. The internet is changing the world by allowing us to learn from each other. Best wishes, Virendra

Thanks, Virenda!  Enjoy beautiful Tanzania!

I really enjoyed your website. I stumbled across it while researching our upcoming Tanzania safari. I particularly found the breakdown of the TO quotes useful. I was close to just booking with a reputable company, until I saw your website, and realized that based on your prices, the TO we were going to go with has one of the highest prices on your list! Therefore we are now looking at some of the others and getting quotes from them as well. Thanks for your detailed website, it really helped us in planning our trip!

Thanks so much for the feedback and hope you have a great trip!

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