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What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

The Hague, The...
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What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

Hi all,

Two of us (adaptable female independent travellers in 30s) will be travelling in East Africa for 2 months (part of our multi-year travel, a.k.a. no big budget for safari). We have a travel route as guidance and will decide as we go. We'll also visit Kenya but haven't decided if we also want to visit the Masai Mara.

Anyway, one thing we know for sure. We would like to do 3-4 days camping safari trip around Tarangire/Ngorongoro/Serengeti around mid November before we fly out via Dar es Salam at end Nov. We prefer budget camping or tented camping safari style. But we prefer not to lock ourselves into advanced booking.

My questions:

1. Do the popular tour operators ( eg: Basecamp, RoySafari, etc. per the TO list kindly shared by @noexpert at pinned post ) deal with budget camping customers? Any differential treatment cos I want to spend less? Many backpackers wrote about arranging through hostels or joining next-day departing groups, which might get lumped together in a group by different small operators. The quality is questionable.

2. Is it possible to walk in to the reputable safari companies (from the pinned list) and join a group/private tour starting next day that's open for extra participants? How many people have done this and turned out favorable for them? I read about travelers just joining tours from whatever operators they can find. And some operators are unheard of in TA. I intend to visit the companies well-recommended on TA without wandering around.

3. Last resort...what's the chance of getting these reputable operators to arrange a last minute private safari (next-day departure) for 2pax? Do you have to compromise by staying at lodges further away from next-day's starting point? Do you get any discount for arranging with the big name TZ-based operators in person? I read that many people have booked 6-12 months ahead of time with these guys. I wonder if they deal with walk-in customers...

4. How much do public camping and tented camping (with beds, chairs etc) - both with shared amenities - differ in price, in general? No exact figure is necessary. Is it worth downgrading to public camping for the sake of saving $$? We've camped at crap places before so going basic is not an issue. But I'm just curious if it makes any difference in terms of value.

I can think of the no-brainer answers to all my questions above. But any input directly from those with actual experiences are very very welcomed.

What do we want to see? Big 5/Little 5/Ugly 5. We won't cry if we miss the crossings/migration since we don't have that much time. We will enjoy whatever safari experience we get.

P.S. I've already spent days reading through the TA forum/other blogs/review sites for tips of choosing safari, costs, recommended tour operators etc. Out of so many criteria, I just know I don't want to get ripped off. We don't want to limit ourselves to $150/d and ended up at a full public camping site in the dark and stuck in a crowded minivan all day. Therefore, a fair budget deal for great value will beat cheap deals any time. Yeah, that's bit vague, I know...

Thanks for reading this. I suck at summarizing :p

Edited: 20 August 2018, 00:43
7 replies to this topic
Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

It may work or it may not. You won't know until you try it.

The biggest downsides are with any last minute deals are:-

1. Availability.

2. Compatability with fellow travellers.

3. You risk getting dregs that nobody else wants.

4. You risk getting lured in by Flycatchers.

The sole upside is that you may, just may, be able to click on a good deal for a last minute TO hoping to fill two seats or with a cancellation. But be vigilant as this is a common flycatcher trap.

As to price I cannot help. Why not make an initial enquiry with the ones you name and see what comes back?

2. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

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Removed on: 21 August 2018, 02:43
 
Townsville...
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3. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

If you have time to walk around, negotiate, bargain, hassle , get angry, agree to being pestered then I think you will be able to get a last minute trip.

The Hague, The...
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4. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

@mfuwe, @nytacita, Thanks so much for the advice.

I'll definitely contact a few TOs for comparisons. I'm not that cheap to the extent where I want to hunt for the "cheapest" deal. It's purely just for flexibility since we have tonnes of trips to plan for as well.

@Elizabeth, also, I grew up and lived in countries where negotiation and bargain is a necessity; touts and even catcalling is a everyday norm. As I read, Arusha seems to be the same or at the next level. I'm ready with shield up. But not looking forward to that part.

Dallas, TX
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5. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

We used EArthLife Expeditions LTD. They can cater to any budget. We were very happy with their services.

Arusha Tanzania
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6. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

Hi

You will find that many tour operators only offer private safaris and do not offer a chance to join up with others already booked.

7. Re: What kind of safari deals can I get fr last minute walk-in?

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Removed on: 23 August 2018, 21:44
Edited: 23 August 2018, 21:44
 
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