Quick Question about Tanzania Safari Outfitters

Hi Everyone!

My family and I are finalizing a 12 day safari to Tanzania’s Northern Circuit at the end of February ’13… I’ve already done a lot of research and received some tremendous information on some of the mammals that are there but not guarenteed. But as the date is nearing and the itinerary is finalized, one thing we have yet to succeed is closing the deal with 1 company. We have the itinerary and activities down to which lodges to stay on each night, and we’re trying to find a reputable company that could cater to us, while providing a guide with eagle-eyes who will find us those pangolins and caracals, and not just the lions and the elephants. We think we narrowed it down, but I would like any additional advice on these specific companies:

– RA or “Real Adventure” Safaris – We haven’t found many reviews, but the few are positive (but maybe questionable?). Also the most reasonable quote

– Detasa (Destination Tanzania Safaris) – Was good and cooperative, but in the last minute upped our quote by over $500 per person after we switched from 1 lodge to another on one night.

– Access 2 Tanzania – a few interactions but we’re still waiting for a final quote for our specific itinerary

-GoodEarth – we were NOT very impressed with their answers to some of our questions earlier on, but are waiting on them for final quote with our revised itinerary

– BaseCamp Tanzania – Waiting for quote

Any recommendations or warnings about any of these would be highly welcomed. This will end up being an extremely expensive trip so we want to get the most out of it and choose the right company as I mentioned above.

Thanks in advance!!!



  • Vladimir Dinets

    You can email my friend Alex Bernstein, pofig37 at gmail.com>. He runs a small safari company in Mombasa and should know the situation in Tanzania.

  • Paul Klockenbrink

    Mark Nolting at African Adventure Company. Just tell him what you want and he will deliver. Top notch.

  • Bob Berghaier

    Working for a USA based travel company I can prehaps confirm that a change to a particular lodge could increase cost by $500.00

  • tomeslice

    Thanks for everyone’s reply. I emailed Alex, hopefully he can get back to me soon. Bob, I agree but other companies gave us the same itinerary with that lodge for $100s less. When asked how much it would be to upgrade to this lodge other companies said $260-280. The most frustating thing is that up to this point they were very good and honest, but we feel like that’s unjustified.

    • Bob Berghaier

      Hi Tomes. Good point based on what other providers had quoted that much of a mark-up is high. Enjoy your trip, I’ve been to Tanzania 4 times my last trip was in 02 and I plan to get back next year. While there can you ask about any recent African wild dog sightings.

  • tomeslice

    Hi again Bob,
    Yes, we will ask about updated information about some of the species we’re after. I know wild dogs is one of the big ones that people are constantly after, so I’m hoping the current info will lead us to seeing them. If anyone knows anything about recent Pangolin sightings please share too.. as I understand that this specific species is just pure luck and nobody I asked could even point me towards an area or a time of day where they are more likely to be encountered (I know in general “night time” is better). Jon hall mentioned electric fences, but I don’t remember where (?). Private reserves?

    Interestingly I did receive some good info about the following species: Aardwolf, aardvark, serval, honey badger, striped hyena and caracal – all species that are usually NOT encountered in Tanzania. Still there is a substantial weight on luck with any of the tips I received, especially with the Caracal, but trying never hurts 🙂 Especially since this is my family and I’s first safari and first ever visit to the African continent, I’m trying to maximize the $h** out of the experience and see as many animals as I can! (even though I know for many of the species I listed there are way better chances in places like South Africa)

  • Charles Foley

    Just make sure whichever company you choose is a member of TATO, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators. If not you should not consider them.

  • tomeslice

    Yep that was one of the first things we checked.
    Thanks again for all the awesome tips you’ve provided me with. I might brother you one more time via email before the trip, about recent/current wild dogs info.. since I know they are far from guaranteed but info does get shared, which makes finding them more possible.

  • kittykat23uk

    Ah yes I see, maybe nobody had heard of them. To be honest I have never been to TZ so couldn’t really help on that score. Maybe try asking who people would recommend for your planned itinerary instead?

  • tomeslice

    I started with asking Charles that, since he’s the expert on Tanzania (and author of several publications, including the upcoming book Mammals of Tanzania) and he okayed most of the companies I listed as long as they are members of Tanzania’s Association of Tour Operators. So we ended up narrowing it down by the responses we received and the afordability of their quotes. We are actually happy with the itinerary for the constrained 12-day time frame considering all the different places we wanted to visit in Tanzania’s northern circuit. But it was already late in the game to start inquiring about safari companies and waiting for responses, as February is a peak season and popular accomodations were already fully booked… But it’s now all settled!! 😀

    Again, if anyone has any up-to-date info prior to our trip on Feb. 21st about Wild Dogs, pangolins, recent caracal sightings etc. please share 🙂

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