Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Immerse yourself in the rich, cultural tapestry that makes this continent so vibrant and colourful. Experience the natural highlights and get face to face with the real Africa.

Moderators: sinecure, TravelFun, ballu, jimshu, JaliscoJudy

Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby heredog919 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:35 pm

My husband and I are considering the Livingstone to Cape Town: Dunes, deltas and falls trip sometime this spring/summer. The cost difference between the Overland-Basic tour and the Classic-Standard tour is more than double.

We are pretty hardy types and aren't phased by the overland, camping and extra participation. We ski, we cycle, kayak, whitewater, camp, and dive, we cook over open flame, we can walk for miles and miles, so that's all good... However we are in our 40's, and while youthful, we don't wish to be the the only two geezers wedged into a group of 20 somethings and spoiling all their fun on their gap year.

So 2 questions really:
1) Does the group make up on the Basic tour tend to skew overly young or is it a nice mix of ages and interests? Does the group make up on the Classic tour skew any way in particular?

2) Are the experiences, transport and accommodations on the Classic tour really that much improved over the Basic to merit more than double the cost?

Can anyone advise?

Thanks!
heredog919
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby kateyb » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:36 pm

I went on the overland (basic) tour-Dunes, Delta and Falls last year and there was a 76 year old woman, a couple in their 60's, sisters in their 40's, most in their 30's and a few in their 20's. I loved having the age range that we did as it added so much to the group. The 76 year old woman was so much fun, I still keep in touch with her and we plan on traveling again together in the near future!
kateyb
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby heredog919 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:46 pm

Thanks Katy B that's good news!

How was the overland portion? Can you tell me how much time was spent rattling along in the van and how much time was camp work and how much time was seeing and enjoying?
heredog919
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:01 am

From what the guides told me when I did Nairobi to Jo'burg on the Overland Basic, the group makeup really varies from group to group. Some groups will have a lot of 20-somethings, some will have older. I think I was the oldest on the leg from Nairobi to Livingston and second oldest from Livingston to Jo'burg at 43 but we had a lot in the late 20s and early 30s, maybe half a dozen under 25.

From Livingston to Jo'burg you spend a lot of time on the road. Figure you hit the road around 8 AM every morning and pulled into campsites around 4-6 PM most days but sometimes that was because we dallied along the way to take the sights in. We saw a LOT and I still want to take in the portion in Namibia that I didn't get to take.

I was told the leg from Jo'burg to Cape Town has a lot less time on the road as the destinations aren't as far apart.

You don't do a lot of camp work -- pitch your own tent, help cook or clean when it's your turn. The guides generally insist on doing the main cooking so your role in cooking is to prep -- cut the veggies or meat, stir the pot, lay out the plates and utensils, etc. You'll have to rig your own clothesline if you want one so it's well worth taking a 100 ft or so of 550 cord.

On my trip, I figure it was 25% road time, 2% campwork, 50-75% seeing and 100% enjoyment.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien
Travelog: http://gadget-travels.net/travelog
Travel photos: http://gadget-travels.net/photos
Image
User avatar
ExplorerWannaBe
User Rank: Road Warrior
User Rank: Road Warrior
 
Posts: 1213
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Colorado, USA

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby heredog919 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:39 am

THANK YOU Explorer Wannabe. Very helpful information.
heredog919
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby lesliew » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:22 am

I didn't do an overland trip, but I did the camping trip which was categorized as Basic. There was a couple in their 50's, a couple in their late 20's, and the rest were in their 30's - maybe early 40's. And despite the age differences, everyone got along really well and we all had so much fun together that it didn't even matter! :)
Image

Image
lesliew
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:02 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby kateyb » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:21 pm

THere was a lot of time spent on the truck, but the scenery outside was so beautiful, it kept me from getting bored. There were frequent stops, and most days we would pull over in the middle of nowhere and have our lunch there. I was never bored despite the long travel days. Namibia has got to be one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited.

The set up/take down camp portion went by very quick. It was very easy for me to handle, but I also backpack/camp frequently and I am used to this. The mats were very comfortable to sleep on. Everyone helps out and chores are rotated throughout the group. There were a few nights that we paid for an upgrade to sleep in a chalet too. The chalets were reasonably priced and was a nice treat.

Most nights after camp was set up, there was time for a few drinks and to chat. Because we had to wake up early everyday between 5:30-6 am we usually were tired and most of the group was in bed by 10 pm. There were a couple of nights that we had a later night drinking, but generally people were quite respectful to not be too loud. Maybe I just got lucky with the group I traveled with though.
kateyb
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby AdamfromCanada » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:31 pm

heredog919 wrote:My husband and I are considering the Livingstone to Cape Town: Dunes, deltas and falls trip sometime this spring/summer. The cost difference between the Overland-Basic tour and the Classic-Standard tour is more than double.

We are pretty hardy types and aren't phased by the overland, camping and extra participation. We ski, we cycle, kayak, whitewater, camp, and dive, we cook over open flame, we can walk for miles and miles, so that's all good... However we are in our 40's, and while youthful, we don't wish to be the the only two geezers wedged into a group of 20 somethings and spoiling all their fun on their gap year.

So 2 questions really:
1) Does the group make up on the Basic tour tend to skew overly young or is it a nice mix of ages and interests? Does the group make up on the Classic tour skew any way in particular?

2) Are the experiences, transport and accommodations on the Classic tour really that much improved over the Basic to merit more than double the cost?

Can anyone advise?

Thanks!


I did this trip basic-style, in 2009. It's a spectacular trip. I was in my early 30s and the bulk of the people on my tour were between 25-30. That said, we had one 76-year old lady on our tour and she was fantastic, and a Swiss couple that was probably mid-to-late 30s. Other than one Aussie couple that was pretty grouchy, everyone got along very well and several of us are considering a bit of a reunion next spring.

I think the biggest difference between the two trips would be accommodations, as you're in tents most of the way in the basic trip. While you'll likely have some tent-time with the more comfortable version, I expect the added cost comes from more time in hotels. Having stayed in a few hotels in Africa, I generally prefer the tents (the hotels aren't ever really bad, just pretty basic).

If your group size is small enough, you'd likely have a different vehicle too, rather than the large overlander.

I've talked to one girl who went the Comfort route on this trip and regretted it. She had only 3 trip-mates, and they were all elderly, which was a tough match for her, especially as given some health concerns, they weren't interested in doing several of the activities. That may very well be an extreme case though.

You will have several 20-somethings on your trip if you're doing the basic version but I find that travel bridges a lot of gaps and generally, it's pretty easy to make friends. My first trip to Africa, I made friends with a couple where the guy is probably close to 10 years older than me and they remain good friends to this day, even attending my wedding this past summer. I wouldn't be concerned about age too much. It's not likely to be like a Contiki tour through Europe where people are going to be constantly partying every night and hungover every day.

Either way, have a great trip. There are so many amazing things to see on this tour that you'll be constantly saying wow. And the sunsets...Oh, the sunsets of Africa...

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by AdamfromCanada on Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Feel free to check out my travels on http://www.adammallonphotography.com
AdamfromCanada
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 271
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:05 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby heredog919 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:52 pm

Wow. Thank you AdamfromCanada! I know it takes a while to write these responses.
Thank you everyone for your time and knowledge.

Also thanks for sharing those fantastic photos Admafromcanada!
Last edited by heredog919 on Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
heredog919
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby lesliew » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:53 pm

AdamfromCanada wrote:I think the biggest difference between the two trips would be accommodations, as you're in tents most of the way in the basic trip. While you'll likely have some tent-time with the more comfortable version, I expect the added cost comes from more time in hotels. Having stayed in a few hotels in Africa, I generally prefer the tents (the hotels aren't ever really bad, just pretty basic).




I've told several people that I preferred the tents to the hotel, and they all thought I was crazy. They can't imagine why I would think that. I slept so much better in my tent....it was so peaceful, except for the occasional hyena or warthog. :)
Image

Image
lesliew
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:02 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby heredog919 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:08 pm

lesliew wrote:
AdamfromCanada wrote:I think the biggest difference between the two trips would be accommodations, as you're in tents most of the way in the basic trip. While you'll likely have some tent-time with the more comfortable version, I expect the added cost comes from more time in hotels. Having stayed in a few hotels in Africa, I generally prefer the tents (the hotels aren't ever really bad, just pretty basic).




I've told several people that I preferred the tents to the hotel, and they all thought I was crazy. They can't imagine why I would think that. I slept so much better in my tent....it was so peaceful, except for the occasional hyena or warthog. :)



LOL.
Honestly that one line pretty much sold me on the Basic.
Choosing between a musty lumpy mattress indoors and open air w/ occasional hyena I'll go for the hyena.

However we were thinking of going in late May - early June. Can anyone speak to how wet it might get that time of year? Tents in the rain are a major drag.
heredog919
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:16 pm

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby Zuleika » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:47 pm

Ohmygoodness definitely do the camping safari. You wont get the lions, hyenas, hippos, and elephants wading through your camp at all times of the day and night if your staying in a hotel! We had the lot in Bots/Namib - LOVED it! If your going to safari you need to experience this and much much more. The noises at night can be fairly scary though - beware! lol.
And the camaraderie round the camp fire at the evening meal is fantastic, again you would miss out on this.
I have done 4 safaris now with several different companies and I usually find it to be a mixed age group every time. Everyone is respectful and not too noisy on a night and as you get up at the crack of dawn you are usually in bed not that long after sundown. It is the trip of a lifetime for most so not many people are partying on as they don't want to miss a single thing the next day!
"Live the life you love, Love the life you live"
User avatar
Zuleika
User Rank: Road Warrior
User Rank: Road Warrior
 
Posts: 1402
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:01 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:38 pm

We were in the Serengeti on July 2 or 3 I think. It was pretty wet and the ground was a mess but that was really the only time it rained on my trip. I would MUCH rather be camping in the Serengeti or Zambia than in a hotel.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien
Travelog: http://gadget-travels.net/travelog
Travel photos: http://gadget-travels.net/photos
Image
User avatar
ExplorerWannaBe
User Rank: Road Warrior
User Rank: Road Warrior
 
Posts: 1213
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 4:13 pm
Location: Colorado, USA

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby francine_16 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:18 pm

I have to agree there is something amazing about camping in Africa. I did 2 G trips in Africa that involved some camping and loved both of them. I would agree that you will hopefully have an age mix so you won't find yourselfs with a group of only 20 yr olds.
francine_16
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:04 pm
Location: toronto

Re: Tour group make up Basic v. Classic

Postby collywobbles » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:45 pm

hi heredog919 :D

I did the capetown to livingstone trip dunes deltas falls last august basic trip it was awesome the setup camp cooking clearing up is done on a rota system not too taxing. it was mostly early mornings on the road by 7am hiking up the dune 45 at 5am but worth it the make up of my group was varied we also had a 76year old on our trip and she was great one or two moaners but other than that it was fine yes camping is the way to go where else would you get monkeys roaming the campsite camping near the watering hole at namatoni in estosha which was my favourite you could watch the animals all night yes you can upgrade to huts in one or two campsites but it depends on cost we upgraded to tents at livingstone campsite which was great not sure what the weather is going to be like butit was hot during the day very cold at night climbing the dune very cold at 5am have some photos on flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/collywobbles hope this will help you make your mind up
collywobbles
User Rank: World Wanderer
User Rank: World Wanderer
 
Posts: 307
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:04 pm
Location: ireland

Next

Return to Africa and Middle East

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest