Africa Tour Recommendations?

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Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby Wanderlust83 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:31 pm

I would really like to do a tour in East Africa, with Tanzania and Zanzibar being high priority destinations. I've been doing quite a bit of research on the various tours that G.A.P offers, and reading the various trip reviews, but would still like some feedback here if anyone has any to offer.

I'm a single woman traveller, and will admit that the majority of my traveling experiences have been of the "comfort class" persuasian! However, I'm open to trying new things and always up for a new adventure! I am considering the "Kenya and Tanzania Adventure" tour that begins in Nairobi and ends in Zanzibar. The service level is basic, and so I expect the travelling experience to be quite unglamourous, but hoping that the discomfort far outweighs the amazing experiences to be had on a tour like this!

If you're reading this and you've traveled to Africa with G.A.P, I would appreciate any first-hand insight that you can give me, or any recommendations as to specific tours that I should look into.

Thanks! Wanderlust83
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby Berr74@hotmail.com » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:57 pm

Hey Wanderlust83, I was fortunate enough to participate on the DCN tour last year.

Sounds like you hit the nail on the head and your research is correct, the travel experience (as in getting from Nairobbery to Zanzibar) is quite unglamorous - but well worth it and I would have preferred to have gone that way than the way we went from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi. Ending in Zanzibar is the ultimate, I highly, highly recommend adding on some additional time there if you only have two or three nights. Especially if you like to dive, also if you want to learn to dive, tack on a bunch of time and do it here, you would not regret it!

Not sure how much time you have in Nairobi, but the museum was amazing! the Masai market is not actually a market with Masai people but other people who exploit Masai artwork! I went there and was really, really scared and yet fortunate to have a body guard/taxi driver who refused to leave my side. With that said, ending in Kenya @ Nairobi, I stayed at the GAP partners (Indaba) campground, and they were fantastic and safe...they recommended a driver for me to hire for the day $40USD and it was well worth the money in terms of safety/relief and he knew the city well. Not sure where you will be staying, but be careful. If I was to go to Nairobi again, I would hit the Karen Blixen (sp?) museum/house...which I heard was not worth the money, but after watching Out of Africa again, upon my return, I regret not going there...just because. I would have also liked to have gone to the Elephant Preserve.

If you are doing the GAP tour...you don't have to worry about extra tours while in the Serengeti or Ngorogoro Crater and Plains it really is fantastic! All I have to say is make sure all of your batteries are charged and bring extras as there is NO power to charge them. There is an optional Masai Village tour...GAP isn't big into these things and I realized afterwards that that is a good thing. However, this tour which is an extra $10USd gets you in to see them singing and the men do this crazy jump in their song that is worth the $10 you can then buy beaded jewelery up to $35USD. Also, keep in mind that you can trade...especially watches, sunglasses, warm jackets, rain coats, shoes...the Masai women are aggressive but pleasant and happy people.

The one thing I wish could have been added on is that Arusha is so close to Moshi, the ultimate entrance into Kilimanjaro. everyone is capable of doing it..it is $65 to enter the park, then you need a guide...etc...but I would have liked to have gone for a day trip to say that I was at least on the hillside of Kil. as its peak was cloud covered when we passed by so didn't get a great view of it.

Dar es Salaam was not very pleasant...but it is the main access to Zanzibar...be careful in Dar es Salaam.

In Zanzibar, OMG this place is unbelievable. I wish I had more time there. It is amazing culture...make sure to wear something that covers neck down to knees. You can buy beautiful artwork and spices here, scarves...amazing... Stonetown has great architecture and the imported doors of almost every building are photo worthy. I recommend the Spice tour and the slave/church tour, very enlightening.

We then went over to the beaches...WOW. I went diving in the Indian Ocean at the Mnemba Atoll, and I am not sure if it gets any better than that. There were dolphins following our boat, we dove with sea turtles...I have the name of a great dive company that I used too if anyone wants it. Phat fish was incredibly accommodating to our group and had great food.

Not sure if anything has changed but it was a 12 hr bus ride from Arusha to Dar...and not fun at all, but that is the worst part of the trip..it is bumpy and you can fly off of your seat...makign for a long 12hrs...but well, well, worth it.

Hope some of this helps...sorry for the novel.
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby Wanderlust83 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:37 pm

Hey Berr74,

I just tried to post a reply and it didn't seem to go up, so my apologies if this ends up being a repeat! Anyway, just wanted to say a huge "thanks" for all of the helpful information in your post. And no need to apologize for the "novel" - I tend to carry on quite a bit when I'm recounting one of my fantastic journeys, too! And it's always interesting to hear about others' adventures.

Cheers,
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby voidczech » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:54 pm

Aw, man! Just lost everything I just wrote ... time to start over .....

Berr ........

I'm taking the DKNJ trip starting on May 29th in Naiobi and ending just over a month later in Jo'burg, many places are the same. You've touched on a few of the concerns that I've been having and I was hoping that you could expand upon them:

I stayed at the GAP partners (Indaba) campground, and they were fantastic and safe...they recommended a driver for me to hire for the day $40USD and it was well worth the money in terms of safety/relief and he knew the city well.


I'll be alone in Nairobi for couple of days before meeting up with my group. Now, regardless of where I stay, would you recommend me hiring a driver to take me around? Is it really that dangerous travelling alone? For a woman?

All I have to say is make sure all of your batteries are charged and bring extras as there is NO power to charge them.


When was your last opportunity to charge your batteries before being in the Seregeti? Was it Nairobi/Dar Es Salaam (and nowhere in between)? I've got my little probably-not-nearly-good-enough-to-take-on-an-African-safari Canon 1000, with 2 batteries. You have me wondering whether or not I should invest another $70 for a third.

In Zanzibar, OMG this place is unbelievable. I wish I had more time there. It is amazing culture...make sure to wear something that covers neck down to knees.


I don't even know what that would look like? Is that like a turtleneck moo-moo? Shouldn't a crew neck t-shirt with pants suffice? Or must a woman wear a knee-length (or longer) skirt? What about head coverings?

I have the name of a great dive company that I used too if anyone wants it. Phat fish was incredibly accommodating to our group and had great food.


I have never dived before and wanted to take advantage of the 3 days in Zanzibar (and another 3 in Malawi) to try it out once and for all. Because of the limited time, I was going to take the pool training here at home and then do my open water certs on the trip. Am I on the right track here? Or would it be potentially faster and less expensive to do it all over there?

Also, is Phat Fish the name of the company? On Zanzibar, where do I get in contact with them and what's their pricing like?

- Simone
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby Zuleika » Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:54 pm

voidczech wrote:

When was your last opportunity to charge your batteries before being in the Seregeti? Was it Nairobi/Dar Es Salaam (and nowhere in between)? I've got my little probably-not-nearly-good-enough-to-take-on-an-African-safari Canon 1000, with 2 batteries. You have me wondering whether or not I should invest another $70 for a third.



Get some more batteries! Imagine if you run out of juice just as you see your first cheetah aaaaargh!!!!
Your Canon 1000d is a good camera especially if you have a good telephoto lens for safari.

For my last trip I bought some Canon compatible third party batteries from Amazon for about $10 as my emergency batteries rather than forking out for the extortionately priced Canon ones and they performed brilliantly (I have the Canon 450d or Rebel I think you call it).
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby voidczech » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:48 pm

Your Canon 1000d is a good camera especially if you have a good telephoto lens for safari.


Come again? This is just a small digital camera .... I can get a telephoto safari lens for it? Never thought that was possible.

I bought some Canon compatible third party batteries from Amazon for about $10 as my emergency batteries rather than forking out for the extortionately priced


Let me check them out and see if they have anything. I agree with the extortion ....lol!

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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby jimshu » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:51 am

Bit of confusion there between the Canon 1000 and 1000D(which is fully compatible with EF/EF-S lenses and EX Speedlites.

Just upgrade our wee Sony digital to a Canon.So stuck the supplied batteries in the charger.Went away.Few hours later ,got yelled at by my wife for the big hole in the carpet below the charger!
How was I to know they weren't rechargeables! Image

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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby thecakeisalie » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:37 am

jimshu wrote:How was I to know they weren't rechargeables! Image


You're right, Jim. That's the kind of stuff they print on the side of the box. :wink:


Keep in mind that all batteries will lose their ability to hold charge over time, which may explain why 3rd party batteries are cheaper. They often lose their charge quicker than the 1st party ones, so you pay for what you get. Case in point: I used a fully charged 3 year old 3rd party for my Canon Rebel XT to clean my sensor and it wouldn't allow the operation (safety mechanism that prevents the mirror from moving in the event of low battery levels). While I don't agree with the exorbitant pricing, my original Canon battery still performs like a champ.

Simone, remember to keep the LCD off and resist the temptation to review your pictures during the trip which will save a ton of battery life. Use the viewfinder, not the LCD, to line up the shot. Also, movies use a ton of juice (if you've got video capability).
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby voidczech » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:51 pm

Cake ...

Thanks for the tips... I never thought to turn off the LCD, and good point about not reviewing the pics. As for videos, I'll try to limit them to truly spectacular instances. I think I will take the advice and pic up a third battery (just in case).

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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby thecakeisalie » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:08 pm

voidczech wrote: I think I will take the advice and pic up a third battery (just in case).


Always a good idea to pick up another battery. In the long run the cost is peanuts compared to the opportunity...

An alternative to turning the LCD completely off is to leave it on a 1 or 2 second review, so you take the picture, look at it immediately, then forget about it. And a bonus to not reviewing your pics mid-trip is its like opening a present when you get home!
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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby voidczech » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:30 pm

And a bonus to not reviewing your pics mid-trip is its like opening a present when you get home!


You can look at it that way ... another way to look at it is when you come home you have to rummage through 10 versions of the same shot, 1000 times! lol But my bigger worry would be that by not reviewing as I go, those bad shots will take up space on my memory card - space I'll probably need. (I'll have to download onto a thumb drive at internet cafes along the way.

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Re: Africa Tour Recommendations?

Postby bernardii » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:05 pm

We been on holiday in Tanzania combine few days at the beach on the island of Zanzibar, we had a great time and we will go again, our safari guide name was frank he is local Tanzanian brave young men very knowledgeable he is working for predators safari club local tour company from arusha, Tanzania. the whole tour was excellent well organise by predators safari club which we would recommend to any one who wish to travel to Tanzania and Zanzibar, we booked our trip through bms traveller and there partners in Tanzania is predators safaris club, we been offer all according to our itinerary and even more, the highlight of the trip was Serengeti national park we stayed at migration camp for 3 nights this a excellent place to be there during wildebeest migration period, and than we stay 1 night at ngorongoro serena and day excursion to ngorongoro crater this is unique place must be seen than after we travel to ngorongoro mannor we stayed 1 nigh this was after crater tour, “what a luxury place to be there after amazing day spent in the carter”.
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