A Travel and vacations forum. TravelBanter

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Go Back   Home » TravelBanter forum » Travel Regions » Africa
Site Map Home Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old January 31st, 2004, 06:26 AM
Mark
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

We (two retired married couples) are in the process of arranging an African
safari in June, 2004. The tour company we are considering is "Good Earth
Tours", based in Austin, Texas (goodearthtours.com), and the itinerary we
are considering is: Tanzania and Kenya: Explore Serengeti Mara - 14 days:



Days 1~2:

USA or Canada-Amsterdam-Nairobi
Board your flight on Northwest Airlines/KLM and arrive in Amsterdam
the following morning. Continue to Nairobi, where we are met on arrival and
transferred to our hotel-Norfolk hotel

Day 3:

Amboseli National Park
Today, We drive to Amboseli National Park, famed for its scenic beauty
and enormous collection of big game and snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Afternoon game drive in Amboseli--Amboseli Serena Lodge B,L,D.

Day 4:

Amboseli - Arusha, Tanzania - Lake Manyara National Park
Today we drive across the border into Tanzania, arriving in Arusha in
time for lunch. We then continue to Lake Manyara National Park. Located in
the Great Rift Valley, the park is famous for its huge herds of elephant and
hundreds of bird species - Lake Manyara Serena Lodge B,L,D

Days 5~6:

Ngorongoro Crater
Today we drive to Ngorongoro crater for afternoon game drive, and
spend the following day exploring the short-grass plains of the Crater
floor, this extinct volcano embraces 100 square miles alive with lion,
leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. -Ngorongoro Serena Lodge B,L,D.

Days 7~9:

Serengeti National Park
Today we leave the crater for Serengeti, stopping en route at Olduvai
Gorge for a private guided visit of this history-changing archaeological
site made famous by the Leakey family. Afternoon game drive in Serengeti,
and the following full day exploring the rolling plains of Serengeti
National Park on early morning and afternoon game drives in search of the
large predators and the gentle herbivores on which they feed. -Serengeti
Serena Lodge (2nights), and Migration Camp B,L,D.

Day 10:

Nairobi
Today we fly to Nairobi, arrive at your hotel in the afternoon, where
you are at leisure until tonight's delicious dinner -Norfolk hotel B,L,D.

Days 11~12:

Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
We fly to the Masai Mara, Kenya's finest reserve, a vast expanse of
open land with a dense concentration of resident animals. Our stay begins
with an afternoon game drive amid the elephant, giraffe, lion, hyena and
wandering herds of plains game.- Mara Serena Lodge, B,L,D

Days 13~14:

Masai Mara - Nairobi - London
After a morning game drive in Mara, we fly to Nairobi where a day room
is provided. Enjoy a farewell lunch at carnivore restaurant, before evening
transfer to the airport for your flight home-

Intercontinental hotel B,L.




We are also considering the additional options of staying at the Ngorongora
Crater Lodge and going on a Balloon Safari. This tour company uses a Land
Rover/Cruiser in Tanzania, and in Kenya, minibus is used equipped with
pop-up roof.



We would appreciate hearing from anyone who can make knowledgeable
recommendations concerning "Good Earth Tours", and also any comments
concerning our proposed itinerary would be appreciated.



Thank you



Mark








  #2  
Old January 31st, 2004, 11:34 AM
Liz
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

In message [email protected]
"Mark" wrote:

We (two retired married couples) are in the process of arranging an African
safari in June, 2004. The tour company we are considering is "Good Earth
Tours", based in Austin, Texas (goodearthtours.com), and the itinerary we
are considering is: Tanzania and Kenya: Explore Serengeti Mara - 14 days:


[big snip of itinerary]

We are also considering the additional options of staying at the Ngorongora
Crater Lodge

Were any advantages of this mentioned?
It probably doesn't really matter much.

and going on a Balloon Safari.

Jury's out on this.
See thread " Tanzania...got 4 weeks to play with".
Your call, but it's expensive...and only c1 hr actually in the air.

This tour company uses a Land
Rover/Cruiser in Tanzania, and in Kenya, minibus is used equipped with
pop-up roof.


That's usual.

We would appreciate hearing from anyone who can make knowledgeable
recommendations concerning "Good Earth Tours", and also any comments
concerning our proposed itinerary would be appreciated.


The itinerary looks fairly standard for a brochure safari.
Be aware that you'll be spending a lot of your time travelling about from
place to place rather than watching game. Just look at the wording carefully.
People don't usually realise this until they've had one safari!

The main thing I'd question is the need to visit the Mara on this particular
itinerary. The Masai Mara is contiguous with the Serengeti: the habitats are
just about the same.

In June, the migration may just hve reached the Mara (towards the end of the
month) but you can't rely on it. Once we were in the Mara in the 2nd week of
July and the migration hadn't arrived yet. However, it will be heading north
in the Serengeti, and there will be masses of animals there. So you could
find the Mara very disappointing by comparison. I note you're flying there,
so it's adding a considerable cost onto your trip. In addition, I see you'd
be staying at Mara Serena Lodge. I'm sure that this is a very good lodge,
(we've stayed at other Serena properties) but it definitely isn't the place
to be early in migration. The wildebeest don't build up there until August.
Early in the migration (and remember, there may be no wildebeest at all in
the Mara in June) the lodge to stay at is Keekorok, which is very near the
Tanzanian border.

A lot of the safari companies do itineraries like this because people think
they're getting more 'bangs for bucks' with more parks visited on their
tour. You'd be far better staying at fewer parks for longer at each. The
companies don't seem to have latched onto this, and it's difficult to get an
'off the shelf' safari which does this.

However, I see that there are four of you, so it would be very easy to
arrange a tailor-made tour, maybe confining yourself to the Northern circuit
of Tanzania. If you choose a good company, this won't necessarily be that
much more expensive than a brochure safari (also see the four weeks in Tz
thread). You'll be saving money on the extra visas for Kenya and on the
flights to and from the Mara to put towards the tailor-made anyway.

*You* can specify where you want to stay, how many nights in each, and very
importantly, how much time you spend watching the game (specify
"driver/guide at your disposal".) You will also be able to decide between
you what you want to do (hopefully you can agree!) and tell the driver: for
example if you want to see particular species, if you want to spend time in
a particular area or with a group of elephants of whatever, or to specify
that you want to stay away from crowds (very easy if you don't chase every
single big cat which comes your way) or shops.
In particular, stay longer in the Serengeti, and I'd recommend two full days
in Ngorongoro.

Sadly, I can't recommend any US companies
for tailor-making (because I don't live in the States, not because there
aren't any!), but I'm sure someone will be along soon who can.....

Don't get me wrong: if you do this suggested trip, you'll enjoy it.
It's just that there are ways of making it better.

Safari njema

--
Virtual Liz at http://www.v-liz.co.uk
Kenya; Tanzania; India; Seychelles; Namibia
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
  #3  
Old January 31st, 2004, 06:17 PM
Mark
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

Thank you Liz for your detailed response.

Sadly, I can't recommend any US companies
for tailor-making (because I don't live in the States, not because there
aren't any!), but I'm sure someone will be along soon who can.....


However, I see that there are four of you, so it would be very easy to
arrange a tailor-made tour, maybe confining yourself to the Northern

circuit
of Tanzania.


Hopefully, I will get some responses regarding US Tour Companies (including
Good Earth Tours and others). Notwithstanding that, we also are considering
a stop in Great Britain before and/or after our trip to Africa. In light of
that, it may make sense to consider a european tour company for our
tour/safari (either brochure or tailor-made) in Tanzania and Kenya. Should
we consider other location(s) in lieu of either Tanzania or Kenya? Could
you recommend a European tour company in the event that we are unable to
find a US Tour company that is satisfactory to us? Keep in mind that
although we want to get out in the wild, we are four seniors and prefer
comfortable accomodations.

Thank you, Mark



  #4  
Old January 31st, 2004, 07:18 PM
Liz
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

In message [email protected]
"Mark" wrote:

Thank you Liz for your detailed response.

Sadly, I can't recommend any US companies
for tailor-making (because I don't live in the States, not because there
aren't any!), but I'm sure someone will be along soon who can.....


However, I see that there are four of you, so it would be very easy to
arrange a tailor-made tour, maybe confining yourself to the Northern

circuit
of Tanzania.


Hopefully, I will get some responses regarding US Tour Companies (including
Good Earth Tours and others). Notwithstanding that, we also are considering
a stop in Great Britain before and/or after our trip to Africa. In light of
that, it may make sense to consider a european tour company for our
tour/safari (either brochure or tailor-made) in Tanzania and Kenya. Should
we consider other location(s) in lieu of either Tanzania or Kenya?

I really think in June your best bet is Tanzania. With two weeks you'd be
best to confine your trip to Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and
Tarangire (not necessarily in that order!) I understand Arusha National Park
is also worth a visit.Stay at least two and preferably three nights in each
of Ngorongoro, Manyara and Tarangire and as long as you can in Serengeti. We
stayed three nights in Seronera and three nights at Lobo. Make sure you get
a slight detour into Olduvai Gorge: it's pretty well standards, just make
sure it's actually written in to your itinerary: what you don't see is what
you don't get on a safari itinerary.
You can see pics of all of these places on my site, with lists of species we
saw in each.


Could you recommend a European tour company in the event that we are unable to
find a US Tour company that is satisfactory to us? Keep in mind that
although we want to get out in the wild, we are four seniors and prefer
comfortable accomodations.

We travel (five of our trips to Kenya (in July) and our trip to Tanzania)
with a London-based company, Worldwide Journeys and Expeditions. Their
'brochure' safaris are pretty expensive, as they quote homestays and smaller
camps, but if you are going tailor-made you can choose whatever
accommodation you like. The tourist-grade lodges and camps are all very
comfortable: more like what Americans call a 'resort' than for example your
National Park lodges. (I'd no more 'rough it' than pull out my hair!)
http://www.wildlifejourneys.co.uk/home.html

Last year, I went to Namibia booking through Rainbow Tours and everything
was dealt with very efficiently. I really don't recommend Namibia over East
Africa for wildlife viewing (it has its own, different, attractions) but I
notice that they have expensive-ish brochure safaris (private), but offer
tailor-mades in East Africa too.
http://www.rainbowtours.co.uk

BTW, if you have the budget, you'd love the smaller camps and homestays!

Slainte mhath

Liz
--
Virtual Liz at http://www.v-liz.co.uk
Kenya; Tanzania; India; Seychelles; Namibia
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
  #5  
Old February 11th, 2004, 08:07 PM
BAC
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

Just want to say that I've really enjoyed the wisdom that Liz and others
have passed on. I have heard good things about Good Earth Tours...usually
for a friend of a friend sort of thing...so I have no personal knowledge.
One of the best pieces of advice that I've gotten and read is to not spend
all your time traveling....travel less and see more critters.


"Liz" wrote in message
...
In message [email protected]
"Mark" wrote:

Thank you Liz for your detailed response.

Sadly, I can't recommend any US companies
for tailor-making (because I don't live in the States, not because

there
aren't any!), but I'm sure someone will be along soon who can.....


However, I see that there are four of you, so it would be very easy to
arrange a tailor-made tour, maybe confining yourself to the Northern

circuit
of Tanzania.


Hopefully, I will get some responses regarding US Tour Companies

(including
Good Earth Tours and others). Notwithstanding that, we also are

considering
a stop in Great Britain before and/or after our trip to Africa. In

light of
that, it may make sense to consider a european tour company for our
tour/safari (either brochure or tailor-made) in Tanzania and Kenya.

Should
we consider other location(s) in lieu of either Tanzania or Kenya?

I really think in June your best bet is Tanzania. With two weeks you'd be
best to confine your trip to Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara and
Tarangire (not necessarily in that order!) I understand Arusha National

Park
is also worth a visit.Stay at least two and preferably three nights in

each
of Ngorongoro, Manyara and Tarangire and as long as you can in Serengeti.

We
stayed three nights in Seronera and three nights at Lobo. Make sure you

get
a slight detour into Olduvai Gorge: it's pretty well standards, just make
sure it's actually written in to your itinerary: what you don't see is

what
you don't get on a safari itinerary.
You can see pics of all of these places on my site, with lists of species

we
saw in each.


Could you recommend a European tour company in the event that we are

unable to
find a US Tour company that is satisfactory to us? Keep in mind that
although we want to get out in the wild, we are four seniors and prefer
comfortable accomodations.

We travel (five of our trips to Kenya (in July) and our trip to Tanzania)
with a London-based company, Worldwide Journeys and Expeditions. Their
'brochure' safaris are pretty expensive, as they quote homestays and

smaller
camps, but if you are going tailor-made you can choose whatever
accommodation you like. The tourist-grade lodges and camps are all very
comfortable: more like what Americans call a 'resort' than for example

your
National Park lodges. (I'd no more 'rough it' than pull out my hair!)
http://www.wildlifejourneys.co.uk/home.html

Last year, I went to Namibia booking through Rainbow Tours and everything
was dealt with very efficiently. I really don't recommend Namibia over

East
Africa for wildlife viewing (it has its own, different, attractions) but I
notice that they have expensive-ish brochure safaris (private), but offer
tailor-mades in East Africa too.
http://www.rainbowtours.co.uk

BTW, if you have the budget, you'd love the smaller camps and homestays!

Slainte mhath

Liz
--
Virtual Liz at http://www.v-liz.co.uk
Kenya; Tanzania; India; Seychelles; Namibia
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"



  #6  
Old February 11th, 2004, 08:45 PM
Liz
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

In message
"BAC" wrote:

Just want to say that I've really enjoyed the wisdom that Liz and others
have passed on. I have heard good things about Good Earth Tours...usually
for a friend of a friend sort of thing...so I have no personal knowledge.
One of the best pieces of advice that I've gotten and read is to not spend
all your time traveling....travel less and see more critters.

I wan't making any comment against Good Earth Tours, of course (but you know
that, I hope!) Not being american, I've never heard of them.
Any idea who they work with in Tanzania?

Just commenting that you could get a better itinerary for the same money
than the one you'd suggested.

Maybe Good Earth can do tailor-mades?
For four, it could be worth their while, *if* they work with a flexible
ground agent.

Liz


--
Virtual Liz at http://www.v-liz.co.uk
Kenya; Tanzania; India; Seychelles; Namibia
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
  #7  
Old February 22nd, 2004, 04:35 PM
BAC
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

Well I'm off to tanza nia today....Asante sana ...for all the posts


"Liz" wrote in message
...
In message
"BAC" wrote:

Just want to say that I've really enjoyed the wisdom that Liz and others
have passed on. I have heard good things about Good Earth

Tours...usually
for a friend of a friend sort of thing...so I have no personal

knowledge.
One of the best pieces of advice that I've gotten and read is to not

spend
all your time traveling....travel less and see more critters.

I wan't making any comment against Good Earth Tours, of course (but you

know
that, I hope!) Not being american, I've never heard of them.
Any idea who they work with in Tanzania?

Just commenting that you could get a better itinerary for the same money
than the one you'd suggested.

Maybe Good Earth can do tailor-mades?
For four, it could be worth their while, *if* they work with a flexible
ground agent.

Liz


--
Virtual Liz at http://www.v-liz.co.uk
Kenya; Tanzania; India; Seychelles; Namibia
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"



  #8  
Old February 22nd, 2004, 06:46 PM
Liz
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default African Safari - Good Earth Tours (Austin Texas)

In message
"BAC" wrote:

Well I'm off to tanza nia today....Asante sana ...for all the posts

Oh well, it's probably too late to wish you a great trip.
Please post back and tell us how you got on, what was good/not so good etc.

Liz
(frantically hoping that the drop in the dollar compared to the will mean
that safaris are cheaper for us, so that D. can come too. I'm still having
no luck finding even a reasonable compromise for me alone. And Somak, who
ignored two of my emails re their alleged photo safari last year, have
ignored the email I sent a couple of weeks back too, re this year's alleged
photo safaris. Strange: they *seem* to be a reliable company...)

--
Virtual Liz at http://www.v-liz.co.uk
Kenya; Tanzania; India; Seychelles; Namibia
"I speak of Africa and golden joys"
Coming soon: Duncan's Drawing on Africa site.
 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A East African coastal safari ABOVE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE.... riot5 Africa 1 October 18th, 2003 05:19 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2018 TravelBanter.
The comments are property of their posters.