Game Warden

Private or group safari - your preference.

   69 members have voted

  1. 1. Please choose from the below options:

    • Private
      60
    • Group
      4
    • Not bothered
      5

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104 posts in this topic

@@Tom Kellie

 

Thanks Tom. The country and the industry needs to build on this and Kenya needs to know that travellers expect the very highest standard of services when it comes to handling visitors and there is a lot of room for improvement.

 

@@Soukous

 

I agree with both you all the others about children on safari. I have had lots of experience with families travelling with children on safaris, and I love just how happy and excited they all are when they see the wildlife. One girl in particular from Poland, about 8 years old, was exceptional with her knowledge of birds. I agree that equiping them with a camera would be a great way to see through their photos how their viewed the whole experience. I will try to suggest it to my clients in the future. Great idea.

 

~ @@Ndaro Teddy

 

I'm possibly an atypical visitor to Kenya. My feelings may be unrepresentative of other visitors, who may be more discerning.

For me, I don't expect ‘the very highest standard of services’.

Actually, ‘fair treatment’ and ‘basic cleanliness’ are more than adequate for me.

I've felt that way throughout my life.

Living a low maintenance lifestyle has lessened anxiety, freeing me up to enjoy life more.

I'm neither a marquess or an earl, not a high official or a master of the universe, thus feel no sense of entitlement beyond hoping for reasonably ‘fair treatment’ and ‘basic cleanliness’.

Anything beyond that is a frill.

The Safaritalk post which come to mind every time was by @@Bugs, showing basic under-the-stars accommodation.

Others may understandably feel very differently, with sounder views than mine.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

Great observation Tom. The standard should cut across the board, whether it is luxury or budget. The fair treatment and cleanliness like you said, is a standard that should be maintained and provided to each and every visitor. The rest like you said are frills and upto individuals if they require them or not.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

Great observation Tom. The standard should cut across the board, whether it is luxury or budget. The fair treatment and cleanliness like you said, is a standard that should be maintained and provided to each and every visitor. The rest like you said are frills and upto individuals if they require them or not.

 

~ @@Ndaro Teddy

 

I'd like to re-emphasize that what suits me may not at all suit others.

One of the joys of Safaritalk is inclusiveness, such that different styles, different tastes, different preferences are all accommodated.

There may be a moderately spartan, stoic quality to my life, while others have worked hard to enjoy a more discerning lifestyle.

Thus what works for yours truly wouldn't be an acceptable standard for Kenya's tourism and safari industry.

After reading hundreds of archived Safaritalk posts about safari styles, I've come to respect the wide diversity of arrangements.

For example, a respected member like @@graceland has had safaris of all styles, reporting in her posts how she enjoyed every type of arrangement.

Let's hope that Kenya continues to emphasize sincerity, kindness and value in all of its tourist offerings, including safaris.

BTW: It's a pleasure to read regular postings from a Mombasa tour operator.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

For sure Tom. I am happy to try and put my two cents whenever possible.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

For sure Tom. I am happy to try and put my two cents whenever possible.

 

~ @@Ndaro Teddy

 

I hope that you won't mind if I gently suggest that it would be most welcome if someday you share a photo or two from your Mombasa safaris.

Most Safaritalk members have a strong appreciation of images, thus a well-chosen photograph intensifies the value of a post.

No hurry about it...and only if convenient.

I'm certain that if you ever posted photos you took in Shimba Hills, it would receive much appreciative attention.

Your participation in Safaritalk adds a Mombasa perspective, which I enjoy reading.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

For sute Tom. I will dig into my photo files and find what I have of Shimba Hills and post them. I am not sure where, so maybe just as a continuation to this thread? Cheers.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

These were taken in Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kwale, Kenya. I hope its a good start to my photo postings! post-49520-0-92000200-1433172251_thumb.jpgpost-49520-0-15974700-1433172296_thumb.jpgpost-49520-0-21371200-1433172303_thumb.jpgpost-49520-0-55687700-1433172317_thumb.jpgpost-49520-0-12755600-1433172376_thumb.jpg

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@@Tom Kellie

 

These were taken in Shimba Hills National Reserve, Kwale, Kenya. I hope its a good start to my photo postings!

 

~ @@Ndaro Teddy

 

BEAUTIFUL !!!!!!!!!

Those are the sort of species which I'd love to see.

Thank you so much!

Seeing your images raises my interest in visiting Shimba Hills.

Somehow nice photos of a location works wonders in terms of increasing its attractiveness to potential visitors.

Many Thanks.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

My pleasure Sir. I am glad you have enjoyed the pictures.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

My pleasure Sir. I am glad you have enjoyed the pictures.

 

~ @@Ndaro Teddy

 

In part due to your fine Shimba Hills wildlife photos, I'm continuing to consider the possibility of a 2016 visit there.

Until you explained more, I'd mistakenly thought that Shimba Hills might have security issues.

I'd also not realized how attractive the wildlife there was.

Again, I owe you thanks for the Shimba Hills images. Someday I'd enjoy posting a few Shimba Hills images of my own!

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie

 

I would like to hear your account of your visit to Shimba regarding the wildlife and the park itself.

 

I have been to Arabuko Sokoke Forest just outside Watamu on the coast, and I did not see much. I managed to catch a glimpse of a Golden-backed Elephant Shrew, an African Harrier Hawk, a Black Kite, Woolly-necked storks, Sacred Ibis and the highlight of this trip was to see the very rare and endangered Sokoke Scope's Owl.

 

post-49520-0-79237900-1440170877_thumb.jpg

 

Did you already do your Kenyan safari? How was it?

 

Take Care Tom.

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As I tell anyone that has even the slightest spark of interest in going to Africa, "save your pennies, horde your time, plan and scheme... do whatever you have to do and GO!" Whether private, group, budget, luxury, short, or long I can't imagine anyone's first safari not being utterly exciting and for most their trip of a lifetime. Seeing animals in THEIR world can make up for so many annoyances. We've been on only 1 safari but saw bright eyes everywhere; whether in a big tour bus full of students, a Land Cruiser full of people of all ages, or a Land Rover with just driver and guest... No doubt each provided its share of annoyances but the looks on faces said it didn't matter. So, if deciding between cost of private vs group means the difference between going and not... Then go with the group!

 

For us we tend to be independent and reserved. We like to start early, stay late, sit for hours waiting and observing... For us, a private vehicle made sense and I can't imagine that changing except if we were to go with like minded family or friends. Even then, how does the saying go; "Too many cooks in the kitchen..." For us, spending on the private vehicle and driver while shaving pennies on lodging and other non-bush activities is the best use of funds.

 

Our first safari included 7 of 12 nights in tented camps where we were the only guests. A bit disconcerting at first but then we found we quite enjoyed the experience getting to know the camp staff. That, combined with all meals with our driver guide, made for an exceptional experience. That said, we are looking forward to our next safari (26 days 'til departure) which will include a combination of 6 nights with just us, our guide, porters, and ranger but then the other 16 nights will be in camps sure to be full and all with communal dining. We figure this will be a good opportunity for us to see if we have the necessary social skills to not offend and at the same time enjoy meeting and talking with others:-)

 

Looking forward to hearing other's perspectives on tour groups, private, and off the beaten path preferences. I think this sort of insight will be very helpful to all but especially those planning their first safari.

 

Cheers,

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~ 8 out of 9 Kenya safaris had been private safaris, therefore sharing the vehicle with other guests in Sabi Sands was a different experience.



The first day there I was alone in the vehicle while the subsequent guests a party of three shared the vehicle.



As to the sightings and photography, there wasn't much change. However, after a couple of days the others made clear their ho-hum, ‘meh’ feelings about almost everything aside from the strikingly novel.



There was incessant chatter, even during photography stops, but it had no effect on the experience, as it was possible to tune it out.



After returning home and thinking about it, I find that there's no strong feeling one way or another about private or group safaris.



As with so much of life, it's a process of acceptance and adjustment. They surely felt likewise about my frequent requests for stops to photograph birds in shadow, half-seen duikers, and phantom predators which turned out to be dried snags.



Being in the presence of strangers when walking in a national park hasn't ever detracted from the experience. Likewise others in a safari vehicle don't downgrade the wonder of being out in nature.



My standards may be low. After working and living where I do, it's more than enough to be in clean air under blue skies with plant and animal diversity all around.



Tom K.


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I prefer private safari, that being private vehicle. I actually like sharing a small camp with others and getting to know people. That being said, if you choose your camp carefully, often sharing a vehicle is not a bad experience, or you will have a private vehicle without paying for it because everyone else has paid for a private vehicle. If you book with a camp that truly specializes in photographers, such as the Kicheche group in Kenya, most people are like minded or have already booked private vehicles.

My first safari was with a private group, but I was the only photographer. I would have been better off several of the days with strangers with an interest in photography. EXCEPT the day in Masai Mara when the other four decided they would rather stay by the pool the entire day and I had the vehicle and guide to myself. Thanks guys! You paid for it! That was the best New Year's Eve ever. We spent 2 hours sitting in the middle of a herd of elephants that the other drivers said you couldn't get to because that one road was too muddy. That Land Cruiser was so worth it that day. With that vehicle and a skilled driver we had the herd to ourselves, and since we weren't crowding them they were totally at peace with us there. Magical! And no one concerned if we were going to get back in time for the special New Year's Eve dinner. I had already had my celebration.

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As a tour operator and safari leader I have had great safaris with a group, but they can also be not so nice and really straining for me (o:

A small group of 4 is not bad at all, and if you pair people together in the right way usually no problem at all. It is important for the tour operator or lodge/camp to really know how people behave and pair accordingly. Bigger then 4 is not as nice.
I have had people over the age 60+ and they are usually a pleasure to guide even in bigger groups.

Young backpackers in big groups can be a nightmare, in smaller groups I can handle them and slow them down to enjoy the nature but bigger groups, phu

That my view as a safari leader.

 

My self I like to go only with one driver and me. A good driver that is not scared of animals and can read them is important. So private safari is my thing and I wish I had more time for that, I live in Tanzania but are out in the bush far to seldom by my self.

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Posted (edited)

Wow I had no idea that there were so many private safaris happening and people spending the money to do them...according to the results ST only does private safaris.

Edited by SSF556

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Wow I had no idea that there were so many private safaris happening and people spending the money to do them...according to the results ST only does private safaris.

 

Don't forget the question is "your preference" that doesn't mean we can all afford private.

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Posted (edited)

Wow I had no idea that there were so many private safaris happening and people spending the money to do them...according to the results ST only does private safaris.

The only way I know for private safaris to happen is to spend the money to do them. So far no one has offered to sponsor me. But I'd be entirely open to that arrangement. Entirely!

 

In East Africa (and I have also found in Namibia in certain circumstances) a private safari for just one (me) can be affordable. In fact my private safaris cost less than many group trips (with 6) when I compare. The groups might stay in slightly nicer accommodations, but not by much. I think they also get a tote bag and maybe some luggage tags, which I must forego. But the important part--the wildlife viewing--is in the same area.

 

In honor of the group safari, I must commend this forum for providing some wonderful travel mates. I look forward to future group trips with various members.

 

For the record, I checked "not bothered." Private or group--just get me out there!

 

 

Wow I had no idea that there were so many private safaris happening and people spending the money to do them...according to the results ST only does private safaris.

 

Don't forget the question is "your preference" that doesn't mean we can all afford private. Not only would my preference be private safari, but my preference would be a private jet for the international flight to Africa, even though that will not occur. I'd also like to host a private safaritalk camp just for members, kind of a group option. I didn't see any boxes to check for THOSE preferences, though.

 

Edited by Atravelynn

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ST only does private safaris.

 

Do you mean Safaritalk members? Don't forget Safaritalk doesn't sell safaris and isn't a safari operator.

 

I'd also like to host a private safaritalk camp just for members

 

Wouldn't Safaritalk having its own camp, just for members, be something great? I'm off to put a line on the lottery...

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ST only does private safaris.

 

Do you mean Safaritalk members? Don't forget Safaritalk doesn't sell safaris and isn't a safari operator.

 

I'd also like to host a private safaritalk camp just for members

 

Wouldn't Safaritalk having its own camp, just for members, be something great? I'm off to put a line on the lottery...

 

You win the European lottery and I'll win a US lottery, then we'll pool our winnings, refer to the post on "If you could run your own safari camp" and send out invitations.

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@@Game Warden me to, maybe a big win could buy a "pop-up" safaritalk camp at Mucheni 4 for a season. I'd be happy to carry the drinks tray and bump my head on that fallen tree every single day :-)

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@@ld1 I like that idea. I won 3 euros so I can buy a Safaritalk tent peg...

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@@Game Warden Not a sausage on lotto this week I'm afraid. No pockets in coffins though so I'll keep the faith and hope for a big win next week!

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I have never gone on safari in a group I've always taken them solo.I am meeting Kitsafari later this year because, we are going to Gonarhezhou together and will be using Ant Kaschula as our guide.I have never found it a problem going on safari solo before because, I have met so many interesting and kind people. I especially, appreciate the company of other people who have taken many safaris before. Often in many camps, I have found myself the sole occupant of the vehicle; I don't believe in paying to be the only occupant of the vehicle it simply seems extravagant to me. Some upmarket lodges such as Pamushana which I'm visiting later this year and Tswalu Kalahari that I will visit next year,provide you with your own vehicle,guide and even spotter as part of the package.

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