Hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists visit Kenya every year for, what they hope, a great safari experience in one of the magical sounding places like Masai Mara or Amboseli National Park. When they got off the plane, they were approached by hundreds of street touts who wanted to sell them a safari tour of the area. In Nairobi and Mombasa, there are hundreds of safari rescue operators. But they are not all good.
While there are reputable companies aiming to provide you with a valuable tourist safari in Kenya, many companies offer poor service while others are openly thieves. Complaints from ignoring client requirements and terrible food disappear at night with your money and sexual encounters with staff members.
There is always a lot of money involved. For a safari camping expedition (meaning you stay in a tent in an open camp area instead of a luxury tent or cottage) the minimum cost is around $ 70 up to $ 70. $ 80 per person per night – meaning at least $ 560 for a couple maintaining a 5-day safari (which I recommend the minimum height to get the ultimate bush experience). This is a lot of money for most Kenyans.
Bad Budget Companies
Most of the complaints are about budget companies in Nairobi and Mombasa. The ever-increasing cost of park access (as set by the Kenyan government) and high gas prices limit their ability to cut costs. Instead they try to cut down on costs by not maintaining their vehicles (thus losing days waiting for a pickup truck) or by illegally entering the parks, which could cause you problems.
Some budget companies do not have their own equipment, but wait until they have enough bookings and then quickly try to hire some gear. But who says you can recover your money if they don’t succeed? Not to mention, some companies also do not organize safaris on their own, but only work as a class of brokers who work on commissions for actual tour organizers. Usually, it’s hard to tell them. Even if this type of agreement is not bad in principle, it can leave you uncertain as to who is responsible for not obeying it.
Unfortunately, even among the very best tour operators, the quality is not constant. It is possible for good operators to do bad things, just as it is possible for bad companies to shine sometimes. But good companies will definitely take you on a safari trip to Kenya, and will try to pay you back if something goes wrong.
Fix Extension Arrangements
Except for the organizers of touring the market with a solid track record, it is best not to book a tourist safari in Kenya. Although most tourist operators allow bookings on the internet and telephone, it is best to do so in the area. Visit offices, talk to staff and see what different people they are, and compare deals. Besides, booking your safari outside your hotel and / or flight gives you more options and convenience.
Ask them to state the details of your plan ahead. Be polite and friendly, but make it clear that you will not get anyone. And don’t pay your money first. Keep at least one part payment after the service is provided.
So Can You Name Us?
Many travelers have asked us to call names: who are good and bad companies? That is why we have collected a special report on which Kenyan safari tour operators are doing well. After due consideration we do not include a ‘black list’ of bad companies, as this is not a problem. Instead, we are focused on companies that regularly get good travel reviews (which are submitted on our website and in many other online travel forums). This report is available for free to our e-zine subscribers.