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Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

New York
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Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

Has anyone used or know of "Big Five Tours and Expeditions" for safaris in Kenya or Tanzania? They are listed as one of the top 5 safari outfitters in Travel and Leisure but I can't find any other reviews or articles on them. They seem too good to be true...they're much less expensive than Abercrombie and Kent and Mt Sobek (2 other companies we are considering) but they seem to have the same level of accommodations and they're private tours, unlike the group tours with A&K and Mt Sobek! It makes no sense. Any advice or insight would be appreciated.

Banff, Canada
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533 posts
50 reviews
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1. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

www.tatotz.org/members.htm will give you the companies recognized by tanzania. A similar site will no doubt be given to you for Kenya or you could check their forum

Next you could do a search on this forum by typing in Big Five Tours and seeing if anything pops up. Fodors has a site as well.

I am sure you will get more helpful information shortly!

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,484 posts
8 reviews
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2. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

Big Five is a travel agency out of Florida, they are not a safari outfitter based in Tanzania. As such they will most probably sub contract your safari out to a local safari outfitter. Is this OK? could be, but it could also not be, according to what you want to do.

I would suggest that you contact local (Tanzania) safari companies. You can find them on www.tatotz.org and there'll be so many that you won't know where to begin. Almost any of those listed on this tato (Tz Assocation of Touring Operators) web site will be able to put together a safari for you that will meet your expectations (if you let them know what these expectations are); and you will probably save a lot of money in the process by going directly to the safari company which will be doing the safari. All of the companies can put you into the accommodations that you want, from budget camping, to lodges, to luxury tents, to luxury lodges. Give the company sufficient time to book your accommodations since at certain times of the year lodges get all booked up rather quickly.

Game viewing changes based upon the time of the year, especially the great migration so you may want to check this out also. The animals move with the rains and to seek out new grass.

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
8,416 posts
58 reviews
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3. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

Big 5 is a tour company that is a strong and well-managed firm that has negotiated the low rates you see and are 100% reliable and professional. I know the owner and know you will get what you are promised. You might also look at Wildlfe Safari - similar prices, and in Kenya, they own their vehicles and their guides are employees of theirs. They provided me with services for 17 years and are close personal friends forever.

Lexington
5 posts
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4. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

We used Big Five in Tanzania and Kenya and they are wonderful! Much smaller groups and the best of hotels. Was such a great trip we want to go back and use Big Five.

Bagstitch

Isle of Man, United...
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37,001 posts
340 reviews
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5. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

Bagstitch,

When you say "much smaller groups" are you implying customers share with strangers? That it not a "private tour" safari in the accepted sense used by mclen.

mclen. Use tatotz. You get what you pay for.

travelpro4433
1 post
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6. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

I would recommend caution in working with this tour operator.

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
8,416 posts
58 reviews
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7. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

I have never used Big 5 myself because I had strong friendships and relationships with other companies that could supply what I needed. But - this is a long-established and reputable company, and I know of no reason for anyone to post - as the previous poster did - any sort of unspecified & undocumented 'warning'.

Explain yourself.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
262 posts
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8. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

If I wanted to plan a private safari for myself and wife, I would never use any of the US based travel companies/agents.

Use the recommended Tz based operators and you probably will get one heck of a great safari for 2/3 of the price. I know, because we did and saved a bundle and loved every minue.

Try:

Roy Safaris

Good Earth

Leopard Tours

and there are many more mentioned in this and Fodors forum.

Good luck.

9. Re: Big Five Tours and Expeditions?

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