How to Choose a Tour Operator in Tanzania
Choosing the right tour operator for your safari in Tanzania or any other country will be one of the most important decisions you make before going on your trip. Book with a legitimate business and they will take you on an epic trip of a lifetime. Book with a fly-by-night operator and your adventure may end at the airport when you’re waiting in vain for your transfer driver.
There are two options booking your safari or trekking tour in Tanzania: you can book directly with a tour operator on the ground, such as Tanzania-Experience. Or you can book with a travel agent in your neighborhood who acts as a third party middle man and will book your safari with the tour operator on the ground on your behalf. There are advantages for both options. Today we share some points on what to look out for when booking directly with a tour operator on the ground.
Chances are, you have not yet arrived in the destination country, but will be looking for a tour operator online, instead of knocking on their office door. Sitting on your comfy couch, the operator’s website is your first touch point and you will quickly realise: there’s hundreds of them. What to do? Look out for the following details:
- #1. Is the website being updated regularly: are rates and dates of tours up to date, a blog published on a regular basis? It’s a good sign, if you can answer: the operator invests time and effort in the upkeep of their website, which equals their virtual office space.
- #2. Are contact details provided and what happens when I make use of them? It’s a good sign, if you can answer: email addresses with the operators’ domain name are being used and if I make a call to the number provided a staff member picks up whose profile I can view on the Meet the Team page.
- #3. Does the website feature a “Meet the Team page”? It’s a good sign, if you can answer: the page shows names and faces of directors, consultants and guides and let me understand the company structure.
- #4. Are stunning, but common stock images used on the website or unique and original photos and videos? It’s a good sign, if you can answer: the operator has enough funds to commission their own media collateral and is indeed on the ground to create them.
- #5. Does the website feature photos of the tour operator’s logo on the ground? It’s a good sign, if you can answer: there are photos of the logo on dusty vehicle wheel-covers and safari guide uniforms in the national parks, which means the logo and company do operate on the ground.
- #6. Does the website have a guestbook? While an internally managed review platform may not be as objective as a third-party platform, it’s a good sign, if you can answer: there are continuous and recent guestbook entries which also show photos of guests and guides in their branded safari uniform.
The travel consultants
Once you decided the tour operator’s website is indeed the virtual office of a legitimate business, contact them. Communicating with the travel consultants will very quickly reveal whether they have been trained in their profession, have the needed experience and can offer reliable advice.
Ask for information and pictures of the vehicles and equipment being used, the guides who will lead the tour and even their own experience of travelling the country.
Even better than emailing: just give them a ring. Speaking to someone, even if it’s only on the phone, can reassure your trust in them.
If you’re still not sure: contact one of the accommodations on your proposed itinerary. Do they know the operator and have done business with them before?
Reviews on independent thrid-party platforms, such as TripAdvisor are gaining more and more importance. They are a great way to get first-hand information from an objective judge – a former guest. While these platforms are highly regulated to prevent fraud, there is still ample opportunity for operators to submit fake reviews.
Therefore, always remember: it’s quality over quantity. Not necessarily the number of reviews, but the experience described will give a trustworthy account of travelling with said tour operator. Always check, if the company responds to reviews, positive but more so negative ones.
Negative reviews will tell you even more about the operator than positive ones: what was the problem? How did the tour operator respond to the review, if at all? What is being done to prevent this problem from happening again?
Lastly, have a look at the tour operators Facebook page. Is it being updated regularly? Do former guests comment on their experience?
More Arusha Trip Ideas
Planning your Arusha trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Arusha such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Arusha visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Arusha, you’ll find everything you need for your Arusha holiday on Our Website. Arusha City Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Arusha – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip to Arusha.
Discover the best day trips from Arusha or try one of the best Arusha tours. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Arusha with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Arusha holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Arusha or planning a longer holiday in Tanzania, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need.
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