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Abercrombie & Kent Question

Abercrombie & Kent Question

Old Oct 12th 2004, 10:21 am
  #1  
Odysseus
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Abercrombie & Kent Question

I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck. Yes, I know that I can do it
on my own for less money but want the convenience of an upscale
tour.

How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? The reason I
ask is because there are not very many pole booked on their tours.
So far, there is nobody booked on the April departure that I am
interested in According to my travel agent, the earliest date for
which they can guarantee they will have the tour is in June. By
contrast, the Tauck tours next spring are almost all fully booked.
At present, I have a courtesy hold on the Tauck April departure.

If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
about the tour company.
 
Old Oct 12th 2004, 8:33 pm
  #2  
Rita Daggett
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

    > I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    > either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck.
    > ...
    > How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? ...
    > If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    > Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    > about the tour company.
Cant answer your question directly, but have used A&K for a 'tailor-made' to
Zimbabwe and I think a couple to Botswana as well and the arrangements went
very smoothly. (sometimes 'tailor-made' isnt much more expensive than
'escorted tour'?) I've seen their tour buses in Kenya and they are in good
condition; they use the best lodges.
Tauck isnt readily available from UK (except for their tours in America) so
I cant compare. A&K are highly thought of, at the upper end.

--
Rita Daggett
 
Old Oct 13th 2004, 9:35 am
  #3  
Cyril
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

Have a look at a 'Somak' brochure or contact a travel agent. We used Somak
in Kenya and were booked into some of the best safari lodges. The only
downside was the fact that we travelled many hundreds of miles in a mini bus
rather than flying into the reserves. But they do 'tailor-made' as well.


"Rita Daggett" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > > I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    > > either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck.
    > > ...
    > > How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? ...
    > >
    > > If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    > > Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    > > about the tour company.
    > >
    > Cant answer your question directly, but have used A&K for a 'tailor-made'
to
    > Zimbabwe and I think a couple to Botswana as well and the arrangements
went
    > very smoothly. (sometimes 'tailor-made' isnt much more expensive than
    > 'escorted tour'?) I've seen their tour buses in Kenya and they are in good
    > condition; they use the best lodges.
    > Tauck isnt readily available from UK (except for their tours in America)
so
    > I cant compare. A&K are highly thought of, at the upper end.
    > --
    > Rita Daggett
 
Old Oct 13th 2004, 4:09 pm
  #4  
ClimbHighSleepLow
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

As a partner in a safari company, I don't want to comment on A&K
specifically. I will add some general comments about safari style -
based on what we see every week in East Africa and in Southern Africa
where I was born.

Lodge companies are expanding their operations to become full-service,
meaning they are able to arrange much more than just lodging -
actually competing with tour operators! Best known examples are CC
Africa and Sanctuary Lodges but there are many others and this is a
trend that is growing. Nowadays there are even some excellent lodges
that generally won't take your bookings unless they arrange your whole
safari!

This creates interesting scenarios. It means the so-called "top" tour
operators may no longer offer the top experiences because some of the
best lodges/camps may be off-limits to them - or at least for their
general tours. In South Africa for example, each season sees new and
improved lodges/camps offer more exotic experiences in more exotic
places! The "top" tour operators cannot afford to break older
alliances and simply don't offer these great new experiences in their
brochures! And these new places use the internet very effectively to
do their own selling/marketing and don't persue the tour operators
like they used to! Think commissions!

On the other end of the spectrum, the top tour companies have started
to buy/build their own lodges and that creates new challenges. To keep
year-round occupancy rates high, they prefer to use only their own
lodges for their tours - and clients may find themselves in empty
camps in areas void of animals during off-seasons! And you never get
to stay at the wonderful new camp (from a competitor) just a few miles
away!

Comparison shopping is key. I suggest using the internet to find a few
lodges/camps/hotels that suits your budget and interests. Then ask
them to help arrange the rest of your trip! Keep things organized but
flexible. For example, on a fixed tour you are forced to take the
cable car up Table Mountain on say Friday at 9am - rain, clouds,
doesn't matter! For the amount of money it takes to go on one of these
rigid tours, one can do so much more with a little research and
planning. And most upscale lodges/camps/hotels are very able to help
you with your planning - and while they compete with each other for
your business, they are mostly very willing to work together to help
you have a wonderful visit. For example, in the Mara I stayed at three
camps in a row and each camp made sure that I was safely driven to the
next camp. I did not have to worry about transfers.

Eben
www.go-kili.com

"Cyril" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Have a look at a 'Somak' brochure or contact a travel agent. We used Somak
    > in Kenya and were booked into some of the best safari lodges. The only
    > downside was the fact that we travelled many hundreds of miles in a mini bus
    > rather than flying into the reserves. But they do 'tailor-made' as well.
    >
    >
    > "Rita Daggett" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > > I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    > > > either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck.
    > > > ...
    > > > How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? ...
    > > >
    > > > If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    > > > Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    > > > about the tour company.
    > > >
    > > Cant answer your question directly, but have used A&K for a 'tailor-made'
    > to
    > > Zimbabwe and I think a couple to Botswana as well and the arrangements
    > went
    > > very smoothly. (sometimes 'tailor-made' isnt much more expensive than
    > > 'escorted tour'?) I've seen their tour buses in Kenya and they are in good
    > > condition; they use the best lodges.
    > > Tauck isnt readily available from UK (except for their tours in America)
    > so
    > > I cant compare. A&K are highly thought of, at the upper end.
    > >
    > > --
    > > Rita Daggett
    > >
    > >
 
Old Oct 14th 2004, 1:35 pm
  #5  
Odysseus
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

Thank you for your suggestions.

I would love to be able to do what you said and travel on my own.
However, as an aging solo travel with some medical problems, cost and
safety considerations make as escorted trip a better choice for me.

I know that many people do travel to Africa on their own, but I'd rather
not do so.

    >As a partner in a safari company, I don't want to comment on A&K
    >specifically. I will add some general comments about safari style -
    >based on what we see every week in East Africa and in Southern Africa
    >where I was born.
    >Lodge companies are expanding their operations to become full-service,
    >meaning they are able to arrange much more than just lodging -
    >actually competing with tour operators! Best known examples are CC
    >Africa and Sanctuary Lodges but there are many others and this is a
    >trend that is growing. Nowadays there are even some excellent lodges
    >that generally won't take your bookings unless they arrange your whole
    >safari!
    >This creates interesting scenarios. It means the so-called "top" tour
    >operators may no longer offer the top experiences because some of the
    >best lodges/camps may be off-limits to them - or at least for their
    >general tours. In South Africa for example, each season sees new and
    >improved lodges/camps offer more exotic experiences in more exotic
    >places! The "top" tour operators cannot afford to break older
    >alliances and simply don't offer these great new experiences in their
    >brochures! And these new places use the internet very effectively to
    >do their own selling/marketing and don't persue the tour operators
    >like they used to! Think commissions!
    >On the other end of the spectrum, the top tour companies have started
    >to buy/build their own lodges and that creates new challenges. To keep
    >year-round occupancy rates high, they prefer to use only their own
    >lodges for their tours - and clients may find themselves in empty
    >camps in areas void of animals during off-seasons! And you never get
    >to stay at the wonderful new camp (from a competitor) just a few miles
    >away!
    >Comparison shopping is key. I suggest using the internet to find a few
    >lodges/camps/hotels that suits your budget and interests. Then ask
    >them to help arrange the rest of your trip! Keep things organized but
    >flexible. For example, on a fixed tour you are forced to take the
    >cable car up Table Mountain on say Friday at 9am - rain, clouds,
    >doesn't matter! For the amount of money it takes to go on one of these
    >rigid tours, one can do so much more with a little research and
    >planning. And most upscale lodges/camps/hotels are very able to help
    >you with your planning - and while they compete with each other for
    >your business, they are mostly very willing to work together to help
    >you have a wonderful visit. For example, in the Mara I stayed at three
    >camps in a row and each camp made sure that I was safely driven to the
    >next camp. I did not have to worry about transfers.
    >Eben
    >www.go-kili.com
    >"Cyril" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> Have a look at a 'Somak' brochure or contact a travel agent. We used Somak
    >> in Kenya and were booked into some of the best safari lodges. The only
    >> downside was the fact that we travelled many hundreds of miles in a mini
    >> bus
    >> rather than flying into the reserves. But they do 'tailor-made' as well.
    >>
    >>
    >> "Rita Daggett" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> news:[email protected]...
    >> > > I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    >> > > either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck.
    >> > > ...
    >> > > How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? ...
    >> > >
    >> > > If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    >> > > Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    >> > > about the tour company.
    >> > >
    >> > Cant answer your question directly, but have used A&K for a 'tailor-made'
    >> to
    >> > Zimbabwe and I think a couple to Botswana as well and the arrangements
    >> went
    >> > very smoothly. (sometimes 'tailor-made' isnt much more expensive than
    >> > 'escorted tour'?) I've seen their tour buses in Kenya and they are in
    >> > good
    >> > condition; they use the best lodges.
    >> > Tauck isnt readily available from UK (except for their tours in America)
    >> so
    >> > I cant compare. A&K are highly thought of, at the upper end.
    >> >
    >> > --
    >> > Rita Daggett
    >> >
    >> >
 
Old Oct 14th 2004, 8:59 pm
  #6  
Pat Anderson
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

In message <CNYad.248474$3l3.75181@attbi_s03>, Odysseus <[email protected]> writes
    >I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    >either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck. Yes, I know that I can do it
    >on my own for less money but want the convenience of an upscale
    >tour.
    >How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? The reason I
    >ask is because there are not very many pole booked on their tours.
    >So far, there is nobody booked on the April departure that I am
    >interested in According to my travel agent, the earliest date for
    >which they can guarantee they will have the tour is in June. By
    >contrast, the Tauck tours next spring are almost all fully booked.
    >At present, I have a courtesy hold on the Tauck April departure.
    >If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    >Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    >about the tour company.
A& K are a good company but in some instances they use the same hotels
as other companies and are considered to be expensive. If you can afford
to use them you will find they will look after you.
Pat
--
Pat Anderson
 
Old Oct 15th 2004, 1:10 am
  #7  
Mike Bonner
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

I am traveling with them soon. Since me an e-mail in December and I will
sent you a review of my trip.


"Pat Anderson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > In message <CNYad.248474$3l3.75181@attbi_s03>, Odysseus <[email protected]> writes
    > >I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    > >either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck. Yes, I know that I can do it
    > >on my own for less money but want the convenience of an upscale
    > >tour.
    > >
    > >How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? The reason I
    > >ask is because there are not very many pole booked on their tours.
    > >So far, there is nobody booked on the April departure that I am
    > >interested in According to my travel agent, the earliest date for
    > >which they can guarantee they will have the tour is in June. By
    > >contrast, the Tauck tours next spring are almost all fully booked.
    > >At present, I have a courtesy hold on the Tauck April departure.
    > >
    > >If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    > >Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    > >about the tour company.
    > >
    > A& K are a good company but in some instances they use the same hotels
    > as other companies and are considered to be expensive. If you can afford
    > to use them you will find they will look after you.
    > Pat
    > --
    > Pat Anderson
 
Old Oct 15th 2004, 10:36 am
  #8  
ClimbHighSleepLow
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

Sure, your point is well-taken.
I don't like to travel in large groups of up to 32 people so I avoid
this kind of costly tourism but even my own family goes nuts with
excitement when they see the wonderful A&K and Tauck brochures so I
fully understand the attraction!

Tauck has really made a name for itself with their all-inclusive tours
- e.g. eat as much as you like, and their high marks in Travel &
Leisure's "World's Best" awards where they consistently outscores A&K.

There is little to choose between their South Africa tours. The reason
why the Tauck tour seems more popular is probably:

1. Luck, or
2. Tauck is using better known places on their tours (Table Bay hotel
& Sabi Sabi vs. Victoria & Alfred hotel and Thornybush). Table Bay and
Sabi Sabi are both highly regarded in T&L awards and most tourists
know these names.

There is little to choose between them. Both will treat you very well
and in the end you will have a great time anyway. If it was me, I
would go with the smaller group size - I just cannot imagine arriving
at Sabi Sabi with 32 others... ;))

Eben
www.go-kili.com

Odysseus <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<QPFbd.471980$8_6.275420@attbi_s04>...
    > Thank you for your suggestions.
    >
    > I would love to be able to do what you said and travel on my own.
    > However, as an aging solo travel with some medical problems, cost and
    > safety considerations make as escorted trip a better choice for me.
    >
    > I know that many people do travel to Africa on their own, but I'd rather
    > not do so.
    >
    > >
    > >As a partner in a safari company, I don't want to comment on A&K
    > >specifically. I will add some general comments about safari style -
    > >based on what we see every week in East Africa and in Southern Africa
    > >where I was born.
    > >
    > >Lodge companies are expanding their operations to become full-service,
    > >meaning they are able to arrange much more than just lodging -
    > >actually competing with tour operators! Best known examples are CC
    > >Africa and Sanctuary Lodges but there are many others and this is a
    > >trend that is growing. Nowadays there are even some excellent lodges
    > >that generally won't take your bookings unless they arrange your whole
    > >safari!
    > >
    > >This creates interesting scenarios. It means the so-called "top" tour
    > >operators may no longer offer the top experiences because some of the
    > >best lodges/camps may be off-limits to them - or at least for their
    > >general tours. In South Africa for example, each season sees new and
    > >improved lodges/camps offer more exotic experiences in more exotic
    > >places! The "top" tour operators cannot afford to break older
    > >alliances and simply don't offer these great new experiences in their
    > >brochures! And these new places use the internet very effectively to
    > >do their own selling/marketing and don't persue the tour operators
    > >like they used to! Think commissions!
    > >
    > >On the other end of the spectrum, the top tour companies have started
    > >to buy/build their own lodges and that creates new challenges. To keep
    > >year-round occupancy rates high, they prefer to use only their own
    > >lodges for their tours - and clients may find themselves in empty
    > >camps in areas void of animals during off-seasons! And you never get
    > >to stay at the wonderful new camp (from a competitor) just a few miles
    > >away!
    > >
    > >Comparison shopping is key. I suggest using the internet to find a few
    > >lodges/camps/hotels that suits your budget and interests. Then ask
    > >them to help arrange the rest of your trip! Keep things organized but
    > >flexible. For example, on a fixed tour you are forced to take the
    > >cable car up Table Mountain on say Friday at 9am - rain, clouds,
    > >doesn't matter! For the amount of money it takes to go on one of these
    > >rigid tours, one can do so much more with a little research and
    > >planning. And most upscale lodges/camps/hotels are very able to help
    > >you with your planning - and while they compete with each other for
    > >your business, they are mostly very willing to work together to help
    > >you have a wonderful visit. For example, in the Mara I stayed at three
    > >camps in a row and each camp made sure that I was safely driven to the
    > >next camp. I did not have to worry about transfers.
    > >
    > >Eben
    > >www.go-kili.com
    > >
    > >"Cyril" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >news:<[email protected]>...
    > >> Have a look at a 'Somak' brochure or contact a travel agent. We used Somak
    > >> in Kenya and were booked into some of the best safari lodges. The only
    > >> downside was the fact that we travelled many hundreds of miles in a mini
    > >> bus
    > >> rather than flying into the reserves. But they do 'tailor-made' as well.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >> "Rita Daggett" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >> news:[email protected]...
    > >> > > I am planning a trip to South Africa and I am considering using
    > >> > > either Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck.
    > >> > > ...
    > >> > > How good is Abercrombie & Kent for South Africa? ...
    > >> > >
    > >> > > If people are not booking the Abercrombie & Kent Highlights of
    > >> > > Southern Africa tour, that may say something about the tour or
    > >> > > about the tour company.
    > >> > >
    > >> > Cant answer your question directly, but have used A&K for a 'tailor-made'
    > to
    > >> > Zimbabwe and I think a couple to Botswana as well and the arrangements
    > went
    > >> > very smoothly. (sometimes 'tailor-made' isnt much more expensive than
    > >> > 'escorted tour'?) I've seen their tour buses in Kenya and they are in
    > >> > good
    > >> > condition; they use the best lodges.
    > >> > Tauck isnt readily available from UK (except for their tours in America)
    > so
    > >> > I cant compare. A&K are highly thought of, at the upper end.
    > >> >
    > >> > --
    > >> > Rita Daggett
    > >> >
    > >> >
 
Old Oct 15th 2004, 5:32 pm
  #9  
Odysseus
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Abercrombie & Kent Question

I decided to book my trip with Tauck. My travel agent thinks that I will
be happier with Tauck than A&K. I have used her for years and she knows
my likes and dislikes well. Her advice has been very good in the past.

Thanks to everybody for their help. I will probably be asking for more
advice as the trip gets closer. It will be April 2005.
 

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