This Tour Is Offered by Africa Safari Classics
Africa Safari Classics
- Office In:
- 10-20 employees (Founded in 2008)
- Member Of:
- ATTA, ASTA, NTA & FTA
- Tour Types:
- Custom mid-range & luxury tours that can start every day
Africa Safari Classics is a well-established and specialized provider of African Wildlife Safaris and Beach Holidays. We are a strong medium-sized Destination Management Company with solid reputation, meeting and fulfilling your safari holiday dreams with a difference. No one knows Africa better than us and our very passionate & knowledgeable Tour Consultants and Safari Guides will go extra mile to ensure that your safari holiday is full of adventure, very relaxing and creates lifetime memories.
Two Amazing and Remarkable Safari Trips to East Africa with Africa Safari Classics!
I am nearly a year late in writing this review, but VERY Happy to do so! 2020 has been a very rough year for the safari travel business in Africa, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, international flights to Kenya have recently resumed and I hope my comments and observations here can help to generate renewed interest among potential safari-goers, as the industry slowly begins to recover.
We made our first safari adventure to Kenya back in November 2016, and booked our trip through Maurice Nzwii with Africa Safari Classics. We chose one of their 9-day itineraries ("Wildlife in Style"), which took us through 5 national parks and game reserves. It was an outstanding adventure, and we came home to Oregon (USA) determined to make a return trip as soon as possible. We came across some amazing airfares to Africa in the summer of 2019 (less than $650 RT from Seattle to Nairobi), and we booked our 2nd trip with Africa Safari Classics for November of last year. Once again, Maurice came through for us in remarkable ways, and gave us the single BEST travel adventure of our lives (followed closely by our first trip to Kenya in 2016)!
In planning a second trip to East Africa, we knew that we wanted to see more and stay longer. So, we extended this trip to two full weeks, and expanded our travels into Tanzania as well as spending our final three days relaxing at two beach resorts in Watamu (just north of Mombasa). We made a point of revisiting two of the parks we particularly enjoyed on our 2016 trip (Maasai Mara and Amboseli), both of which are true gems in the Kenyan National Park and Game Reserve system! We spent four days venturing in to Tanzania to visit the Serengeti National Park as well as the Ngorngoro Crater. We also made a point of visiting a couple new parks in SE Kenya (a private wildlife sanctuary in the Taita Hills and Tsavo East NP) as we made our way to the beach region along the shores of the Indian Ocean.
I cannot state this emphatically enough, but EVERY SINGLE aspect of this itinerary for our 2nd trip with ASC met or exceeded our expectations! First, I cannot find the words to convey how pleasant and satisfying it is to work with MAURICE NZWII from ASC in arranging all of our trip details. Travel costs in Africa had increased significantly between 2016 and 2019. Initial cost estimates for our two-week itinerary (excluding airfare) were nearly $6000 per person -- approaching double what we paid in 2016. However, after just a few rounds of email communications with Maurice, he was able to generate a revised and COMPLETELY satisfying alternative travel plan that was $1500 less, much more in line with what we were hoping for. Maurice is unlike ANY other travel agent I have ever worked with, and he is truly in a class of his own! He is totally dedicated to customer satisfaction, and he consistently communicates in a very friendly and timely fashion! He joined us for dinner on our first full day in Nairobi and he even met us at the Kenyatta Int'l Airport as we transferred for our return flight to Seattle. Maurice checks in with your driver EVERY DAY of your trip, just to ensure that everything is going well. You know you are in VERY GOOD HANDS when you set up a safari adventure through Maurice Nzwii! I cannot recommend him highly enough!
Let me say more about our driver as well, Boniface (a.k.a. Boni). We spent our entire 9-day trip in 2016 with Boni as our driver, and we had such a good time with him that we requested him once again for our return trip in 2019. And we got him! Boni has been a safari guide for 20 years, and he seems to know all the parks and game reserves like the back of his hand. He has remarkable vision and is able to spot all kinds of animals and sightings that the untrained eye would likely completely miss. Like his boss, Maurice, Boni is also completely dedicated to showing safari-goer's a great time! He will give you as much time as you wish to take photos or videos, or just to linger and enjoy what you are seeing. He also has a wonderful sense of humor, and every day brought multiple rounds of hearty laughter! We were SO Happy to travel with Boni once again and feel like we have become great friends! (It is worth noting that drivers cannot cross national borders, so our time in Tanzania was with another pleasant driver, Abdul. But Boni met us at the border once again for the remainder of our trip in SE Kenya.) We have become Facebook friends with both Boni and Maurice, and we continue to communicate with both of them that way, which is loads of fun!
I know this is getting to be a lengthy review, but let me also point out that we were completely satisfied with ALL the lodging accommodations that Maurice booked for us ranging from very nice hotels, to exotic tented safari camps, as well as relaxing beach resorts. They were all very nice facilities and we really enjoyed the variety! The service was consistently outstanding, the food was very tasty and satisfying (with no stomach issues at all across the entire two weeks). When Maurice brought down our travel costs by 25% from his initial estimates, we thought that might translate to staying at less appealing facilities, but that was not the case at all. We were not disappointed in the least with ANY of the 8 places we stayed at! Again, Maurice takes very good care of you!
Some final closing thoughts here. Our two trips to East Africa have been life-changing experiences for us, and have filled our hearts and minds with a treasure trove of wonderful memories! Both trips brought us to many different regions, covering large swaths of geography, and allowing us to see an impressive diversity of locales, landscapes, and local norms. It was interesting to note some of the differences between Kenya and Tanzania, something that only comes with international travel to new lands. We took both of our trips with Africa Safari Classics in the month of November, which we have found to be a very pleasant time of the year to travel. It is almost like a spring-time vacation during the light rains season, with all kinds of new greenery emerging, new water holes for the animals to enjoy, and the opportunity to see many newborn animals as well (oh, baby warthogs are SO cute!). It is outside the peak season, so there are far fewer safari-goer's. There were much heavier rains during our 2019 trip (and for the next few months in the region, we understand), but this did not create any inconveniences for us. It only added to the adventure, as we did have to contend with some low-level flooding in some regions. But Boni handled this like a real pro!! Boni did talk with us about his perceptions of the impacts from climate change in the region. Over the past 20 years, he reports seeing fewer trees from hotter, drier summers and a gradual decline in the numbers of animals as well. Our entire planet is being impacted by these changes, and it is not clear how many more years these kinds of travel adventures will even be feasible. If a safari is something you have ever dreamed of doing, we strongly encourage you to give this idea your utmost consideration!
We want to offer our full, heartfelt support to Maurice and his company, Africa Safari Classics, as they begin to bounce back from the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the safari travel industry. So many people in developing countries depend on the business generated by international travelers for their basic livelihood. You would not only be giving yourself a huge gift (and a possible adventure of a lifetime), but you would also be doing immeasurable good for the people of Kenya and Tanzania by taking the step of traveling to that part of the world! We cannot recommend this idea, and this company, highly enough!
Overall, the trip couldn’t have been better!
Overall, the trip couldn’t have been better!
It was exciting, fun, really, we obviously had a lot of different adventures on the trips and the flooding was quite unique.
The sequence of the trip was really good! Totally good timings and the pace was nice, not too busy, not too slow.
The Safaris were excellent, and given our unique time there, we were very lucky with what was around but also just the car etc.
On the logistics, totally great and you guys did a great job with organizing our trip from Mombasa and Diani.
One thing that would good would be to have local numbers of taxis or drivers in different locations like Diani, as an extra help when you land there, even though this is slightly outside of your core trip.
Last but not least, Tony - He’s a legend! I think having him as a driver made the trip and helped us have such an excellent experience with you guys. He’s an excellent driver, cautious and flexible. Took great care of us and frankly, I couldn’t have been happier with him. He’s also very funny and had the right balance of quiet time and funny conversations. He’s also a very good spotter so that helped a lot.
Genuinely, we have now some very fond fond memories and will likely return!
A solid safari experience with a personalized touch
I traveled to Kenya in June 2019 specifically to visit the Maasai Mara and after much research and outreach to 5 or 6 tour companies, I decided to put my trust and investment with Maurice at Africa Safari Classics. I made this decision based on the many positive reviews for Africa Safari Classics, as well as the personalized response and engagement I received from the company. I also found the price and value to be more competitive than another tour operator I was considering.
From the time of my outreach, Maurice was very attentive and we spoke over the phone via WhatsApp a few times and exchanged several messages leading up to my departure. What I really enjoyed about my booking experience was the ability to customize every detail of my trip - from the local sightseeing in Nairobi, to the types of camps I wished to stay in out in the Maasai Mara.
While I enjoyed visiting the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Center and Kazuri Beads (all great places to include in your Nairobi tour), of course the big highlight was my time out in the Mara. Maurice set me up with an operator called Basecamp Explorer and I opted to stay at two of their camps - (1) Basecamp Masai Mara (Fun Fact: Barack Obama and his family stayed here in 2006) and (2) Wilderness Camp. Both camps were incredible and the staff were very attentive, polite and welcoming. The Wilderness Camp was also more of a nostalgic tribute to the safaris of the early explorers as guests sleep in an individual and spacious tent on the plains of the Masai Mara. During the night, you can actually hear the hoofing of zebras, wildebeest and perhaps other animals passing by your tent. It was exhilarating and yet a bit scary, but the local Masai who run the camp are close by to step in if needed.
Wildlife Highlights: My best sightings included lions (including a majestic male lion with a large mane), elephants, hippos, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras and of course the Great Migration itself.
I also recommend adding on a visit to the local Masai village. It's a fun 1-2 hours and the community comes together to welcome and celebrate your visit with dancing. TIP: Be prepared to purchase some souvenirs during your visit. I wish I knew this in advance. Since I was the only person from the Wilderness Camp to participate in the village tour, I felt even more obligated to buy something as I was the only person visiting the village that day. Luckily the souvenirs aren't super expensive. I bought a bracelet for $10 USD. The Basecamp Masai Mara also has a nice gift shop and I purchased an authentic Kenyan belt. It's absolutely beautiful and I was able to negotiate the price a bit.
Huge shout out to Maurice for all of his help! Not only did he personally meet me in Nairobi (and provided a complimentary gift I could use out on my safari), he also met up with me again once I got back from the Mara to gather my feedback on what went well and what could be improved.
I told Maurice my only regret was that I did not stay longer in Kenya to explore more of the parks and wildlife. I'd love to hire Africa Safari Classics again and hope I can return in the near future. Great job all around and definitely recommend to other travelers considering a visit to Kenya and the Masai Mara.
Wonderful Second Trip!
Once again, Africa Safari Classics exceed my expectations. We traveled with them to Kenya in 2017, and last December they organised our trip to Uganda. Maurice did a fantastic job from day one, tailoring the itinerary to our needs/request.
Whilst in Uganda, our guide was amazing, very knowledgeable and very patient with us so we could always get he best out of the day.
I would definitely recommend Africa Safari Classics, they team is supportive and responsive and they make sure you definitely get the best value for money!
Well done Maurice and thanks! Looking forward to our next African trip with you!
Amazing experience. Budget friendly
Africa Safari Classics was an excellent and help us create a safari of our dreams within budget.
Booking Process: Maurice was extremely helpful and gave us different options that fits our needs. After seeing what options there is and what to look for, i was able to customize our safari with Maurice. Which is an excellent because there is so many different options you can choose from (which part, which hotel/camp, how long). I would start on their recommendations and then start researching which hotels/camps to stay at, Maurice will then give you estimate on your preference.
Safari: Our guide was excellent, his goal was to shows us as much animals as possible. Which is definitely shown on how active he is (he listens to the radio and ask drivers that drive by, we can definitely see the effort). He got us up and close to animals but at the same time we felt completely safe. We heard something on the radio and then he rushed over to give us an unforgettable view.You can tell he had many years of experience and know what to look for. I would highly recommend a private tour (max 4 people per minivan or keep); this allows you to have room to move around and to fully see animals. Mini van vs jeep, as long as you have 4 or less people it doesn't matter. The jeep looks more comfortable if its full(7 people), but it looks very pack and would not recommend. Overall guide makes a big difference and this company has the best. We saw other tours and they weren't as active as we are.
Hotels/ Camps: Don't skip on the hotel/camps it makes the trip so much better if you choose the right one. We stayed at the following:
The Ark Forest Lodge (highly recommend)- Hotel in middle of a park. Hot water: Yes, Wifi: Yes, Clean: Yes. You don't stay here for the luxury hotel rooms, but for the view. Its next to a water hole and we saw ton of animals and was extremely close (overnight). The experience itself was unforgettable.
The Cliff - THE MOST AMAZING place ever (5 star). The luxury tent was overlooking a the lake and the tent was a luxury (bath tub, clean, hot water, high class). Food was amazing and staff was excellent. I would stay here again in a heart beat. Only ten tents so i would book in advance.
Mara Serena Safari Lodge - It was not bad but compared to other place i wouldn't recommend. Food was a buffet (which is not that good honestly); we ate because we were hungry but lacking in flavor. The view is nice, but after you see it, it gets old. Rooms are nice, i would call it 3 stars.
Locations: honestly part of it is to be lucky and the other part is a good guide (that listen to the radio and communicate with other tours to see where the animals are)
OL Pejeta Private Wildlife Conservancy(1 day) - saw a giraffe cross the road up and close. Park has a private rhino (you get to pet a rhino) and chimpanzee area , which is very nice to get up and close.
Lake Nakuru National Park(1 day) - saw a rhino up and close. We were debating between Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha. I would recommend to Lake Nakuru and ask to add the $30 boat ride of Lake Naivasha (thats all you really need). Best of both worlds. Since they are close its doable to do both.
Maasai Mara Game Reserve (2 day) - excellent park but huge. If you only have one/two days i would go here cause it has all the animals, but we had so much fun at Ol Pejeta and Lake Nakuru. Most of the time the animals was in the distance and a lot more tour groups.
Tips: Bring binoculars (and a monocular with phone adapter) we got amazing pictures with the monocular with phone adapter. A light jacket in the morning game runs is helpful. Bring bug spray (70-100 deet; i recommend) Pick good hotels/camps (The Ark and The Cliff i would recommend). Look into the extra things you can do (night game drive, hippo breakfast) if its in your budget. Do your research and let Maurice know what you want (he can tell you a cost estimate). Trust me we got everything we wanted and more.