This Tour Is Offered By
Explore Africa Holidays Safaris
- Office In:
- 1-5 employees (Founded in 2000)
- Tour Types:
- Small & medium group tours (Budget & mid-range)
Explore Africa Holidays Safaris is an inbound tour and travel operator covering east African states. We cover the best eye catching and refreshing destinations . Our tailor made itineraries are meant to suit all your requirements. We offer Kenya budget safaris, camping safaris, wildlife safaris, lodge safaris, beach holidays, mountain climbing and mountain trekking. .
Efficient and friendly
Communication was prompt and everything organised on our behalf, hussle free. The tour was reliable and value for money would recommend them any time and day.
Excellent service!! I have already booked another holiday in December.
Their communication, service, was amazing and what I liked most is the way they keep time.
Overall excellent value and highly recommended
I just came back from an 11-day / 6-park safari in Kenya and Tanzania. I found the safari on this website, and corresponded exclusively with Dennis Solomon. Dennis owns Baboon Budget Safaris in Nairobi and apparently takes bookings under several different entity names, including Explore Africa. Even though all correspondence came from Explore Africa, the actual company behind it was Baboon.
Communication with Dennis by email was excellent starting with my very first inquiry. Everything was explained properly and although there was little room for customization of the schedule or vehicles, he made that clear upfront and did not try to upsell me.
Once in Narobi, I was met by a company rep at the airport and taken to a hotel I had booked separately. In the morning, the same friendly gentleman, George, took me to Baboon's offices in the center of town. It is best to book a hotel near city center, or at least between the airport and city center as traffic in Nairobi was really bad in the early morning. I made the whole payment for the safari in cash at Baboon's office. I didn't know it but it’s best to make the payment in $100 bills, as pristine as possible. I paid in $20s but fortunately I had enough bills in a good condition.
I spent about an hour at the office, and together with another couple was taken directly to Masai Mara. It was a long journey, about 7 hours net of stops. Our driver/guide was Simon Kanyi, and he was excellent. The accommodations in the 3 parks I visited in Kenya (Masai Mara, Lake Naruku and Amboseli) were excellent for the price. Two of those were in permanent tents with bathrooms, and at Lake Naruku it was a decent hotel. Masai Mara to Lake Naruku, and Lake Nakuru to Amboseli were both about 7 hours. From Amboseli's south entrance to Namanga was about 2.5 hours net of stops.
The transfer to Tanzania went without a hitch, with Simon dropping me at the border, and a Baboon-contracted agent, Abaz taking me through the border point into Tanzania. Yellow fever certificate was required but the vaccine can be had at the border for $50, and there was an even cheaper alternative. At the border, I boarded a little bus to Arusha that had been prepaid by Baboon. I spent about 2 hours at the border, and then the journey to Arusha also took about 2 hours. The bus dropped me off at the hotel, Ambassador, which was really excellent and the best accommodation on the entire trip. The next morning, a van picked me up from the hotel and drove me to a camp at Lake Manyara, about 1.5 hours, where the Tanzanian driver/guide, Spear, was expecting me together with 5 other tourists. After an hour at the camp, we departed for Seronera in Serengeti, a 6-hour long trip net of stops. We also visited Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara. The rest of the overnights in Tanzania were spent in field tent camps, without permanent tents. There was warm water at one of those camps, but no towels at any of them. The Tanzanian driver/guide, Spear was friendly but drove too fast through the parks and was reluctant to stop or wait for people to enjoy the sights. As a result, the safari experience in Tanzania was not nearly as good as that in Kenya but still acceptable for a budget safari.
On the way back, Spear drove us all the way to Arusha and dropped us off at the hotel. The next morning, I was picked up at the hotel by a van, driven to the bus station in Arusha, and onto a little bus that took me all the way to Nairobi airport, all again prearranged and prepaid by Baboon. The journey from the border point at Namanga to Nairobi took about 2 hours.
Overall, I was very impressed with the organization and punctuality of Dennis's operation. It took a lot of people to make everything happen, and absolutely everyone was there and on time and there were no glitches. My expectations in that regard were far exceeded.
Since it was February, everything was green and the dust probably much less than in June-August (it was still quite dusty). I liked the people we met, including the people from Baboon, as well as the camp personnel and locals in towns and cities. Without speaking the language, Kenyans and Tanzanians appeared similarly friendly, but it seemed to me that Kenyans were more outwardly happier. The roads were better in Tanzania. Both countries have some extreme poverty and corruption, examples of which I witnessed in traffic police interactions with our drivers. Of the 6 parks I visited, Serengeti had the most animals, Masai Mara and Ngorongoro were most picturesque, and Amboseli did not have as many animals but great views of Killimanjaro. However, I personally liked Lake Nakuru best, as it was small and packed with animals and birds. Sunrise on the lake was amazing. For photography, best time was between sunrise and 9 am, with haze becoming a problem later. All six parks, but especially Amboseli, Nakuru, and Manyara were great for birds.
Satisfactory budget safari with some negative moments
We (3 persons) took the 9-day Kenya and Tanzania safari in June-August 2019. The safari consisted of 2 parts organized by different tour operations: Masai Mara/Kenya part (organized by Baboon Budget Safaris) and Tanzania part (organized by 7 Wonders Safaris). Between these 2 parts we spent 1 night at a hotel in Nairobi (booked by ourselves)
As for the Safari, we were overall satisfied with its organization considering the value-for-money component. Game drives in Masai Mara National Park (Kenya) and Ngorongoro crater (Tanzania) turned out to be just awesome (saw lots of lions and other animals very close and enjoyed magnificent lanscapes). At the same time, we were regularly facing challenges and unpleasant surprises ruining the enjoyment of our vacation.
What we liked particularly (in addition to awesome game drives in Masai Mara and Ngorongoro) includes the following:
- Cooked food in the camps and particularly prepared by a chef at Seronera/Simba campsites (in Serengeti and Ngorongoro respectively). Simple, but always diverse and delicious food with completely no cases of stomach upsets (which is important in Africa)
- Responsiveness of the company manager (Solomon) and flexibility/ the way, how the problems were solved. As mentioned before, we were regularly facing challenges and unpleasant surprises during our journey (some of them even not related to the safari itself). For example, our flight to Nairobi was shifted by Kenya Airways to different time just several hours before departure (with the arrival in Nairobi later then initially planned). Another issue was the attempt of 7 Wonders Safaris to bring us for overnight stay to some camp at Lake Manyara instead of initially agreed hotel in Arusha at the last day of safari (it was inconvenient for us to stay at that cmap considering our flight next afternoon from Arusha to Nairobi and one of our luggage bags left in that hotel in Arusha). In all the cases we called Solomon - he always responded immediately, was very friendly and professional in communication. But, what is even more important - we always got all of our problems solved in an efficient way.
- Hotel in Arusha and camp at Manyara lake (Sunbright camp). Very nice accommodation options for a budget safari. Hotel in Arusha was a very clean and comfortable 3-star hotel. Sunbright camp had a swimming pool and rooms with key lockable doors and en-suite facilities (just like in lodges)
- Friendliness of all drivers/ guides
What we particularly disliked includes the following:
- Seronera campsite in Serengeti park. A complete disaster - one of the worst accommodation options that I've ever experienced in my whole life (even as compared to similar format Simba campsite in Ngorongoro crater park). Contains small tents on a dusty ground, ugly kitchen/dining hall building with no windows and doors and a toilet building located relatively far away from the tents and completely no light at night. Wild animals all around (including buffalos) with no fence protection (with a hyena entering the dining hall during our dinner). No possibility to go to toilet at night (because of completely no light in a toilet building and screams of wild animals all around). In Seronera camp we (3 persons) were initially offered a very small tent for altogether (obviously designed for maximum 2 persons). In took me almost an hour of persuasion attempts (with scandalous behavior later) and lots of nerves to get ultimately offered an additional tent.
- Serengeti National Park itself. Actually it is the same park as Masai Mara (just its southern part). With more deserted landscapes and much less vegetation, however. And almost no animals. This is primarily due to seasonality issue - in early August the majority of animals from Serengeti are in Masai Mara. Considering very long and uncomfortable driving to Serengeti from Lake Manyara (we had to breathe in the dust for almost 2 hours during the last part of our long journey). The game drive in the morning took 6 hours of non-stop driving, permanent dust exposure and almost no animals seen (we had an impression that the guide was trying to drive us through the same circular route multiple times to show all the same animals to make visibility of diversity). Probably, Serengeti is worth visiting, but definitely not in August!
- Miti Mingi camp in Masai Mara. Initially this camp shocked us in a negative way (not very clean, dark and uncomfortable tents, electricity shutdowns at nights). Later (after experiencing Seronera campsite in Serengeti park) we came to conclusion that Miti Mingi camp was not so bad. At least the tents are relatively big, contain large comfortable beds and en-suite facilities. The issue, however, is that if you are travelling alone, you definitely be asked to share the tent with somebody unfamiliar to you. We were lucky as we shared the triple tent altogether.
- Packed lunches. They were the same all the time and not very tasty (included cold chicken, sandwich and juice). Once (in Masai Mara National park) we were stopped to eat our lunch in a very unpleasant location (having to sit on the ground, keep the multiple flies away from face and watch large baboons quarrying in the garbage heap). All other lunch stop locations turned out to be much better (at least equipped with tables and chairs).
- Road from Nairobi to Masai Mara camp (and particularly the road back). The 100-km road segment from Narok to Masai Mara is one of the worst road sections I've ever seen. Extremely bumpy. The way back to Nairobi took us 8 hours instead of 5-6 expected (because of the massive rain the day before). We got so tired that ultimately decided to buy return air tickets from Narobi to Arusha for the next day (and for the very last day) to escape another 2 days of long and uncomfortable driving.
Cheap price but overall a pretty average, stressful experience
We had a very mixed experience on our 11 day Kenya/Tanzania safari. We booked with Explore Africa Holidays but never met anyone from that company – seems to be another trading name for Baboon Budget Safaris. In Tanzania they contract out to 7 Wonders Safaris.
- Overall we had a great time - got to all the parks we had planned and saw incredible wildlife. All the Big 5 in both Kenya and Tanzania; views of elephant families in front of Kilimanjaro a definite highlight at Amboseli!
- One of our guides in Kenya was fantastic – Isaac. He was from a different company called Jocky Safaris that we’d been handed over to for the day
- We really appreciated the opportunity to stay at Masaai-run camps in Kenya & chat with the guys working there (Miti Mingi Eco Camp & Kimana Amboseli Camp)
- In Tanzania the camps were extremely basic (more below) but on the plus side was really cool to stay right inside/very near the national parks, with visits from elephants, hyenas and zebras in the night
- Kenya/Tanzania border crossing was managed pretty smoothly, though communication could have been better. We just trusted the random people who presented themselves to us which might be stressful if travelling by yourself.
- Price is very cheap compared to other operators
- In Kenya we had 2 different guides for the 3 parks we visited (Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru & Amboseli), plus another driver at various points. This meant changing vans every single day and a lot of time spent on logistics that often felt very disorganised. On our third day we waited 2.5 hours for our pick up to go to Lake Nakuru. We hadn’t expected to be with a different group and different guide almost every day and ended up feeling like cargo being passed around impersonally. The constant change made it hard to relax into the trip as we were never quite sure who we’d be passed to next, what our group would be like, if we were going to miss out on something we’d planned to do.
- For the third Kenyan park we were placed in a car that wasn’t a safari vehicle. The windows didn’t wind down and were tinted so it was completely unsuitable for game drives (I’m not a tall person and would have had to sit on cushions to see out! :-)) When we asked about this it was resolved and we were able to do the game drive with another company (Isaac with Jocky), which we appreciated.
- Our first guide in Kenya, Josef, didn’t volunteer any information on our first game drive and talked the group out of doing an early morning game drive in Masai Mara on the main day there. Thumbs down.
- We were told we’d be met off the bus in Arusha and dropped off at our hotel however the person (Sayid) didn’t show up. Luckily the lovely bus driver seemed familiar with 7 Wonders way of (not) doing things and dropped us at their office. There we were quickly briefed by the manager of 7 Wonders, Evelyn, who informed us of multiple changes to our itinerary including a different Arusha hotel (Stereo – absolutely fine), reversing the order of parks and a different campsite for Ngorongoro. When I asked why we hadn’t been met off the bus as arranged Evelyn dismissively said she didn’t know anything about it. Very poor first impression.
- In Tanzania we again had 2 different guides for the 3 parks we visited but much less chopping and changing. Had one of the guides for 3 days in a row, Florian.
- During the whole time with Florian we felt there was a lot of cutting corners and general lack of service/professionalism. To his credit he made sure we saw lots of amazing animals in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater and was mostly happy to answer questions when we asked. However the biggest negative for us was that he rushed through every single game drive – our group was always first back to camp (by an hour or more), a couple of times we saw male lions or elephants he told us there was no time to stop, but each time we passed through a park gate we had to wait 45-60 minutes (we could see there were no queues at the ticket offices; we suspected it was to make it seem we’d spent longer at each park than the actual allotted 24 hours). Florian and the chef Ibrahim also spent a fair amount of their free time flirting with the one single woman in our group.
- The Land Cruiser safari vehicles in Tanzania were far more comfortable that the converted Toyota vans used in Kenya, however on our second last day the safari vehicle stalled on the steep road out of Ngorongoro, we had an uncomfortable 10 minutes while Florian tried to stop it rolling backwards and get it started again. Luckily another vehicle came along and gave our group of 6 a ride to the top while Florian drove up ahead & park rangers had also arrived quickly. We imagine this is probably a common enough occurrence as the road out of Ngorongoro is very steep. Having said that, our guide didn’t seem very familiar with driving on mountain roads.
- The camps in Tanzania were not of an acceptable standard. We were fully aware we’d booked a budget safari and are not precious, but if you’ve paid for a tour we think basics like drinking water and toilet paper should be provided (or at the very least a heads up from the guide to remind everyone to stock up before leaving a town). We stayed at Jambo Lodge near Manyara, Pimbi in the Serengeti and Simba near Ngorongoro.
Couple of other pieces of info that might be helpful: in Kenya fixed camps are large canvas tents, often with a private bathroom at the back (though very basic we had decent mosquito nets in each place); in Tanzania camping is actual tents with bed rolls and sleeping bags, you are expected to help set up your own tent and the overall experience is fun. Food in Tanzania was much nicer than in Kenya (except for the lunches which were all pretty awful). Kenya/Tanzania border crossing: driven to Namanga, met at Immigration office & helped to navigate departure/entry process (very simple), directed to public bus which then drives you on to Arusha (we waited about an hour).
We hope this is useful information if you are thinking of booking with Explore Africa Holidays or Baboon Budget Safaris. Overall we had a fantastic time in terms of unbelievable wildlife but would not recommend either Kenyan safari company, and definitely wouldn’t recommend 7 Wonders. We completely understand this is a budget tour at budget prices, but for us it was still a fair amount of money to spend on 10/11 days of our trip and we felt that basic service was totally overlooked. If you can afford to spend a little more we think it’d be worth it to feel looked after, have one guide & one group for the duration of your safari, and generally be able to relax and fully enjoy the experience!