The experience Paul provided us was better than expected. We couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.
Paul, who I found through this site, did an outstanding job of organizing and guiding my 4 night/5 day photo safari to Ruaha, which we selected based on my initial criteria. He communicated well and effectively, organized all my transfers from the time I stepped off the plane, through my day in Dar, to the time I checked back in. Ikuka lodge, where I stayed, was brilliant (reviewed on Facebook an ... Read mored Tripadvisor). I was concerned that a solo guided trip would be prohibitively expensive compared to the group tour I had expected, but by starting one day later (low season), and not reserving a separate vehicle, we were able to keep the cost within my budget- and in fact we ended up have a vehicle to ourselves the entire trip. Paul did not merely meet my expectations, he exceeded my hopes for this trip; and I have for years travelled on average 200k miles a year globally, so I can say I think my expectations were reasonable.
Friends with more experience of East Africa ( a niece lived there for a year, and has been back many times) had warned me about the dust, the insects, the food hazards,the heat, and the crowds. I experienced none of that- it was hot midday but cool in the mornings and reasonable in the evenings when we did our drives. If you are going to Ruaha, I would recommend Paul in particular, and local Ruaha guides more generally, as they do work together where those coming from Dar do not know the park as well, nor do they share information. In a typical 3-4 hour drive we might see 4 or 5 local vehicles from other camps, always stopping to chat and trade sightings. Along with multiple fresh lion kills (we saw lion on 10 of the 11 drives, counting the trip to and from the airstrip), endless elephants, antelope of all types, hippo, herds of giraffe, zebra, buffalo, we also had an exceptional leopard experience, once with a fresh kill where he stayed in view while we watched for the better part of an hour, and again later that day, after he had moved a short distance. As well as very sharp eyes (the leopard was invisible to me until pointed out under a tree) Paul has a broad knowledge of animals, birds, plants (rattling off the latin names), tracks, bird calls which was both helpful and interesting. Ruaha for me was magical, I cannot recommend the park, Ikuka or Paul more highly.
My friend and I had an incredible two week trip to Tanzania this September. The itinerary was perfectly tailored and organised by Paul Tickner Safaris, who use local knowledge to ensure your trip will be a truly enjoyable experience. Highly recommend Paul as a private guide, you will have a lot of fun and I still can't believe his skills at spotting wildlife so well from a distance or through the ... Read morebush and picking up on tracks! There are a lot of companies and agents in the safari market - Paul Tickner Safaris stands out from the crowd.
The safari definitely lived up to my expectations. Ruaha National Park is an outstanding park, easily rivaling any of it's more famous northern counterparts. The accommodation was great - I couldn't recommend Tandala more highly. Paul and Hannah at Paul Tickner Safaris are lovely people, who are passionate about what they do and have fantastic local knowledge. Communication was a little slow at ti ... Read moremes, and they are probably not the cheapest company, but they are extremely trustworthy, know what they are doing, and will make sure you are well looked after.
Our apologies for the slow communication Ngaire and we're glad you enjoyed your safari, hope to see you again in southern Tanzania!
I found Paul website on safari bookings and they have received nothing but five star rating. This is deserved rating. Everything was really well organised from start to finish. Gave really good advice on our first trip to Africa. This was our honeymoon and it was a holiday I will never forget. The safari lodge, ikuka was a big part of this (recommend to me by Paul). Ikuka lodge was quite simply t ... Read morehe best place I have ever stay. I can't recommend the place enough.
When it comes to a personal safari, we could have never asked for more personal service.. Always there, always on time, always great arrangements. Nothing like have somebody excited and enthusiastic to be with you not only on the game drives, but any other arrangement the group wanted.
We advised Paul of the region in southern Tanzania in which we were interested. Paul suggested various
Safari lodges and the time to spend at each lodge. Although, we are in Texas and Paul is in Tanzania with an eight hour time difference Paul was excellent in his timely communications back and forth to all of our questions even the silly ones from the ladies about hair dryers!
The lodges that P ... Read moreaul selected were each different in a way, but all of the choices were excellent and we enjoyed every Safari lodge. We got to know Paul so well through all of the emails that we asked if he could join us for the entire journey which he did for a certain fee. Paul joining really added to our trip. Paul was with us when viewing animals and he is so knowledgeble, he should be a Safari guide! We arrived in Tanzania at about 3:30 am and Paul was at the airport to greet us with transportation to the hotel which he had selected for us. Besides making sure every detail was perfect getting from lodge to lodge, Paul scheduled our day trips and animal viewing which was superb. The trip was more than my dreams could imagine...luxurious lodging, delicious food, good wine and wonderful animal viewing. And Paul's fun personality really added a sparkle to the trip of a lifetime!!
Our safari was excellently organized. We loved the entire experience and our stay at Mwagusi in Ruaha exceeded our expectations. Paul even helped us add another member to the safari 15 minutes before we departed. Our only frustration was that he would not disclose to us his commission fees or break all the costs down for us. He would only give us a total cost for the safari and was unwilling to te ... Read morell us what percentage of the total cost was commission for him. As far as we know, he could be charging 5% or 50%. He does not publish the information on his website and we asked on 4 different occasions, but each time he refused to tell us. Nevertheless, he planned a great safari for us. If you don't mind not knowing what you are paying him to organize the safari, then I can recommend him. If you need full disclosure of the costs, then you should look for someone else.
Hi, Garret, I am very pleased that you chose to visit the southern highlands and Ruaha and doubly that you enjoyed your safari, as a small company promoting southern Tanzania; this is the result we are looking for. We are disappointed that the commission issue has reflected so poorly upon you, despite apparently enjoying the safari so much.
For the benefit of anyone else reading your review I sho... Read moreuld provide some clarity over commission, which I also did each of those 4 times referred too. As a small company, word of mouth recommendations and our customer service is everything and we take any suspicion of deceptiveness very seriously.
It is not the industry standard, nor are we obliged in any way, to divulge what our commission is. This is our policy for a number of reasons, none of which are designed to mislead our customers. There are a lot of moving parts and complicated pricing involved in designing safaris, which are largely of no relevance to the customer. In the same way as many other businesses, if we were charging 50% commission it would be very difficult for us to compete in the market. For example, if one buys a plane ticket online, one takes the price and times preferred. What the agents' commission is, how much the airline buys it's fuel for or how much the pilots make every month, are matters for the company itself.
We are under no illusion that there are certainly some travel companies out there not delivering on what they promise and with the information available on the internet, customers are more aware of their expectations not being met. However if one tries to plan and organise a safari, particularly to southern Tanzania, using information solely from the internet, things are likely to unravel, and this is where our role comes in. We won't tell a customer how much money we make but we will go well out of our way to make sure they get the best possible safari, something we feel is reflected in the reviews on this page.
Similarly, it is always the customer's prerogative to receive quotes from however many operators they wish, or indeed to organise the safari themselves, and choose the price and itinerary that suits them.
Paul did a great job in creating, organizing, and guiding our safari. He dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's. No detail was left unnoticed. Our sixth safari to Africa and Paul was the best.
My experience with Paul Tickner Safaris was outstanding. Paul spent two weeks with our group as we travelled to Selous from Dar, then from Selous to Ruaha, and back again to Dar. The whole trip was absolutely seamless and Paul was a delight to have in our group. He is very knowledgeable about Africa, the people, the animals, photography, etc., and was very willing to try to answer any question ... Read morewe might have had. I would highly recommend Paul Tickner Safaris to anyone considering a trip to Tanzania.