How it works:
- According to the Tanzania Revenue Authority, only 517 formal firm out of 1,401 tour companies complied with the law in 2018. This means there’s a 63% chance of you engaging a shady tour operator!
- Version 1: beach boys (who call themselves “captain”) offer you tours which will not happen or will overcharge you for a low quality tour.
- Version 2: playing off famous/established brand names. For instance, a company “Africa Scenic Safaris” is allegedly an imposter of “African Scenic Safaris”.
- These operators probably use poorly maintained or inadequate safety equipment/services. Some even use public buses rather than a private vehicle to bring you from point to point!
Places to beware:
- Anywhere (e.g. Zanzibar: Paje Beach; Serengeti: Serengeti National Park)
What to do:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Reputable operators: some reputable local names to consider include Gosheni Safaris (one of the best locally owned safari operators in Tanzania); Shadows of Africa (highly rated bespoke, private safari tours in Eastern and Southern Africa), etc.
- Paying: avoid paying in full upfront (unless reputable operator) or off the (online) platform.