I am wondering about anyone with experience with A&K travel company. I get that it is expensive, but some of the advantages are worth the cost to me. I would be traveling to Egypt or Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. I am wondering about their organization skills and their tours. Anyone with experience with them I would appreciate the feedback.
We did an A&K tour to Egypt over 30 years ago and it was outstanding. In the last 8 years we’ve done tours with them to Morocco, Mongolia, and Myanmar. All have been excellent. We have never had a bad experience.
We did an East Africa safari with them that was well-done. I would comment that after the (generally excellent) trip, I suddenly understood why my (wealthier) in-laws had ordered a bespoke (that is, private) version of our trip. With no children, we're unlikely to do that.
We had plenty of luxury and good service, the point is that a "Small Group Journey" (marketing slogan) really exposes you to the 12 or so other people on the trip. There was no one kooky or decadent on our trip. It was the diabetic who would not eat the special snacks that had been pre-ordered from A&K, or the elderly woman who had perhaps ordered her concierge-physician to write her age-required health letter. Because she was unwilling to ... relieve herself ... with the other women in the bush, she developed dehydration and digestive problems. Then she fell, on a bathroom sill at the second to last airport bathroom and we had to help lift her wheelchair into the smaller plane for the flight to Nairobi, moaning with pain. She was hospitalized there.
A&K is a luxury travel company with in my opinion outrageous prices.
Their 10 day Egypt tour is over $11000 per person. You can find outstanding tours with a Nile River cruise for half or even 1/3 that price and get five or four star treatment.
Take a look a Viking River cruises on the Nile or for a real savings Gate 1 Travel. Both firm get high reviews.
When we were in Tanzania on safari with Odysseys Unlimited there was an A&K group at one of our hotels. So they were staying in the same hotel and we saw them at the same locations on safari. So everything was the same except for the price. I would take a look at the accommodations, etc. and compare them to other quality tours like Odysseys, Scenic, etc. I have found on a few of our more high end tours that sometimes a few of the tour members are a bit more pampered, demanding and entitled than on the RS tours. The no grump policy does not exist on these tours. There was on tour member on one of our trips whose name I will never forget. She was absolutely a miserable human being who was traveling alone for obvious reasons. That being said most of the tour members were beyond gracious and fun to be around.
Hey, Mary, I'm not an investor in A&K or anything like that, but did you have one night at a Hemmingway-style temporary tented-camp above Ngorogoro crater, and hot field, lunches without return to camp, and salads and lettuce you could eat? I also think (don't know for sure) that the guides' "connections" for game sighting notifications by phone may be a factor in prompt arrival or even seeing something at all. Did you have air travel for all long jumps, about four, for us? Did you have six-person, all-"window seat" Toyota Land Cruisers?
We have a safari in Kenya and Tanzania that I did the research and planning.
I looked at A&K, as well as several American and USA tour companies and local safari tour companies.
I compared hotels, sites visited, benefits, meals included and more.
I found A&K to be the most expensive, yet with few benefits over and able a first rate safari tour company.
We picked Good Earth Tours and HAVE a PRIVATE TOUR for FOUR persons. All our hotels, lodges, etc. are the best available.
Our tour is a little shorter than some of the others, but far cheaper. It was not the cheapest, we could have booked a safari where we stayed in tents, slept in sleeping bags and cooked over a campfire for about $800 pp.
Still, our cost is $4400 pp for 8 days.
Compare and study before you buy.
@Tim We had lunches when we were out in the field, had air transport for all long jumps (small planes landing on dirt runways that the plane had to circle to make sure the animals weren’t on the runway and a private jet to a private landing strip another time) and we all had window seats with no more than 4 to 6 of us per safari vehicle. We canoed a tributary of the Zambezi. Our last pre dawn morning in the Serengeti, our guide led us out onto a patio as the sun was rising. There was a table waiting for us set with linens, silverware and candles; everything you could ever want for breakfast and mimosas; and a local group playing traditional music while we dined. Absolutely magical and unforgettable. Another morning (predawn) we drove to a small pond and stood on the banking and watched the hippos come out of the woods and into the pond. These are just a few of our experiences. We did not stay in tents but at one location had completely private thatched roof lodges with a fully stocked fridge (all inclusive) with whatever tipple you wanted. That one had footed tubs and an outdoor shower with monkeys watching as you showered. I could go on and on as there are too many fabulous experiences to recount. Edited to add - our guides were not on the phone radioing each other. They knew the roads well. They called them the jungle newspaper as they could track the animals well from what they saw and heard.