7 Days Safari to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater Itinerary 16 Days Safari, Meru, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar 16 Days Safari, Meru, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar
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18 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Petter April 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm -

    We had the same concerns about payment and some other concerns (read below ;o)) but they are a very fair company.
    We decided to write a long review because we couldn’t find one online either and they really deserve a review.
    We took a 5 day private safari (for two persons) in Serengeti and Ngorongoro with Big Time Holidays during the last week of June 2012. And we planed and booked the safari from Denmark over the internet.
    It was our first time traveling with Big Time Holidays so we were pleased to find out that every agreement we made during our planning process was met to the fullest and sometimes even exceeded our expectations.
    We have added some examples below of how Big Time Holidays t handled our concerns but for the reader how doesn’t want to read it all ;o) we will end by warmly recommending both planning and traveling with Big Time Holidays.
    The safari vehicle:
    Reading from other safari company reviews we were concerned that we would be given an old safari vehicle which would breakdown or be uncomfortable during the long game drives.
    Big Time Holidays promised that they only had new cars and they were checked before and after each safari. And to our surprise Big Time Holidays showed up the first day with two brand new cars (one for 8 and one for 6 persons) and told us to pick the one we wanted. The other would then be on standby in case of a breakdown during our safari. However our car was in such a good condition that we didn’t need to test this extra (free of charge) insurance.
    The Lodges:
    Less than a week before our safari a violent robbery occurred at one of our lodges. A friend from Arusha/Tanzania warned us about this robbery and when we contacted Big Time Holidays the day after the robbery they had already booked a new lodge for us. They were planning to tell us about the incident upon arrival and give us the choice to pick between the two bookings (without any extra cost). We chose the new booking and it was just as good as the previous planned lodge.
    Cutting corners during the safari:
    We read that some safari companies would only drive a certain amount of kilometers and leave the parks early in order to save money on fuel and park fees (thereby increasing their profit).
    We were promised no driving limit and that we got. Not once did we drive out the gates with more than 30 minutes to spare and even during transport (towards The Great Migration) we did game drives off the main road.
    The guide:
    For a great safari we knew we would need an experienced guide and Big Time Holidays promised that they only had guides with more than 5 years experience.
    During our safari we found out that Big Time Holidays pays their guides a fair salary which means that they can attract some of the more experienced guides. Our Guide (Abi) had 8 years of experience and with a VIP scrapbook like his then we knew we were in good hands (If he has taking you on a safari you know what we mean :o)).
    Our guide spotted the big five on day 1 and even though this also requires a great deal of luck then we are sure that some of the less experienced guides drove past the rhino we saw that day without spotting it (our “city eyes” needed binoculars to confirm it :o)).
    By the end of our safari we had seen (of the big five) 3 leopards, 5 rhinos, 20+ lions, 100+ elephants, 200+ buffaloes and many others (including a cheetah)
    Our guide always had the car ready on time and all the preparations were done so that we could spend time on the game drives. He was the kind of person you like to spend 5 days with. He was funny, always in a good mood and willing to share his vast knowledge of the area and animals.
    We do not have one thing that we can complain about for our safari. Every promise Big Time Holidays made to us they kept and we will recommend you to plan your safari with them anytime.
    Big Time Holidays gave us a great safari vehicle, found some good lodges, never cut any corners in order to increase their profit and gave us a fantastic guide. Thank you for a perfect safari vacation.

  2. Tracey Klein April 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm -

    My husband and I just got back from hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro with Big Time Holidays. Before this, we have had experience hiking in New England, USA but never at altitudes comparable with Kilimanjaro.
    From the beginning, Big Time Holidays exceeded our expectations. William, our trip coordinator, responded promptly to all of our emails, was explicit with trip joining instructions, outlined what to expect and helped us prepare for our journey. Upon arrival our driver was waiting for us as planned to drive us to our hotel. The Ilboru Safari Lodge, the hotel that Big Time Holidays works with, was clean and comfortable with friendly staff and a wide range of food to choose from. A perfect spot to rest after a 36 hour trip!
    The day before our hike, William met us with our hiking team including our guide, assistant guide, doctor and cook (Bertiki, Saloman, Robert, and Juma). We were introduced to each team member and went over the day by day expectations for the trip. The team was friendly and professional. They seemed genuinely excited to be part of our group!
    The next day we were picked up promptly and began our journey! Absolutely every detail was accounted for from daily snacks to extra toilet paper. My husband and I felt spoiled with our own dining tent, daily tea time, and personal server (Liberate Minja). Our sleeping pads and bags, which we rented from Big Time Holidays, were comfortable and warm. We were even woken up every morning with tea and hot water for washing! Juma, our cook was amazing. We looked forward to an abundance of healthy, fresh meals every day.
    The rest of our trip was just as enjoyable. Bertiki, Salomon, and Robert were experts on the area and answered all of our questions. They met with us each night to ask how we were, take our oxygen and heart rate numbers, and discuss the next day. They were social, happy, and great at keeping up the team spirit. This was especially appreciated during our ascent to the summit. The team carried our bags, engaged us with their singing, and supplied us with hot tea and plenty of positive reinforcement to help us make it to the top!
    By the end of the trip, we truly felt like family. This has been one of the greatest experiences that my husband and I have had with a tour company. We would recommend Big Time Holidays to anyone!

  3. Szymon Wisniewski April 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm -

    I would like to thank you once again for the perfect organisation of our trip on the Kilimanjaro. I was very impressed by the beauty of Africa and kindness of the people from your country. I wish to visit Tanzania again, next time maybe with my son and my women.
    I would like to write a short feedback about the good experience with your company on the homepage.
    I hope to see you again

  4. Hritul Karim April 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm -

    My name is Hritul Karim. Last december, me and my friend Oscar Strand traveled to Tanzania as a part of a course in our medical programme in Sweden, Stockholm. We are both 22 years old medical students from Stockholm, and had at that point never been to Africa prior to that trip. We went to Tz one week in advance to enjoy some safari and other tourist attractions. Our safari trip was organized by Big Time Holidays, who were recommended to us by a friend who had worked in Tz earlier.
    We can warmly recommend you to travel with Big Time Holidays. They have excellent service and customer care. The safari journeys were of course a great pleasure. The will help with everything from pick-up at airport to all the lodging and meals during the safari days, there was nothing we had to do but to enjoy the trip.
    If you have any questions, please let me know.
    Best regards,

    Hritul Karim

  5. Gregg and Lis Finlay April 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm -

    We had a great time with William on our ascent of Mount Meru. It was our first ever climb so we were completely in his hands and he was fantastic. His understanding of the climb, knowledge of the area, passion for his country and love of the job all shone through making the whole experience thoroughly fantastic. If you’re thinking of a climb or a walk with these guys, don’t hesitate!

  6. Julia Smith April 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm -

    I have been thinking how to express so many good and happy thoughts of William and his team and the most amazing memories of climbing Mt.Meru. Then I realised that every time I thought about my experiences with our group and of our fabulous leader William I smiled!
    His wide range of skills from organizer, educator to entertainer was faultless. His patience and quiet confidence that each one of his group would succeed was inspiring. I confess that climbing Kili is not near the top of my ‘to do’ list but if I ever consider it, it would only be with the assistance of William and his company. In the future if anyone is going on a similar trip I would not hesitate to recommend him whole heartedly.
    All the very best for the future William.

  7. Julia Roberson April 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm -

    The climb of Mount Meru was an absolute pleasure with William and his team. Always there with a huge encouraging smile and reassuring words there was never a doubt in your mind that you would get to the top. The perfect Tanzanian host, bringing what could easily been seen as a difficult task to life with enthusiasm and most importantly lots of amusement. Can’t wait to go back to back to climb Kilimanjaro with his his team.

  8. Jen Button April 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm -

    From the moment that he met us at the airport to the moment that he left us at Arusha, William played the happy host. He made the Meru climb enjoyable with his easy manner and fabulous sense of humour, all the while assessing our needs for the final ascent. I had constant and complete faith in his ability to keep us safe and to act quickly and without fuss if we needed support. I feel that my personal triumph was in no small part due to William and his gentle persuasiveness to keep on going when things got tough. I am delighted to hear that he is starting his own business and wish him every success in this and future endeavours – he is one in a million.

  9. Lucy McCrickard April 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm -

    William was the perfect Guide and Team Leader for a nervous novice like me. His care and concern for the welfare of the group was reassuring and ‘pole pole’ is a phrase we won’t be forgetting in a long while . His in depth knowledge of the flora, fauna and landscape was also impressive and made the expedition that much more fascinating.If I ever do go back to tackle Kili I would certainly hope William and his lovely team could be the ones to get me through it!

  10. Estelle Couture April 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm -

    I highly recommend William as a guide. He was very professional during our climb of Mount Meru and made the whole experience so much fun with his great sense of humour and smile. We wanted to take him back to the UK with us as a personal trainer!

  11. Joy Skipper April 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm -

    William was a delight to spend time on the mountain with. Not only did he make the climb fun (lots of jokes and card-playing along the way), he also gave a huge amount of confidence in his dealing with the other members of his team in organising our food, bags, bedding etc. His positive attitude did not allow for any thoughts of failure to get to the top of Meru, and you knew he would do everything in his power to get you there safely and with a smile.
    I would recommend William and his team wholeheartedly!

  12. Simon Hay April 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm -

    I wanted to drop you a note about William. He was our tour guide and I wanted you to know what a brilliant job he did for you and what a credit he is to your company. I head a company of almost 2000 employees around the world and William showed leadership capability and values that I rarely see.
    William looked after us every step of the journey, he was always watching and taking in information on our progress, capability and strengths. When leadership was needed he was always there (sorting out a traffic jam on the Baracco wall, helping members of our team on a difficult last night) but at other times he was a member of the team and joined in our fun and conversations.
    Our whole group was immensely impressed with William, his team of guides and the overall organisation of our trip. We had an amazing time and memories that will last a lifetime.

    Thank you and best wishes

  13. Jim Hytner April 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm -

    Jim Hytner
    William is a sensational leader and an extraordinary man. There is no one better, I suspect. He knows the mountain, knows how to influence those around him (and on the trip were some heavyweight egos, including my own) and knows exactly how to pace the trip. He was a leader, a guide, an inspiration and a friend. 100 out of 100.
    Best Regards

  14. Alison Hutchison April 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm -

    Alison Hutchison
    You are a truly amazing person – you made the experience unforgettable for us all as a group. Looking back I feel we were blessed to have you as a guide – as Jim says you have all the skills and more. How you put up with us all, and our selective humour was worthy of an award on its own…hopefully we did not cause too much offense. That said it seems that you have a great sense of humour and I loved hearing your unmistakable laugh on the mountain. You have such great patience, I’m sure many of us tested it on numerous occasions during the week, but you never once lost your temper…I cannot imagine you ever losing your temper (unless of course it all gets a bit crazy on the Barranco Wall). I think you are a fantastic guide – and the perfect mentor for others who wish to follow in your footsteps. You taught us so much in such a short space of time; I think you will be able to teach many valuable skills to many other guides/porters for years to come.
    What you did for me on summit night was above and beyond the call of duty I cannot seem to find enough words to describe just how grateful I am. When I was at my lowest point I thought it was all over for me…but you never doubted me once, and that alone gave me the strength to continue. When you linked arms with me it gave me strength to put one foot in front of the other – when you blew on my hands to heat them up it (as painful as it was) it urged me to continue…you wouldn’t give up…so I couldn’t give up. Reaching Stella Point and meeting up with the others in the group was so emotional, I was convinced they would all have been at Uhuru already, but to see them there was fantastic…and that was down to you, you kept me going.
    Best Regards


  15. Fouad Khalife August 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm -

    Fouad Khalife
    Thank you Big Time Holidays for an amazing and unforgettable two weeks in Kilimanjaro – Serengeti – Ngorongoro – Lake Manyara. Everything was perfect and well organized! I strongly recommend Big Time Holidays as an operator!

  16. Kim Wade March 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm -

    Kim Wade
    We just returned from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our trip coordinator, William Wagana, was fantastic. He was prompt to reply to every question (we had many) and came through with every promise and more. Big Time Holidays’s pricing was very competitive. I was concerned about wiring the deposit money (75%), but the more I worked with William the more comfortable I became. As soon as he received our wire, I was informed. (We paid the balance upon arrival.)

    We were greeted at the airport by William and Raymond and taken to our hotel, “The Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort”. We found everyone to be friendly and professional.

    We hiked the Rongai Route and were very pleased with our guides, porters and cook. All did everything possible to make our trip a memorable one. The guides were very well trained and watched us very closely to make sure we were acclimating to the higher altitudes. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this group/company.

    We finished our trip with a safari. Also, arranged by William Wagana. Our guide, Abbe, was extremely knowledgeable about the area and the animals. We saw everything. He kept us going from sun up to sun down. We enjoyed staying in the tented camps and driving across country to take in all the sites of the Serengeti. I strongly suggest if you’re going to Tanzania to climb Kili, don’t leave without seeing their animals!

  17. Jairo Vagas March 5, 2014 at 11:04 am -

    Jairo Vagas
    We did a 7 day tour with the company ‘Big Time Holidays’ last december 2013. We choose this company because we wanted a good balance of safari and trekking in Ngorongoro area.
    The experience with this company in general was very good. However, we have some advices to keep in mind for future tours with this or any other tour operator in order to have the best experience:
    - Tipping:
    The good quality is included in the price of any product or service you buy. Nobody pays to receive a bad service in return. Therefore Tipping shall not be a mechanism to ensure quality but a way to express gratitude for an ‘exceptional’ service. This means when you receive something on top of what was agreed.
    Keep in mind that the salary of the personnel shall not be linked to the tips. Otherwise, you will have a lot of pressure from all the tour personnel putting this subject on the table during the whole tour.
    As it is not known if the tours operators pays good or not to its employees, it can help to agree in advance the tip amounts with the tour seller in order to consider these values in your budget as a transparent and extra tour cost.
    - Money should not be discussed with the personnel of the tour.
    Keep communication on this subject only with the tour seller. Or agree on the tip chart values with them since the beginning.
    - Something positive of this Company is that they agree with a payment 50% at the beginning of the tour and 50% at the end. This is a good practice to ensure quality of the service until the end of the tour and to compensate fairly for un-expected changes in the plans of the tour if this is decided or required by the tour seller.
    - The trekking itself was amazing in Ngorongoro area. AMAZING!
    - The Massai Guide was great, we really enjoyed the time with him. He received a good tip mainly because he did not ask for it. We learn so much from him.
    - We notice that many Massais were asking for money for nothing in return during the whole trip (especially kids). The bad point of this practice is that it is affecting the good spirits of this wise culture. The easy money behavior is not good for any culture in the long run and it is sad to see that it is polluting this areas. Therefore, in order to be keep sustainable tourism in this area is good to avoid giving money for nothing, but paying a fair amount for any provided work.
    - The tour/driver guide was very responsible and did a good job but unfortunately created a very dense atmosphere during the whole tour when tried to change the pre-agree tour plan and discussed about tips all the time. We feel very uncomfortable because of this. Specially when presented us the tip chart by surprise on the last day of the trip with all the crew onboard of the car.
    - The route of the trip was good: Karatu+serengeti centre safari+Ndutu area Safari+Ngorongoro Safari+trekking Olmoti Crater until lake Natron.
    Normally you need 3 full days to do the point to point route as it is long. In our case, the tour gave us only 2 of the 3 stages of this trail, which was a bit short for our expectative. The quality of this trekking in any case was AMAZING. One of the best we ever did comparing to some of our previous experiences: South Africa (Hoerikwago Trail), Colombia (Andes Trails with Caminantes del Retorno), Peru (Inca Trail), Corsica, Argentina, Spain (Pirineos Trail) among others.
    Hope this is useful for other travellers,

  18. Fiona Millar March 6, 2014 at 8:20 am -

    Fiona Millar
    We arranged a 7 day trek of the Rongai Route to Mt Kili summit as a fundraiser for our non-profit. We were a group of 10 of varying abilities and from different countries/of different ages.

    As a non-profit that works in developing countries, it is really important to us that companies we work with have ethical staff standards and environmental protection policies. Big Time Holidays ticked both of these boxes, had great reviews and was competitively priced – the easy choice.

    As an organization that has done this trek 6 times before, we were really impressed with Big Time Holidays. From the beginning, I was in contact with William who was always prompt and helpful in answering my questions and making arrangements. William also accompanied our group on the trek, along with 3 other guides, 6 helping porters, 1 cook and 20-something porters.

    We were really happy with the way the trek ran – we did have exceptionally bad weather which made things tricky and meant that unfortunately we weren’t able to summit as planned. I think some additional communication on summit day would’ve been helpful – I understood that due to the storm and the cold we couldn’t stop for breaks unless there was shelter, but not all of group realised this and were confused why we couldn’t stop more regularly.

    The rental gear was good – any gear that we had issues with was replaced with spares they had on hand (tent, spare sleeping bag). Everyone was happy with their clean, good quality sleeping bags and down jackets.

    Food was great and varied, and probably even too much food at times (altitude either makes you really hungry or really not!).

    There wasn’t any information on altitude sickness given during the briefing by Big Time Holidays staff, so if this is important for your group, either do your research before you go, or ask William and his team to cover it for you. Not an issue for us as we had people with high altitude experience in group already.

    We would definitely use Big Time Holidays again in the future – I think I may even go back separate from my organization so I can say I’ve reached the summit!

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