Numerous Travel Agents and Tour Operators sell Kilimanjaro and Safari. Some of them live in Tanzania. Some live in other parts of the world and contract with the owner/operators in Tanzania. Let’s review the definition of each.
TRAVEL AGENTS assist travelers by making travel arrangements such as transportation, accommodations, and tours. Often, Travel Agents have business relationships with tour operators that allow travelers to join groups and enjoy discounts and other special amenities.
TOUR OPERATORS assemble the adventure, that is, they prepare the itinerary, arrange transportation, transfers, tours, and accommodations, often in a seamless way so that the client does not need to interact with each individual component of the adventure. Tour operators utilize, and depend upon, the service of a local representative whom actually conducts the service. Some remote Tour Operators send representatives with the tour, to ensure things run smoothly for their clients.
OWNER/OPERATORS are those organizations who actually own the facilities and equipment, and actually conduct the service. They tend to be local people; most knowledgeable of the tour/adventure. Often, they rely on remote agents to market their service and assemble bookings.
Given the above definitions, travelers tend to either 1) rely on remote Agents and Tour Operators to assemble their trips, or 2) assemble their own trips by contacting directly with such things as airlines, owner/operators, and lodging.
In either case, when deciding with whom to book many travelers compare price, product, success rate, and how cool web sites look, to rate an operator.
Important additional considerations for you should be 1) budget vs. luxury, 2) business history, 3) middle-man vs. owner, and 4) local connections.
ZARA Tours is a Owner/Operator based in Moshi, Tanzania, and has been conducting Kilimanjaro Treks and Wildlife Safaris for over 27 years. ZARA is a full-service operation, including sales, reservations, operations, and tours, and owns its own hotels, wildcamps, restaurants, gear, and a fleet of Land Rovers. Zara Tours is a staple in the city of Moshi with close connections to vendors and the government. ZARA is the premier value operator in Tanzania, in the sweet spot of price & quality, which 80% of travelers expect (not the 20% which is the extreme of budget or luxury) with a trusted 98% success rate. The experience gained, and consistency enjoyed, by having a staff with 10 years average length of employment, ensures that when you book with ZARA, you are reserving with the actual owner and operator, responsible for your safety, security, experience.
If you would like further information regarding how to choose an operator or specific recommendations for each category, please contact ZARA.