G Adventures vs Absolute Africa - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
Overall — 5
Value — 4.8
Guide — 4.8
Activities — 4.8
Lodging — 4.8
Transportation — 4.8
Meals — 4.8
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
5.0 December 2018
This tour is for those who can deal with a fast pace, early morning starts and staying in a different place each night (except for the 2 nights in Cuenca at the end). A very well thought out - and packed! - itinerary that went off without a hitch, thanks to our very competent, knowledgeable and friendly guide, Franklin, who was also indispensable in organizing side trips/excursions and negotiating a reasonable price for them. Highlights for us were the included morning trip to just below base camp in the Cotopaxi National Park, and the optional excursion to Cajas National Park. The two travel segments by public bus (Quito-Otavalo 2.5 hours; Alausi-Cuenca 4 hours), while interesting, would have been much more enjoyable and comfortable by private transportation. Accommodation was always clean, functional and friendly, but variable in quality from one stop to the next - the highlight being the quaint and comfortable Hacienda El Porvenir at over 3600 metres in a pastoral landscape near the treeline. The high altitude of parts of this tour (Cotopaxi stop at over 4600m and optional Cajas hike 4200m, and even the start-end point of Quito (2800m) is something that prospective travellers should be aware of and plan for (altitude sickness pills, lots of water, good sunscreen)so as to fully enjoy every moment of this memorable trip. As for food, only breakfasts were included, but in most places there were very good food choices in the restaurants and interesting local dishes to try.Read more
Tour Highlands of Ecuador
5.0 December 2018
A stunning and unforgettable experience in landscapes and amidst wildlife every bit as wondrous as we had anticipated! This itinerary packed in numerous landings/hikes and snorkeling opportunities and enabled close-up observation of some of the birds and iguanas for which the islands are famous. The Yolita is considered to be one of the best boats used by G Adventures: the cabins were comfortable and the common areas spacious and pleasant. The 8-person crew was outstandingly efficient, helpful and good-humoured as well as being safety-conscious. They were perfectly trained to help with the sometimes wavy and choppy transfers between boat and panga (dinghy) or boat and rocky shore! They also cooked up very good meals every day. Our guide, Alberto, was very well-organized and knowledgeable, though it took him a while to become willing to engage with questions from the guests. G Adventures has many itineraries in the Galapagos on 4 different boats, though the details of daily shore excursions can change according to the Park authorities' micromanagement to ensure that places are not crowded. If prospective travellers have the money and time to take one of the longest cruises as to visit the geologically newer western and northern islands as well, which we could not do, then you should go for it as you will see different birds and animals than in the South and East. Wildlife viewing also varies with the seasons (warm & wetter versus cool & dry. We would have appreciated having the option to extend our trip by one more night, on land (Santa Cruz) so as to have had a chance to see giant tortoises in the wild instead of having to fly back to Quito mid-morning after an interesting but rushed visit to the Darwin research station. We wish that G Adventures had offered this as an option.Read more
Footnote: G Adventures begins and ends all its Galapagos trips at the Hilton Colon hotel, which we liked very much - very friendly for a big hotel, heated outdoor pool and an amazing buffet breakfast if you have time to enjoy it - our tour left for Galapagos at 4:30AM...
5.0 November 2018
Discover Patagonia Fan
This was our first G Adventures trip and it was a comfort (vs classic) tour. Overall we loved the tour and all it had to offer. The glaciers, National Parks, hikes, scenery, local travel options including ferry/boats all exceeded our expectations. We chose to participate in all the included activities and many optional ones including a boat ride to Perito Moreno Glacier, Teatro Colon Tour, Osorno Volcano Day hike, Tierra del Fuego NP visit, and a helicopter landing on the Andes in Ushuaia. We enjoyed all the included adventures including the Penguin experience, tango lesson, travel via catamaran, Torres del Paine NP, Glacier NP, and the lecture by the glacier expert.Read more
We had a diverse group with ages ranging from 25-88. Everyone was very respectful of each other and we all got along well. Our CEO (tour guide) Gino did an exceptional job of tending to everyone's needs and ensuring each of us was included in as much as we wished. He made it all seem easy and always had a great temperament. He was very skilled at keeping us moving and ensuring we all had fun. When unexpected things occurred such as illness, baggage issues, special needs he handled them well.
The one area I felt was lacking was in the accommodations and in particular in Puerto Varras. The original hotel utilized Radison Park Inn was considerily below our expectations and making the situation worse was that they had a party right next to our assigned rooms until 3:00 a.m. on the second night of our stay. We were able to arrange an upgrade to a sister property that was much nicer and quieter for our second night. The Radison Park Inn was an alternative hotel due to lack of space at the primary hotel but it quality does not match the description of a comfort tour and in my opinion should not be utilized even as a back up option.
Tour Discover Patagonia
3.0 September 2018
Does Not Recommend
73 days from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa, Jan through MarRead more
Do you enjoy people not following rules that affect you directly?
Disregard of 10pm curfew, smoking and noise restrictions, or environmental welfare?
Recurring theft of your well-marked belongings (food, drinks, power cords, etc.)?
Repeat damages to your stuff due to negligence (sleeping bag, backpacks, etc.)?
Incessant juvenile jokes about farts, vomit, drunkenness, burps, sex, or making fun of others?
Constant loud music rather than enjoyment of nature?
Purposeful ignoring of guide’s requests to the extent that it may endanger you…
Person buying drugs in broad daylight and near cop – you could be made guilty by association
Person drinking while driving, guilty by association if open container found by authorities
Lack of food because some people abuse how much they take or stash away
Waiting for the people who are not prepared, not following the schedule or could care less that they are enjoying themselves while you WAIT – hey you paid the same price, but they enjoy while you WAIT
People not sharing the workload saying they have more important things to do like washing hair, downloading pictures, making phone calls. Once again you paid the same price, but they enjoy while you WORK
People who make you miss optional events you sign up for because they came back too late or crossed your name out of events you have signed up for replacing it with their own?
People claiming that they don’t have money to give tips (the way many survive in Africa) while they carry thousands of dollars of equipment, have money for drinks every night, buy drugs, give each other’s birthday gifts, etc. Embarrassing to be associated with these uncaring people. What bad reputation!
People pushing elder of a village out of the way to take picture? Others entering locals’ homes without asking? Clearly invading their privacy, acting as if these people don’t matter.
People refusing to share tents, storage areas, workload, space to take pictures, etc. The me, me, me syndrome leading to people being hurt due to pushing to be there first, etc.
Most of this could have been address by the guide but he chose not to be involved so it festered for 73 days, making the bullies get all they wanted and the non-bullies, second citizens – incredibly sad.
THANKFULLY, Africa, its people and nature are AMAZING, and you push that aside long enough to enjoy it until you return to the bus and face the sad reality of your tour cohorts.
Overall, this felt like a race to the bottom or the lowest common denominator instead of an uplifting experience.
Tour Absolute Africa Company Reviews
5.0 August 2017
AA took me from Nairobi to Vic Falls and I really enjoyed the experience. The group had people from different ages and backgrounds, from uni students to retired ladies. After a few days you feel very familiar to your travel buddies and there is a general feeling of cordiality and warmth. The food was great and I could make it healthysh. There is options for vegetarians, lots of fruits and vegetables if you like.Read more
The truck is fine if you keep in mind that an overland camping tour in Africa not supposed to be comfortable. I felt safe all the time and reafirmed my belief that dangerous places are not necessarily those where many people live a very simple life.
The only thing I missed was having contact with local people. But I understand that this is a group tour, and a deeper contact demand a different travel style.
Tour Absolute Africa Company Reviews
5.0 January 2017
Had the time of my life reminded me that I was still young (in mind). V and Kanyo where out of this world made everything really easy for us all (even if I beat Kanyo in the chilli challenge) ok we will call it a draw as we both ate the hottest chilli Africa had to offer raw. I can't recommend the 58 day trip from Cape Town to Nairobi highly enough everything you could wish to do is all there for you my personnel highlights were trekking to see the mountain gorillas, the Ngorongoro crater, trying surfing, white water rafting on the grade 5 Rapids on the Zambize, winning 150 000 in the casino in Uganda ( don't get excited was only enough for 20 beers). Thanks V, every game drive had something new to see. What really made the trip was the like minded people who all went to have great experiences and lots of fun. The 4 day stay on Zanzibar was another highlight, sometimes you need a holiday from your holiday just to relax and recharge the batteries. All in all a great holiday with memories and friends I will remember all my life.Read more
Absolute thanks for a great time, only one downside I had to go back to work after wished I could have stayed forever.
Hope to see you soon
Tour Absolute Africa Company Reviews
|Tours||412 Trips||2 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 195||$ 159|
|Operator Type||Group Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Toronto, Canada||Chiswick, London, UK|
|Solo Friendly||No single supplement||N/A|
Specializing in small-group, multi-day adventure tours and expeditions, Toronto-based G Adventures has been a pioneer in the field since 1990.
Founded by entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip after a backpacking trip to Asia, the company fosters sustainable and environmentally sound tourism practices -- giving back to the communities they visit -- and considers its business “changig people’s lives,” not just offering a vacation.
It’s since grown to become the world’s largest independent adventure travel company, with more than 1,350 employees, many of them professionally trained guides.
What Makes G Adventures Stand Out?
Trips with G Adventures are all encompassing, adventurous, exciting, and fulfilling. Since the beginning, G Adventures has maintained a strong message of engaging with local cultures, being a responsible traveler, and contributing back to communities. Their trips are designed to be life changing.
G Adventures strives to create unique experiences for its travelers that start even before the trip itself. The company provides trip inspiration through their Looptail blog and you can connect with fellow travelers via the ‘Departure Lounge’, which is part of G’s ‘Watering Hole’ travel forum.
Once on your trip, you will meet your ‘CEO’ or ‘Chief Experience Officer’ who is “responsible for enriching your journey, offering local insight, and pursuing great experiences as they happen.” Most groups average around 12 travelers, with a maximum of 16 on most trips.
G Adventures has made a concerted effort to expand their offering beyond youth focused adventures, though this remains a core theme. Your Danube River Cruise will be imbued with the same culturally immersive and adventurous touch as your trekking journey through the Himalayas.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With G Adventures?
If you are the kind of traveler who packs running shoes before dress shoes, hiking attire before dinner attire, and a sense of adventure before playing it safe, then G Adventures is the perfect fit for you. You love engaging with locals, meeting new people, and being spontaneous. You also favor experiences over luxury accomodations.
Most G Adventures tours have an active focus - expect to be on the move, packing a lot in. That said they do allot generous free time to explore on your own. There’s a chance you may not see every major tourist attraction in the interest of a more “real” experience. But the nice thing is if a particular site is not on the itinerary, you can use your free time to visit.
If you are interested in a tour that plans every part of the itinerary down to the minute, G Adventures will probably not be the best fit for you.
While its target market has traditionally been younger travelers in the 18-39 range, G Adventures has expanded significantly, now offering a broad range of trips that appeal to adventurous-minded, culturally curious people of any age.
Groups are geographically diverse, with a higher proportion of North Americans than some other operators. G Adventures also does not charge a single supplement, so solo travelers are very welcome on their trips.
They offer numerous travel styles, some at a higher budget range, like their National Geographic Journeys. Most G Adventures trips are accessible to low to mid budgets and are ideal for travelers who like experiential small group active travel.
You can find G Adventures trips in most parts of the globe, including 32 countries in Europe, 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 21 countries in Asia, 10 countries in South America, 12 countries in Central America and the Caribbean, five countries in North Africa and the Mideast, plus the U.S., and Canada.
A number of destinations are well off the beaten track, from Sao Tome and Principe in West Africa to Borneo in east Asia to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and both polar regions.
Itineraries often focus on more off the beaten path locations; small towns, remote and rural villages, less touristy districts and sites.
G Adventures Travel Style
Pricing is competitive (cheaper), largely by using “grassroots” approaches: local transport and a mix of privately-owned accommodations, perhaps including homestays and camping. Efforts are made to focus on authenticity with both culinary choices (locally-owned restaurants) as well as transportation methods.
G Adventures truly offers something for everyone. Trip styles include Classic, Active, Rail, YOLO (You Only Live Once - for 18-39’s), National Geographic Journeys, Marine, Family, Local Living, and Private Groups.
Classic - Classic trips with G Adventures are designed for independent minded travelers who don’t want to miss anything. This is the perfect choice if you want a balanced mix of classic tourist sights and local cultural experiences.
Active - Throwing it back to one of the things G Adventures does best. Kayak, walk, hike, trek; experience your destination through the outdoors. These multi-sport trips are great if you hate standing still and enjoy being out in nature. G Adventures Active tours are ideal for those who are relatively physically fit and like a challenge.
Rail - A rail journey is a great way to dial it back. Take it slow and really savor the feeling of the journey. Take iconic routes and enjoy the ride.
YOLO - “You only live once” is the acronym, and while G Adventures provides adventurous experiences for all, these trips are specifically designed for 18-39 year olds. Get cheeky, get wild, experience life unfettered, as you explore the culture and the local nightlife. If you have the stamina, these trips are once in a lifetime. Kind of like the age range.
National Geographic Journeys - A more premium travel experience, these G Adventures trips, as part of a partnership with National Geographic Expeditions, involve the same culturally immersive approach and knowledgeable guides with an elevated level of accommodations and service.
Marine - Love to be out on the water? Let G Adventures cruises take you to the far reaches of the globe via river and ocean. Experience incredible sights above and below the surface. Unpack once and enjoy the escape of being a part of the crew and passengers.
Family - Adventure tours aren’t always especially friendly to younger travelers. G Adventures Family Friendly tours make adventure activities accessible for you and your youngsters! Trips often have an educational element, and are designed with multiple ages in mind.
Local Living - Get to the heart of it with a homestay. These tours are designed to make you really feel at home and appreciate the feel and rhythm of living like a local.
Private Groups - If you and your family, or a group of friends want the fun all to yourself, G Adventures can plan a private group trip just for you.
Note: part of the culturally immersive experience when traveling with G Adventures is the use of public transportation. This means carrying your own luggage on buses, trains, etc - sometimes during commute hours! So pack light for your own comfort and the comfort of those around you.
Why Choose a Tour With G Adventures?
For those travelers seeking an exciting, professionally guided, and culturally immersive travel experience G Adventures is the perfect tour company to consider. Their trips are designed to be as authentic as possible - and they place much emphasis on giving back to local communities - so you’ll know your tourism dollars are going toward meaningful causes.
Trips with G Adventures are not luxury by any means. But if unique experiences and active days appeal to you over a fluffy pillow then you’re in the right place.
Departures are guaranteed once you’ve paid (barring significant weather or safety issues). And they don’t charge single supplements. In short, G Adventures wants you out there with them.
You can find something for everyone at G Adventures; whether that’s sailing down the Danube with a glass of wine in hand, or traipsing through the rainforests of Costa Rica.
1. What kind of luggage should I bring?
On many G Adventures trips it’s important to keep in mind that local public transportation is used frequently. Sometimes during commute hours! For your comfort and the comfort of those around you, it’s a good idea to pack light. Some areas will be very crowded, so take pickpocket precautions.
2. Do I need travel insurance?
Yes! Travel insurance is required for all travelers on G Adventures trips. If you don’t have your own insurance already, you can purchase a plan for the time you’ll be traveling when you book your G Adventures tour. This is an easy and budget friendly option. If you’re interested in browsing more plans, check out the top travel insurance options »
3. Is airfare included?
Unfortunately no. While G Adventures does not include international airfare in their trip prices, they can help you book flights.
4. Is there a single supplement?
No. G Adventures does not charge a single supplement for their tours. Single travelers are very welcome. You will share with a same-sex roommate during the tour. If you wish to have a single room, there is usually an option to pay an additional fee for your own room.
5. Is there an age cap?
While G Adventures trips tend to appeal largely to younger adventure travelers, all ages are welcome on the majority of trips. The exceptions include on their 18-39 tours, which are specifically designed for only travelers within that range. On most other G Adventures trips, children under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian, and are open to kids 12 and up. Some family friendly trips are open to younger kids.
6. What size are the groups?
G Adventures group tours are kept small and intimate. The max is 15, with the average hovering more around 10.
Founded in 1979, Absolute Africa has been operating expertly led overland tours throughout Africa for over twenty five years.
What Makes Them Stand Out?
They are staffed by an entirely local crew, letting you see a different side of Africa through local eyes. Apart from their popular overland tours, they also offer gorilla treks, Kilimanjaro climbs, and add-ons such as a beach stay on Zanzibar Island.
Who Travels With Them?
Typically younger travelers take these tours - though there is no age limit. Do be prepared to chip in and help with setting up camp, cleaning, and cooking. Overland tours involve some camping, and days can be long and not always comfortable - so go with an adventurous spirit!
Where Do They Operate?
They focus exclusively in Africa, with tours ranging from 9-11 weeks to 1-3 weeks.
Why Travel With Them?
If you’re itching for an adventure, and are looking for a completely unique experience, Absolute Africa is sure to deliver. You’ll meet like-minded adventurous travelers who enjoy overland travel, and get to truly be a part of making the trip meaningful as you contribute to all aspects of the journey.