Intrepid Travel vs Absolute Africa - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 5
Value — 4.6
Guide — 4.6
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
Overall — 5
Value — 4.7
Guide — 4.5
Activities — 4.6
Lodging — 4.6
Transportation — 4.6
Meals — 4.6
Recent Reviews

Loved camping with Intrepid

5.0 June 2018
LR
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Loved this trip. Camping in very nice places - usually had hot water and nice showers. Great itinerary - LOVED Namibia and the variety of the tour from the desert to the delta to the parks.

Intrepid did an incredible job

5.0 December 2017
ATFT
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Thailand Cambodia Trip. Nov 2017. For my 60th birthday I decided I wanted to take my family of 6 to Thailand and Cambodia. After my initial conversation with the Intrepid office, they pulled together a perfect 24 day custom itinerary for us. My Intrepid coordinator really listened. We set up a incredibly diverse trip, ranging from ocean front resorts to a primitive hillside village trek. From the minute we landed in Bangkok, to the day we flew home, all transfers went off with out a hitch. What really made our trip memorable was our local guides. Every single one of them were warm, professional, humorous but most importantly, had a deep knowledge of the geography, the plant life, dining, the history and government. We felt by the end of the trip, these guides had become a part of our family. The entire trip was amazing and we will definitely use Intrepid for our next adventure travel. Thanks so much.
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great tour

5.0 October 2017
k
Recommends
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 3.0
the guide was very knowledgeable - friendly - great sense of humour - looking out for the safety of the tour members - organised - thoroughly nice guy

Race to the bottom

3.0 September 2018
D
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 2.0
  • Activities 3.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 3.0
  • Meals 3.0
73 days from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa, Jan through Mar
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.
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Tour Absolute Africa Company Reviews

you should go!

5.0 August 2017
v
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
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.
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.
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Tour Absolute Africa Company Reviews

A great holiday!

5.0 January 2017
I
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
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.
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
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Tour Absolute Africa Company Reviews

Tours 1,071 Trips 2 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 187 $ 159
Operator Type Mixed Land & Cruise Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Regional Expert
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Group Tours
  • Private Guided Trips
Service Level Standard Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • Africa
Known For
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia Chiswick, London, UK
Year Established 1989 N/A
Solo Friendly No single supplement N/A
Tour Languages English
Top Trips
Similar Companies
Countries
About Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is all about ‘real life experiences.’ Founded back in 1989 following an “intrepid” African adventure trip, Intrepid lives up to its name by offering up some pretty big adventures -- such as an 11-day hike through Papua New Guinea -- but is broad-based enough to also lead group trips to Hawaii, complete with sipping sunset Mai Tais on Waikiki Beach.

Intrepid Travel - Quick Facts

Founded in 1989

No Single Supplement (rare exceptions)

Small Groups - max 16 on most trips

Typical Age Range - 18 - 45

Travel Style - Cultural immersion, adventure, overland

Accommodation Style - Camping, Hostels, 3 /4 star hotels

Average Tour Price - $2,377

Top Regions - Asia, Africa, Europe, South America

Other Brands: Peregrine, Geckos

Commonly compared with G Adventures »

Morocco homestay with Intrepid Travel

What Makes Intrepid Travel Stand Out?

Above all else, Intrepid strives to get its travelers off the beaten path and under the surface of the local culture. To accomplish this, group sizes average just 10 travelers each, with a maximum of 16 on most trips. This allows for more use of local transportation and lodging, along with fostering cultural immersion.

Intrepid also employs local English-speaking leaders who act more as a resource for local exploration than do typical ‘guides,’ shepherding groups from one place to another.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Intrepid Travel?

Intrepid is one of the early pioneers of the “adventure”-style guided trip. Despite its informal beginnings and emphasis on younger, highly adventurous travelers, Intrepid has expanded to a global company with a broad range of trips to fit all ages.

Intrepid divides its small-group trips into three separate styles of travel, all priced accordingly. “Basix,” for budget travelers, keep inclusions to a minimum and offer plenty of free time, “Original” journeys which offer more included activities and more hotels, while “Comfort” trips offer the highest level of included activities and standards of accommodation, as well as roomier vehicles.

The kind of traveler who gravitates to Intrepid Travel is one who has a real sense of adventure - whether this means hard adventure, or simply going deeper off the beaten path. Interacting with locals is an important factor when you travel, as is gaining a unique cultural perspective. A sense of fun is also essential, whether it means going out at night with your tour mates or daring, ahem, encouraging each other to try strange new foods.

Top Destinations

Monk mediating in Myanmar on tour with Intrepid Travel

Originally focused on small group adventure tours to Asia, Intrepid has expanded rapidly over the years, while maintaining its classic, adventurous, and immersive style. Today Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 different experiences in over 100 countries, on all seven continents. Regions with the most trips include Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe.

Intrepid Travel Style

Intrepid enjoys using local, unique forms of transportation. You might find yourself traveling by felucca in Egypt, on a camel in Morocco, or in a tuk-tuk on the best Thailand tour of your life. Accommodations, which could range from guesthouses to home stays, are also locally owned, allowing a more authentic taste of the region while contributing to the local economy.

There are a few broad travel styles to choose from when deciding on an Intrepid tour:

1. Basix - Budget travelers who don’t mind, and in fact prefer, simple accommodations - camping and homestays with basic amenities, and crave a lot of free time for exploring independently will love these tours. Public transportation is used exclusively so pack light! These trips often attract a younger crowd who love the idea of throwing a backpack on, keep plenty of room for the unexpected in their schedule, and allocate their travel funds towards spontaneous bus tickets and street food instead of museum tours and 5 star restaurants.

2. Original - These trips take the backpacker spirit of local immersion, incorporating all the benefits that come with going with a planned itinerary. This style is called “Original” because it’s the type of travel that put Intrepid on the map...pun intended. Accommodations are still simple and budget minded - often homestays are used to give you a true sense of place, personality, and culture. Mostly public transportation is used.

3. Comfort - Intrepid is known for the active adventure style of travel and these trips keep that mentality, with a few more creature comforts thrown into the mix. You can expect higher end, more discerning, accommodations that include a wider variety of included amenities, transportation is mostly private, though you can still expect to use some public transport, as is the Intrepid way. More meals are included in the trip price, and more group activities - which means a bit less free time to explore on your own.

Why Choose a Tour With Intrepid Travel?

Sample of many spices in Middle Eastern market

Intrepid is a good choice if you don’t mind foregoing some creature comforts for a truly authentic, local experience. If you enjoy meeting locals when traveling, sampling new and exciting foods, and traveling in mixed-aged groups of 10-16 people, Intrepid could be a good fit for you.

It’s important to note, sometimes “ample free time” can be a blessing and a curse. It sounds great on paper, but if you’re looking to maximize your dollar and your vacation time, be sure you understand the implications of having a lot of free time during your itinerary.

For some travelers this is an absolute requirement, but for others it can be tough to branch off and explore independently - you also need to make sure you allocate enough travel money for independent meals. The tour leaders are great resources of information for how to spend your free time, but if you like having a full day scheduled from breakfast to dinner, Intrepid may not be the best company for you.

Lastly, if sustainable and responsible travel is important to you, Intrepid has poured millions of dollars into local economies, and has a very strong emphasis on responsible travel. So you can feel good knowing that your money helps support some of the innkeepers, vendors, and communities that you’ll meet along the way.

About Absolute Africa

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.

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