Kensington Tours vs Epic Adventures - Tour Companies Compared
Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.
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Overall — 4.5
Value — 4.5
Guide — 3.5
Activities — 5.0
Lodging — 3.5
Transportation — 4.0
Meals — 4.0
5.0 June 2016
My wife and I have gone on a number of previous African safari trips, but this is the first time I used Kensington Tours because we wanted to go to countries and into the depth of the bush we had not traveled before. Plus friends of ours had never been to Africa and I wanted to be sure they enjoyed the experience. Working with American Express who facilitated our selection of Joline at Kensington far exceeded our expectations. We traveled to Sabi Sands in South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zambia, and to Botswana to experience a true bush safari.Read more
What was so special about Kensington was their logistic planning. We were met at airports to escort us through customs and baggage, and we never had to worry about transportation connections. A perfect example was leaving Zambia to go to Botswana. We were picked up at the Zambia lodge and driven to the border where we were escorted through customs. Then another driver took over and drove us to the port at the river we had to cross. Then a boat met us and took us across the river where we were met by another driver who took us to the airport where we caught a small plane to our lodge in the Okavango Delta. When we landed we were picked up and taken to the lodge. It moved like clockwork. We never had to wait at any transfer point. Imagine trying to arrange that on your own.
Jolene at Kensington selected lodges that blew us away. Each was small with a limited number of rooms/cabins usually averaging around 7-8 cabins per lodge for couples, and each having a high ratio of staff to guests. Each place was superb, starting with Lion Sands River Lodge in Sabi Sands where we saw the big 5 in the first 24 hours. Great Guide/Naturalist and Tracker assigned to us for the morning and evening safari's. Next we went to Zambia and stayed at the Islands of Siankaba Lodge in Livingstone, which was on an island, with the beautiful cabins on stilts facing the river. Our bed looked over the river with screens around us and with a deck out over the river. An exceptional experience and then finally we flew to Botswana and stayed at &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge. You can only get there flying in on small planes, and your individual cabin/house was right in the bush, with its own individual swimming pool and viewing deck on the top of the house. Elephants traveled through the lodge grounds as did other wildlife. An exhilarating experience. You knew you were in Africa. I will definitely consider using Kensington Tours on future trips. And the best part is that it was a custom trip with a lot of value because the trip cost was comparable to A&K and National Geographic which were more fixed tours and usually had a minimum in the group of around 16 versus our 4 people going where we wanted in the order we wanted.
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5.0 June 2016
Gareth was our tour representative and made this a wonderful trip. We had not used Kensington before and could not find reviews of the company online. However, we were extremely satisfied with our tour experience. Although he was not with us on the tour, it seemed that the company had everything set up and was with us every step of the way from our itinerary to each transfer and lodge.Read more
The Victoria and Alfred Hotel was OK, but was in a great location. We did not know that the hotel was going to be under construction when we were there. It was only a minor inconvenience. Staying at the Waterfront was the best. We were near everything and took advantage of the wonderful restaurants and shopping. A must is Chocolates by Tomes.
Our tour to Table Mountain was magnificent. There was a fog that hung over the mountain which created the most spectacular scenes.
Our tour to Cape Point was great. We had a magnificent guide who was a bushman and shared with us so much of his knowledge. I could have stayed in the van all day just to listen to him. Sorry, but I cannot recall his name.
Our tour to the wine country was OK. We visited three wineries--we could have just done two. We did a wine and cheese are Fairview which was beautiful. We did a wine and chocolate. Both the wine and chocolate here was excellent. The last winery hosted a wine and olives which was really a wine and olive oil tasting. This one could be have been omitted for more time in some of the towns or local gardens.
Next, we flew off to Pondoro Game Lodge. The flight went off without a problem. Pondoro is in the northern area of the country. The staff was very accommodating to my dietary needs. The Chef was a gourmet chef with every dish prepared with taste and presentation at heart. The hotel was in a hilly area and all aspects of the hotel were connected by wooden walkways. These were quite challenging to navigate and I would not recommend this lodge in the rainy season. The game drives were fantastic and we were glad to have gone to South Africa in their winter.
Our last stop was Sabi Sabi Selati Camp. This was a 3 hour drive from Pondoro. It was a long drive, but we were very happy with this lodge. The food was not a good as at Pondoro, but the staff treated us like kings and queens. The terrain went from rocky at Pondoro to sandy at Sabi Sabi. Our Ranger, Kyle, was fantastic. Ask for him. He is so knowledgeable about the animals, the birds, and plants. He has a great sense of humor and we felt honored to spend time with him. He walked us to our cabin at night, arranged a special dinner for our anniversary, and ate dinner one evening with us.
This was truly a life experience and I want to thank Gareth for all his hard work in putting this tour together for us.
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2.0 June 2016
I booked a tour of Poland in Oct 2014 (just reviewing now because I was trying to give the company the opportunity to reach back out to me). I talked to the sales consultant about my concerns about being a person of color in Poland because I had been warned by several friends. I mentioned to my sales consultant that I can go to another place in the region if she thinks it will be a be problem. My sales consultant said none of her guests have ever had a problem and I will be just fine in Poland. Upon my return, this is the email message I sent to Kensington Tours...Read more
"I hope you are well. I want to give you some feedback now that I am back in the U.S.
My guide was very knowledgeable. However, she did make several biased statements about Roma people (also known as gypsies) and Jewish people that were a cause for concern. She stated that the Roma people did not work or go to school and only relied on state welfare (she did try to clean up her statement after I said if this is indicative of ALL Roma people). Clearly this is not the case for an entire group of people, and her views were biased and stereotypical. She also stated that Jewish people had big noses and gestured and looked differently than Polish people. She also stated that Jewish people don't live in Krakow because there isn't much finance work there and that is what Jewish people like. These were clearly biased statements and made me uncomfortable, especially given the history of Krakow.
We talked initially about my concern coming to Poland because of racism. You said that no other clients have had issues. Despite your assurances, I have to let you know that throughout my stay I was stared at, received funny looks and/or was ignored or dismissed, all of which made me very uncomfortable. I am sure it is because I am not White. I felt overall that the Polish culture may not be as outwardly friendly or welcoming as other places that I've traveled. I definitely felt I was targeted and treated negatively because I am not White. I asked my tour guide about racial groups and she said that there aren't really other racial groups in Poland. I think the lack of diversity in Poland definitely makes it a more hostile/uncomfortable place for people of color to travel.
It is very unlikely I will go back to Poland given the biased statements made by my tour guide (even though she was extremely knowledgeable) and how I was treated by Polish people. If you have other racial/ethnic minority clients I hope you share this information with them.
I hope this feedback is helpful."
My sales consultant said that she or someone from customer service would get in touch with me. Well, more than a year has passed with no follow-up. People looking at me funny because I am not White is not something Kensington Tours can control. However, it is a major problem when their tour guides make biased statements. I will never spend another dime on Kensington tours given their lack of follow-up on this feedback. I am glad I was traveling alone and not with family. I would hate for children to hear the statements made and taint their truly unbiased view of all people.
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5.0 June 2018
We chose Annapurna Base Camp because the trek has a lower risk of altitude sickness that Everest Base Camp.Read more
The trek was still quite challenging with many mountains to climb over (the guide called them hills ha ha) before we eventually started to follow the valley line up the mountains towards Base Camp. The accommodation was pretty basic (tea houses) in each village we stopped and the temperature kept getting lower the more we climbed. But once we got to base camp the view was amazing and we were so glad that we decided to do this trip. It was pretty hard, but the memories of being surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in the world was worth all the effort.
I would recommend that trip to anybody with a moderate level of fitness
4.0 June 2018
This trek is definitely worth it. It might take a week to trek from start to finish but it is worth every step. The day we got to the base camp was very difficult but only because it started the hail, then snow in the last couple hours of trekking. Apart from that the trek was amazing. The views were amazing and I got to see thing i never would have at home.Read more
|Tours||4 Trips||7 Trips|
|Average Trip Price Per Day||$ 439||$ 75|
|Operator Type||Custom/Private Tour Operator||Group Tour Operator|
|Size||Global Operator||Regional Expert|
|Headquarters||Wilmington, Delaware, USA||Kathmandu, Nepal|
Kensington Tours is an award winning travel company offering in depth tours with experienced guides, unique activities and premium to luxury accommodations.
What Makes Kensington Tours Stand Out?
Kensington Tours is, in their own words “not in the business of booking tours.” Rather they highlight the individuality aspect of each traveler - and their dedication to designing personalized experiences.
Specialized travel experiences created by knowledgeable experts in destinations and experiences. Their local guides add a personal touch as they provide true insider knowledge and make the trip that much more memorable. You can take multiple types of tours from safari to river cruise, active adventure to honeymoon. They also have a unique Explorer in Residence program where you can take a tour guided by explorers such as travel photographers and storm chasers.
They have highly trained, experienced, and knowledgeable destination experts who contribute to the experience by providing local insight, spontaneity, and breadth - so you don’t feel that you miss anything while exploring your destinations.
Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Kensington Tours?
Kensington is a luxury operator; their travelers are well-to-do and value dedicated high class customer service, premier accommodations, and excellent cuisine.
Travelers on a tour with Kensington seek to explore the world in comfort, are adventurous with an appreciation for the finer things. If you’re the kind of person who makes room for hiking boots alongside a few dressy items in your suitcase, Kensington Tours could be a good fit for you.
As opposed to Abercrombie & Kent, which whom they are often compared, Kensington has a more youthful focus, less obviously geared toward older travelers. That said they are a recognizable name among the 55+ crowd and their primary traveler, simply by default of the budget range does tend to be older.
Kensington operates tours around the world, utilizing local accommodation, and diving into the local culture. Knowledgeable and passionate destination experts are on hand to help bring the destination to life.
They are well known for their Africa tours and safaris, which travel throughout the most popular safari destinations, as well as farther afield. In addition, Kensington tours also operate trips in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America. They also have cruise departures to Antarctica!
Kensington Tours Travel Style
Kensington certainly ascribes to the notion that “luxury” does not mean “stiff” or require that you stick to 5 star resorts. Rather it’s a style of travel that allows you to see the world on a deeper, extremely personal level - in safety, comfort, with a guide who becomes like a friend helping reveal small nuances that bring each destination to life in a new way.
Think luxury eco lodges in the heart of Central America, a yacht down the Amazon, 5 star safari lodges where you can sip champagne looking out over the savannah. Transportation is in luxury coaches, comfortable safari jeeps, hot air balloons, river cruises etc.
The Kensington travel perspective is not to book a tour - but to craft an unforgettable experience.
They have many travel styles including Safaris, which they are especially known for, river cruises, and family trips.
Safaris with Kensington Tours - Enjoy the “fabled” African safari experience when you travel with Kensington Tours in Africa. Unforgettable wildlife encounters, luxury lodges, and exclusive private game drives, where expert guides reveal the best viewing opportunities and give excellent tips for spotting and photographing the animals.
And it’s not just about the wildlife. Your safari may include a visit to Mt. Kilimanjaro, an afternoon visiting with local tribes, enjoying their hospitality, food, and learning about their culture.
Active Adventures - True to their outlook on travel, Kensington combines the best of luxury with active adventure. This means whitewater rafting, hiking in Wales, or waterfall rappelling. A day full of activity followed by a well deserved cocktail in the sunset. Kensington adventure tours are offered in a variety of physical levels and are intended for beginners all the way up to hard core experienced adventure travelers.
Family tours with Kensington - Sometimes it can be hard traveling with young ones because not all activities are open to them, and age restrictions cause an unbalanced experience. So Kensington has several family tours designed for a variety of ages. Most feature a stay at one hotel or on a cruise, allowing you to unpack only once and relax into the travel experience.
Food & Wine - All Kensington tours feature spectacular food and wine, but sometimes you want to focus on this specifically - diving deeper into the culture surrounding a places culinary delights. These tours often feature private kitchen visits, winery tours with the winemaker themself, and classes where you can learn to make traditional dishes.
Honeymoon - Let Kensington Tours help you plan the perfect Honeymoon getaway. Work with an expert who will listen to what kind of travel experience you’re looking for and craft an itinerary that is uniquely you.
Festivals & Events - Year round there are spectacular festivals and events held around the world - with countless niches and meanings. You could take in the fun of Oktoberfest, or the brightly colored Carnival in Rio, or the Tulip Festival in Holland. These events are often crowded, very busy, and can be difficult to navigate. Visiting with a Private Guide, and having all the logistics planned out in advance is the best way to relax and be able to truly appreciate the meaning behind the festival and have more fun!
Other styles include “We to Me”, in which you participate in volunteering and conservation initiatives, giving back to local communities and helping keep wildlife areas protected. They also have an “Explorers Club” - tours that follow in the paths of scientists, and explorers both modern day and ancient. And for one of the best holiday traditions, you can book a special Christmas departure, which visits the lovely Christmas markets of Europe.
Why Choose a Tour With Kensington Tours?
If you’re looking for a luxury travel experience with a small, intimate group and private expert guides with you every step of the way, who promise to “transform a vacation into an experience of a lifetime,” then look no further.
The price is hefty (though some more mid budget options are available), but well worth it for a fully immersive, luxurious, comfortable, unforgettable travel experience. Don’t expect to only stick to the tourist sites; Kensington is about incorporating many off the beaten path unique experiences, as well as highlighting fascinating historical and cultural facts.
Epic Adventures offers in depth Nepal tours, as well as tours that feature Bhutan, Tibet, and India.
What Makes Them Stand Out?
They provide a way for you to experience rural and remote Himalayan life, from a local perspective. Their main focus is on hiking tours, where you’ll meet local communities and learn about the mountain cultures. They have an experienced and international team, dedicated to ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all their travelers.
Who Travels With Them?
Their tours are open to all ages, but travelers should be in good physical shape. Their treks and peak climbs are offered in a variety of durations and are all led by extremely experienced guides. Trekking in these environments requires a certain amount of endurance and skill, so travelers should know very clearly the level of the trek or peak climb they choose.
Where Do They Operate?
They are very specially focused in Nepal, with tours also offered in Bhutan, Tibet, and India. Multiple treks and peak climbs are available.
Why Travel With Them?
If you are looking for a lot of variety to choose from for your next Nepal trek, they certainly would be a good place to start. This kind of travel depends on a company that puts safety and guide knowledge first, and Epic Adventures takes this aspect very seriously. They also take care to ensure that all their tours fulfill the commandments of sustainable and responsible travel. Especially important for the area of the world they specialize in.