I'm thinking about a safari to Tanzania in the Serengeti region, as well as Ngorongoro Crater region. I have two options I'm looking at, one is a group tour done by a travel company and the other is would be done privately just for myself, with a company that specializes in flying its customers out to more remote regions to give them more private viewing opportunities. Both have advantages, so I'm having trouble choosing between the two.
I've been told that the group tour option looks pre-packaged, and that those companies typically drive to popular safari spots where you're sort of surrounded with other tour company vehicles and you don't get as much of a chance to see the wildlife because you're competing with other people. That's the reason for the title of the question, I'm wondering if that's really a consideration with the COVID situation right now, or if tourism has, indeed, picked up enough that this can pose a problem for wildlife viewing.
Also on my bucket list is meeting the Hadza tribe, which both companies are able to do. The group tour would have me stay at a lodge near Lake Eyasi and drive me out to meet the Datoga tribe and also the Hadza. The private option would only be meeting the Hadza, but it would involve flying me out to the Yaeda Chini Valley from which I would need to take a 4 hour drive and camp locally to meet them, so sounds a bit remote. It is important to me to get an authentic experience and learn the ways of the Hadza, so maybe this is the better option. However, I've also read that in some cases the Hadza closer to main tourist areas are actually dressing more like their ancestors thousands of years ago, just because this is what tour operators tell them tourists want, whereas Hadza in the more remote regions wear more modern clothes, which they've received as gifts from researchers. I've also heard that alcoholism is destroying the traditional culture in both local and remote Hadza communities, and that it's more pronounced in the closer communities. So I can see benefits of either close or remote communities.
What I don't want is to get an experience that feels like it's just put on for tourists, or to ask the local Hadza why they practice the things they do, only for them to not know themselves, due to how much tourism has destroyed their culture. I've had that problem when trying to learn about local people on other trips. I've also been told that some of the Datoga events that are listed on the group tour, like meeting the blacksmith are very commercialized and not authentic.
Any advice on this would be appreciated, as meeting the local tribes is one of my primary interests on this trip, and one I don't want to get messed up due to it being too touristy.
Any advice in helping to choose between the two would be appreciated, bearing in mind that what I'm looking for is an authentic experience, and not anything touristy. Main considerations right now are having good viewing opportunities of the animals on safari, and having an authentic experience when I meet the tribes, particularly the Hadza. Canoeing safari and Stone Town are nice to haves, as long as they're authentic. The last thing I want is something like seeing a tribal dance, and then when I ask questions about it, to be told the dancers don't even know what the dance means because they only do it for tourists.
Thanks in advance!Edited: 31 August 2021, 08:53