Whether you are a couple, family or a small group you deserve a safari that is tailored just for you. After all, this may be a once in a lifetime experience. Of course, there are also a lot of choices to make – where to go, when to go, what to do and where to stay? The options can be a bit overwhelming and the advice confusing (and even contradictory).
Tailor making safari itineraries is our speciality. We take great care to maintain an extensive database of safari camps, lodges and hotels so that we are always up to date with what is new on the ground. We also nurture our long standing relationships with a host of safari operators and maintain associate offices in nearly every country - thus ensuring that your safari experience is of the highest standard.
There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when deciding on what will be a good safari for you - your budget, the time of year you are able to travel, how many in your party/group, your choice of safari style, the destinations or sights you are most interested in seeing...and so on.
You can rely on our local knowledge and insights in the planning process. Only by getting the best advice and most sound recommendations can you make the correct choices from the many options available. But not only do we work with you to create the perfect safari itinerary, but you can leave it to us to arrange all your flights, accommodation, logistical arrangements and payments to operators.So where do you start? Simple. Just complete the Start Planning panel at the bottom of this page and tell us what you have in mind...
Fly-in safaris are, by definition, safaris which allow you the luxury of travelling between locations using light aircraft charters or scheduled flights that take you directly to your destination, whether that be a small airstrip near camp or the nearest airport. The obvious benefits being that it is fast and little time is wasted in moving from one location to the next. In many cases there are little or no formalities and security checks to slow your progress and having enjoyed a full game drive in the morning you can be at the next camp by lunch. Most of these inter-camp transfers are conducted between game activities so that you get the full benefit of your time at each location.
Fly-in safaris thus ensure that you do not spend countless hours travelling between the highlights of your safari - the game reserves and safari camps.
A good example of a suitable fly-in safari destination is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. With camps spread through the delta, and few roads to speak of, flying between camps is the obvious choice. But in areas like the Ngorongoro and Serengeti in northern Tanzania there exists the option to either fly-in or take a private vehicle + driver/guide. The choice comes down more to personal preference and budget (with logistical considerations being the deciding factor).
One aspect of fly-in safaris that should be borne in mind is that there will be a luggage limit - generally 15 to 20 kgs (30lbs). Some charter companies are so concerned about weight that you will be required to provide them with your own (body) weight prior to your safari!
Private vehicle + driver/guided safaris offer perhaps the most flexibility of all in terms of your day to day activities. It also has the added attraction of featuring your own private guide throughout your safari.
The private vehicle + driver/guide safari should not be confused with a mobile tented safari, where the group is generally made up of individuals who do not know each other previously and the itinerary has set departure dates.
But this style of safari is not available everywhere, and only works well where the distances between game reserves is not too great and the road not too awful. This style of safari has become most established in East Africa - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and is often combined with a flight that takes you back to your starting point and thus avoiding the long drive back. Many such trips, also referred to as 'escorted', can be found in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa - either private or as part of a small group.
Importantly, if there are more than two of you, then taking a private vehicle can be very effective in reducing the cost of the safari on a per person basis. Something to keep in mind.
Another positive in favour of the private vehicle safari is that you have no limitation (within reason!) on the amount of luggage you are allowed. The vehicles all have ample space to take luggage (and it is OK if your camera bag is bulging with photographic equipment!).
By small group safaris we are referring to safaris which have set departure dates and are designed for those who might prefer to join a small group rather than arrange a tailor made safari. There are a number of advantages (and some disadvantages) - on the up side, they are usually more reasonably priced and feature a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide. They are also a great way to meet other travellers from around the world. The only potentially negative aspects that you need to keep in mind are the fact that the itinerary is 'set in stone' and that each tour leaves on specified dates through the year which may not coincide with when you had planned to arrive in Africa.
There is also a certain amount of overlap with luxury mobile tented safaris as these tend to be arranged along the same lines, albeit using traditional mobile camps with canvas tents and staff to erect and take down camp.
Small group tours are available throughout east and southern Africa and offer a variety of accommodation options including participatory camping, basic cabins and chalets, or more exclusive safari lodges and camps.
If you are looking to travel as part of a small group it is always helpful if you can give us a time frame to work with, along with your desired locations, and allow us to check with our local offices (whether that be in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana etc) so that we can let you know what is currently available. With daily and set departures available it is more than likely that we can find a tour that fits the bill. Giving us as much detail as possible is key...although with a little flexibility.
(Larger) Group Safaris (where there are 8 or more people in the party/group) have their own set of considerations when it comes to itinerary planning and some finer points should be borne in mind:
- Booking a safari with a large group will require more advanced planning as availability will become an issue.
- Many of the lodges and camps have 12 beds or less - group size needs to be a consideration.
- Groups do not automatically get discounted rates.
- Arranging private air charters between camps or making use of a private vehicle can often bring substantial savings.
- Groups should consider using specialist African tour guide to travel with them and lend some consistency to the trip. It is comforting to know that there is someone at hand focused on ensuring that everything goes according to plan and that you are well looked after - plus of course sharing his/her expert knowledge and experience with the group.
Of course, there are many levels of accommodation on offer - from participatory camping, where you assist in putting up your own tent and preparing meals, to simple chalets or cabins offering more comfort, to the more exclusive safari camps and lodges (some small, some large):
On safari you will stay in designated camping sites. Facilities are generally good with hot showers and washing facilities. An essential part of a these camping safaris is of course - participation. From putting up your tent and helping the guides around the camp with meals – it's all part of your adventure. Camping in the wilds of Africa is the way to go - it's an awesome experience to lie in your tent at night listening to the roar of lions of the lonely cry of a jackal!
Cabins / Chalets
If putting up a tent is not your style but travelling in Africa has always been your dream, we have the perfect safaris for you. For those looking for a little more comfort we offer a range of Cabin/Chalet safaris. Based on a proven small group safaris concept, these tours are generally through southern Africa using small hotels, chalets, cabins and permanent tented camps. Accommodation is generally on a twin share basis - some with en suite bathrooms and some with communal ablutions. These may vary from twin bed permanent tents in a National Park to a hotel a few metres from the beach. Comfortable, clean and friendly. With professional guides to lead your safari and a comfortable bed to sleep in every night you are assured of fantastic holiday. You will not find a better value for money, quality safari.
Safari Camps / Lodges
Especially in East Africa, where a number of the larger safari lodge chains operate in all the major game reserves, it is possible to join a set departure safari circuit that takes in all the standard sights in comfort and with the help of an experienced guide.