POSTED ON 11th February 2016 BY Ollie Blackwell
A safari. For most of us, the word itself conjures up images of adventure; of faraway lands, exploration, and excitement…
In Swahili, the word safari translates to ‘going on a journey.’ And what a journey it will be! Traveling Africa on a safari holiday is something many people dream of, and for good reason.
Imagine waking with the dawn to watch the sunrise across the Serengeti while having your breakfast and morning cup of tea or coffee brought to you on a tray. Or driving through the vast and unspoiled plains in search of those elusive lions, and the excitement that you’ll feel when your guide points to a lone tree and you spot one of the beautiful and majestic kings resting in the shade.
If all you know of wild Africa is David Attenborough or Big Cat Diary you are in for the surprise of your life, says Brian Jackman in The Telegraph.
But there’s another aspect of your trip that you shouldn’t overlook: the safari provider that you’ll use.
In addition to researching your must-see locations (such as the amazing Himba Trail in Namibia), it’s really worth spending some time vetting potential safari companies to ensure that you find one that is able to give you the dream holiday that you’re seeking.
The truth is that, just like no two holidays are the same, neither are any two safari companies. Each one provides a different level of service and has a different standard of quality. Choosing a safari company may seem straightforward, but it’s vitally important. The safari company that you choose will, in large part, make or break your experience.
Of course, writing this a member of the Safari Drive team, I strongly believe in the qualities of our organisation. But I also appreciate we’re just one of many options out there – some good, some not so good. To that end, my intention here is to educate you. Because if you’re planning your adventure of a lifetime, it’s important to choose a company that’s reputable, knowledgeable, and professional. One who will be able to meet your expectations, preferences, and needs.
To help you find a company that will be able to give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of, and more, here are seven questions that you should ask when choosing a safari company…
When on safari, the last thing you will want is to be disappointed. This is why it’s important to find a safari company that’s excellent at communicating, and more than happy to answer any questions that you have. At Safari Drive, we welcome our customers into our office in the UK.
We’d love to discuss all of the different safari options that you can choose from, and look over maps with you over a cup of tea. Our goal is to help you create a safari experience that’s sure to live up to your expectations, and we encourage you to join us for a chat.
Safari companies often employ staff who may have very little expedience within the country, but you’ll want to find a company with firsthand experience to help you plan your holiday.
At Safari Drive, many of our team has been to Africa multiple times, if not lived there. We love talking about safaris because it’s something that we’re familiar with and genuinely adore. We’d love to share our knowledge and experience with you!
The best safari companies are very clear on what they offer, and provide detailed packages that include everything that you need to know to make an informed decision. If a company’s website contains vague descriptions, this should be a warning sign. It could mean that the company outsources to unverified ground operators, and are unable to be specific about various aspects of the safari, because they aren’t certain themselves!
You’ll want to see comprehensive itineraries that are packed full of details and helpful information. It’s a sign that the team is experienced, reputable, and knows exactly what you should be able to expect while you’re there.
Not all safaris are created equal. Safaris vary considerably and can range between simple camping excursions, to private, luxury lodges. Instead of choosing a company that sells a one-size-fits-all safari, you’ll want to find one that offers safari styles that are varied and flexible – allowing you to choose a safari that’s exactly what you’re looking for.
We also offer self-drive tailor-made safaris where you have absolute freedom in choosing what you want to do.
Look for a safari company that engages in sustainable tourism. Safari operators have a responsibility to respect the local communities and environment, and should take care to minimise their carbon footprint while contributing to the local communities.
At Safari Drive, we are committed to supporting sustainable tourism practices. Our goal is to encourage our companies, suppliers, and customers to protect the natural environment, respect local cultures, benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and minimise pollution.
Look to see if the company is bonded. Check for bonding such as the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL), and the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT). These organisations are designed to provide financial protection for travelers who purchase package holidays, should their travel company cease trading.
Companies that are bonded through these organisations prove that they are putting their customers first; ensuring that their money will be safe, even in the event of their failure. At Safari Drive, we protect our customers by bonding through both organisations for your security and peace of mind.
Finally, check to see how long the company has been operating. You’ll want to find a company that has a solid track record of providing excellent safaris, and the length of time that they’ve been in business is a good indicator of this.
Safari Drive, we’ve been in business since 1993. Our longstanding commitment to exceptional safaris has gone a long way towards helping us to continue to grow and thrive for over twenty years.
Choosing a safari company is one of the most important decisions that you will make when planning your African safari. The right company will be experienced, knowledgeable, and professional.
They’ll also be happy to work alongside you to create the safari of your dreams, and will do everything they can to ensure that you will have the best experience possible.
Would you like to learn more about taking an African safari? Contact Safari Drive for a free consultation and our friendly and helpful team will contact you as soon as they can.