The Four Steps You Need to Take Before Booking the Safari Adventure of your Dreams
An African safari has made many a bucket list, including ours. From seeing lions in their natural habitat, to exploring the awesome beauty of Victoria Falls or enjoying an extended stay in Cape Town, there are African safari options for travellers of all types.
But with so many safari options available you need to do your research before deciding on the right trip and, just as importantly, the right tour company.
Lucille Sive, president of Lion World Travel, has worked in the safari business for over 30 years. She shares tips that will help you book the adventure of a lifetime.
Step 1: Decide where you want to go
Begin your search by deciding what you want out of your safari. You need to consider if there’s a specific destination to which you want to travel. Are you looking to track gorillas in Rwanda? Spend some time in Cape Town? Do you want 4-star or 5-star accommodations? Answering these questions will help you narrow your search for the type of African safari vacation that meets your needs.
Step 2: Check the reviews
The rise of online review platforms makes it easier than ever to research what a company’s customers say about their vacation experiences. During your research, be sure to check out the customer feedback on platforms like Travelzoo, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Feefo or TrustPilot to ensure that the reviews are strong.
Step 3: Look for deals and special offers
Once you have a short list of safari tour companies, check out their special offers. Many companies offer special packages that include international air, top accommodations and affordable add-ons that are great value for money. Deal sites like Travelzoo are a great place to start your search, but be sure to also research the deals that companies may only offer directly on their websites.
Step 4: Interview the prospective tour companies
Before putting down your deposit, it’s important to call the tour company and actually speak to a live representative. Sive suggests asking 5 important questions:
Do you specialize in Africa?
While this may not seem to be an obvious question, Sive notes that Africa is a destination unlike any other so it’s important that the tour company you work with specializes in African travel, knows the best times to visit and the unique experiences you’ll get from each tour.
Does your staff have first-hand African experience?
You want to deal with someone who can give you a first-hand perspective of the highlights and lowlights of all the tours you’re considering. They can also offer personal recommendations, tips and suggestions for your particular trip based on their own experiences.
Are you secure and bonded?
A trip to Africa is an investment of time, dreams and, of course, money. Protect your investment by looking for a company that is covered by the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program. A bonded company will give you additional peace of mind through increased financial security.
- How long have you been in business?
It takes time to build a strong reputation in the safari vacation business. A company that has been around for over 10 years is more likely to have a solid reputation and that reputation, in turn, helps the company secure the best possible deals from operators, hotels and lodge providers.
- Do you have an office in the area where I will be travelling?
There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination, needing help and having to sit on the phone in your room for hours at a time racking up long-distance phone bills to speak to someone in customer service half-way around the world. A trusted safari company will have a local office with staff that can help you with any customer service issues that may come up.
Check out Travelzoo's safari deals here.