When planning or booking a luxury safari there are a few questions that must be asked, just to make sure you are really booking the right luxury safari for you – here we hope to outline these for you.
It always makes sense to book a luxury safari with a tour operator, or Africa expert, since they will have been to all the lodges and camps so can give you accurate first hand advice on what they’re like, but best of all they have access to much better rates than you can get direct – they take their commission from the camps and lodges not from you, so can always save you money. Some luxury safari camps and lodges don’t even release their special offers to the public, but release them only to tour operators. Here are our top questions to ask when booking a luxury safari:
Is this camp inside or outside the park? Contrary to popular belief you want the answer to be outside (some exceptions) – National Parks in Africa have two things which can ruin a luxury safari, many other tourists and rules. There are many excellent private conservancies that are bordering National Parks (which are unfenced) and offer amazing game viewing, fewer people and the freedom to explore Africa as you wish.
How many people do they put in a game drive vehicle? Most camps have vehicles made for seven people (three rows and one seat next to the driver) – some camps will put six people in those vehicles, others will put four – some slip through the net and try and put eight or nine people in, this can ruin a safari as many can’t hear, and having too many people on a game drive vehicle can make it a little loud.
What is included? It is best to know now exactly what you’re getting for your money, rather than arriving and find your park fees have been excluded, or that water isn’t included – most luxury safari camps and lodges are all inclusive, but it is best to double check this – make sure you get everything in writing.
What will the weather be like? Although you will have looked at a climate chart yourself this question is very important, and must be asked to someone who has experience travelling in the area you are visiting. For instance – even though in South Africa in August, it is over 15 degrees c in the morning, it feels more like 5 degrees thanks to the biting wind – things like this cannot be picked up from a climate chart.
Who else will be at our camp? Of course this is impossible to predict, but a safari can be ruined if a family turn up at a honeymoon orientated camp, or a honeymoon couple are surrounded by very young children, it often pays to check what special offers the camp have – if there are honeymoon or family discounts it is likely these type of clients will also be at your camp. Best to find out before hand what to expect. You can also follow up with Luxury Safari Company and ask questions about their options.
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Photo credits: Landrover zebra from Cheli and Peacock, Lion and Buffalo: Nomad Tanzania camp and View of elephants from Sabuk Lodge.