About Our Safaris

About Our Safaris

Our interest is in countries, where wildlife is under threat and tourism is a source of revenue for the conservation of wildlife, land and improvement of the lives of local people.

Africa

– has so many incredible countries, each with something quite unique. Here is a brief summary of the countries on offer:

Tanzania is quintessential Africa, with open savvanah and flat topped acacia trees. If you go on one safari in your life, it should be to Tanzania.  Host to the Serengeti National Park; the annual wildebeest migration for nine months of the year; Ngorongoro Crater; Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa; Lake Tanganyika with a habituated chimpanzee population and the coral reefs off the islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba. Tanzania lends itself to an overland safari, which works well with families who will have their own vehicle and driver/guide.  Travelling by air or combining overland travel with air travel enables you to cover more ambitious distances. Tanzania has the widest variety of safaris to suit every budget, from overland safaris using public camp-sites to “fly all the way” safaris including the most luxurious lodge in Africa. Our itineraries are designed, so that an island trip can follow on from a safari, which completes a trip to this truly wonderful country.

Botswana has some of Africa’s finest game-viewing, but is an expensive destination. The Okavango Delta is the most well known area to visit, where one can experience water-based activities, depending on the season and the camp. These are accessible by air.  However, Botswana has other superb destinations such as Chobe National Park and the Linyati area in the north, both of which can be combined with a trip across the border to view the Victoria Falls.  The Kalahari Desert in the south is an incredible contrast to the other parks.

 Zambia is becoming increasingly popular as a safari destination and offers very competitive prices.  This is wild Africa, where the emphasis is on nature, with great comfort, but not outstanding luxury. It’s a fairly seasonal destination, with many camps closed during the rainy season, between October and April. Travel tends to be by air. The main destinations are Kafue National Park in the south, South and North Luangwa Parks towards the north, the Zambezi National Park on the Zambezi River, across from  Mana Pools in Zimbabwe and Livingstone for the Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe is quite amazingly a wonderful country to visit in spite of its politics. In some ways it has a “time has stood still” feel, and in other ways, very modern. The people are  warm and friendly and trying their hardest to pull their country together. There are beautiful safari options including Hwange National Park in the south west, Matusadona National Park in Kariba and the seasonal Mana Pools National Park in the north west. Any of these combined with a visit to Victoria Falls makes a great holiday.  Zimbabwe  also lends itself to a brief safari with frequent flights from Johannesburg combining the Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park.   The very beautiful and remote Pamushana Lodge is tucked away in the remote south east of Zimbabwe, but serviced by two flights a week from Johannesburg.

Namibia is about extraordinarily beautiful landscape, vast expanses and huge skies. It hosts the highest sand dunes in the world at Sossusvlei in the south west. Damaraland in the north west is good for rhino and elephant viewing, and Etosha National Park is outstanding for big cats. Swakopmund on the coast is a Germanic town with palm trees! It offers adventure activities in the sand dunes. Namibia is brilliant for a self-drive holiday as long as time is on your side. If time is limited, all destinations can be reached by air.

Malawi is a long thin country, bordered on the east by Lake Malawi. This is a slow and easy country, where you can have a combination of safari activities (no elephant or lion) and swimming, snorkelling or sailing in the beautiful lake.  Nyika Plateau in the north has a very different feel to most parks with its rolling green hills and zebra frollicking in the mist. Malawi works well as a holiday destination after some full on safari time in Zambia.

Congo, although abundant in natural beauty has still not opened up to tourism. We can offer you a 6 night trip to Odzala National Park, leaving from Brazzaville, to view a habituated gorilla population. This is one of those life changing experiences.

Ethical operators

There is a wide variety of operators in the safari business. For example, Tanzania is becoming a very popular tourist destination and there are many operators who can offer you an extremely low price for a safari, but the cost-saving has to come from some-where. Costs are cut by:

– using free-lancers where the company has no obligation to them, as opposed to a company who has a well-established, integrated team who are obliged to take care of their employees and pay them twelve months of the year. It is the norm in Tanzania for someone with a salary to support several siblings, a parent and grand-parents, for example. An all year income goes a long way.

– using driver/guides who have minimal training. Are you okay with your driver/guide separating a mother cheetah from her cubs? Or tossing a bottle at a male lion to wake it up?

–  if it’s a climb up Mt Kilimanjaro, a budget company will have fewer porters carrying heavier loads with no obligation of medical care if something goes wrong. They will have little experience with altitude sickness and will push you to continue your climb, for the tip at the end.

–  cuts are saved by expecting driver/guides to drive long distances with compromised accommodation and food.

– costs are saved by using overnight locations outside the national parks, reserves and concessions to avoid the incredibly important and desperately needed entry fees.

These guides will always tell you what you want to hear – that they are treated well, that it is a good company and that the company is ethical. If they don’t they will get sacked.

We use ethical safari companies and ethically run lodges/camps.  Read about conservation.

How to decide on an itinerary

We can offer you one of our itineraries, adapt it to your requirements or design something completely different.  Send us a few details to get the ball rolling.

Our itineraries

We try to gather first-hand information on the safari destinations we offer, and put together interesting itineraries.   We review our safari operators,  the  accommodation on offer, game-viewing possibilities, seasonal changes, sights worth visiting,  infrastructure, routes to travel and modes of transport. Different countries tend to offer different types of  experiences.

Safari companies

We only use well-established, professional companies, who are making a  contribution to the country, by way of wildlife conservation, land management and improvement of the conditions for local people.

Drivers and guides

The most important person on a safari is the guide. We only use companies that have very well trained driver/guides. Your safety will be their top priority. A well trained guide makes all the difference in the African bush.

Vehicles

For the overland safaris (private or shared)we only use safari companies who frequently replace their fleet with new vehicles, and maintain them well. All vehicles have seat-belts. In most instances you will have a land-cruiser at your disposal. Your vehicle is in mobile phone and radio contact at all times. If you are travelling to your camp/lodge by air, your game-viewing  will take place with other guests in the lodge vehicle (approximately 6 seats). The vehicles will be of a similarly high standard as in the overland safaris.

Minimum age of children

We personally do not recommend travelling with children under the age of five years. Please refer to individual itineraries for age restrictions.

Food and Water

Food is of an exceptionally high standard, especially considering how many camps/lodges are in the middle of nowhere. Vegetarian meals are also of a very high standard. Early meal times can easily be arranged for children, and you will find that safari operators go out of their way to please. Bottled water is supplied in all accommodation and in safari vehicles.

Risks and Safety

Never be complacent about wild animals. None of the camps are fenced and there is a risk of encountering wild animals, especially at night. The leopard, for example, is a nocturnal animal. At night, never leave your room/tent without a guideto escort you. Never leave children unaccompanied. You should never go against the advice of your guide and you need to comply with the rules of the camp/lodges at all times. In Africa and India, there is a risk of disease and you will need to contact your local travel doctor. See www.tmvc.com.au for advice on vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. In Africa fresh waterways carry the risk of bilharzia. Hippos and crocodiles are also found in waterways. Should an emergency arise, your vehicle will be in mobile phone and/or radio contact at all times, as will any of the camps/lodges you may stay at. Should you need to be evacuated due to a medical emergency, you will be taken to the nearest and most suitable hospital. Health insurance is essential and will be requested by the safari company that you travel with. Africa also has the dangers that one could expect in Australia including venomous snakes, the possibility of a natural disaster and accidents due to a wide variety of causes. Do not expect swimming pools to be fenced.

India  

– lends itself  beautifully to the safari experience with still so much of the faded elegance of British Colonial India together with a natural world which hosts the magnificent tiger.  The palaces and cities of India offer an extraordinary contrast to the tranquility of the natural world, as colorful and vibrant centres, deeply immersed in history and culture. Both itineraries include visits to tiger reserves, but vary in the cultural experience they offer.

… more to come.