Today's travellers are savvy – the Internet makes it possible to research, plan and book almost every aspect of your journey, from airline tickets to hotel reservations and car hire.
So how is it possible that Go2Africa, an online African travel agency, has grown from strength to strength at precisely the same time as so many travellers are 'doing their own thing'? Well, Africa is a really BIG place and putting together a safari that runs like clockwork can be a complicated process. It requires threading many logistical needles – which makes it vital to work with a travel agency that's based in Africa. That's where we come in.
Why Do You Need an Africa Travel Agent?
Making your own vacation arrangements in a destination that's similar to your home country in terms of infrastructure, culture and development makes sense. When your holiday destination isn't complicated, you don't face much risk to either your happiness or your money by booking your travel plans directly with hotels and airlines. But when both your satisfaction and your budget are at risk in a destination with foreign cultures, unusual logistics and a diverse offering of accommodation, you want an expert on your side.
Since our establishment in 1998, we've lived our ethos of 'we know because we go'. All our Africa Safari Experts (that’s what we call our travel agents) are permanently based in Africa, are well-travelled on the continent and have extensive first-hand experience with the destinations they recommend. Being based in Africa means we continuously have members of the team discovering and inspecting new lodges, camps, experiences and activities to ensure they meet our clients' expectations. We've spent over two decades working and travelling in remote destinations in Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.
When you book your hotel and flights separately and experience a flight delay, it could cost you a night's accommodation. When an agent books both your accommodation and air ticket, the accommodation must respond with a refund or an extra night if a problem beyond your control (and not considered an 'act of God') affects your flight. And if you're staying anywhere for more than three nights, you definitely want your accommodation and flight bookings to be made by an agent. Booking this way links these two aspects of your trip to a single booking reference, which means that any problem beyond your control that affects one aspect automatically triggers compensation in the other.
When it comes to going on vacation in a destination like Africa, having an agent's trusted network of suppliers and 24/7 back up offers absolute peace of mind – which is a big part of relaxing on holiday. Even if nothing goes wrong and all the logistics run as smoothly as silk, you'd want to know that you have professional support 24/7 on the ground – not at a call centre in another time zone!
I had clients who were rushing to get to the airport after a delayed start and the transfer we had scheduled for them having to wait as a result. In the rush to the airport, they jumped out the car and rushed to check in, completed the process and passed through security to the boarding gate area. They then realised they must have left their very expensive camera either at the hotel or in the vehicle.
By being able to just send me a message, I was able to hastily connect to the right people at the hotel and contact the transfer driver directly to ask them to check for the camera. Fortunately, the driver found it under the passenger seat!
The next step was managing to get the camera back to them, as they had already cleared the security. Because we selected a preferred transfer provider based on a strong working relationship through many years, I knew that they had a good relationship with the right people at the airport. Thankfully, an arrangement could be made to get the camera to them before they even got onto their international flight!
– Justin Chapman, Africa Safari Expert
How to Choose an Africa Travel Agent
Matching your preferences with the right agent who can create your perfect trip – from the pacing of your itinerary to the lodges and hotels best suited to you – is a tell-tale sign of a good Africa travel agency. Furthermore, here are five services that define a gifted Africa travel agent:
1. Proven expertise through personal travel
This is where a travel expert can be separated from a travel agent. An agent might sell a destination based on a brochure or information gleaned off the Internet, but an expert knows the little details that only regular first-hand experiences will provide.
When I travel, I look for genuine knowledge not based on travelling to an area once and calling yourself an expert. I want a travel agent who can tell me if you stand on that anthill and lean to the left, you're going to get the best mobile reception. Or if you ask the chef at this camp for his amazing avocado soup recipe, he will share it with you. In-depth knowledge is hugely important!
– Lauren Johansson, Africa Safari Expert
2. A tried and trusted network of suppliers
Just like agents, not all suppliers are equal. Your Africa travel agent should offer a thoughtfully curated list of specific suppliers that are trusted – based on strong working relationships through many years – to meet your expectations.
3. A tailor-made approach
Your Africa travel agent should ask about your needs and preferences to help refine their recommendations. It's best to work with someone who listens and really tries to understand what you want, rather than selling you what's popular or what they prefer. An agent who has the patience to ask and answer many questions can tailor-make your trip and go the extra mile to make your safari exactly right for you.
If you are someone who likes to talk through the options and find the right experience for you, Go2Africa is a no-brainer. There are plenty of companies that only offer pre-set itineraries, but with Go2Africa the options are endless. They'll talk you through open-air vehicles vs closed, lodges vs camps, and land vs air safaris. We learned so much, and will partner with them again if we're ever lucky enough to go back to Africa.
– Lauren Simmonds, Go2Africa client
4. Best value for a fair price
Look for someone who can talk candidly about the costs involved in a safari. If what you have in mind for your holiday is not the best for your budget, you need to know. A great Africa travel agent can advise you where to save and where to splurge to get the most out of your travel budget and make your safari that much more memorable.
5. Back-up while you travel
A great African travel agency backs you up 24/7 from the moment you leave your home until you return, safe and happy. This is one of the most important benefits to using a travel agent that’s based in Africa. Having a direct phone line to get help or advice at any time is invaluable.
Today, travellers are well-informed and many destinations offer superb tourist infrastructure. It's up to you to decide when to work with a travel agent, and when you prefer to do plan your trip yourself. But in destinations like Africa, where working with an agent has key advantages, you must be sure you get more than just a booking service from your travel agent. Someone who will go out of their way to ensure that you have an unforgettable safari in Africa.
We are very much an 'I'll hold your hand from start to finish' African travel agency. We're always available to help, no matter what it is. Because we know and even personally know so many people on the ground – whether that's a manager of a camp or our ground handlers – we really do have real-time access to those that can step in to sort out any problem.
– Kate McIntosh, Africa Safari Expert
Ready to Start Planning Your Dream Safari?
Chat with someone who's been there. Get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make an itinerary that's right for you: