Africa is calling! And it’s no surprise why: This magical continent is one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses where large mammals roam vast tracts of land in their thousands and, sometimes, millions.
Whether budget or luxury, you’ll be spending a substantial amount of money and will want to consult with a well-travelled expert who can give you the best possible experience. Here are some questions to ask when considering which company or travel agent to use for your African safari.
What is my travel style and budget?
There are various ways to book and enjoy a safari, and these depend on your budget, personality and the size of your travel group. Knowing what you want will help determine which agency is best equipped to help you. There are different types of safaris:
Tailored safaris Your wish list, preferences and budget are considered in detail in creating a unique itinerary including locations, transfers, accommodation and activities. There is a considerable consultation process and your itinerary can include any type of safari you choose: walking safaris, gorilla trekking, mobile camping, traditional 4x4 game viewing and self-drive safaris.
At Go2Africa, we work with thousands of travellers every year to tailor-make safaris that suit the time they can travel, their budgets and their interests. The itineraries and tours on our site are ideas to inspire your travel dreams – all can be changed to fit your situation perfectly.
Private tailored safaris include all the features of a tailored safari with the added benefit of completely private transfers, private game drives tailored to your interests (eg photography, birding, big cats etc), control over meal times and your daily schedule, and perhaps even exclusive-use accommodation like luxurious safari villas.
This is the priciest form of safari travel because no aspect of your journey is shared with others but it is also the most indulgent and memorable – it is worth considering for a very special occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary. Some of our best private tailor-made experiences can be browsed here.
Scheduled tours feature fixed departure dates, a circuit of popular attractions, medium to large groups (unless you book all the available seats, you will be travelling with strangers), transport in a mini-van or coach, and low-cost, few-frills accommodation. Scheduled tours also include overland tours, in which you travel around Africa on a bus and camp in tents in campsites with shared ablution facilities.
This is generally the cheapest way to see Africa but you will not have access to private concessions or conservancies where some of the best game viewing is found. Scheduled tours stick to national parks and many vehicles will be present at a prime sighting.
Not sure if tailored itineraries or scheduled tours suit you better? Read our more detailed breakdown of each to make an informed decision.
Does my consultant have first-hand travel experience?
It’s worth considering a reputable tour company that has demonstrable experience in the safari industry as well as consultants that are well-travelled and have been to the destinations you are interested in. Not only will you be privy to great travel tips and insights but you’ll know that your itinerary is based on the very best tried-and-tested lodges and tours. We’re not going to lie: one of the reasons we travel so much with our ‘We know because we go’ philosophy is because Africa is not an easy place to get around. To go on safari, you may have a complicated programme that involves landing on airstrips in the middle of the bush, being picked up by the right lodge at the right time and co-ordinating all of this so you get the best possible morning and afternoon game-drive experiences. Lodges may get damaged, roads have to be repaired – in Africa, things are always changing! Constant travel keeps us in the know so we can use our first-hand experience to your advantage.
We have African Safari Experts who’ve been with us since the early 2000s, which is very unusual in the travel industry. They’ve travelled the length and breadth of East and Southern Africa, covering classics like the Kruger Park and being among the first to venture into up-and-coming safari destinations like Congo and Uganda.
How will my travel investment be protected?
Before making a deposit, it’s crucial to find out how you will be protected in the event that a travel supplier in your itinerary fails to deliver a service. Should a lodge on your itinerary be unable to accommodate you, for example, it’s important to have cover, and some tour companies incorporate a compulsory default supplier insurance into your rate.
Is my travel agent independent?
Some travel agencies own and operate their own lodges, transfer companies, and tours so they may be unable to offer you the full range of Africa’s products and services because they will suggest their own products first. To find an experience that is perfect for you, an independent company will be able to offer unbiased advice and the best possible itinerary suited to your travel wishes and, of course, your pocket.
Can my agent book flights?
Other than the convenience to you and smoother logistics on the ground, there is another important benefit to having your travel agent book your flight. When an agent books both your accommodation and air ticket, you are protected if there is a flight delay and you miss a night of accommodation. If it was a problem beyond your control (but not an ‘act of God’) then you will receive either an extra night or monetary compensation.
Bear in mind that Africa is an enormous continent and safari lodges are often far apart – often several hours by car or flying by light aircraft. Although you may be able to easily book your international roundtrip flights yourself, the safari logistics require working closely with local air companies for complicated light aircraft flights, especially to places like the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Is there support during my travels?
Even if things go off without a hitch, you’ll want peace of mind knowing that there is a number to call if you need the help of a travel professional. Make sure there is a 24/7 support line.
What are other travellers saying?
Make sure you visit independent review platforms to read up on other travellers’ experiences with various companies. Take some time to check how long your tour company has been around and also what they specialise in. You can view Go2Africa's traveller reviews on Feefo, an independant online review platform.
Why travel with Go2Africa
We’ve been bringing people to Africa since 2001, and all our Africa Safari Experts are well-travelled. We are based in Africa (in beautiful Cape Town) and our years of experience mean that we know how to give you a curated and tailor-made experience at excellent value for money. We can advise you on when to save and when to splurge, making sure you get the most out of your budget.
We’ve also developed trusted relationships with top African suppliers over the years, allowing us to offer you competitive rates on the best that Africa has to offer. Thanks to our long-standing and well-regarded existence in the safari industry, we’re able to negotiate great deals with our suppliers, which we naturally pass onto you.
We offer a full booking service including return flights; breath-taking activities like hot-air ballooning; all accommodation; and transfers. On booking you will receive comprehensive supplier default insurance for complete peace of mind, and we are available 24/7 on a direct dedicated line that is reserved for our travellers while on safari.
Of course, we’d love to bring you to Africa, and hopefully we’ve given you enough information to make the choice of agent easy for you. Good luck on your planning and booking adventure, and don’t hesitate to get in touch for free, expert travel advice and quotes. At the end of the day, we’re not promising to show you the world, we’re promising to show you Africa – better than anyone else!