A refreshing new safari concept
author of the very popular "Plan Your Safari" series of books
Whether you pay $2000 per person per day, or $500, you expect to get what you paid for.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE "REFRESHING NEW CONCEPT"?
It is a new approach for booking safaris, illustrated in this booking diagram.
1. I communicate, on your behalf, with international tour operators and ground operators (guides, lodges and transport on the ground in Africa) - often leading to considerable cost-savings, better value for money and most certainly a more fabulous safari experience.
3. I work with any Africa supplier who has a quality product or service that may be of interest to my clients. From well-known international group tour operators (Tauck, Collette, General Tours, etc) to the very best Africa-based ground operators (&Beyond, Wilderness Safaris, Nomad, Asilia, etc.)
4. Together, we discuss all the safari choices BEFORE I present an itinerary based on your input. This is important; others may present itineraries with limited (if any) options but I provide you with all the relevant options and THEN we design an itinerary based on your decisions!
5. Mine is a very unique arrangement that requires in-depth knowledge of the safari business in East Africa. I was born in Africa and my family still lives there. 10+ years of research for my safari planning books have afforded me intimate and unmatched knowledge of the parks, lodges, camps, airlines and ground operators. I put all this knowledge and my personal relationships to work for you.
6. I do not charge any upfront fees like many travel planners! Why should you pay somebody before knowing if that person can deliver the safari you want?
It’s amazing what you can accomplish…with the right accomplice…(me)!
To compare my approach with the traditional booking process, please take a look at the following diagram
The safari planner (or consultant or travel agent or specialist) is either employed by the tour operator, or works independently as a commissioned agent or representative of the tour operator. The brochure rack of any travel agency is a showcase for the tour operators it represents.
In order to increase earnings, most individual safari planners and travel agencies are associated with hosts and/or travel consortia. They benefit from the combined buying power, increased commissions, joined marketing campaigns, lead-generation and back-office support. But in order to achieve higher commission levels safari planners are expected to promote and sell only tours from "preferred" lists of tour operators.
This arrangement is problematic for many reasons:
1. You are presented with a very small sampling of safari choices. Most consortia have agreements with less than 5 international safari tour operators and very few, if any, local ground operators.
2. Travel agents have very little experience of African safaris. They receive some product training by tour operators but this knowledge is restricted to the itineraries presented in the brochures.
3. Your itinerary represents the day-by-day activities and inclusions/exclusions of your safari. But your choices are limited to the capabilities of the ground operator under contract by your tour company and/or safari planner. In other words, you get whatever options were negotiated between your safari planner, the tour company and/or the ground operator; you do not have any insight into these options.
4. You will not know exactly what you will get until you arrive in Africa! Only then will you find out what your vehicle REALLY looks like, how bad the roads REALLY are, where your lodge is REALLY located in relation to the wildlife, and how long it REALLY takes to drive from point A to point B on your itinerary.
5. You are expected to completely trust your safari planner, the tour company and the ground operator - not always a good thing!
Example - here are a few options that you may be missing:
f) Itemized pricing so you can get a better understanding of the cost breakdown of your safari
g) Value for your money - a huge consideration! Do not pay $25,000 for a $12,000 safari!