With the summer season upon us, many of you are looking forward to long awaited summer holidays. For others, the announcement by the CDC that it would lift the requirement for a negative antigen test to re-enter the U.S., may be just the news you were waiting for to begin planning your next adventure. We thought it might be helpful to provide an update on what the landscape for safari travel currently looks like and some guidance on considerations for evaluating safari travel.
The media’s consistent and continued reports of pent-up demand for travel is applicable to interest in safaris to Africa as well. Not only are clients departing on previously postponed trips but we are seeing a significant increase in new activity as well. While traditionally the planning horizons for safaris has been one year in advance, we are still booking travel for this summer! If your dates are somewhat flexible, we’ve been very successful in creating ‘last minute, dream of a lifetime’ trips. Airlines are continuing to expand routes and increase frequency making flights a bit easier to book. However, you still need to be prepared for high airfares and possible flight schedule changes as airlines struggle to cope with a surge in demand. So for travelers for whom short term planning has appeal, we’d be delighted to try and make that happen for you. If your dance card is already full for 2022, then look ahead to 2023 where availability for the busy summer and end of year festive season is getting tight.
Perhaps more than any other adventure, an African safari is a personal journey. In our 30 years of experience, each travelers’ expectations of safari travel is different and they each dream of experiencing Africa in a different way. Our ‘high touch’, customized, step-by-step approach to planning safaris has evolved from our first-hand understanding and many, many years of experience traveling in Africa. You probably already have a vision of your ideal safari. Our role is to help you refine that vision, and then to make it a reality.
As you research and plan your safari, we strongly believe the process should start with asking the right questions. African safaris require a considerable investment so as you consider your many options for booking safari travel, these tips will help you avoid the most common pitfalls made by first-time – and even repeat – safari travelers.
- Resist the temptation to choose a safari company based on price alone. Read between the lines and ask what’s included in the
cost of your safari. Ensure you are getting good value—not just a good price. Whether it lies in the level of luxury, the combination of destinations or handling the logistics in between, we know how to manage cost without compromising excellence.
- Understand the logistics involved in your itinerary. While it may be tempting to see and do as much as possible, you want to spend the majority of your time on safari, not in transit from one place to another or packing and unpacking every two days.
- Seasonality is important but with very few exceptions (April-May in East Africa), there is no month to avoid being on safari. Peak safari season is generally accepted to be June – August in both Southern and East Africa with January – March also considered high season in East Africa, primarily due to the Great Migration. The green season in Southern Africa (January – April) is a fantastic time to take advantage of special rates offering significant discounts. It’s the birthing season as well drawing lots of predator activity.
- One criteria that has never wavered in the 30 years we’ve been planning safaris is our conviction that the most important dynamic of your safari is the expertise and personality of your guide. We are admittedly fussy about the quality of service, accommodation, variety of activities, food and drink … but especially so about the guides, because they will determine the success of your game viewing, your education inspiration and appreciation of the African bush, and ultimately your memories of Africa!
- Know who you are working with to plan this important trip. How many years of experience do they have planning travel to Africa? Have they personally visited the safari camps they are recommending? Will they provide client references? Do they have personal relationships with the camps, lodges and safari operators? (Long standing relationships frequently translate to room upgrades, extra attention and special surprises).
When all these factors are considered, we think you’ll find the team at African Portfolio to be among the best in the business. Named by Fodor’s and National Geographic as one of the Top 10 Safari Operators and Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth, we are particularly proud of our perfect score of 100 for client satisfaction – a testament to the value of our 30 years of firsthand experience, expertise and thorough understanding of what is important to our clients.
We hope to have the chance to show you Africa the way only we can! Give us a call 800-700-3677.