With hundreds of safari companies in Tanzania alone, what should you be looking for in a tour operator to make sure you are making a good choice? African safaris are an investment for a trip of a lifetime, so you need to get it right. Here are our top tips for choosing the best safari company:
Be cautious about lower budget safaris and tours. Like fast fashion and other cheap products, you have to consider where corners will be cut to offer you a cheaper price. There is a huge range in safari package prices so you need to understand what you are getting for your money and what you are not! For example, many companies (including some of the big names) do not pay the guides, who rely on tips alone.
Consider safety. Trusted and safe safari tour operators maintain their vehicles well, servicing after each trip and ensuring all in working order, including the two-way radios and charging stations. Guides should all be first aid trained with yearly refresher courses. Guides should also be well looked after, rested between trips and provided for whilst working, including accommodation (on site with the clients) and food.
What are other travellers saying? Do your research and read reviews and testimonials.
Tourism should be sustainable, ethical and responsible. You need to look at how tour companies are operated – are they having a negative or positive impact on the natural environment, local communities and culture? What strategies or activities do they have in place to ensure their company is sustainable and ethical?
Where is the company based and who will be running your trip? Often tours are ‘sold’ to other companies, either by budget trips because they don’t have enough clients OR by larger travel agents without trusted safari partners. This means that your safari could be run by a random local tour operator who is potentially not known and has not be checked or considers any of the above issues.
Are you dealing with an independent company? Often tour operators own and operate their own accommodation, which means you will be limited to where you stay. Choose an independent tour operator and you will have the pick of the finest camps and lodges in Africa!
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Posted 7th October 2020
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