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5 Steps To Booking A Great Safari
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If you are unfamiliar with East Africa, trying to plan a safari and be a bit daunting. So many tour operators and parks and itineraries to remember and keep track of. Here are 5 stops to help you organize the planning stage of your safari experience.
1. Is the tour operator a member of KATO or TATO?
The Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) and the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) hold their members to standards in terms of reliability and customer service. Make sure any company you book Kenya Safari or Tanzania Safari with is a member of either KATO or TATO when traveling in East Africa. Check online (www.katokenya.org/ and www.tatotz.org/) to see if your tour operator is a member.
2. Read reviews for your tour operator from past customers online
Tripadvisor, facebook, and other online resources make finding testimonials and reviews very easy. The level of organization, the quality of the vehicles, the expertise of the drivers, and much more info can usually be gleamed from the average experience of past customers.
3. Narrow down the type of safari that you want
• When do I want to travel?
• What do I want to see and experience? (ie. Big cats, the Great Migration, relaxed game viewing, elephants, etc)
• What is my budget? (Can I afford safari via minibus, via 4x4 vehicle, or a flying safari? What level of luxury do I want?)
• How many days do I want to be on safari?
• How many people will be traveling with me?
When you have the answer to these questions, your tour operator can put together an itinerary that suits you and your group.
4. Understand what is included and excluded
When looking at an itinerary and price, make sure the following are included:
• Airport pickup and dropoff
• Park fees
• All domestic flights where applicable
• All meals that you require
Also note, beverages will usually be paid directly at the lodges/camps. And there should be an optional “Flying Doctors” insurance that will provide a free medical evacuation in the case of emergency (typically around $20 per person).
5. Don’t forget the optional activities
A safari can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so don’t forget all the interesting activities available. When my family visits, this is what I tell them they should add on to their safari:
• Masai Village Visit (approx $20-25 per person) – You will see the Masai people all around, but actually visiting a village and interacting with the people there is an eye-opening experience
• Hot Air Balloon Safari (approx $450 per person) – yes, a little pricey, but imagine floating above the Masai Mara or Serengeti for 1 hour in the early morning before landing for a champagne breakfast.
• Sundowner (approx $35 per person) – What better way to relax after several hours on your game drive than to have a few drinks and hors d'oeuvres as the sun sets. This will take place away from the lodge. Bush
• Dinner/Bush Breakfast (approx $40-60 per person) – Dine outside in an exclusive area away from the lodge where nature surrounds. Highly recommended for couples and large groups.
Travel Wild EA Ltd
Tel: +254 774 746947
P.O. Box 24985 - 00502
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