Going on African safari is a different venture than visiting the Costa Del Sol or Paris. You will travel to wildlife areas where the Big Five roam free, the camps have no fences and different rules of survival apply than in the western world. This kind of travel requires an operator that understands what you are looking for and has also a feeling which mode of travel will suit you best. When you haven’t been to Africa you will not know how you will feel in the bush, with the climate, the animals and the accommodations. To avoid that you feel uncomfortable and unhappy during your African safari holiday, you should do efforts to find the perfect operator for your needs.
A starting point is Google search. About a million safari tour operators will roll out. Now have a look at their websites, also the ones on page 2 and 3. You will feel immediately if the website appeals to you or not. Dismiss the ones that don’t appeal to you and stick to the ones that do. Now read a bit on the websites what kind of tours they offer and where. If this is a match, send an email with the questions and ideas you have. Now wait for the reply. If that takes too long (more than 2 days), it might not be a good sign. When the response arrives look at it the same way as with the websites. You will feel rather than reason how the operator is a match for you. Trust your gut! Just like you do with people you meet in person. Ask to be called. Chat on the phone and ask your question. By doing that you will know even better how to decide.
You might end up booking your safari with the one that did not have the cheapest tour, but it feels right. And it usually proofs to be right.
And don’t forget your special interests like wildlife photography. Not all tour operators that say on their website they are great in photographic safaris, also are. Some only follow the fashion and demand of the market although they do not have the specific knowledge or experience to be the right partner.
However, no worries, trust your intuition and you will do great.
Happy photo safari snapping!
Ute Sonnenberg for www.rohoyachui.com