Monday, December 18, 2006

Choose a "Safari Company" Wisely

Safaris can be complex and are not inexpensive. Resist the temptation to choose a safari company based on price alone. Working with the wrong safari planner can have consequences ranging from the disastrous to a waste of your precious time and money. So before you part with thousands of dollars, explore the following questions with your safari planner. Ensure you are working with the best! You should receive a resounding YES and further details to all of these questions:

What percent of your time do you spend planning safaris to Africa?
(Ideally, you want an exclusive specialist, spending 100% of their time, but don’t settle for anything less than 75%)
How many years of experience do you have in planning travel to Africa?
(Look for at least 10 years to ensure they have dealt with a variety of destinations in varying economic and political climates)
How many safaris have you planned?
(Should be at least 500; planners with less experience will not have the buying power with ground operators nor will they have the expertise to deal with non-standard requests or offer unique recommendations.)
Does your company have direct relationships with the camps, lodges and safari operators?
Have you personally visited the safari camps you are recommending? How many others? Who paid for your visit?
(Many operators tend to visit only those camps offering free trips—but this hardly results in an unbiased opinion. It’s like a restaurant critic reviewing a restaurant only when the owner knows he’s coming and is providing a free meal! Is the practice of “sponsored” visits in the best interest of the safari planner or the client?)
Do you track my entire trip and manage all issues that may arise while I am traveling? What if there is a forced change in the itinerary dictated by poor weather or a missed connection?
Are you members of the Better Business Bureau, American Society of Travel Agents, Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, Institute of Certified Travel Agents?
If I call the tourist board, can they vouch for your good standing? Can you provide client references?
What awards have you won? Can you send me any articles written by professional journalists who have traveled with you?

Frankly, we think you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with as qualified a team as the professionals at African Portfolio!

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che

Safari Planning 101

We know all tours are not created equal … but how can you tell? Here are some tips from the pros on the finer points and the fine print to help you avoid the most common mistakes made by first time safari travelers.

Ask for a detailed itinerary from your tour or safari operator. Try to determine what you can afford, and keep in mind that in general, you get what you pay for: safaris are no exception, so know what you’re getting!
Pay close attention to what’s included and what’s not included in the cost. A “Fully Inclusive” rate includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, teas and a minimum of two game viewing activities per day. Alternatively, while “Full Board” may sound good, it only includes your meals. All your safari activities are charged separately – oftentimes at an additional $100-$200+ per person per day.
Keep in mind that a 10-day tour means 9 nights, and if this includes your flying time to and from Africa, you could be looking at as little as 6 nights on safari.
Make sure that park fees are included in the price you’re quoted. They might be just $30 per person per day, but for two people on a ten-day safari – that’s an additional $600!
Ask whether taxes are included – especially on airfare. It’s not unheard of for taxes to be $350 or more and they rarely come to less than $200 per person on a transatlantic flight.
Ask to know the exact name of every lodge, camp or hotel visited on your tour. Don’t settle for phrases like, “You overnight in the Masai Mara”, which means practically nothing when you try to evaluate or compare trips. As importantly, you certainly have a right to know the details of what you are buying BEFORE you spend a dime.
Ask about the safari vehicles: are they open or closed? Is there a roof hatch that opens up? How many passengers do they take? Are you guaranteed a window seat? How much fun is a safari if you’re packed like sardines in your vehicle, staring at your neighbor’s knees all day?
If you’re traveling alone – expect to pay a single supplement, which may vary from nominal to almost 100% of the trip cost, depending on the logistics involved and the expertise of your safari planner. An experienced and knowledgeable safari planner can recommend a trip that offers the best value for a single traveler, sometimes even eliminating this extra charge altogether!
When setting aside your “spending money” allow for tips, drinks, and miscellaneous expenses like visas, levies, laundry and gifts. Remember exchange rates and fuel prices fluctuate and governments periodically change visa fees, park fees, tourism levies or sales taxes, all factors that impact travel costs. Your safari planner should be able to offer sound advice about how much extra to budget for these “unplanned” expenses.

In general, think about what you can afford and what you want to spend. Keep in mind that, like everything else, you get what you pay for ~ safaris are no exception. So by all means, know what you are getting and do your homework to ensure you are getting good value, not just a good price.

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che

Your Safari Travel Style

This is probably the least tangible of all the factors, but one of the most fun to determine. For example, are you the “cruise ship type” who only looks to un-pack once and be transported from one place to the next with little or no input as to what you see and do? Or are you more “hands on” and look to be more interactive when it comes to the planning of and participating in your safari?


The level of accommodation that you are expecting on safari is important to consider. Do you want unabashed luxury or 2-man dome tents or something in between? While this is very much a function of personal style, as well as budget, we prefer to design an itinerary with consistent levels of accommodation throughout. It is possible to combine different levels of accommodation on different parts of your trip; however we are adamant that you have the right expectations for each of the places you go. One of the most significant differences from one safari to another is in the degree of luxury, reflected of course in the price. High-end safaris will transport you by small plane, always with a guide, to posh lodges with every comfort. You’ll find dining and lounging facilities and a bar in a main building offering lots of African atmosphere. You’ll be accommodated in a private bungalow or permanent walled tent (complete with toilet and shower) under a thatched roof. Mid-range safaris will offer some similarities, but you’ll probably be transported by minivan (in East Africa), not by plane; and you may be transferred from place to place without a guide. You may stay at larger lodges, with more fellow guests and less personal service or at somewhat less luxurious lodges. Budget or rustic safaris are further stripped down. Transport is a bus, minivan, or open truck. Service is mostly up to you. Some budget safaris use permanent campsites with tents and showers already in place. However, at the lowest prices, you may end up pitching a well-worn tent yourself and sleeping on the ground on a too-thin mattress. You’ll make do with an outdoor latrine and shower, or none at all, and lend a hand preparing meals you won’t write home about. On the plus side, you’ll actually be camping in the bush — like a real safari — and you’ll meet budget travelers from around the world. But if budget is what you are looking for, make sure that camping is your “thing”.


The age range and makeup of your party should be taken into account. Some safari camps do not allow children under age 12; some mobile camping safaris do not allow guests over the age of 65. A family has different requirements than a honeymoon couple. While some safaris are kid-friendly, keep in mind that a certain amount of quiet, concentration, patience, and immobility is required. If you are traveling on business, this may affect our suggestion for your safari; if you are traveling alone, some safaris are better choices than others.


Most of our clients are well traveled and enjoy a combination of small group and independent travel. Group trips are generally no larger than 8 – 16 participants, with minimum and maximum age limits and set departure dates. Independent travel is obviously much more flexible, allowing you to depart at any time, travel for as long as you wish, to the camps of your choice. While we call it "independent travel," there is always someone to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your safari camp or hotel, so even solo travelers can feel comfortable knowing that they will be well-looked after on the ground.


Travel by road or air is an important question to consider in selecting a trip. Sometimes both options are not available – so the decision is essentially made for you. Travel by air, while generally more expensive, is the most efficient means of transportation, transferring you between safari camps easily and with plenty of time to enjoy activities at both camps, which is why you are on safari after all! Generally the planes are small, so those with difficulties with small aircraft should plan their trips accordingly. Travel by road can be exhausting, covering considerable distances on dusty roads in safari vehicles and it is definitely time-consuming. Nevertheless, overland travel affords you the opportunity to see some of the countryside and local villages between destinations, perhaps giving you a more realistic glimpse into a day in the life of the people whose country you are visiting. For some travelers, this is the only way to go.


I firmly believe that your safari guide is a critical component of the success of the overall safari experience. A great guide can make all the difference, and African Portfolio endeavors to use the best guides available. East Africa is currently standardizing its guide requirements, while southern Africa has long been known for its lengthy and intensive guide training. In East Africa, you are likely to have the same guide throughout if traveling by road, which allows you to get to know him or her, and build upon each day's experiences. If you are flying or traveling in southern Africa, you will have guides from each camp who are thoroughly knowledgeable about the concessions or National Parks that they traverse on a daily basis. Safari guides each tend to have their own personal specialty or area of expertise so you can benefit from the diversity of knowledge that each of these guides will share with you. Vehicles in southern Africa are generally open 4 x 4 land rovers or land cruisers, while most vehicles in East Africa are minivans with an opening roof hatch to allow you the best visibility this type of vehicle can offer. It is also possible to have a 4 x 4 vehicle in East Africa, although this option is more expensive.

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che

My Safari Budget

Safaris are not free. This, we all understand. If you can find a free one...

This is one of the most important questions to consider when selecting a trip. While there are some travelers for whom cost considerations are not an issue, most of our clients want to work within a budget and have a specific price range in mind. This is an extremely important criteria in helping us select an appropriate safari for you. The adage, “you get what you pay for,” probably holds true when planning a safari. There is a safari priced for just about everybody, but there are major differences in accommodations, services, transportation and food. It’s important that you consider how much “roughing it” you’re willing to do before you plan your safari. Whether you’re part of an organized tour or are interested in a custom designed tour for you and your family, will also affect the price tag. An experienced and qualified, specialty tour operator will be aware of the reputable and not-so-reputable safari companies, current prices as well as conditions in Africa that might impact on your trip. The following are factors that affect the cost of a trip:


In general, the more luxurious the safari, the more expensive the trip. Safari camps can range from $250 to $1000 per person per night, not including transfers from one region/camp to another, which are frequently by air. However, the cost at most safari camps and lodges normally includes all your meals, game drives and most other game viewing activities on offer. Sometimes drinks and laundry are also included in the rate. So when you consider the additional cost of these other components, relative to the average price for a 4-5 star hotel (room only), the safari rate is quite a bargain! Always allow for tips and souvenirs when planning your “spending money”. Exchange rates and fuel prices fluctuate, and can have an impact on the final cost of your safari in some cases. Similarly, governments periodically change visa fees, park fees, tourism levies or sales taxes, which can impact travel costs. Try to determine what you can realistically afford, and keep in mind that in general, you get what you pay for: safaris are no exception. Do not buy into the popular misconception that because much of Africa is “third world”, accommodations and services are cheap. At African Portfolio, we are admittedly fussy about the quality of service and lodging we offer, and we are especially particular about the guides and operators we use, because they will determine not only the success of your game viewing, but also the value and quality of the whole experience and eventually – your memories of Africa!


The per-day-per-person-budget is a good rule of thumb for determining how long you can travel. Simply shortening a trip by a few days can sometimes cut the cost by hundreds of dollars. Moving around less usually saves on costly transfers or regional flights and can also make for a more relaxed, focused experience. With most camps and lodges, three nights will afford you a good opportunity to see what characterizes the area, and to partake in all the activities on offer at a relaxed pace. Moving around more can often result in seeing less of what you traveled to Africa for in the first place! On the other hand, the time and expense in getting to Africa is significant, so we would encourage you to spend as much time as you possibly can in this amazing part of the world. Rushing your trip to save money is rarely worthwhile, and while many clients find themselves going back time and again, Africa is still a distant and a remote destination – and this might be one of few, if not your only opportunity to go on safari!


African Portfolio has always maintained complete independence and objectivity when selecting and recommending specific safari camps, lodges and hotels for our clients. This allows us the freedom to combine whatever areas, properties and activities we believe will suit you best, without the limitations and extra cost of inbound operators or destination managers. We enjoy a great reputation and wonderful relationship with properties and ground handlers all over East and Southern Africa, and as our client, you share in the advantage of various preferred rates, combination packages and incentive fares, as well as preferential treatment as very important guests! Let us suggest the ideal combination of properties, venues, activities and destinations for your trip to ensure that you have not only the best possible safari experience based on your own interests and preferences, but also the best value for the money that you’re spending on this dream trip!


The safari portion of your trip is likely to be the most costly. Safari camps are generally all-inclusive, which means the cost of the accommodations, meals, guides, game activities, and park entry fees are included. Staying at a hotel or a beach resort is often less expensive than a safari camp because you pay for meals, tours and other activities, on an “a la carte” basis—as you choose during your stay. Combining a safari with a few days at the beach or with a self-drive tour along the Garden Route in Cape Town in South Africa, for instance, can make a trip more affordable.


High season prices can vary quite dramatically from the low season rates for the same safari camps and lodges. Rates for high season are applicable for a reason, as often the game viewing is at its best during these times of year and space is at a premium. However, if peak game viewing is not critical and you are flexible with your travel dates, you can still have a wonderful safari experience at a considerably lower price when traveling in low or “green” seasons. The bonus is that you will find the areas less crowded and have less difficulty confirming space.

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che

Types of Safaris

There are many types of safaris based on the activities that one can undergo, and the types of places one can visit.

Here is a list of some uniqe safari experiences.

  • Canoe Safaris
  • Walking Safaris
  • Mobile Tented Safaris
  • Elephant Back Safaris
  • Horseback and Camelback Safaris
  • Gorilla Trekking
  • Rail Safaris
  • Bird-watching Safaris
  • Self-drive Safaris
  • Camping Safaris
Now, let's have a brief look at each of them

Canoe Safaris

Canoe SafariFew countries in the world have a more spectacular natural border than that which divides Zimbabwe and Zambia, the magnificent Zambezi River. The entire length of the river has been set aside as a protected wilderness area supporting one of the highest wildlife concentrations in southern Africa. Both participatory and fully serviced canoe safaris of three to nine days are available. No previous canoeing experience is required as you paddle downstream along this enchanting river, observing some of Africas best bird, plant and animal life. In Botswana, mokoro trails offer an eco-friendly means to explore the intricate waterways of the Okavango Delta.

Walking Safaris

Walking SafarisTraditional walking safaris are unique to only a few countries in Africa, providing one of the most fascinating opportunities to experience its wonderful wilderness and wildlife. These safaris take you to some of the most remote and unspoiled areas of Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Selinda and Kalahari Desert, Kenya’s semi-desert environment at Lewa Downs and Tanzania’s famed Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks. Follow the footsteps of Africa’s first explorers as your safari guide shows you how to track elephant, lion, buffalo and the rare rhino, while also unfolding the mysteries of the wild for you, explaining how the myriad species of animals, birds, trees and plants interact. Although no two safaris are alike, walking is not strenuous, generally covering about five to eight miles each day, stopping frequently to watch the animals or to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Mobile Tented Safaris

Mobile tented safarisReminiscent of Isek Dinisen’s Out of Africa, these exclusive, fully supported safaris guarantee an exciting encounter with wildlife and a fascinating exploration of their habitat. Safaris are conducted in the same traditional style as walking safaris and are supported by backup vehicles and a team of staff. The emphasis is on close encounters with nature in a comfortable and informed manner. Mobile safaris offer the flexibility to view game on foot, by open vehicle or by boat and to visit areas otherwise inaccessible by road. Your safari itinerary is entirely flexible and each day’s activities can be discussed and arranged to suit your group’s particular interests.

Elephant Back Safaris

Elephant back SafariElephant back safaris are one of the most thrilling safari experiences in Africa. These safaris not only make it possible to view wildlife from the back of an elephant, but perhaps more importantly, provide the unique opportunity to share a day in the life of the elephant. Whether it’s game viewing from their backs, picnicking with them in the bush, grooming, feeding or swimming with them, or simply experiencing the pleasure of being close to such magnificent animals, the encounter is truly unforgettable. The concept of elephant riding has been pioneered by dedicated conservationists who believe that sustained utilization of wildlife, (essentially, getting the elephants to pay for themselves), is the only means by which the elephant will survive in this modern world.

Horseback and Camelback Safaris

Horse and Camel back SafariWe invite you to an adventure that harks back to the days of the trailblazers and pioneers. Come and explore the wilderness of the African bush on horseback or camelback. On horses and camels that have been carefully trained to carry even those with no previous riding experience, a professional guide shows you an amazing variety of wildlife from the near extinct rhino and the formidable elephant, to many different species of antelope and perhaps even the elusive leopard. On horseback or camelback, one is more in tune with the wild, blending into the surrounding ecosystem in a natural way and allowing for an unequaled opportunity of seeing wild animals at quite close range.

Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla trekkingGo in search of the world’s most elusive primate, the mountain gorilla, one of the most awe-inspiring animals in Africa. The approximately six hundred mountain gorillas remaining in the wild are found only in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda. To track them in their forest habitat is a thrilling experience. For conservation reasons, access to the gorillas is carefully controlled. To have the privilege of seeing these gentle giants is an amazing experience. You may want to combine a gorilla trek with viewing chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park or in Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains.

Rail Safaris

Rail SafariSouthern Africa has always attracted adventurous and romantic souls; those discerning travelers who crossed the land in as much comfort as possible. But it was not until 1928, when the first luxury train was introduced between Johannesburg and Cape Town that truly luxurious train travel became a reality. The mere mention of a rail journey evokes an image of elegance, comfort and style reserved for travelers who appreciate beautiful surroundings, impeccable service, fine wines and superb cuisine. Experience the excitement and sophistication of traveling on the world famous Blue Train on various routes within South Africa or the majestic Victoria Falls. Steam trains have a magic and romance of their own, and Rovos Rail offers luxurious steam train safaris throughout southern Africa, providing deluxe accommodation and star-studded service as well as a unique wildlife viewing experience.

Bird-watching Safaris

Bird watching SafariAfrica is famous for it's variety of birds. Wherever you travel and regardless of what activity you pursue, beautiful birds will be seen. However, for the birding enthusiast, dedicated birding safaris are available, each accompanied by a local expert ornithologist. These safaris cover several different habitats, each with their own variety of indigenous birds and a special effort is made to locate some of the most unusual birds in each habitat. In general, the southern hemisphere summer months (November March) are best for birding in Africa.

Self-drive Safaris

Self drive safariFor those who prefer to do-it-yourself, South Africa offers an excellent road system and a reliable network of service stations along your route. Cars or four wheel drive vehicles are available for hire for any duration of your trip. A U.S. drivers license is all that is required but of course, driving is on the left hand side of the road. One of the advantages of a self-drive tour is the ability to visit people, places and things that are off the beaten track where some wonderful surprises may be in store.

Camping Safaris

Camping SafarisCamping safaris are characterized by camaraderie and team spirit and are ideal for the active adventurer who prefers to rough it a bit. These safaris are known as overland (by road) or cross-country safaris and feature accommodation in dome style tents. There is generally one guide and an assistant that accompany you throughout the duration of the trip. Accommodation is in national parks’ campsites with shared facilities and the vehicle is a modified land cruiser/land rover with large windows and roof seating. With expectations set properly, these camping trips are a fun and adventurous way to experience Africa.

Just imagine yourself in one of the above. The experience is just too great, the fun will be undying, and the knowledge gained will be a treasure.

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che

When Should I Visit Africa

when to visit, depends on which part of Africa you will like to visit for your safari. Is it the east, south or the ocean islands?

You will hear varying ideas about the timing of your trip, but keep in mind that people travel year round to all the destinations on this blog. Each season has its advantages, so if you have fixed dates for travel, chances are you will be able to have a great trip no matter where you are going. It is important to understand the seasonal trends and how they will affect your trip; but remember that weather is variable and so it is quite possible to go for days without rain during the peak of the rainy season, or have thundershowers in the middle of the dry season. The drier seasons are generally considered preferable for game viewing. Dry weather offers more reliable road conditions and in the winter months, milder daytime temperatures. Dry spells force game to congregate around the limited water sources, and sparser foliage makes the animals somewhat easier to find and see. While these are prime game viewing conditions, bear in mind that naturally, all properties enjoy their highest occupancy, and game reserves and parks endure more traffic, during these dry seasons. When considering smaller, more intimate, safari camps and lodges, it is necessary to book well in advance, particularly for travel from June through October.


The long rains are from early April through early June, and the short rains from late November through December. It is often less expensive to travel during these rainy seasons. Dry seasons offer excellent visibility and more reliable road conditions, and game tends to congregate around the limited water sources, making the animals easier to find. July and August are generally extremely busy in East Africa, offering comfortable temperatures in addition to being a popular time for travel worldwide, so be sure to book well in advance. December sees increased local tourism, so expect holiday surcharges and limited availability. In the Masai Mara and Serengeti, the movements of the migrating wildebeest contribute to the desirability of certain areas at certain times, and this might influence your itinerary, selections or costs.


The rainy season (characterized mainly by thunderstorms during the afternoon) runs from late November through mid-April in the safari regions; however, the southern Cape and coastline of South Africa is experiencing summer at that time and is a wonderful place to visit. This area can also be cold and rainy during their winter from June through August. Often high season rates for the safari regions go into effect in July so it is sometimes possible to save a bit of money by traveling prior to that, in the shoulder season. May and June can be delightful months to travel. December sees massive local tourism, (e.g., summer school vacation combined with heavy holiday traffic) so expect holiday surcharges, crowded beaches and limited availability throughout. Due to the smaller size of safari camps and lodges in southern Africa, it is necessary to book well in advance, particularly for travel from June through September.


Generally the weather is similar to that of southern Africa, with the summer rains lasting from November through April, with occasional cyclones during that time. The dry season from May to October is ideal.

Make sure you choose the best possible period. Happy safari.

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che

Where Should I go on Safari?


A favorite for first-time safari-goers, East Africa offers a bit of everything.
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda dominate in this region.

Excellent Game Viewing

No matter which game parks you visit, you are likely to see a wide array of game in larger numbers than almost anywhere else. For those of you who are as fascinated and perplexed by the great migration of the zebra and wildebeest as the scientific community, this phenomenon can be seen in Kenya and Tanzania most of the year. In general, from late July through September the migration can be seen in Kenya’s Masai Mara before the animals move south into the Serengeti plains of Tanzania, where they ultimately congregate and bear their young in January and February. The entire herd then begins its return to the Masai Mara through the southern plains of the Serengeti, then into the western corridor before moving north across the river into Kenya. Some travelers complain of the crowds in East Africa, but Kenya’s Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti constitute the greatest wildlife habitat on the planet. If you really can’t stand sharing it with other people, the answer is a pricier, custom tour featuring luxury tenting, private camps, or country houses, and visits to some of East Africa’s underused national parks and reserves. Uganda and Rwanda in Central Africa offer gorilla trekking and a rougher safari experience for the adventure-seeker.


Many of East Africa's National Parks and safari highlights are accessible by both road and air, making it an easy region to navigate. For those who prefer travel by air, an efficient network of local scheduled flights link the different regions. If joining a small group, road safaris can be excellent value for those on a budget. The roads are rough, so travelers with back problems would do better to fly.

Gorgeous Landscapes

The extraordinary diversity of East Africa's landscape is not to be missed! From the snow-capped majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, to the fantastic Ngorongoro Crater and savannah plains of the Masai Mara and Serengeti, this corner of the continent boasts some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. It is the Africa of your imagination, and has been a classic safari destination for decades, not only for the wildlife but also because of her sweeping, rugged, powerful beauty.

Fascinating Culture

Africa is not just about the animals, it is also about her people, which makes her an eternally beautiful, fascinating, and magical continent. Nowhere else can you witness so readily the tribal cultures of the Masai and Samburu peoples, vividly clothed and beaded in traditional garb, living the way they have for centuries. A friendly "Jambo" will elicit a ready smile and wave, and ample opportunity to learn about and share in another culture.


From the wildest and most remote safari regions to the cosmopolitan culture and beauty of South africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, southern Africa offers astonishing hospitality and diversity.

Excellent Game Viewing

Like East Africa, Southern Africa offers an outstanding and rewarding game-viewing experience. One of the reasons for this is that game drives are conducted in open 4x4 safari vehicles, as opposed to the mini-van which is the most common safari vehicle in East Africa (although there are some exceptions). The open vehicle allows unparalleled visibility and the unique, raised seating in some of the vehicles will spoil you forever! Safari guides in southern Africa are the most highly-trained and respected professionals in their field and their knowledge will be one of the main reasons that your safari to southern Africa is an educational experience as well as surpassing your expectations.

A Variety of Safari Activities

Southern Africa is quite creative in terms of ways to view wildlife. Apart from the usual game drives, you will find that many camps offer night game drives as well as wilderness walks. You can also view wildlife by canoe and mokoro, on mountain bikes as well as by horse and elephant back! Microlighting, whitewater rafting and bunji-jumping are also possible.

Small Camps

Many of the safari camps and lodges can accommodate no more than 16-20 guests at a time, ensuring an intimate, personalized and non-touristy experience on safari. Often you will see only one or two other vehicles on a game drive and for the rest of your safari, you are truly out in the bush. This is attractive to travelers who want to feel as though they are away from the crowds and off the beaten track.

More Than Safari

Beyond the safari experience, the cosmopolitan cities and coastline of South Africa, the adventure activities of Victoria Falls, the beaches of the Indian Ocean Islands and the striking landscapes of Namibia can be the perfect complement to your safari and we encourage you to take advantage of the amazing contrasts of this region.



There is no doubt about it – some of the best beaches in the world are to be found on the other side of it! The Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique and the coastal isles off East Africa offer stunning, sparkling turquoise waters and the powdery white sand beaches that can be found nowhere else. They are the perfect beginning or end for your safari, or as a destination in their own right.


The exotic island cultures in these countries are varied and complex, amalgams of native peoples, colonizing influences and migrant forces, which have come together to flavor these islands with colorful languages, cuisines and customs.

Flora and Fauna

Islands of the Indian Ocean offer a surprising array of indigenous species of flora and fauna, from the countless coral reefs and marine life to the remarkable coco de mer, found only in the Seychelles. Far from being a series of beach resorts, these islands can lead the interested traveler and SCUBA enthusiast on a fascinating aquatic safari!

These are just generalities. I will give you a long list of the best places to visit. Be on the alert.

Yours Truly,
Ferdinand Che