Game Warden

How do you choose your next Safari?

   68 members have voted

  1. 1. Which offers the best information?

    • Travel Agent recommendation
      9
    • Personal recommendation
      20
    • Internet research - forums, websites etc
      55
    • Magazine/newspaper article
      6
    • TV feature
      1
    • Prior knowledge of camp / country
      30
    • Other (please state below)
      1

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32 posts in this topic

Which of the above offers the most accurate and reliable (up to date) information? How have you gone about choosing your safari holidays in the past and how would you advise someone new to safari travel? Let us know below.

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In terms of lodge and camp based safaris - unlikely to venture to new places in known countries. The Chitabe thread at "the other place" is a eye opener in terms of the ethos.

 

Likely to try new places in the not too distant future and host of other types of travel - mobile safaris etc etc., all of these are probably more appealing.

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PS: My next safari is a combination of a repeat visit to one area along with a new area (friendship with known guides being the tipping point)

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Travel Agents Recommendation? NO! I would worry he is only trying to make a booking!

 

Personal recommendation? Possibly! But "One man's meat is another man's poison!

 

Forums, Web sites? Yes! The WWW is great for research & ideas!

 

Printed article? Possibly! Gives insight into area's not thought off!

 

TV feature? Possibly! As above.

 

Prior Knowledge? Yes! There are many places I would love to return to!

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I've ticked personal recommendation but really I need a multiple choice...personal recommendation because that has produced my best experiences; travel agent's recommendation because those I have dealt with have been or have become friends and therefore pretty much coincide with personal recommendation; and prior knowledge of an area. All three have been a big influence on my most recent destination choices.

 

I place printed articles, TV features and web sites in that order of importance in much the same category: to be noted because of their 'tidbit' value, but not to be relied on except in a very general way. For example, my very first safari was to the Okavango Delta on the strength of things I had read and viewed over the years.

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For me its a combination of things...

 

Prior knowledge, personal recommendations from people I trust, internet research and magazine articles. Travel agent recommendation only kicks in for me if I cant get in to the lodge/camp I want and need to find an alternative.

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Sorry, I thought I'd made it multiple choice - now amended...

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For our first visit back in many years I wrote to a friend in Nairobi and asked them to recommend a local travel agent whom they trusted and then I emailed them with my preferences and they made a few suggestions as far as logistics and we booked from that point.

To find the places I wanted to show my family, I went on previous experiences and also years of reading about scientific research and community involvement in conservation and tried to include those areas. However, it didn't quite work as well as I had hoped as some places were completely opposite to what I had intended which echoes Nappa's comment that one man's meat is another man's poison.

My best recommendations is to do lots of research using magazines and the www (but I ignore the newspapers as without exception they have not been the sort of accommodation that I would stay in) and do a first trip looking at different areas. Then head back to spend a lot of time in 1 or 2 areas each trip slowly travelling around the country before heading into a new country. Of course, in between trips you need to operate an illegal betting operation or some other underhand and dangerous activity to fund it all!!!! ;)

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Could be all of the above.

 

My next Africa trip (Rwanda/Uganda) is the result of wishing to return to some locations, plus adding a few new locations. The new locations of Akagera and Nyungwe were first introduced to me by the rangers and guides in Rwanda in 2004. I was impressed with how they were marketing Rwanda's other attractions--beyond the gorillas--to current visitors. I still can hear them saying, "Next time you come, you can..." I was not put off by their assertive approach; instead I saw extreme pride and optimism in their pitch.

 

Maybe someday I can blame Predator for sending me to Ethiopia.

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What about you? Have you received bad advice from a travel agent? Are websites and magazine articles biased? Do you know many people who have even been on Safari?

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What about you? Have you received bad advice from a travel agent? Are websites and magazine articles biased? Do you know many people who have even been on Safari?

 

To be honest, I don't know many people who have been on safari. However, I am getting more and more friends being won over by my stories so I may have a few who come with me one of these days. Biased reporting depends very much on who is writing the article and why. For instance, a purely travel focussed article on a group of lodges mainly run by a specific operator would lead to some bias, but that's not to say that the reporting is inaccurate except by omission. They may omit to mention other lodges in the area which are equally attractive. Therefore, it is up to the reader to research the options.

 

Conversely, an article written from a research or environmental point of view may be more balanced as far as tourist options because they have a different focus.

 

It requires some discernment on the part of the reader. Website information is easier in some ways as you are mentally programmed to follow information trails, thus getting a wider point of view by researching varying sites.

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The internet and travel agents are probably not the best places to look first. The big operators pay a hell of a lot of money to keep their sites at the top of google, and they pay very high commissions to travel agents so the agents incentive is to sell them, whether its ideal for you or not.

 

I would say that the best recommendation is word of mouth. And then take a look at the travel forums to start forming an opinion. then start looking at the websites of the operators you have heard about. But dont rely on page one or two of google. They are usually high end, rich operations that cost an arm and a leg. Safaris really dont need to cost that much.

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Bongwe safaris,

 

Interesting pic for your home page! I didn't associate Zambia with cheetah, although I do realize they are seen in Kafue.

 

Welcome to safaritalk!!!

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Bongwe's cheetah disappeared. Perhaps into the tall grasses of Kafue.

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ST (and F) are both good places to look for ideas, input, suggestions, and real-life experiences to help with choosing safari destinations & itineraries to suit most any interest & budget.

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I tend to use websites, emails from travel companies, and magazine articles for my inspiration of which region/country to visit, then spend time getting personal recommendations/ checking out travel forums, and getting as much specific information on things like: operators to use/stay away from, best method of travel, best time of year, and any must do's/places that don't live up to the hype.

 

For me, travel agents only really come into play if there are places I want to go that I really can't book myself (or if the logistics are too tough) - for instance, my parents are coming to visit me next month, and I had an agent plan in itinerary for 15 nights fly-in Botswana. I gave her the places (not camps) I wanted them to go, and she came back with options for me to choose.. After I'd spent weeks trying to figure logistics myself, this was definitely the way to go!

 

Then I cross my fingers, and hope I've make the right decision - pack my bags and head off... have to say, it has worked for me each time I've travelled - there might be a hiccup or two along the way, but it sure makes for a good story to tell when I get home!

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I chose all except TV & magazines. Simply because all what appears on/in those media is sponsored.

 

And I did check "TA's" as well. Something I would not have done a few years ago, but I must admit that it would be dishonest not to do so after all my good experiences with Sun Safaris. They may or may not be the exception, I don't know.

 

Ciao,

 

J.

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I have a list of locations I want to visit, then discuss possible itineraries and option with my favourite guide or guides, then try and have ag rasp of the logistics involved and, finally, if necessary or easier, I contact a specialist TA I trust, and give him/her some (rather strict, I have to admit) instructions....I think i can b a bit of anuisance, since I discuss all the finer details and ca be quite demanding in the process.

 

Generally, when I am planning/booking a safari I am already pondering options for the next one. It keeps me going on in my daily life, I think.

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I check to see where people are going, and then find other places.

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I always decide what I want to see then research where is best to see it, which I think the web is brilliant for, don't know how people planned independent travel before? I also love wildlife guide books, there are several excellent guides to national parks. I have planned trips in africa and india in this way by looking at which parks have the species I want to see and hopefully the feeling of wildness and not lots of crowds. Personally I like to do a combination of organised and travelling under my own steam, I think starting off with an organised tour is an excellent way to find your feet in a country and then travelling on your own lets you experience the rewards of independence and doing things for yourself. I also think an organised tour will introduce you to activities, people & places you might not have chosen yourself but turn out to be really rewarding.

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Hello,

 

I see a lot of safari-agents on FB. Might want to go on a horseback safari (workholliday perhaps).

Thinking about SA. A wordholliday will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. Never been to Africa before but love to watch Nat Geo Wild en read books from mr en mrs Joubert etc. Have a great passion for wild animals, nature, bush.....

lots of people say that i must go to Kenia and or Tanzania. The more I see the more I get lost.

 

Tips will be verry welcome B)

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Hi

I definitely use forums and internet searches. I came across www.phototoursonline.com a few months ago which I tend to follow. Somewhat limited range of trips and a bit expensive but pretty good just the same.

 

Testimonials on websites I tend to totally ignore though, cause I have been in the travel business myself and I know that very often these testimonials are fake to one degree or another.

 

Unlike some other above here that says that they ignore recommendations from other I tend to value them if they come from friends or people I know.

 

Sometimes I also go through old magazines like Africa Geographic or similar to get some ideas and actually actively read the adverts :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tips will be verry welcome cool.gif

 

I went to Masai Mara in Kenya last year. I was amazed... It actually is like on TV. Animals everywhere!!! If you can afford it you should definitely go!

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In all seriousness, I review Safaritalk trip reports and other forums (key word search). Most recently in preparation for our visit to Joy's Camp/Shaba (thank you Paulo and Atravelynn). Also, I have never been to Zim, Zam, Bots or Namibia so I take note of the locations that I am especially interested in visiting (Etosha is currently top of the list).

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I would say forms like this one are the best source of info.

 

I also know a few people who have been on safari before so I am using their personal experience to help me plan my 1st trip

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