Booking a safari has never been easier – simply search online for your preferred accommodation and transportation and book it…sounds simple doesn’t it? Maybe so…..but are you going to come back with the best safari experiences, or even get the best deals when you book a safari yourself? Booking with a tour operator is the ideal way to go, given that most operators have a high level of expertise in planning safaris, and years of experience in the field, but many resist this option, due to these popular myths….
It is cheaper to make the bookings yourself…..
Although there is a plethora of hotel booking sites online with excellent deals, you may not end up paying more if you book the safari with a tour operator. This is because all operators have special, preferential rates with the camps and lodges and when they package these rates together with their transport options, you may very well be paying the tour operator less for your safari than if you book online.
You can choose the camps/lodges yourself based on your requirements…..
Most people prefer to have control of the places they book, so that these places fit in with their requirements. However most of the information on the camps and lodges may not necessarily give you the whole picture – i.e the camp may be very cosy and comfortable, and exclusive but it could be located in an area that is quite inaccessible except with a 4WD vehicle – a fact you may realize on your way there in a hired saloon car! Also the camp could be located far away from the main game viewing areas, which could cut off 2 hours of game viewing time. The operator has inside knowledge of the property, having probably stayed there and experienced these things first hand. They can advise you on the best fit for your requirements.
Everything about safaris is available online……………….
While it is true that information about most safari properties and extra activities is available online, there are some activities that cannot found on the internet and it is only the tour operator who is privy to this information. This could make a vast difference to your safari experience especially if you are coming on safari to celebrate a special occasion, like a landmark birthday, an anniversary, a proposal etc. Your tour operator can suggest activities that will lift your safari out of the ordinary, leaving you with fantastic memories.
You don’t need back up or support…………………………..
Safaris in East Africa are very specialized affairs – the caliber and expertise of your driver/guide will make or break your safari. Hiring a vehicle from a car rental company may work in other countries, but the driver you get from these companies will not be a safari driver and will not be able to guide you through the parks and reserves. Hiring a self drive vehicle will be even worse as you will not have the knowledge of driving on East African roads and in the Parks. Should there be a mishap on the roads, dealing with the police is a harrowing affair, and there is a lot of red tape and bureaucracy involved. When you book with a safari operator, they take care of all your transport arrangements…you just sit back and enjoy the scenery.
So next time you want to book a safari, try booking through a local ground operator in the country you want to visit …..you may be pleasantly surprised!