Lets start at the beginning…
There can be few trips anywhere on earth that have the potential for more excitement and wonder, than a safari tour. Things have changed a lot from the early days of safari tours and nowadays, not only can they be ethical, but they do a lot of good for animal welfare and local economies.
1 – Choosing the group
The personnel of the group will in many ways choose itself. A safari is not a cheap holiday and obviously involves international travel. Therefore financial restrictions will determine who will or will not be available to make the trip. These kind of holidays appeal to a certain type of personality also. A love of nature and a desire to see wildlife are not everyone’s cup of tea. For those that do make the trip however, the rewards will stay with them for a life time.
A Safari is not like a trip to a zoo, and can be both mentally and physically demanding. Make sure your group is up to it. Most safari destinations are in developing sub-Saharan nations; it is therefore imperative that travellers take certain safety and health precautions.
2 – Decide on the type of event
Of course the first item for discussion will be ‘which country?’ Next up would be a list of which animals the group would want to see in their natural habitat. The “Big Five” are Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Rhinoceros. The type of safari needs to be decided also.
This type of safari is normally offered by well-known tour operators and typically will cost thousands of dollars per person, per week. This kind of all-inclusive tour, will include food, drinks and excursions. Fully catered luxury safaris offer travellers all the comforts of home, but in the African wild. Accommodation ranges from air-conditioned suites to incredibly stylish tents, these provide the best of both worlds, camping but with hot running water, rich bed linen and first-rate service. Ultra-luxurious safari lodges will cost over $1,000 a night.
This is where you will simply choose a public game park, rent a vehicle and tour the African bush on your own. These are only possible in public parks with well signed, paved roads. For safety reasons, these are the only way to go. There is no chance of getting lost and provided you stick to the rules, there is little or no danger. For the least expensive safari, self-drive is the best option. Meals and itineraries can be added or supplemented, thus tailor-making your safari.
Not having a knowledgeable local guide, however, can mean that you may miss some wildlife. To reduce the chances of this happening, read guidebooks on spotting wildlife in your chosen destination, carry field guides and don’t be afraid to stop and ask other travellers what and where they’ve seen.
Overland or Mobile Safaris
These are generally the cheapest type of organised safari tour. An overland safari will generally involve campsite accommodation. It is likely that you will travel in a group with other people. Overland safaris are more often than not participatory. That is to say you may be expected to help out with chores such like cooking or setting up camp.
3 – Location location location
Easily the place with the most abundant wildlife, is the Masai Mara National Reserve. Huge herds migrate annually across the plains here. However, beyond the Masai Mara and the Serengeti there are plenty of other excellent parks for viewing wildlife. The famous soda lakes of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Bogoria are where hundreds of thousands of flamingos can be seen. Kenya is one of the most popular safari destinations in the world.
A popular destination for safaris. It has a well-organised and modern tourism infrastructure and sees many travellers in the high season. The Kruger National Park is its most famous destination, it is home to a huge number of African animals and sits within in the largest conservation area on the planet. Private game lodges can cost upwards of $500 per night.
This is the most expensive destination in Africa due to the government intervention, aimed at encouraging high-end tourism. The country sees much smaller numbers of safari travellers and is best suited for the luxury end of the market. Chobe National Park is famous for its elephants. Moremi Wildlife Reserve, has many of the “big five.” The Okavango Delta here is the best area for crocodiles, buffalo, zebras and hippos.
Namibia is less well known as a destination and has less well developed game parks. It does though, have some incredible natural wonders from the Namib Desert to the Fish River Canyon and the Etosha National Park, and more than 100 species of animal, including endangered animals such as the black rhinoceros. Zebra and desert elephants roam throughout the Skeleton Coast National Park, the most arid place in Africa.
Uganda is famous for its many primate reserves. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Ngamba Island offer travellers the chance to see gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates in their natural habitats. Here you will also see crocodiles, hippos and many exotic birds. The Murchison Falls National Park on the Nile River, has incredibly impressive waterfalls.
Tanzania along with Kenya is home to the Serengeti National Park. This is the best in Africa for viewing the vast migrating herds of wildlife. Mount Kilimanjaro, the marine parks off the coast, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, site of the Ngorongoro Crater and Oldupai Gorge are also notable viewing areas. This area is known as the Cradle of Mankind. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest volcanic craters in the world and more than 30,000 animals live here, including the densest lion population on Earth.
4 – Immunisation and Immigration
Check with either your own immigration service or the Embassies of the country, which you plan to visit, to get information on visa requirements. It is also important that you visit your GP and ask about immunisation requirements and recommendations. Anti Malaria treatment before and after your safari will probably be necessary. Yellow fever vaccination is needed if visiting East and Southern Africa. You may also require hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid jabs. Visit websites such as The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, to get specific advise on health checks. Many vaccinations take several weeks to provide full protection, so don’t leave things till the last minute.
5 – Think Outside the Box
This is likely to be the trip of your lifetime. Don’t be scared of including other trips to make it extra special. A balloon flight of the Serengeti would appeal to most people. It is also worth keeping in mind that the dangers on these type of holidays are not necessarily the ones you would expect. Very few people get attacked by wild animals, Whereas dehydration and illness can offer real danger. Also there are like anywhere scams in operation. Used respected companies and don’t buy any extra trips from strangers.
6 – Use Your Group Buying Power
It is important to remember that at all times while making inquiries into the cost of travel, accommodation or activities, that you have the strength of your group buying power. Any business that can see a booking coming their way with upwards or 10, 20 or 30 people will definitely not want to loose out, and will be happy to offer incentives to win your custom.
If you take for example the many businesses out there that are offering up to a 80% discount on their services including administration fees, to post discount deals on some of the most renowned discount sites like Groupon.com and LastMinute.com and many other sites like these, to try and gain customers to promote their services. Bare this in mind if you’re a bit shy when it comes to haggling for discounts, go for it as you’ve nothing to loose, as all they can do is say no.
7 – Choosing Accommodations
If you are organizing accommodation for before or after or for the safari itself, then there are many options for choosing accommodation that need to be considered when considering the level of budget for the overall group. The first and most obvious option is hotel accommodation.
Hotel Accommodation is in abundance on many price comparison sites, but sometimes you already know where you want to go based on recommendations from others who have visited the area where you wish to travel. It is always best practice to contact the hotel directly to see if you can get your own discount for your group booking.
Recommendations from others are most helpful in deciding your accommodation, as you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere!
You can view many of the most popular hotel booking service providers on the Hotels Section of DIYHolidays.com.
Private Properties are also another great option for affordable accommodation with a twist. There are many fabulous private luxurious villas available for short-term rentals. Some of these villas are like those in which you would imagine movie stars living in. Some of These will have features beyond your wildest imagination, including private swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and a room for everyone in the group!
The cost of renting these villas can be surprisingly affordable when you divide the cost up among the members of your group. There are many websites that provide these options for you, but you can see them all in one location on the Private Properties Section on DIYHolidays.com.
B&B’s are also an option to consider as this might suit a smaller group traveling, especially if you are heading to an area that can be quite expensive for accommodation. This can also be an adventurous option as you are dealing with local people presenting their local hospitality, and local knowledge. You can also view a multiple of service providers offering B&B accommodation from all over the world on the B&B Section on DIYHolidays.com.
Hostel’s are a very cost effective option to consider as this might suit a smaller group traveling, especially if you are heading to an area that can be quite expensive for accommodation. Hostels do have rooms with a number of bunks in it that might suit the number of people in your group.
This can be a great solution as sleeping can be the last thing on the itinerary for your group, although it can be a noisy option if everybody comes back at different times with a little too much to drink! There are many Hostel booking agents available on line for booking Hostels all over the world and you can see them all in one location here on the Hostel Section on DIYHolidays.com.
8 – Keep your Group Informed
It is always best to inform the people in your group of exactly what costs are involved, what is included in the trip and what, if any, discounts you have managed to squeeze out of service providers.
Collecting the money can also be challenging as this can sometimes create difficulty especially when deposits have to be paid. This is where you avail of the services of GroupandPay.com.
GroupandPay.com is a hugely popular online platform that is free for organisers to use when informing their group of what has been arranged for them, and it also provides an easy hassle free system for collecting the money. It prides itself on being very user friendly.
Watch this video to see how it works!
9 – Travel Insurance
Many people overlook this, but it is so important especially if traveling abroad. Group insurance policies are readily available and do not have to be expensive. The peace of mind that it brings is worth it, especially for the organiser. Many companies specialise in this kind of cover. There are many service providers listed here on the Travel Insurance Section on DIYHolidays.com for you to choose from!
10 – Need inspiration for Planning your Group Experience?
Check out DIYHolidays.com as they inspire individuals and groups to travel, especially around their interests and hobbies.
Here you will see a multitude of interests and hobbies for you to get inspired from and for each one you will see enthusiasts recommending amazing places to go. You also see them sharing their experiences through videos, photos, and blogs. You can participate in live surveys, or ask questions and partake in live discussions. You can also view all the most popular online specialists stores from all over the world for each interest and hobby, all in one location, and you can even play related online games.
And as you have probably guessed it, DIYHolidays.com is a sister company of GroupandPay.com, so we are all about Inspiring Individuals and Groups to do more Traveling and enjoy more Social Engagement!!!
11 – Tell us about your Experiences and Offer Recommendations
If you have created a group travel experience for your buddies that turned out to be an awesome experience, then don’t keep it to yourself, tell us about it in the comments section below.
It’s all about sharing the love on #GroupandPay.com