Questions to ask when booking your luxury safari

Now is the time to move on your luxury safari booking – the best luxury safari spots in Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania are often full by the end of January as people rush to book in their own safari dates for August, September or October, arguably the best time to visit these areas on safari. When your safari specialist tells you that the rooms are going fast, and you need to book quickly, this is not a ruse to get a sale but is in fact the truth. Those Africa addicts who return year after year know only too well that the lodges in the best locations, with the best guides, will soon be booked up.

Christmas and New Year is even worse, try and book that in the first three weeks of January to avoid disappointment. Having said all that a good tour operator will know exactly what is available when, and will still be able to find you exceptional luxury safari properties, even at the last minute – it’s simply your choice that becomes limited. Here are some top tips of what to ask before you book, to ensure that your luxury safari really is what it says on the tin:

Cottars

1. What is included?

This may seem simple but many operators gloss over what is included on purpose, so your itinerary is a little vague – most luxury safari camps are all inclusive, but make sure your consultant really maps out any extras you might incur.

2. Who is your ground agent?

Each luxury safari operator in the UK will have an esteemed partner that they use on the ground in each safari location. They will have carefully handpicked the right ground operator, although some are much better than others so it’s worth knowing who is going to be looking after you on the ground, why your operator picked them for you (some operators have a choice), and what the benefits of travelling with them are.

3. Is there a specific room I should stay in?

A good operator should be able to tell you small details about any luxury safari camp or lodge which can make all the difference, such as which room is closest to the mess tent, or which room is most romantic – make sure you angle for the best room for your purpose, request that your agent asks the camp to allocate the best room for you – although of course this cannot always be guaranteed.

Saruni Samburu

4. What if I need to make a change?

As much as we hope we don’t need to, sometimes we do need to make a change – this is very easy for a good tour operator to facilitate, make sure you find out what their rules are on changing the itinerary after booking. You never know, you might want to extend your safari whilst out there!

5. How far am I from the wildlife?

Most luxury safari camps are situated in National Parks, or within private concessions which are full of game but it is always worth asking this question in case, for whatever reason, you have been put in a lodge which is outside the game viewing areas.

Rekero

The above answers should give you a good indication of what your safari will be like, but it’s always worth typing in the name of your operator to the search bar of TripAdvisor, this should come up with any reviews written about properties recommended by the particular operator, and should give you a good idea of the service people received.

Rose Hipwood is Managing Director of Africa Rose Travel Ltd.

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