After careful consideration of which areas provide outstanding wildlife experiences and extensive consultation with clients, we will soon announce a limited-release small group operating in August next year. Details coming soon.......
We have mentioned this before but with the sudden surge of safaris on offer we thought it was time to review what is being proposed in 2022. Here are "features" you need to watch for when considering safaris:
(1) WHEN - every destination has its best times and its poorer times....... What you will see at the poorer times is not the only issue. Today we have been reviewing a tour on offer by an "African Specialist" (photographer) here in Australia to Botswana in the hottest part of the year !!! It is well written up, but fails to mention you will be limited to a few hours in the morning and late afternoon to undertake game viewing, and for most of the day you, just like the wildlife, will be struggling with oppressive heat. Even at 5pm to 6pm 40 degrees is still possible. This is typical ... it sounds like a great tour, but it won't be that comfortable and rewarding. PICK YOU TIME AND SEASON CAREFULLY
(2) WHERE - some locations are great for some periods of the year, and can be barren for much of the year. Also look carefully at what your itinerary says. In the same Botswana tour mentioned above it uses two lodges, but they are in the same Reserve ....... why would you do this ??? We know the reserve very well and use both of these lodges, and conclude that the tour is based around some deal or costing that the operator is playing out, and not necessarily to the participants benefit.
(3) WHY - if you are a first time safari goer then what you really want to see and experience will be very, very different to folk who have been a few times. We know that in Australia many are enticed by super cheap packages from a few high profile holiday specialists who bundle a deal at amazingly low prices. Frankly what you pay will determine what you get. One of these companies does a South Africa tour, often by 50 seater coach, using large hotels just outside the National Park Gates and whizzes you in and out for your game-viewing .......
(4) TOO MUCH ?? - When we see safari packages which rattle off a series of destinations, one has to ask how long do I spend in any location. Typically you will end up with too much time in cities and not enough time in any game reserve.... Read the proposed itinerary carefully. Ask questions like .... "if we need to drive for 5 hours this morning to a National Park for late afternoon game-viewing, stay overnight, then next day have game-viewing before we drive on to the next destination which is 4 hours away" ...... I am sure you get the point.
(5) REALLY ?? - just because someone says (maybe in an advertisement or online quote) that this location and lodge is the only place to go ..... well frankly what do they have to compare it too ? This also applies to the tour company or travel agent ...... do they offer you choice, or just sell the one destination or lodge with which they have a "special" relationship ?
(6) FOLLOWERS - we have seen the growth of Facebook/Internet/Photographic "big names" who are "followed" by tens of thousands. If they announce they are off to Africa then you must ask am I going with them because it is just them, or am I going because the safari delivers on all counts ? We have met far too many folk over the past decade who have been with "so and so" and recount what they thought were amazing experiences, but for what they paid, and what was delivered, they could have done much better, and we suggest folk are often misguided by the "name" that travels with them.
After 40 years of travel to Africa and to India, and operating this Safari business for approaching 30 years, we can only say "let the buyer beware" !
2022 is starting to be a very mixed situation. Australians are very hesitant about travelling to Africa - however their fears are mainly unfounded. The facts are that Covid has not been as widespread on the African continent as it has elsewhere. There have now been many studies into why this is so. We find it interesting that folk are travelling to North America and Europe, where Coivd is still rampant, but are showing little interest in Africa and Asia. The main safari destinations in Africa are open and receiving guests from all over the world. Tanzania never closed its doors to visitors, so safaris never stopped (and reports are that tourists are not only fine with the health situation, but are experiencing some of the best wildlife viewing for years, and without the crowds !!!). Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia are all busy.
We are hearing from our operators that lodges and tours are being booked out later in 2022, so this is good news for the safari industry.
On the Indian side, tourists are now welcome as entry restrictions are removed. Expectations are that the latter part of 2022 will see a surge of visitors to India too.
We have already offered one safari to Tanzania for mid-2022, and will be announcing tours for other African destinations and for India during the next few weeks.
Commencing in July 2022 we begin operating very small group tours to destinations that have been selected by us as some of the best locations and experiences in Africa and India.
These will be led by our owner Dennis Jones, to share with you destinations that he believes are amongst the best. In line with our new motto (... for the experience, not just the photograph) these safaris will reward you with sublime experiences and life-long memories.
These tours will be initially offered to past clients, and then to new clients (subject to availability).
The first safari will be in July, travelling only to Taznzania (thus minimising inter-country Covid requirements) commencing on the 18th July.
3 very special experiences - the wildebeest migration / elephant migration / Zanzibar secrets
Africa is open for travel and India is not far behind. We have already started arranging some of our client's trips, and we are looking at a new approach to our "small group tours", which we will announce in coming weeks. Starting 2022 we will be promoting a range of destinations that are relatively unknown, but outstanding. We forsee Covid travel requirements in place for all of 2022, but the small inconveniences and additional costs should not stop what will be a very busy tourism year in both Africa and India. Keep watching here and on our Facebook page for updates.
East Africa in May-June is very special and not high season for tourists. See the best, without the crowds. Here is Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania in May - beautiful and green after the long rains.
As the Covid Virus continues to cause havoc across the globe we all await the days when we can travel again.
Our business is still in operation (May 2021) and working with clients on their deferred travel arrangements and future bookings.....
To date we have been able to assist clients in receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds, and suitable credits for future travel. This continues as we support those who have supported us over the years.
While the world works its way through the Covid Pandemic, global tourism has come to a grinding halt. The impact upon the hundreds of thousands of folk who work in this industry has been devastating, however through the world we are all preparing for things to "open up" again. This is very true in Africa and in India, where "Covid-safe" proceedures have been instigated throughout airports, transport services, hotels and lodges. The amount of work behind these measures is amazing, and at a time when cash-flow has ceased it is a tribute to owners and operators that they have invested in the future, When we are able to travel again you will see facilities and processes that will instill you with confidence.
This work behind the scenes reflects upon the dedication that the travel and tourism sector has, with customer focus being all important. Well done to all our partners across Africa and India for their great work for our future together.
As you are all aware the travel industry has been hit hard by current pandemic. Rebuilding air networks and restarting camps, lodges and hotels is going to be a slow process as we all learn how to live with coronavirus.
For us, while it is not exactly business as usual, we are still operating and already assisting some clients with plans for 2021 (Australians do not expect that we will be permitted to travel to most destinations until next year).
Our expectations are that while many locations will start to open during late 2020, most will not be accessible until next year. We certainly don't see safaris really starting until the middle of the year, though we do expect demand to be very high as globally people start to catch up with their lost love of travel.
When you start planning your next safari start talking to us, and remember that through our sister agency "Journeys Unlimited" we can assist you to any destination.
Madagascar joins the many African nations who now provide on-line Visa application services. (Like all of the other countries providing this service there is the official website and then numerous "dubious" ones who will assist you for exorbitant fees. We only publish the official ones on this site.) - see also our sister operation : https://www.madagascar-travel-centre.com.au/visa-information.html
You can apply for a Madagascar Visa online at the official Government "Website"
Other visa application sites include:
(note that in many cases you can get your Visa on arrival, but generally having gained it online will expedite your flow through immigration - always check that your nationality is eligible)
ALSO for INDIA
It has been some months since we added to our blog..... and much has been happening. A group tour to Madagascar went well and many individual travellers have enjoyed their safaris over the past 4 months.
2020 is shaping up to be a big year. Our October group tour is now for Ethiopia exclusively and is already fully booked. It is very exciting to see our work at promoting this great destination is starting to create some interest. Our next Ethiopia group is for February 2021. We have now started taking bookings, so if you are interested please email us for a full itinerary. As always, the number of participants is strictly limited so after the way this year's group filled so quickly, we recommend you act soon if you have an interest in next years' group.
Our August (2020) safari to East Africa has just a few places left. Again interest in this tour has been great and it is almost full.... We have conducted this safari many times and know that clients always come away delighted with their experiences.
We are also seeing good bookings for Gorilla visits for 2020. Remember that the number of permits each day to visit Gorillas is quite limited, so early booking is needed to ensure you won't be disappointed.
The year has also started with great airline specials - with some of the lowest prices we have seen from great names like Emirates, Qantas and Qatar (and more).
Whether it is a group, or you just want to travel by yourselves, we do it all.
Over the past few weeks our Botswana Group was blessed with some of the best wildlife sightings (and photo-ops) we have seen on any tour. Three locations - Chobe/Khwai/Nth Tuli - all delivered beyond expectations. All of the usual culprits were seen and digitally captured, but the stand-outs were : 2 different cheetahs in the same area with both having 4 cubs each in tow !!! / 2 unrelated packs of wild dogs, one with many pups / elephant shrews with attitude / and the list goes on....... We are looking forward to August next year when we take our East Africa Safari group to the migration and beyond ...... !!
Over the past few months our staff have been travelling to Madagascar, Ethiopia and Namibia in order to finalise a range of exciting new groups and varied private itineraries for our clients.
We are operating 3 groups in 2020.
* Ethiopia in February
* East Africa , including the "Migration" in August
* A combination of Ethiopia and Madagascar in October
See our "Group Tours" page and email us for the full itineraries.
Time to start hopping ..... we are now taking bookings for our "Journeys Ethiopia" small group tour departing on the 10th February 2020 and also for our "Two Amazing Worlds" tour of Madagascar/Ethiopia which departs on the 17th October 2020.
Email us for the itineraries on both of these : email@example.com
Shortly, further details of our India Wildlife (April) and East Africa (August) tours will be available.
(Ethiopian Wolf photo courtesy of our Ethiopian Partners)
We are pleased to announce that we are operating two group tours to Ethiopia in 2020. The first one is totally Ethiopia, and departs on the 10th February 2020. (Contact us for details)
In October 2020 we will operate a combination tour of Ethiopia with Madagascar, two amazing destinations rolled into one experience........
With “Ethiopia’s travel and tourism boom was one of the great success stories of 2018. It has exceeded our sector’s global and regional comparisons to record the highest level of growth of any country in 2018.” ( World Travel & Tourism Council) ...... join us soon, before the rest of the world wants to ! !
Next year will be a special year as we launch group tours to Ethiopia. This destination has been on our radar for a long time, and with the new Prime Minister (Abiy Ahmed) driving change and rejuvenation of the nation, the time is right to offer this exciting destination to our clients in 2020. ( We are currently working closely with our Ethiopian ground operator to finalise these tours)
We will offer an Ethiopia Culture & History tour in the early part (February) of 2020, plus a combined highlights of Ethiopia joined with the highlights of Madagascar towards the end of the year (Oct/Nov) Both tours are targeted at times when the weather is favourable (n all locations) and the tourist numbers not overwhelming.
In addition Dennis will be revisiting India after a few years absence and focusing on the outstanding wildlife found there. The last of these tours was booked out, so if it appeals let us know soon. This tour will be late March/early April.
As always we will be undertaking a group tour to Africa in July-August. This is to coincide with the annual Migration. More details to come.
Should you have any interest in any of our tours please email us soon and register - this will ensure that you receive full details and be able to take advantage of any early-bird discounts that we offer.
Email to :: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just one room left on our Botswana safari - designed for photographers. I have been travelling to Bots for over 34 years and it is definitely THE amazing wildlife destination in Southern Africa. When I designed this trip I thought..... what combination of locations would provide outstanding opportunities ..... This is the result. I can only keep this room until the end of January and then it is taken back by the operators, so if you are considering Botswana I do ask you to review this option now...... https://www.wildlife-safari-consultants.net/group-tours-2019-botswana.html Join me and my small group next August....... maybe to spend time with the "Wild Dogs" that are commonly found there, shown here a shot from my last visit. If you haven't seen the BBC "Dynasties" documentary on "Painted Wolf", try to ..... stunning !!
We have a few spaces left on our 2019 Botswana photographers group tour, so act soon if you wish to join this very special photo safari.
A few more chapters of our daily journey through Madagascar have been added to our other website - follow the journey at www.madagascar-travel-centre.com.au/lemur-tales
On our Madagascar Travel Centre website, a new series of posts has commenced. Designed to take you day-by-day on a journey across Madagascar, following the route that our group tours take.
Due to the very high demand for accommodation in Botswana in 2019 we will have to finalise bookings for our group tour before the end of this year !!! Yes, that is how popular Botswana is, so if you are thinking about safaris to Botswana, and if you love photography, join our August 2019 group as soon as possible. https://www.wildlife-safari-consultants.net/group-tours-2019-botswana.html
2018 ...... the year that so many wildebeest decided that the grass was greener on their side. The heavy rainfalls across Kenya and Tanzania earlier this year resulted in so much food and moisture being available in Tanzania that the expected million wildebeest didn't arrive in the Masai Mara during the peak migration time. Disappointing ?? Not really, for those of us who were fortunate enough to be in the Mara this year, the predator activity was outstanding - maybe because they had less to choose from ? Overall indications are that 80% of the migrating herds stayed well within the Serengeti. An unusual year, but the region is so well endowed with non-migratory wildlife that outstanding experiences were still had.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking Trivago to the Federal Court, alleging the hotel booking comparison site made misleading hotel price representations in TV and online advertisements. "Increasingly, people are putting their faith in comparison websites, and we have increasing concerns that those websites aren't working in the interest of consumers,"
It's something that concerns us for not only our safari business, but for our general travel through "Journeys Unlimited". Some very wise comments from the ACCC - read the news reports at these locations:
Dennis Jones writes.......