Your safari is only as good as your guides. On many of my first few safaris, the lodges provided guides who certainly knew more than I did back then but were effectively drivers, not true guides. There is a stark difference between a former taxi driver from the city venturing out into the bush and a local Maasai who has been to a professional guiding school or a trained naturalist with you in the Indian jungle. I see so much more on my safaris now than I used to and it’s all as a result of being in the right place, with a good guide and spotter. Funnily enough, the vehicles of those same lodges who provided the guides back then can often be seen following the vehicles with better guides where it is possible for them to do so (only when I venture into the National Reserves – very rare these days).

Bespoke, unique travel

I believe that each safari experience needs to be tailored to your needs. For that reason, I do not push different camps and lodges through my website. I would rather hear from you exactly what you’re looking for from your trip, when you want to travel and what your budget is. The places I recommend are not the run of the mill. You will stay in intimate tented camps or in small lodges with character and charm.

Avoiding Crowds

Low density tourism comes with significant advantages. You will have a more exclusive experience, get much better photos, be closer to the action and the wildlife will be grateful for it too. To put it simply, the main national parks are often too crowded; as a result, they must impose certain restrictions that aren’t necessary in areas with lower tourism density.

Closer to the wildlife

Animals aren’t always sitting by the road and sometimes there isn’t a road where you want to go. I remember a leopard a few metres from the road in Serengeti but we could not see it. Going offroad is a problem in the crowded reserves as the savannah would become a mangled mess of tyre tracks but in private conservancies where there are fewer vehicles, you can venture off road without damaging the habitat or troubling the wildlife.

Some of my most memorable moments have been while out on my own two feet. Squatting down to look at chameleons, tortoises and dung beetles, or craning your neck to look up at a giraffe and really appreciate how tall they are, is a different kind of special!

A lot of places will offer you a ‘nature walk’ (often at an extra charge) and it will basically be an hour or less tramping about inside the perimeter of a fenced area around your accommodation. This is because walking isn’t actually permitted in the National parks (again, too many people, too many inexperienced guides). If you want to do a proper walk, I can recommend places where you can do so in absolutely stunning scenery, marching alongside migrating wildebeest and zebras, watching peacocks dance, skirting herds of buffaloes and elephants, all while having memorable conversations with your guides about their land, their wildlife and their culture.

Many mainstream parks require you to be back at your lodge or camp by sundown. This usually means that just as the sun begins to set and the action begins to pick up, you have to head off, in order to be back before curfew! Wouldn’t you rather

  • remain out in the bush, watching a beautiful sunset with a drink in hand
  • stay with that pride of lions as night falls and they look like they’re getting ready to hunt
  • use a hide by a waterhole to keep an eye out for tigers after dark
  • just head out after dinner to see some of the nocturnal animals that you’ll never see during the day

The places I suggest allow and indeed encourage you to do all of the above and you can take advantage of these unique opportunities.