*As seen in The Logbook.
Husband and wife team, Robin and Clare Cormack have created a solution to connect people with a passion for wildlife with the best safaris around the globe with an easy to navigate and free to use service that greatly benefits from a prominent personal touch. Donnie Rust got the chance to speak with co-founder Robin Cormack to find out what is the driving force behind this business that is facilitating people’s dreams.
“We are an online platform that lists worldwide wildlife adventures from responsible operators.” Robin says, “We make it easy for travellers to find their ideal holiday safari and connect with the right operator.”
Based in Surrey, Britain but working with an international selection of clients as well as travel partners, SafariDeal.com combine simplicity and transparency with a powerful customer focus. This has already made them, since they launched in November 2017, a favourite for travellers.
With the power of travel blogs today proving that opinion really does count, SafariDeal.com has focused on providing interesting selections that are experience-focused in the wildlife sector.
Robin explains that this was one of the main reasons for starting SafariDeal.com, “We combined our digital marketing and travel experience into one company,” he says, “We want to make a difference in local community and conservation efforts. Wildlife is under threat internationally and we want to be involved and do our part.”
Robin explains that over a year and a half was dedicated to researching the idea before they launched. Building up a catalogue of safari itenaries, developing the necessary partnerships with various tour operators and getting their team together.
He says, “Today we work with international tour operators, DMC’s, ground handlers, product and camp owners. These itineraries are then marketed to our safari community.”
THAT ALL IMPORTANT SPECIAL TOUCH.
Keeping in touch with their community via newsletters, SafariDeal.com is a very easy to navigate website. There may appear to be fewer options than the likes of some of the online behemoths, but this is part of the design. Instead of just hurling hundreds of options at a user, they provide curated selections. Furthermore, any user will know that the selections available have gone through their exhaustive research and are most likely to provide the best experience.
All the world’s continents offer their own safari opportunities. Even places like Antarctica. A safari is simply where people are able to see and appreciate wildlife in its natural environment. SafariDeal.com was set up to connect one with the other, along the same lines as taxi services or accommodation bookings.
“We’re the Uber of safaris,” Robin says, “We connect people with the safari tour operators and offer a thoroughly researched selection of destinations and a variety of expeditions.”
Have you ever fancied swimming with whales in Mexico? Click.
What about a Zimbabwe safari because you want to see a coalition of giraffe or a cackle of hyenas? Click.
Spot brown bears in Serbia. Click.
Both Robin and Clare have been involved in the tourist industry since the early 1990’s, their wide range of experience includes managing lodges, running overland tours and self-drive safaris, travel marketing and digital solutions. They know their industry down to the bones.
Users of SafariDeal.com get the benefit of that experience and can rest assured that all of the safari opportunities on the site are not only the best value for money but also responsible in the manner in which they operate.
“If you’ve never been on a safari you don’t know what to expect,” Robin says, “There are three things to consider: one, value. Two responsibility. Three experience. Is it good value for money? Are the tour operators aware of any impact to wildlife? And three, are they experienced enough to educate as well as entertain?”
THE SAFARI IMPACT ON CONSERVATION
Robin is passionate about wildlife and protecting it. During our interview he described how wildlife today, around the world, is affected more by behaviours than simply the highly mediatized “global warming,” threat. More and more, tourism is having to bear the weight of responsibility with protecting these natural treasures. He’s seen poachers be able to run amok because anti-poaching is so massively underfunded. Funds generated through responsible tourism can have a huge impact on areas that are affected by negative human factors such as poaching. Apart from these local issues, global warming also poses a threat. But ignorance and indifference can create an even more immediate threat to the animals and the environment, so education is vital.
Yet in the face of this, he has also witnessed over the last two decades in the industry, the hugely positive effect that responsible safaris can have on conservation. And how, especially today with the power of social media, the ripple effect of these safaris can reach even further.
“Photography Safaris are more popular than ever he says happily, “Today sharing experiences is everything and it means that every person on a safari is an ambassador. Social media has the power to change attitudes and perceptions..”
He adds, “Safaris provide employment for locals which goes deeper than just giving people jobs. It is nothing less than a triumph that some safari companies are employing former poachers who now, thanks to new opportunities, are involved in the fight against it. “
Education is important and all the deals available on SafariDeal.com have this in common. The tours have to offer real, worthwhile information about the area, the wildlife and the people who live there as part of it.
“Wherever there is wildlife there are cultures who live alongside it,” Robin says, “And their history and stories form such a strong component to a safari’s value.”
THE VALUE OF A GOOD SAFARI
According to Robin, the first job of any tour operator and safari guide is to give value to wildlife. To create a culture of love, appreciation and joy at seeing these animals in their natural habitat. Each person who goes home afterwards with that value assigned in their hearts and minds is a victory.
Travelling as much as they can,, doing everything from Namibian self-drive adventures and diving in Mozambique to camping in France and taking the family on safari in South Africa, Robin and Clare know the value of getting back into nature.
“People become so wrapped up in routines of getting up and going to work that it shrinks their worlds,” Robin says, “It’s so important to break that up and get immersed in a different environment.”
While SafariDeal.com is still in its growth phase Robin admits that there isn’t a lot of balance between business and lifestyle. But when he does get the chance to unwind Robin takes to the mountain bike trails. He is also a rugby coach, enjoys painting and drawing and loves to braai (South African BBQ), which he considers himself to be a master at!
In fact, if he was remembered for anything he would like it to be his legendary braai skills, “Hot and fast as well as low and slow and always with a cold beer!”