Escaping from our homes and our cities is a major factor for people when it comes to planning the post-Covid holidays. For many, the greatest escape from the concrete jungle is to aim for Africa’s marvellous savannahs and dense rainforests. As of 2021, interest in safaris is currently skyrocketing and for good reason.
Synonymous with adventure and travel, safaris immediately bring to mind wild beasties, unexplored terrain, unique cultures, peoples, endless savannahs and dense jungles. Safaris take us out of our comfort zones and help us discover who we really are by putting us face to face with nature at her finest and most wild. Of course, in the current travel climate the key word is “safety” and below we’ve highlighted ten businesses in Africa who are open, taking bookings and keeping travel completely Covid Safe. These are the businesses that are defining the New Normal for Safari Travel.
*Note. The Lost Executive Ltd is not responsible for the experiences had with any of the belowmentioned. No matter how magnificent, adrenaline fuelled and deeply inspiration. Be responsible, do you research before booking.
1. Lion Dog African Safaris
By helping people experience Africa, its wildlife and its cultures, it can help them appreciate the need to protect the continent. This was the aim of Mike and Maryanne Donovan when they founded Lion Dog African Safaris in 2010 after living and working in Africa for years.
Andrea Radke, who is deeply involved in the business, also lived in Africa before moving to Canada. With a diploma in veterinary technology, Andrea has a unique appreciation for the wildlife and conservation efforts in Africa and sees their safaris as a unique opportunity to inspire the same appreciation in the hearts of their clients.
COMMUNITY FOCUSSED NETWORK
A small but capable business working from her home in Canada, Andrea employs help locally whenever she needs it. As a tour operator they work with outfits in Africa that emphasise working with the communities, who employ locally and support the economy on their doorsteps.
“This includes buying produce locally, using local labour for building and local suppliers for building materials,” she says, “Giving back to the community starts with supporting these businesses first.”
All of their tours are custom designed and last between 10-20 days and are based on the client’s interests and curiosities. In essence, the client tells them what they really want to see and learn, and then Lion Dog African Safaris will make it happen.
For instance, they had travellers who are psychologists from Canada who mainly worked with psychological trauma patients.
“We organized extended visits with traditional healers in Uganda and Tanzania for them to learn more about the traditional way of dealing with psychological trauma,” Andrea reveals, “These findings were then integrated by them into a research article for the professionals.”
“We do work with the Uganda Rhino Fund and have supported them through donations and by sending clients to track the White Rhinos there.,” Andrea explains, “We have also supported the “Ride 4 a Woman” charity group in Uganda by purchasing their hand made face masks for selling them here in Canada.“
Protective measures are typically integrated by the camps and guides on a local level and vary from place to place. Frequent cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities, temperature checks on arrival, social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing, and mask wearing are the most common measures and are typically used by all outfits.
“We strongly encourage every guest to follow the precautions and we expect the staff to be vigilant in following the cleaning and sanitizing protocols,” Andrea adds.
NEW TOURS FOR 2021
This year, Lion Dog African Safaris are starting to offer Zambia safaris that have an emphasis on walking safaris in the Luangwa River Valley. Andrea is super excited about this especially as she hopes to get first-hand experience of it.
“Personal experience is crucial to giving an accurate description to clients,” she says, “And it’s an area I’m very eager to explore.”
2. Up the mountain and back again. Snow Africa Adventures
So! You’ve decided that you are going to conquer one of Africa’s greatest and most dominating mountains. Mount Kilimanjaro. The question is, who can you trust to get you up the mountain and back again safely?
Snow Africa Adventures has been guiding intrepid adrenaline junkies, bucket list-completers and generic over-achievers up those peaks and down again since 2012 when the business was founded by owner Florent Zachary Ipananga.
Indeed, when it comes to climbing the slopes of a horizon dominating mountain like Mount Kilimanjaro, experience counts for everything. Florent spent twelve years working as a mountain and safari guide for various companies and shaping what would become a reliable and thrilling adventure offering.
All of Florent’s staff are employed locally and offer their unique experience and understanding of their country and the endless range of things to see. From single day trips, to 12 day itineraries Snow Africa Adventure applies local knowledge, passion and experience to ensure that clients get a multi-layered and wholly satisfying experience. Provided at reasonable rates as well, the safaris can offer a number of unique features based on location, style of vehicle and desired experiences.
“Some clients are looking for an adventure that takes them out of their day to day lives,” Florent says, “Others want to feel the grass against their legs and hear the animals nearby and many more are looking to get those perfect photographs for the adventure album.”
As such, the safaris have a significant “wow factor’‘ and take place mainly in the Northern Circuit which include the national parks of Tarangire, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.
“We have 4×4 and open roof vehicles and Land Cruisers,” Florent adds, “These are very useful for the photography safaris which we expect to grow significantly in 2021. Fortunately for any aspiring wildlife photographers, the ten years’ worth of experience from our guides can help them get those perfect images.”
Ensuring that the accommodation contributes to the overall safari experience, the itineraries offer a mixture of hotels and tented camps. Each of these locations offer something different but all keep to a reliable standard of comfort.
“We aim to ensure that the hospitality part of the safaris is as strong an experience as the safari itself,” Florent explains, “So we update our accommodations as often as we update our safaris and pay close attention to our guest’s feedback.”
“It is the responsibility for businesses like ours to set a high standard when it comes to protecting our team and our guests from concerns like Coronavirus,” Florent declares. And they take every precaution including checking temperatures, washing hands, social distancing, wearing masks and providing easily accessible hand sanitiser in each vehicle.
Interestingly, Florent reveals that thanks to a steady flow of travellers coming from France and Russia to East Africa, some safari and hospitality businesses have been taking bookings since October 2020. With some hotels in Zanzibar showing 95% capacity, companies like Snow Africa Adventures have been under pressure to ensure that their PPE measures have been perfect.
“It is simply a new requirement, and if you tick the right boxes and follow the right procedures for guests everyone can enjoy their safaris,” he says, “The new normal for our industry will be determined by our actions this year and thinking ahead like this is how we continue to offer the best service.”
According to Florent, of the 600 local tour companies there are a only handful of local Kilimanjaro outfits who are committed to treating their mountain crews, including guides, chefs and porters to above industry standards. Paying good wages, providing good sleeping quarters and at least three square meals a day. The majority of crews in the industry survive of tips from clients. KPAP members pay crew wages instead of tips.
“As many families are directly reliant on tours during the Covid crisis they were unable to support themselves last year,” Florent reveals, “We worked with past clients to raise funds to purchase food stuffs for our crew to support their families during this difficult time.”
3. Attention to detail in the New Normal. 255 Uncharted and Wildlife Explorer
After a visit to Africa in the 1970s, a spark was ignited inside wildlife lover and entrepreneur Gary Strand. This ember quickly blazed into a fire that has since forged the creation of not just one, but two highly respected safari businesses. 255 Uncharted and Wildlife Explorer.
What is amazing, is that even after running his safari businesses for over four decades, Gary still gets excited and passionate about the possibilities and challenges of his industry. He is very conscious that for most people “a Real African Safari” is a big one on their bucket list and for many it is one that can only be scratched off once.
As such, each of his tours is custom crafted around the interests, available time and of course the budget of each of his customers. The guiding principle leading him, and his team is simple: be passionate about Africa, her lands, peoples, wildlife and her culture and strive to provide the very finest experiences for her guests.
255 Uncharted and Wildlife Explorer create the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that people, families and groups come to Africa for. These involve a range of things including big game country in Eastern and Southern Africa, visits to areas of important cultural significance like the Rock Hewn Churches in Lalibela, or lazily floating down the Nile aboard a historical steamship.
Guests can rest assured that Covid-19 precautions are taken very seriously with all of the tours whether with 255 Uncharted or Wildlife Explorer. Gary explains that they have strict protocols in place to ensure the safety of their team and of their guests.
“Keeping abreast of the latest international recommendations our precautions include social distancing measures, mask wearing and thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing our accommodations and vehicles,” Gary reveals, “All fifty-five of our team members have received formal training on these precautions to ensure a proactive approach to keeping all of our people safe.”
With each safari being individually designed and usually lasting around 10-12 days as a standard, there is one thing that Gary believes is essential for all guests: a good night’s sleep.
“Our safaris are unique and the unexpected often happens,” he explains, “We are also constantly updating and improving them, but the one constant must always be that guests must love where they sleep at night.”
All guests can enjoy the total exclusivity in each of their properties regardless of the size of the group. Their properties, which include tented camps and a small boutique lodge offer atmospheric hospitality with the promise of a deep and revitalizing sleep.
255 Uncharted and Wildlife Explorer are strongly committed to Carbon Tanzania which is a philanthropic and conservational project focused on offsetting their carbon usage and minimizing their already small impact on the environment. This has demonstrative benefits not only to the wildlife in the area but the communities that live there too.
THINGS TO GET EXCITED ABOUT
With guest numbers finally increasing in 2021, Wildlife Explorer is meeting the rising tide of bookings with a new project that is set to expand their commitment to the local National Parks.
For example, the developments of their Osunyai Lamarkau Tented Camp are expected to not only bring in a wider audience of adventure seekers but also provide the best standard of the “new normal” required for customer peace of mind and enjoyment.
4. Serengeti Balloon Safaris. Africa by air.
Frankly, if you’ve never seen the African savannah from the air you should move it to the top of your bucket list. Floating high above the wildlife and landscape, basket-tourists have an indulgent and enlightened perspective that is unique to this form of safari. And, since their first balloon took to the skies in 1991, Serengeti Balloon Safaris have been writing the book on the creation of memorable and unique African experiences.
The culmination of years of hard work and experimentation, of creative thinking and most importantly engaging and listening to their guests, these forward-and-upward thinking travel fanatics have created a travel experience that is truly original. Perfect as either an addition to a safari adventure or as a standalone treat, their popularity is quite literally sky high.
SAFARIS BY AIR
With a post-covid contingent of 41 locally employed staff working on the ground and in the air, each safari lasts approximately five hours with one hour spent in the air. As Tanzania’s pioneering and most experienced balloon safari company it is the skills and know-how applied to each safari that keeps the balloons aloft as much as the hot air.
Including both a ground-based safari experience as well as one in the air, there are a few more challenges than what an average safari has to contend with. But it is absolutely worth the extra effort and it provides the most magical environment in which to experience the range and depth of wildlife and the endless expanse of the landscape. Not to mention the sort of enviable images for social media that have driven up the hashtag #balloon safari.
Serengeti Balloon Safaris is also involved in several important projects within Tanzania including the Serengeti De-snaring Project which protects animals and local peoples from snares left by poachers. Plaster House, ALMC Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit and a focus on Tanzanian Communities and other important charities and projects as well as Carbon Tanzania.
Having put in place a dedicated Covid-19 Coordinator, Serengeti Balloon Safaris has taken onboard all of the preventative measures in a proactive fashion. This includes the standard masks, washing of hands, taking of temperature and provision of hand sanitizer. Additionally, the baskets for the balloons are thoroughly sanitized and cleaned before every trip and a document of requirements and precautions are made available to all guests prior to arrival.
“With preparation and forethought, we can all be protected while still enjoying the experiences,” John Corse, Covid-19 Co-Ordinator says.
The memories created by a Serengeti Balloon Safari will be treasured for the rest of a guest’s life, it is a truly remarkable experience. It also affords the kind of once-in-a-lifetime perspective of a land where you can see horizon to horizon and get an impression of just how massive and beautiful the Serengeti is and the huge catalogue of life and colour that exists there. All from a bird’s eye view.
5. Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge. Five World Travel Awards and counting.
Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge was founded in 2008 by Robert Brierley, a passionate photographer, who has traversed Africa and fell in love with Uganda’s rich culture during a visit in 1996.
After this visit he began an online travel guide to the country entitled The Uganda Travel Planner and this website played an important role in developing Uganda’s online business. In 2007 he linked up with Lydia Nandudu, a researcher for the travel guide and on one of their Ugandan visits they happened upon Nkuringo, a remote community on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This location supported a small campsite that was destined to become Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge which has won a World Travel Award as Uganda’s leading safari Lodge every year since 2016.
TAKE A WALK AROUND
The lodge and the accompanying Nkuringo Walking Safari owe much of their creation to the stunning views over the Albertine Rift Valley, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and the Virunga Volcano chain. The walking safari was created as a community initiative, allowing clients to visit Nkuringo on foot and enjoy the rural fabric of life while also creating job opportunities for the youth in the village.
“Since there was no accommodation in the area, we took the Nkuringo Campsite and this has grown into the lodge as it currently stands today,” Lydia explains.
IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
The rooms come in two categories. Eight garden cottages and four two-bedroom villas for a total of sixteen rooms accommodation a capacity of forty people.
“Our slogan is In harmony with Nature, and all of our cottages are handcrafted using locally sourced raw materials,” Lydia reveals, “Things like papyrus mat ceilings, volcanic rock walls, local baskets, sisal ropes. African materials and arts decorate the rooms and each one comes with a fireplace to give that mountain chalet cosiness.”
With thirty locally employed staff, Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge prides itself on its green endeavours, and is one of the first two Lodges in Uganda to become Carbon Neutral. A feat that was achieved by offsetting their carbon footprint and investing in re-planting of trees. Added to this they have stopped the use of plastic, embraced recycling and even have their own vegetable garden.
Very community focused, the Lodge only employs locals and through their NGO – The Bucketlist Outreach it supports the training of community guides, housing projects with the Batwa people, and the education of young women.
Even with the precautions in place, guests will feel very welcome and as if they are one of the family at Nkuringo Lodges. All of the staff have received the latest Covid 19 training and this is regularly being refreshed and updated.
“It is our number one priority to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of all of our guests and staff,” Lydia says, “And this includes temperature checks and a medical questionnaire for all guests on arrival.”
This is what they expect for their staff who undergo daily temperature checks before they start work every day and this also includes residential staff on site. Additionally, if any guests have any health concerns, they do have medically trained staff and qualified nurses at each property who are ready and available 24/7.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
The main attraction for guests is of course the Mountain Gorilla tracking, gorilla permits are limited to 8 permits per family of gorillas and these must be booked in advance. Permits can be arranged inhouse for guests as well as arranging of safaris to other parts of the country.
6. Wild Expeditions Ethiopia. Wildly Authentic.
The inspiration for Wild Expeditions Ethiopia came upon the back of an impact investment project to support communities in the country. Introducing a new tented camp model and currently employing 33 people in the Addis Ababa office and at Lale’s Camp, the business was founded in 2016.
The four founders Will Jones, Titi Yoseph, Lale Biwa and Bemnet Gizachew were all involved in Ethiopian travel and came together when they spotted an opportunity to capitalize on the growing travel attention of Ethiopia as well as the chance to give back to the communities. One of the primary ways they have achieved this is by employing locally.
Ethiopia is a very large country with such a diversity of attractions that some tours can easily last up to thirty days. However, most trips featuring the main highlights last for about two weeks.
The safaris are wonderfully authentic, accessing rare cultural and wildlife experiences. Combining mobile tented camps with classical historic routes where the expedition camp sites are beautifully remote and off grid. From here, guests find themselves in some of the least visited spots on earth, including the Bale Mountains, the Danakil Depression, Chebera Churchura, Wabe Shebelle Valley, and Gheralta, the Simien Mountains and Kafta Sheraro. There are also specialist flying safaris as well as boat trips to some of the most inaccessible communities in the Omo Valley.
Out of these Lale’s camp stands out because it’s a first in Ethiopia and they are the only tourism operator on the Omo River! As such, Lale’s camp serves as an excellent base for one of the most unique explorations in the world.
Their philanthropic focusses include Wild Philanthropy, and moreover, each camping expedition is designed to create job opportunities for the local host communities; whether it is Bale National Park, Chebera Churchura NP, or the Danakil Depression.
The team have set up a safety protocol that includes temperature taking, mask wearing and social distancing during hotel and airport transfers and sightseeing. In addition to daily disinfecting of their vehicles and the daily deep clean of their safari tents.
Not that it is a new product, but in 2021 Wild Expeditions Ethiopia are focusing more on promoting their mobile tented safaris as they believe guests will find the exclusivity not only more alluring after various lockdowns but also safer during this time of pandemic.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
In developing countries like Ethiopia, it’s easy to feel you need to give a handout; better than this, is to contribute to the sustainability of the communities by buying handmade goods made by local artisans.
Also, while travelling, guests will want to capture a moment or a smile with their camera; but they always need to remember to ask for permission as a common courtesy.
And finally, when taking pictures of very old church paintings, old manuscripts, and valuable antiquities, it is recommended not to use flashlight as this can damage these irreplaceable treasures.
7. African Traits. Professionalism and Integrity.
African Traits has been a leader in the Tanzanian tourism industry since 2016, showing travellers and visitors from around the globe the majesty of Africa. Leading by example, founder Godfrey Willy believes that consistent integrity and professionalism are the keys to running a successful safari business in 2021.
Godfrey’s passion for tourism began at a young age when he was fortunate enough to attend a safari group as a student. And it’s safe to say he developed an appetite for it. This passion for his industry and trade has been an inspiration to his staff who consistently strive to ensure their clients have the best experience possible.
“Prior to Covid we had seventeen staff members,” he reflects, “Now we have two but in business you must always expect setbacks and believe in your ability to work past them.”
Through a very varied career one thing that Godfrey has demonstrated is an incredible sensitivity to the wellbeing of others. This has been reflected through onto his clients, but it began at home. For example, prior to beginning African Traits, he was teaching Swahili (the local language) to volunteers while striving to support a local family to help pay for their youngest daughter to enrol in school. With qualifications in tourism and management, he had already started to plan people’s excursions out of a love for sharing the beauty of his home and saw this as an opportunity to support his local community.
“After completing my diploma in Tourism Management at the Tanzania Institute of Wildlife Research, I decided to start African Traits,” he says, “It is my goal to share the incredible beauty of Africa with as many people as possible from all around the globe.”
African Traits safaris last from one day up to twenty and offer unlimited game drives. If overnight, guests can have a combination of both hotels and safari tents, dependent on their tastes. Safaris and accommodations are updated yearly. There is a focus on volunteerism, and they partner with Neema Village in Arusha
Godfrey makes sure that all of their clients have their temperatures taken every day, before and during the safari. Their drivers wear masks at all times while with clients and they also have spare masks in their vehicles as well as hand sanitiser.
“Over and above the measures we have in place, we also don’t sell joint safaris anymore and we only have private tours,” he explains, “This is because if it is a family, we are comfortable to keep them together and not to join them with other people.”
Precautions are explained literally as soon as clients are collected from the airport and all guides have attended the safety course so that they are able to assist and answer any questions right from the start.
Godfrey takes a personal approach to customer relations and meets all of their clients in person before and after their adventure with African Traits, he believes this builds up a good relationship with them.
“We also make sure to send seasonal greetings as well as update them if we have new products coming up through their email,” he says, “This also gives us the opportunity to keep them updated on current affairs like the Covid situation ensuring that they are kept informed.”
8. OH MY. HELLO TANZANIA.
During an unrelated business trip to Tanzania in 2008, safari founder Sylwia Boniecka fell in love with the East African nation and decided that it was going to play a large part in the rest of her life. Prior to starting her safari company Hello Tanzania in 2010, she spent two years living in the country herself. During this time, she immersed herself in the local culture, spent time in the Shynjanga region and opened herself up to the vivid variety of life and beauty to be found there.
Sylwia, who was born in Poland, is a traveller, inventor, entrepreneur and has a master’s degree in Humanities Studies from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, and a post grad in management. While only one of her many projects, Hello Tanzania is closest to her heart, combining all of her skills and passions and is fuelled by an invigorating love for the country.
WHY HELLO TANZANIA…
“Tanzania was love at first sight,” she says, “The warm seas of Zanzibar, the breath of the savannah, the white snows of Kilimanjaro and the always-impressive roar of the lion first thing in the morning… It was impossible to keep it to myself and I just wanted to share it.”
Authenticity in all things is important to Sylwia. So, she only works with born and raised African guides who know the language of the land both spoken by the people and the animals and whispered by the wind. Their tours bring people up close to wildlife, immerse them in local cultures and traditions and shares the secrets of East Africa.
“If you spend any time in Tanzania you come to understand that the people, the wildlife and the land are all interconnected in a beautiful tapestry,” she adds, “It inspires you and gives you a fresh perspective on your own life.”
Hello Tanzania, has integrated all of the recommendations of the World Health Organisation pertaining to the use of masks, disinfectants and social distancing to stop the spread of Covid 19. Additionally, during the worst periods of the pandemic they avoided organizing any safaris involving large groups.
2020 AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
Sylwia explains that she doesn’t just want to sell safaris but wants each of her clients to experience their own real life Tanzanian adventure. To do this properly she strives to engage with each customer. Even during the busiest seasons, Sylwia always ensures that she is on hand to speak with clients to discuss their plans and dreams and create a good outline of what they’re looking for.
“The last year provided an opportunity to spend even more time speaking with our clients both old and new,” Sylwia reveals, “As it was an uncertain time, I felt it was important to answer questions and provide information that could have affected their trips after the pandemic.”
Safari times span one day to two weeks and clients are brought as close to nature as possible while ensuring their safety and comfort. Their guides and their hospitality partners are selected for their reliability and standards. The tents and lodges are comfortable and provide a rich African atmosphere and aesthetics. Ensuring a perfect balance to the busy days of exploring.
9. Elisomi Tours
Providing world class tours and safaris across East Africa, and fully Tanzanian owned, Elisomi Tours was founded in 2018 and quickly established itself as the definition of the African Experience. Owner Elisa explains that safari success comes from location, engagement and customer satisfaction.
Elisomi Tours take place in the most sought after and world-renowned tourist destinations. The world’s tallest free standing mountain Kilimanjaro or witnessing the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world in Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro crater AKA the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera or Zanzibar Island with its blissful beaches and rich colonial history and culture.
“The wilderness in these areas is essentially pristine and is home to a diversity of wildlife species not seen anywhere else,” Elisa explains, “We use highly professional tour guides, and unlike many other companies we are distinguished by offering high quality and personalized services to our esteemed customers. We also have a wide range of partners that offer high quality accommodation ranging from campsites and lodges to hotels.”
Providing affordable tailored packages for their clients, Elisomi Tours specialize in identifying the key components that a client or group of clients, are looking for. Then they piece them together into a smoothly flowing well-orchestrated adventure holiday.
Including game safaris, mountain climbing, beach holidays, cultural tours and volunteering packages the aim is to always leave the customer wanting more. As part of their plans to improve this year, Elisa reveals that he’s looking at developing each aspect of the business to see what areas could offer even more.
It should be noted that the founders of the company have a strong background and passion for nature conservation. Therefore, supporting the environmental sustainability and peaceful co-existence of people and nature are among their top priorities.
“To bolster this ethos, we have also partnered with several organizations where sustainability is in the core of their business,” Elias adds.
Elisomi Tours take all necessary precautions to protect their customers during the safari. Their measures include testing temperature, wearing masks, washing hands and of course keeping socially distanced. Their vehicles are comfortable and well ventilated, and always come with hand sanitizers. In addition, they only take their clients to accommodations where Covid-19 precautions are taken just as seriously.
NEW 2021 PRODUCTS
Subject to how the Covid-19 crisis evolves, Elisa reveals that their plan is to further enhance their safaris and tours to inspire more people with nature. He believes that by bringing more people into the natural world will have a mutual benefit for both and will play a huge role in establishing the new normal for travel and adventure to come.
“We are also starting a student programme as a way to connect more young people with nature where they will have an opportunity to experience and learn about the land and the local communities living on it,” he says.
10. Green World Safaris. 2021 Sustainable Eco-Safaris. Tanzania.
Green World Safaris was founded in 2009 to provide a high standard of eco-focussed tour company in Uganda. Created by Betty Ddumba and Vidgis Bjonoy they have pioneered eco-conscious tourism that engages and educates guests in the value of sustainable tourism.
Fully registered and licensed as a tour company Betty and Vidgis have gone to great lengths to ensure that not only does Green World Safaris operate at the highest level of eco-tourism but also at the most unquestionable standard of professionalism.
All the procedures are being taken into consideration, from hand washing, sanitizing, face masking and taking the temperature of guests and staff members. These precautions are being explained before every tour by the guides to ensure that guests are fully aware that not only does Green World Safari take their health seriously, but they are proactive in their methodology.
“We advise clients to travel with their COVID19 test reports, avoid hand shakings and hugs with staff,” Betty says, “Because our health and wellbeing comes first, therefore clients and staff have to comply and keep the laws.”
Providing a personalised service and creating a distinctive and memorable safari for each client, Green World Safaris’ tour routes take clients through places such as Bwindi, Kibale, Murchison Falls, Lake Bunyonyi, Semuliki, Kidepo, Elgon and Sssese Island.
According to Betty, one of the major goals of their business is to promote and grow responsible tourism in Uganda and other East African destinations. It is only through sustainable tourism than mountain trekking and great ape tracking, nature trails and wildlife safaris can be the kind of adventures that future generations can also enjoy as well.
Green World Safaris combines wild life and natural landscape of Uganda, Rwanda and the DR Congo with the many cultures and communities living there. These amazing and unique safaris cater for all travellers including families, solo travellers, groups and volunteers and can be tailor-made or traditional depending on the needs and budget of the visitor.
PRINCIPLES OF CUSTOMER FOCUS
Their packaged holidays create the balance of nature, culture and authentic travel experiences that are based on the guidelines of ecotourism and responsible travel. As such the safaris are updated every 6 months and as a business they keep abreast of all new information regarding eco-tourism.
The length of each safari depends on the client’s time and budget, but there is no actual limit. As an eco-tour operator, how their tours and safaris impact the environment is an important factor and clients can be confident that all the tours will follow an appropriate course.
There are a host of safari lodges where visitors will be able to stay as part of their tour and these destinations are carefully chosen by Green World Safari for their values and their standards of hospitality. Irrespective of the budget available, guests must feel comfortable and looked after.
11. And one South American Special: Alpaca Expeditions
Alpaca Expeditions was founded in 2013 by Raul Ccolque. A former porter for the Inca Trail and professional tour guide, he founded the company based on a philosophy of equality which has remained a guiding principle to this day.
Raul knew that the best customer experience is always a consequence of enthused and engaged staff and sought about creating a business that provided a fair and respectful treatment of his team. Guaranteeing the best quality service for guests without forgetting about the human resource that makes it possible.
The unique team includes twenty staff members, forty tour guides, thirty chefs, two hundred porters and six drivers. All of the staff are Peruvian, with porters from local communities of Cusco.
“We follow the ‘’family style’’ service and our clients become part of our team,” Raul says, “Everyone is treated as equals, as members of the same family. This, combined with the touring experience, creates a great relationship towards us and them.”
The expeditions can last from full one-day experiences to multi-day treks. Raul explains that some of the tours can last from two to seven days with itineraries offered that can last up to sixteen and more, depending on what the client wants to see.
“Our tours guarantee the best results for a number of reasons,” he says, “We have the best guides from the zone, we own our vehicles, use the best equipment for our treks and have the most engaging staff. Also, our tour preparations pay very careful attention to the detail of what the customer wants.”
Accommodation is chosen based on the safari. So, when their tours require hotel stays, they use 3-star hotels that can be upgraded by the customer. Then, when it comes to where to stay during their treks, they offer eureka tents for the camping night. They also have lodges that can offer the best of both.
“We are a leading sustainable tourism company,” Raul reveals, “We work alongside the authorities to provide the best service but also respect and maintain our nature and archaeological sites.”
As a company they also invest on many different social projects towards their communities and their porters’ families.
“This is done all year round and not just on specific dates,” he highlights, “It is an ongoing endeavour.”
Alpaca Expeditions operate with all the safety protocols commanded by law. Every client and staff member has their temperature marked, mask usage is mandatory, the same for the face shield while on vehicles. At every campsite they provide water and soap to wash hands properly and the vehicles operate at 50% capacity to respect social distancing requirements.
“These procedures are explained by our front desk agent as well as our guides,” he says, “And these protocols are mandatory.”