John and Nicci Stevens began their safari company in 1983 and have a well-earned reputation for engaging their clients right from the first communication. This is a priority to them and stems from an understanding that, for most visitors, an African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and must be magical.
JOHN AND NICCI
With clients visiting from all over the world, John’s time is spent outside, leading tours by boot, wheel or boat for their own safaris or subcontracting as a guide for other groups. A former warden of the Mana Pools and Matusadona National Parks in Zimbabwe, his ability, friendly personality and limitless enthusiasm for his work, has made him a highly sought after expert in his field.
Meanwhile on the office side, over the past forty years, the balance of work has made Nicci a precise expert in examining a client’s dream-safari and shaping these details into a workable itinerary offering the best results for expectations and budget.
Laura Taylor, the marketing director at JSGSA who’s worked with the business for twenty years, tells us that the first discussions between them and a new client about their expedition are vitally important.
It is here where the important questions are asked. The obvious ones cover budget and accommodation, time of visit and size of group. This leads onto the other questions, which are perhaps less obvious but just as pertinent, such as, whether this is a first-time safari group, what expectations do they have and are there any unique things they want to experience? The more data collected during these discussions, the easier it is to craft the perfect safari tour for the client.
She goes onto explain that the recommended length of a safari is roughly fourteen days, with four nights at each spot to really immerse oneself in the landscape and experience. During this the accommodation choice must be well chosen. The options are varied and range from lodges and resorts to safari tents and camps, and it really depends on what a customer is looking for as well as the budget. For an idea of what is available, or if you’re a first time safari goer, visit the website: (https://www.johnstevenssafaris.com/).
ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME SAFARI GOERS
Laura, who started out writing editorial work for the business and now heads up their marketing, believes that first time safari goers should keep things simple.
“There is too much to see and do in one trip, so don’t worry about all the bells and whistles. Focus more on the experience at the destinations. That’s where adventure lies,” she says.
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON
Currently, there is a noticeable trend for clients seeking real immersion in the destinations instead of just ticking off sightings of the Big Five and moving on. Increasingly, travellers are interested in sustainability, conservation and community. People want to get mud on their boots and experience the cultures of the places they’re visiting.
To answer this, in the upcoming year John Stevens Guided Safaris Africa are launching a new sub-brand: John Stevens Expeditions Africa. Focussed on adventure and authenticity, this will be an invitation to their clients, current and prospective, to safari like John.
Making use of a number of hand selected guides with similar approaches, they expect these safaris will help clients get “stuck in”. They’ll include walking, 4 x 4, trekking, canoeing and spending time with local tribespeople. Using mobile camps, travelling light and leaving only footprints behind them this is as immersive as it gets.
“The guides lend their area expertise as well as their itineraries which help keep the journeys authentic and safe,” Laura explains, “But this is a more edgy, ‘on the ground’ African adventure. The dirty, sweaty sort that all adventurers dream of as kids.”
Business Address: 10 PEVENSEY ROAD, HIGHLANDS, HARARE, ZIMBABWE
Business Telephone Number: +263 (0) 772 324 339
Feature Image Source: John Stevens Guided Safaris Africa Facebook.