What is the difference between custom (tailor-made) safaris vs scheduled safaris?
Thanks to the rapid development of online internet bookings, you can now book a safari through an online booking platform. Packaged safaris are available on TripAdvisor. SafariBookings sells safaris and tours that are ready to go. A growing number of travellers are booking safari packages or a pre-planned safaris online.
So, what is the difference between a pre-planned safari and a personalised, handcrafted safari created by an African Safari Specialist?
The following are some of the distinctions between the two types of itineraries.
One of the main reasons travellers pick a scheduled group safari or tour is that they are usually more affordable. Being a part of a group can help you save money. Plus, group tours also tend to use properties (hotels, lodges, camps) under the same chain of accommodation. Often a discount is provided for booking two or three properties within the same chain of accommodation. That said, the location of these properties may be questionable for the time of year you wish to travel. For example, if you are doing a Tanzania group safari during migration season, ideally you need to be in the northern Serengeti National Park. As a rule, group safaris do not travel to the Northern Serengeti. Instead these pre-planned itineraries use accommodations in busier areas of the park, for example in Seronera.
When it comes to shared costs ( road transfers, safari vehicles, and safari guides), whether they are shared by two people or 6 people makes a considerable difference. You can save money by joining a small group on a pre-planned tour with set departure dates.
The cost of a bespoke, hand-crafted safari or itinerary for two people is usually more than a pre-planned group safari or tour.
However, just because you have a specific budget does not imply you should solely consider low-cost package excursions. It is still feasible to construct a personalised safari on a modest budget if your African Safari specialist is ready to work with any budget. It all depends on your lodging selection and manner of transportation. But, because the most budget-friendly lodges and camps often fill up months in advance, this is easier to achieve if you plan and book ahead of time.
Another advantage of a personalised or safari is adaptability. The itinerary for a scheduled safari or tour package is set. It cannot be changed. You do not have the option to change the itinerary; instead, you must book the itinerary exactly as it is. You can certainly add on other travel beforehand or after the group safari or tour; but you cannot change the itinerary of the group safari or tour. i.e., if you want more nights in a particular wildlife area, this will not be possible. Instead, you must book the safari or tour exactly as it is.
When you book a hand-crafted safari or tour, your African safari specialist will talk with you about your interests and preferences. They will offer an itinerary that may be changed and enhanced with your input. This means you have much greater freedom to travel where and when you want, and include extra activities or excursions.
A personalised safari allows you to select specific accommodation, activities, and services related to the benefit of flexibility. You inform your African Safari specialist of your budget, time of travel, likes and dislikes, and needs, and they collaborate with you to develop the ideal itinerary.
Perhaps you have been reading online reviews and know exactly where you want to stay. Then, you can consider your African Safari Specialists recommendations and make accommodations and length of stay decisions depending on your own likes and preferences.
An African Safari Specialist will tailor your safari to meet your needs. Of course, this is subject to the availability of your preferred selections! For example, accommodations such as Giraffe Manor in Kenya can be fully book up to 12 months in advance. So prepare ahead and make your reservations as soon as possible.
So, what are the advantages of a scheduled or pre-arranged group safari or tour?
Aside from saving money, small group safaris and tours are ideal for couples or single travellers who want to meet and socialise with other like-minded travellers.
You will get the opportunity to meet new people and possibly make new friends. Also, because the itinerary is pre-packaged, you will not have to do much research or provide much input. You can simply book the group safari or tour if you like the sound of it.
If you ask one of our African Safari Specialists, they will always say that designing a dream safari from the ground up is their first love.
This is why our African Safari Specialists have either lived or travelled frequently to/from Africa, allowing them to provide firsthand recommendations based on their personal destination expertise.
Many of our guests prefer it as well. Whilst instant reservations are convenient, it is not until you need to contact a customer service person for some specific information that you may find you cannot find or get the correct answer or information. Dealing with an African Safari Specialist instead of an online booking engine has its benefits. Peace of mind comes from knowing that you can send an email or call your African Safari Specialist. Instead of going through the arduous attempt to reach a customer service person in a larger company or online booking website.