Scheduled vs Tailor-made Safaris and Tours



The words ‘safari’ and ‘tour’, are often used together. For the purposes of understanding the differences between the two, we define them as the following.

What is a Safari?

A ‘safari’ is where guests spend consecutive days (sometimes weeks) game-viewing. A typical day includes a morning game drive and an afternoon game drive. To do this, you need to be in a wildlife area, i.e. a national park, game reserve or private conservancy where you can observe, photograph and experience Africa’s wildlife.

Spending consecutive days (or weeks) on safari is more expensive than a tour. National parks and game reserves all have entry fees. For example, entering the Masai Mara Game Reserve is US$ 80 per person, per day. So, if you spend three nights (four days) in the Masai Mara, the fee is US$ 320 per person. Then on top of this, you have your accommodation, transport, guide costs. Examples of a safari are our 9-day Botswana Discover Fly-in Safari or our 12-day Classic Kenya Wilderness Safari.

What is a Tour?

Tours cover more ground and are not 100% focused on game-viewing compared to a safari. For example, a 20-day TransKalahari Adventure or our 21-day Cape Town to Victoria Falls covers more than 5,000km.  Tours are more affordable because you travel in a group (12 to 16 people) and not stay in wildlife areas each night. Tours are an excellent option for first-time African travellers as they offer variety, with opportunities to observe wildlife, landscapes and culture. 


Scheduled safaris and tours have set departure dates with set pricing. They typically run with a minimum of two to four guests, depending on the itinerary. Your guide travels with you for the duration of the safari or tour.

You have the advantage of enjoying the company of a group of like-minded people for the whole safari, sharing an adventure that is often the basis for lasting friendships. Accommodation type and transportation will vary depending on the style of the safari. In southern Africa and East Africa most scheduled safaris combine lodge and tented camps, but some are purely lodge-based.

Set departures are excellent for guests travelling on their own, but can can be booked by groups, such as families or friends.


A tailor-made (customised) safaris and tours is where we assist our guests in designing a safari or tour that focuses on a combination of their interests or desired destinations, or both. Typically, guests who are first-time travellers on an African safari are interested in seeing a wide sampling of the many different options possible. Those guests who are returning visitors may want to tailor their current African safari to places they have not previously seen, or alternatively, they may wish to return to a favorite destination once again.

Tailor-made road-based safaris and tours
In a tailor-made road-based safari you have your own vehicle and guide, generally for the duration of the trip.Β  This applies mostly to Tanzania and Namibia.

Tailor-made fly-in safaris and tours
This is where you fly from camp to camp, or lodge to lodge.  This is done because either (a) there is no road access to the lodge/camp or (b) to reduce large amounts of road travel.  Whilst your itinerary is tailor-made, when you are at your lodge or camp you join other guests for shared game drives and transfers.  If you prefer your own vehicle and guide, this can be arranged for an extra cost, so you have exclusive use of a guide and vehicle, or even your own aircraft if you choose!

There is great flexibility when designing a safari, as we can mix and match safaris. For instance, you might choose to take a scheduled safari, such as a 13-day Botswana Lodge and Mobile Safari in Botswana and add a week of customised travel in Kenya or Tanzania.