From a recent conversation discussing differences in Safari firms; just what are the differences? It is dismaying to read itineraries for reported five star outfitters and see the three or four star lodges included in the program for an extremely expensive safari. If you have never been to Africa, most travelers trust a big name firm and assume they are staying in a luxurious five star lodge.
Guides – all guides in Africa have various levels of training and years of experience. An uninitiated traveler might not know the difference between an exceptional guide. An example from my recent Kenyan Safari…we came upon the dangling legs of a wildebeest in a tree – sadly, for Mr. Wildebeest, he was Mr. Cheetah’s lunch. Several safari vehicles sat directly under the tree waiting for Mr. Cheetah to return…we sat at a distance, out waited the other vehicles and as soon as they departed, Mr. Cheetah leaped on the limb to his lavish lunch…our guide and tracker knew distance was important for the skittish cat to return. We pulled closer to observe the cheetah banquet. Sadly the two other vehicles didn’t view a cheetah that day. Calculating wise guides are as wily as the wild animals.
One of our favorite Safari vehicles
Another important point…look at the vehicles at bottom of post. I snapped these while we rolled through the Masai Mara in a custom stretch Land Rover Defender with luxurious comfy leather seats. Side sheets rolled up for viewing, a very comfortable six passenger vehicle. Racks on top for sitting above or holding on for photos. Built in chargers between the seats to charge camera batteries, the amenity list is long.
Our Safari by Appointment Camp Land Rover
The photos below have vehicles with three seats across – the middle person will be viewing/photographing over the arms of his mates on each side, the windows don’t fully open, and you can be certain there isn’t air conditioning!
You don’t want to be in the middle seat here with windows that don’t open completely on a hot muggy day.
Again- Cramped quarters, small windows, no fresh air, your photos are shot through a window.
There are differences! Our Safari by Appointment team lives in Kenya, they visit the lodges, know the managers, know the terrain.
Experts, Of Course!