Why a Custom-built African Safari Might Not be Right for You

Embarking on a truly personalised African safari is one of life’s greatest adventures. Yet, this kind of bespoke journey is also a big investment – financially, mentally, and emotionally. It’s certainly not for everyone and that’s perfectly fine.

As a specialised one-man operation, I take a tailored approach to each client when crafting these custom trips of a lifetime. This level of personalisation, expertise, and passion comes at a cost. I carefully curate every detail to create an unmatched and unforgettable experience – it’s not an off-the-shelf holiday, but a labour of love I invest significant time into.

In return, I look for clients who share my sense of curiosity, wanderlust, and appreciation for nature and local cultures. Those who approach the planning process with thoughtfulness, patience, maturity, and commitment to realise a mutually rewarding safari.

Below I outline key factors I look for when assessing if bespoke safaris are a good match for prospective travellers. My goal is purely to set proper expectations so we can determine if my particular speciality aligns with your needs and preferences.

Budget and Expectations Around Exclusivity

I specialise in premium high-end safaris, not budget tours. My services come at a cost reflecting the quality of service, depth of personalisation, and exceptionally curated details I pour into each trip. Lodges and experiences are selected based on quality, character, and authenticity – not bargains.

I understand money doesn’t grow on trees and trips must fit within financial realities. However, excessive complaints about price, implying mismatched expectations around value, indicate you may be better served by a company competing on price, not service. I’m happy to suggest reputable alternatives.

Comfort Level with Nature and Wildlife

A safari means deep immersion in raw untamed wilderness, including close encounters with Africa’s wildlife from big game to small “creepy crawlies.” This calls for maturity, resilience, and openness when coming face-to-face with animals or stepping outside urban comfort zones.

Those unable or unwilling to tolerate “roughing it” a bit or who require pristine predictability with zero surprises are likely to end up frustrated. Again, I can recommend more “vanilla” packaged tours if intense nature interaction isn’t your cup of tea.

exclusive African safari experiences

“Roughing it”at Siringit in the Serengeti, Tanzania

Planning Commitment and Communication

Bespoke trips require thoughtful planning and open ongoing communication. I invest extensive time into crafting each client’s ideal custom itinerary, providing advice and coordinating and communicating with multiple operators in Africa.

In return, I expect clients to be responsive, provide key details when needed, send requested info, and stick to timelines for deposits and payments. Go completely silent on emails, continuously change plans last minute, or abruptly halt planning, and we are likely mismatched.

Flexibility and Ability to Go With the Flow

In Africa, the unexpected will happen. Wi-Fi fails, flight delays occur, and cheeky monkeys steal breakfast off the table. Going with the flow and embracing spontaneity is a must. Rigidity and an inability to adapt to changes will ruin your experience – and mine.

You might experience that your flight is a bit late. The light aircraft might be a little cramped and the inflight service is limited. If you require strict predictability, are quick to frustration, or expect perfection with zero glitches, you may be better off with a package tour offering less personalised attention.

A brick-and-mortar travel agency operates with systems better designed for inflexible travellers. I aim for connection, spontaneity and adventure – different priorities that aren’t for everyone.

Alternative Options to Consider

While bespoke itineraries are my speciality, I completely understand the desire for a more affordable and predictable group safari experience. That’s why I partner with two reputable tour companies offering scheduled small group tours in southern Africa.

These fixed-date trips follow set itineraries and are led by two professional driver/guides in a specially-adapted vehicle. You can choose between accommodated or budget-friendly camping options and will travel with another 11 or 15 guests depending on the trip. Check the website for details to see if these set departures might suit your needs and style – they offer fantastic value and camaraderie.

The Perfect Pairing is Key

You might have to put up with uninvited guests in your plunge pool

A dream safari experience is a partnership. My passion is crafting journeys of a lifetime for those with shared values – wanderlust, cultural curiosity, appreciation for nature and wildlife, and a spirit of adventure. Does this resonate? Let’s start a conversation.

For those seeking a different style of travel, I completely understand and am happy to point you in the right direction. I aim to thoughtfully set expectations upfront and ensure we’re aligned, so we can both avoid wasting time and have the ideal outcomes.

At the end of the day, my goal is to help you get the most meaningful safari experience possible. If that’s through my bespoke trips, wonderful. If another kind of tour is a better option, I’m still glad to help make that African dream a reality!

Join Me in Zimbabwe in May 2024!

A unique adventure through Africa’s untamed beauty in May. On this 7-night itinerary we will explore two world-renowned areas of wonderful Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park and Lake Kariba.

Staying at two legendary camps, Bomani and Musango, we will get to experience the thrill of the wilderness in two very different ways.

“This small-group safari, limited to just six guests, is designed to ensure a truly immersive adventure for those with limited time but very high expectations.” – Andy Higgs

Join Me in Zimbabwe in May 2024!

A unique adventure through Africa’s untamed beauty in May. On this 7-night itinerary we will explore two world-renowned areas of wonderful Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park and Lake Kariba. Staying at two legendary camps, Bomani and Musango, we will get to experience the thrill of the wilderness in two very different ways. This small-group safari, limited to just six guests, is designed to ensure a truly immersive adventure for those with limited time but very high expectations.” – Andy Higgs

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