When one looks at South Africa as a travel destination it very quickly becomes apparent just how much there is to see and do. With a variety of wildlife activities and associated lodges, a number of cultural and heritage attractions, the cosmopolitan cities, gorgeous beaches, extensive wine routes, adventure activities… where do you start to plan what is for many people, a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to this dynamic country.
Hopefully this post will help you make sense of the abundance of information out there and ensure that you get the most out of your trip to South Africa.
The starting point is to be very clear on what you want to achieve from your South African holiday. South Africa is a large and diverse country and will certainly be able to cater for all of your needs and wants. Be very clear on the aspects or ‘key ingredients’of your trip, for example “wildlife safari, cultural & historical aspects, adventure activities”.
I have had the pleasure of dealing with a number of groups of guests, each of which had different goals and objectives for their trips. Visiting wildlife and conservation areas have been a common ‘goal’ amongst all of these groups, but even here, choosing a conservation area and accommodation option can be a very daunting decision to make. This is where the travel agent or Safari/Tour Operator enters the picture.
A Tour/Safari Operator should assist you in realising your dream vacation based on the key ingredients that we mentioned in the previous paragraph. Based on these aspects, the tour company should be able to provide you with a number of itineraries which have been tailor-made to suite your specific needs and budget. If done in a professional manner, this service should incorporate all variables and afford you the luxury of simply arriving at your destination without having to worry about the usual problems associated with being in a foreign country.
There has been a recent trend where visitors are opting for the services of a professional guide to accompany them on their journey. This has a number of benefits including access to local knowledge (from good spots to eat out right through to historical and cultural aspects), a chauffeur-type service (which eliminates car rental and taxi fees), increased safety, personalised attention (it’s just you and your group), and peace of mind that your holiday runs smoothly. This option is not always as expensive as it might initially seem and is definately worth checking out.
There are numerous travel and safari companies out there and a simple Google search is not enough to find the pick of the crop. Word of mouth is fast becoming the most effective form of marketing and ensures that quality service is what gets a brand out there, not the depth of a marketing budget.
In conclusion, planning a holiday is never an easy task and it is very common for people to become intimidated by the wealth of information out there. Start by being clear on what you want to achieve from your holiday and base your activities around these key ingredients. Remember that as an individual, you may want a very different experience to what is often offered in large group-type packages. Secondly, try and get the assistance of a reputable Safari Operator in the country- they should be able to combine your key ingredients and turn them into the holiday of a lifetime!
Moya Wa Tenga Safaris prides itself in being one of the leading companies to offer professional, personalised itineraries in South Africa. If you are thinking of visiting our beautiful country or require any assistance in planning your personalised South African itinerary, please feel free to contact Andrew Beck.