Need an expert travel planner? We have some suggestions..

Wild Zambezi • 4 October 2020

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Fed up with being locked down by the COVID-19 pandemic?  Dying to get to Southern Africa on safari?  But confused, bemused and, frankly scared by all the complications introduced by the "new normal" of international travel?

Checking out the internet for independent and reliable sources of information like to get ideas for a safari trip (either for yourself, your family, or your travelling clients) is all well and good.  But making informed choices, knowing what works, putting it all together, getting the best deals and making bookings needs a local expert. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more important, because, even though travel is starting to open up worldwide, there is still SO much uncertainty and contradiction. All the rules about travelling have changed.  Now there are new health and safety regulations (and every country seems to differ).  

What you need is someone who knows all the answers (or who can find out for you) and who can take all the anxiety out of planning your desperately-needed post-lockdown trip.

Time is of the essence.  If you are lucky enough to be able to get away for a holiday, you will most likely have limited time available.  If long-haul flights are involved, you need to be able to get the logisitics right, meet all the new requirements, and slot everything together properly so as to make the most of the precious time that you have.

Here's where your Independent Safari Planner comes in.  (The official designation for these experts is a DMC (Destination Management Company) - but, frankly, this is travel industry jargon.    

Foreign-based travel agents who are sending individual clients or groups off to a place they are not very familiar with, often engage the services of a local Safari Planner (DMC) when they need a "fixer" on the ground who has a wide knowledge of the chosen destination, excellent contacts, and can advise on the right choices and sort all the logistics for the trip from start to finish.  

Independent travellers or family groups can do the same.  But often they are worried that this kind of expert service will significantly add to the cost.  

Not true.  

Safari Planners (DMCs) build close relationships with local product suppliers and tour operators and are able to negotiate their own preferential rates with them.  This ensures that the cost to clients (whether they are travel industry representatives or individuals) is no higher than if they were to book direct.   

By engaging a specialist Safari Planner (DMC), not only will you save endless time and cost, but you get the added benefits of:-

• independent advice (the best Safari Planners are not affiliated to any particular products, but can advise across a broad spectrum within their destination)
• informed choices based on the Safari Planner's personal experience
• first-hand, on-the-ground knowledge
• years of experience in knowing what works and what doesn't
• someone to call if you have a problem.

Now, more than ever, it's really important that you engage a Safari Planner who really knows what they are doing.  There are many well-respected international travel companies who have developed safari planning expertise in Southern Africa through years of experience.   If you know one, then you're fine.  But, on the whole, the best people for the job are those on the ground. 

If you are coming to Southern Africa and hoping for an amazing wildlife safari experience with an add-on trip to the famous Victoria Falls or more, you can't do better than the following Independent Safari Planning experts (DMCs) who are part of the Wild Zambezi travel network and come highly recommended:-

Safaris 4 Africa
Travel Portfolio
Premier Destination Management
The Savvy Traveller
Discover Safaris/Discover Victoria Falls
Baobab Bookings
Heartveld Adventures
Wild Dog Tours

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