To get a safari right for each client takes time, due to the many options in types of accommodation and safari styles.
At Holden Safaris, the design process begins with a phone conversation between the client and me. Once I have a good idea of the safari possibilities that will best suit the client, I reach out to my many friends and contacts in Africa, to begin piecing the safari together. As the safari begins to take shape, I regularly consult with the client, making sure their needs and expectations are being met.
Once the safari is agreed with the client, and the planning stage is complete, it’s time to start putting in place all the documentation it takes to ensure a safari runs smoothly and to plan. To help in this process, Holden Safaris has a family member based in Africa, to oversee the safari and ensure that all the moving parts of the safari are in place and ready for the client.
What is a Custom Safari?
Africa is not one homogenous whole. Today, 54 countries make up the continent of Africa.
Luckily, for anyone contemplating a safari, only about a quarter of the 54 countries offer safaris to see and photograph wildlife.
But each of the safari countries are very different from each other, due to differences in their indigenous people, colonial histories, wildlife, and topography and weather.
A custom safari takes into account all of these differences and matches them to the particular needs of the client.
When is the Best Time to Go on Safari?
With the safari countries of Africa stretching from the northern hemisphere, across the equator, to the southern hemisphere, a suitable safari destination can always be found at any time of the year.
What is important therefore, is that the client chooses the right time to leave home and work, to be on safari. Holden Safaris will use its in depth knowledge of all safari regions, to select the best one to suit the time of year that the client can get away on safari.
Why Go on Safari?
Most people have a safari on their travel bucket list. But very few know enough about Africa to make an informed choice as to where and how to safari.
Some people leave Africa to their last travel opportunity, never realizing that it is a destination that can be visited as often as one goes to the different countries of Europe.
The main reason to go on safari is to visit “home”, where we are all said to originate from, one more time.
So many people take a safari, thinking only about seeing wildlife, and return, having had an emotional connection with the people and the place.
Going on safari therefore is indeed a unique and life changing experience.
Apart from the connection to “home”, going on safari is also an opportunity to be reacquainted with all of our five senses, of hearing, smell, touch, seeing and taste. A walk on safari amongst the wildlife, is to go back to an earlier period in our lives, when there was just us and the animals. I call it the Garden of Eden! Here one relies on our five senses to be aware, and not our iPhones. It is refreshing and rejuvenating.
When to Start Planning a Safari
It is never too early to start planning a safari! Some safaris are planned 18 months to two years before the safari starts.
That said, others are planned on the spur of the moment, with only a few weeks or months before departure.
Ideally, to have the full selection of safari choices, the time to start planning a safari is 12 months before departure.
So many factors go into designing a safari, that the more time one allows for planning, the better the safari will match expectations.
Planning in Person
Holden Safaris has its offices in Newport Beach , California. Those clients lucky enough to share with us the wonderful California weather, are encouraged to come and meet us in person to plan their safari. At our offices we can pour over maps, look at videos and images of camps and lodges, and take a virtual safari. It is an invigorating process.
I might also point out that living in Southern California, is the closest in the USA one can get to the same weather and environment we have in Africa. Yes, most of the plants and trees you see growing in Southern California, come from the smallest of the world’s six plant kingdoms, South Africa! So not only do we all come from Africa, so do the plants and trees all around us.
Three Way Conference Call
For those who are unable to come and visit us in our offices, there is the three way conference call. Here we can have the client and their agent, together on the phone, with me answering their questions and offering advice. As the safari takes shape, we send to the agent and client, a digital itinerary, with rich images of the accommodation and activities. A follow up call, with the three of us looking at the digital itinerary on our digital devices, is a close proximation to coming in to see us in our offices.
We look forward to helping you plan your safari.