Safari expeditions provide some of the most awe-inspiring experiences to travelers of all ages. Imagine viewing tens of thousands of wildebeest on the move, along with lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and rhinos. Or, enjoying a provided fossil hunt during a private paleoanthropology session or taking a remarkable jog through the Great Rift Valley alongside a barefoot Maasai warrior.
As a luxury travel advisor, says Sara, my clients seek an elevated travel experience - something more than the expected or ordinary. With the right partners, a safari can provide a memorable, authentic and exclusive travel experience.
If you’ve tried to put together a vacation that bridges several generations on your own, you understand that it can be challenging to design a trip that captures the imagination of adults and children alike, while still thoughtfully considering the ages, interests, and stamina of each family member.
Suppose the young adventurer in the family wants to feed baby elephants while the impossible-to-impress teens want to ogle predators from behind the wheel of an ATV? What if the parents or grandparents want to sip cocktails under a towering baobab tree while the rest of the group is scouring brush for animal tracks?
As an advisor, I work directly for my clients and act as a liaison between them and the travel supplier. I interview, screen, and research each supplier to ensure they will be able to deliver the standard of service I expect for each of my clients.
One such supplier is Micato Safaris, voted the #1 World’s Best Safari Outfitter a record nine 10 times by Travel and Leisure magazine. Micato Safaris offer deep knowledge about Africa and provides transformative experiences for clients along the way. Additionally, their generous philanthropy throughout Africa positively impacts the local communities.
For families seeking that extra measure of privacy and dedicated service during their travels, custom itineraries, which can be custom-designed from top to bottom around a family’s interests, including those times when the different generations may temporarily want to go their own way.
Families may also choose to join a scheduled, small group Classic departure and engage in the safari experience with other travelers from around the world. You can chart a middle course and book a Private Classic, which makes the chosen departure private and gives travelers a Safari Director as well as private safari vehicles and drivers all to themselves.
Many variations of safari exist, but choosing the right travel partner is vital to ensuring an elevated, unique experience.
What can a luxury safari experience include? Think private meetings with wildlife conservationists, local artists, and celebrity chefs. Imagine the privilege of being the *only* distinguished guests for an annual tribal celebration; helicopter flights to the Turkana basin to look at fossils during exclusive one-on-one time with the first family of paleoanthropology, the Leakeys; and camel derby matches in the Namib desert capped by a meal complete with tables, chairs, linen, china, silver, drinks, food and flowers.
The depth and breadth of the safari experience are nearly boundless. Among the other transformative adventures a customized safari can include:
Coming face to face with Silverback Gorillas, close enough to hear each other breathe
Sitting in Angel’s Pool, the gurgling natural whirlpool that hovers near the top of the 354-foot roar of Victoria Falls in Zambia
Chimpanzee trekking in the Mahale Mountains near Jane Goodall’s Gombe Stream location.
A helicopter journey to fly fish in the streams of Mt. Kenya...not far from where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton.
Sandboarding by helicopter at Suguta Valley, Kenya – one of the most remote, driest - and most beautiful! - places in Kenya.
Jogging through the Great Rift Valley alongside a barefooted Maasai warrior… the most memorable workout ever.
Trekking through the Chyulu Cloud Forest near Mt. Kilimanjaro, hosted by Maasai tribal people.
Travelers come on safari expecting to fall in love with the animals and scenery, but leave deeply in love with its people. When looking for travel partners, many clients expect a level of social responsibility and an ongoing commitment to giving back to the local community. In partnership with their nonprofit foundation AmericaShare, for every guest on safari, Micato pays the fees required to send a local African child to school through a unique program called the Micato One for One Commitment. And Micato-AmericaShare makes several other educational and community outreach programs available to those in Kenya who need help the most.
Safari is an authentic, educational and immersive travel experience that all ages and generations can enjoy.
Sara Bouffard is the founder of Refined Travel and Tours of The Woodlands. She specializes in customized, luxury travel for families and groups.