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Levels of Safari
Levels of SafariModule : Elephant Video 14
As mentioned earlier there are many different levels available to travellers wishing to experience Africa. It is important to realise the distinction between a 5 star experience and 5 star accommodation, which most people don’t realise. As a result when they attempt to save money by choosing a cheaper trip based purely by the accommodation standard often the experience suffers. What they should be doing is choosing a trip based of the experience it provides.
The 5 star accommodation almost always comes with a 5 star experience in that it delivers great lodges, great guiding and great access to the animals and wildlife. It also delivers in terms of food and service.
There is 3 star accommodation that also delivers good service, good food (although not to the same Michelin star level) and good accommodation but has great wildlife encounters and guiding. This is preferable to something which saves on money but delivers a safari that is disappointing.
Kruger National Park is a common example of this. When looking into Africa or looking at updates and photos the name “Kruger” comes up again and again as a great place for wildlife and safari. People then assume that they are after Kruger National Park and choose a tour into it based upon that. What they don’t realise is more often than not those updates and photos are coming from Kruger Private Reserves, or Greater Kruger. These are the private reserves that adjoin the park and provide an exclusive access with the animals. Whereas anyone is welcome in the national park once you have paid the park fee you need to stay on the sealed road and with the crowds. Due to the thickness of the bush it is harder to spot the animals and it doesn’t always deliver the experience people are after. The private reserves however have exclusive access to their land and to the animals that cross it and these are the same animals that can be found in Kruger. What that means is you don’t get the crowds of people and also that you can leave the road to get up close and personal with the animals. It is this experience that people generally want but aren’t aware of a difference. Some private reserves in here are a similar price to the tours venturing into the park so therefore it would be a wiser choice to stay in these lodges for the same price (or only slightly more) rather than looking at saving a little bit of money but losing a great part of the experience.
Another example is the Okavango Delta. During full flood it is twice the size of Melbourne so to get the most out of the experience you need to head into the Delta to see the animals. Cheaper trips here will often take you on a canoe ride in from the outskirts for an hour or two, camp overnight and then head out the following day. Given the amazing size of the delta you can see why most of these trips end up disappointing the clients with limited or no animal sightings. If clients want to see the real Delta they need to pay the fee for the plane ride into the heart of it and stay in there with the animals. Once again, it’s about reducing cost where necessary without reducing the experience. Trying to get an accurate Melbourne experience from somewhere near Geelong or a Sydney experience from close to Newcastle really defeats the point.