In 2010, after years of planning, our family embarked on a two week trip to Africa to visit Zambia and Botswana. This was the first time I ever started planning a trip and postponed it for a year because I felt I needed more time to plan and organize! It's easy to get overwhelmed...most North Americans think of going to "Africa" and forget it's huge continent, made up of many countries. Deciding which ones to visit and how is a job that I felt required a specialist. I started by reading the books about how to plan a safari. Our group was 7 family members and we wanted to go on safari privately, with just our group, so we ruled out a group trip offered by US based tour operators. We were traveling with people with health issues that prevented the less expensive mobile tenting options (and sleeping cots) and 3 teenagers whose safety was my top concern, which made me rule out a few countries that I might have visited as adults but did not feel comfortable taking my own and my sister's child! And of course, we had a tight budget! The itineraries I received from the major player in Africa Trip Planning included destinations I had specifically asked to rule out and I got discouraged. I went to Trip Advisor to ask questions of the Destination Experts there. I was very lucky to find Craig Beal, of Travel Beyond who patiently answered my questions. After being impressed by his online advice, I made a couple of phone calls and found that the itineraries he planned for us met all our needs. He suggested we could stay in top Wilderness Safari camps in the countries we preferred by travelling at the very end of the shoulder season, and taking advantage of special extra free night offers being offered during the challenging economy of 2008/9. It was still a high budget trip ( $500-1000 per day per person is not an unreasonable amount to budget fro each day on a full service safari) but Craig and VP of Travel Beyond, Jenny Mikkleson, put together a trip that not only fit our budget but included all our dream activities and went seamlessly!
Trip Report Under Construction!