So you're thinking about, or have already decided you want to go on holiday to Africa? Where do you start and how do you go about planning a trip like this?
It goes without saying Africa is a big place and the logistics of travelling from A to B need careful consideration. Over the last 25 years the variety of where to go, what to see and which places to stay have increased unrecognisably. There's a lot of choice nowadays. To put this into perspective we have organised trips for people travelling to over 18 countries in which there are 183 National Parks (that's not including reserves and private concessions). In those Parks we take into account over 750 lodges, camps, hotels, houses & villas when designing an itinerary to suit your style of travel, your preferred interests and activities, and of course a budget you're comfortable with.
We speak to a lot of people who initially decide to 'go it alone' or 'go direct' as they enjoy doing their own research and making their own decisions. We totally get that. But sometimes with so much choice available we can all do with some guidance, feedback, inside knowledge to help us make the right decisions. And that's where we can help.
First of all we'll ask you a few general but key questions which help us to hear about previous holidays and experiences you've enjoyed. We'll then present to you some initial ideas and itineraries that we think will suit you. Throughout this process we want to allow you the freedom and encourage you to do your own research. Look at the websites of the places that we are recommending. Read reviews from people who've already been there. Keep asking us questions.
Gradually though we'll help you narrow down the options using our local knowledge and experience. Bear in mind you're on safari and that means moving around but we'll take care of those logistics so that it all fits together like a fine jigsaw. No matter how long it takes, we'll carefully guide you through this itinerary designing process. Ultimately the final decision is yours but before you've even stepped on the plane to go to Africa we'll have worked closely together with you and made this part as interesting and rewarding as the holiday itself.
We work with all the top African properties, but are not restrictively bound to any of them. We also do not own or operate any camps, lodges, or hotels ourselves. As such, we have no vested interests, and are in the perfect position to independently analyse all operators, destinations, and properties throughout Africa, and offer our clients impartial and objective advice.
WE ARE 100% IMPARTIAL
Better service doesn't mean higher cost.
It's a myth that going direct means you'll pay less. In fact the opposite is often the case when we've spoken to people who've tried this at first. We don't add a fee on top of the accommodation costs that you'd get if you went direct. We work closely with the properties out in Africa and are compensated by them by making a commission on the bookings we make. In fact in many cases we can offer it cheaper to you than if you go direct to them. And the majority of the top Africa based operators and accommodation refer people back to a bone fide tour operator such as ourselves as they don't like taking direct bookings. You also won't be bonded if you go direct to them. Essentially we are providing our full range of services free to you as part of the advice and guidance in designing your trip, the extensive information that we provide to help you prepare for your safari, and our comprehensive "on the ground" support.
In addition, being UK based allows us to book your international airline ticket - if you so choose - whereas foreign companies can only issue tickets starting and ending in their own country of origin.
THOROUGH PRE-TRIP PREPARATION
Each SMOKESILVER traveller receives their own customized & bound itinerary, with a host of information and advice on a range of subjects specific to their itinerary: reading lists, health and safety advice, shopping resources, restaurant recommendations, photographic tips, regional highlights specific to your destinations, and baggage limitations (to name just a few). Packing, often one of the most fun but daunting tasks of travel to Africa, is made easy with a comprehensive personalized packing plan covering details down to the tiniest toiletry that you will require. We also provide on-line shopping resources so that busy clients can easily and perfectly outfit themselves for safari.
We're Based in the UK
Since 2010 SMOKESILVER TRAVEL has been offering travellers from all around the world the best of both worlds in that we are intimately familiar with Africa, but are based in the UK. This gives our clients the peace-of-mind of working with a bonafide British company, subject to the rules, regulations and competitive business environment that ensure a strong and healthy company. As further protection to our clients, we carry extensive liability insurance through a U.K. based underwriter.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOU
While email is convenient for some forms of communication, there are many circumstances in which there is simply no substitute for an in-depth and interactive conversation with someone who can provide detailed answers to your questions and help you to analyse the options - with our base in the UK, we can be reached at convenient hours.
IN SAFE HANDS IN AFRICA
A very important element of travelling to a largely unknown destination is the peace of mind to know that you will be well cared for while you are there. There is absolutely no room for compromise in this regard, and we insist on only the best. In each country that we arrange safaris we have carefully picked a local partner or ground handler to take care of you and your travel arrangements with impeccable professionalism and hospitality. Full details of your specific ground handler will be given to you once your safari itinerary has been finalised in your final travel vouchers and documents.