If you’re planning a once in a lifetime safari to Africa, the choices can be overwhelming. First, you must decide where in Africa you want to go, and with 54 countries to choose from that can be a challenge on its own! It is important to consider the following criteria when booking a safari; a planning expert that has the knowledge and experience of the continent, who can recommend the style of accommodation you are looking for in the areas you want to explore, the wildlife you will encounter and a few other key elements.
Knowledge & Experience
Simon Ball, Founder, Travel Planner and Guide for Bespoke Safaris, is an ardent ornithologist with a passion for natural history and all things “wildlife”, and has travelled the globe visiting Africa, the Middle East and all over Europe. Born in England, his passion led to more serious studies gaining a Hons Degree in Zoology with Ecology from London University at the end of the 70’s. Jumping at the chance to relocate to Kenya in the mid 80’s allowed him to combine his then professional marketing career, with time to seriously explore Africa. After gaining professional guide qualifications through the KPSGA, Simon followed his heart in leading many natural history expeditions through Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia & Rwanda. Sharing these privileged bush experiences with many guests from overseas has continued with planning, organising & guiding wildlife safaris full time over the last 25 years in East Africa. Bespoke Safaris deliver custom made trips based on years of knowledge of the best camps and lodges, the unique wilderness areas, logistical organisation & meeting specific client expectations.
Location: Selecting unique wilderness areas
It is important to research where you want to explore and where you want to stay. There’s an extensive choice from the familiar National Parks and Reserves to the more unspoilt and rarely visited wilderness areas, such as;
Kenya – Meru Nat. Park, Lake Turkana, Lake Victoria, Western Kenya & Coastal Forests and marine archipelagos (Kiwayu & Lamu), the Mt Kenya Glacial Lakes
Uganda – Bwindi Forest, Kibale Forest, Mbamba Swamps, Rwenzori Mts of the Moon, Murchison Falls, Kidepo & Semliki National Parks
Tanzania – Mahale Mts, Katavi, Ruaha & Selous National Reserves, Usambara Mts, Lake Eyasi, Mafia Island
Rwanda – Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest, Virunga Mts
Ethiopia – Bale Mts, Simien Mts, Omo Delta & the iconic rock churches at Gondar, Lalibela & Axum and it’s shimmering Rift Valley lakes
He also knows the ‘best of the best’ camps and lodges in the respective destinations and can advise which is suited to your needs and preferred style from private game lodges to exclusive far off the beaten track, hideaway tented lodges.
Immersive & authentic experiences
Consider the type of experiences you would like to enjoy while on safari. Simon knows Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda & Tanzania like the back of his hand and can offer a myriad of personally designed safari opportunities from Chimpanzee treks in Tanzania, horse riding and camel-back safaris in Laikipia, big game fishing on the Indian Ocean, Mountain Gorilla treks in Rwanda or Uganda to the mammalian wonders of the Serengeti & the Masai Mara. Explore these incredible destinations from a different perspective and enjoy private charters and helicopter excursions to get a sense of this magnificent continent and its endless landscapes. The Bespoke Safaris team has extensive first-hand knowledge of these experiences, offering reliable, informed accurate and unbiased travel advice in tailor-making trips to meet individual requirements and budgets.
Conservation & Sustainability minded
When booking a safari, it is important to find out an organisation’s ethos towards conservation and community efforts in the area. Simon has been directly involved in supporting key conservation projects in Laikipia, the Mara Conservancy projects and Kenya’s coastal forests to ensure that key habitats and their unique diverse fauna & flora will remain for generations ahead; habitats & experiences that have given him, his family, friends & safari guests so much pleasure to remember.
Planning a trip of a lifetime.
Detailed planning, research & checking is done to ensure that all expectations are fulfilled and that each safari creates a fabulous, long lasting, memorable impression. Simon designs and crafts individual bespoke trips on the African continent for small groups of friends or families wanting to experience a unique and memorable safari.
Let us design the perfect safari for you in Africa, from where hopefully you will never want to leave but if you must, long to come back again to see the origins of our fragile natural world.