The guide company that you select for an African safari will most likely determine your overall experience. They can’t guarantee what animals you will see or what the weather will be like, but they make all of the arrangements for the places where you stay, ensure safe travel between the various parks and reserves, as well as take you on game drives and provide expert information on the animals that you see. For our trip, we started by researching individual guide companies that were recommended to us or we found on TripAdvisor. We were finding the process overwhelming, so we went to Safari Bookings where you can provide details on the type of safari you’d like to take and they will have guide companies reach out to you and provide quotes. This worked out much better as they only work with verified experts and ensure that the companies are reliable.
We received several different quotes and even created a spreadsheet to compare the different tours, the parks that were included, the places where we would stay, and the overall cost of the safari. After narrowing it down to a few choices, we reached out with questions and considered how responsive each company was and how willing they were to work with us to potentially make changes to the itinerary. We also went out and looked at each of the camps and lodges that were included in the safari package to help us determine if it was right for us. We decided on what is considered a mid-tier safari, which made the price more reasonable, but it also meant that we would spend more time driving through the country versus flying from location to location. Actually seeing the country in addition to the parks was something that was important to us.
We ended up choosing Africa Marvel Tours for our safari and we couldn’t have been happier with our decision. Before our trip even started, we chatted via WhatsApp as well as email and added a couple of nights to the original package, a decision that would provide us the opportunity to get close to white and black rhinos at Lake Nakuru as well as a tour of Nairobi. They also provided guidance on getting the COVID tests that we would need and checked with the different places that we would stay as to specific amenities that they offered. Then, when our flights got delayed, they made arrangements to pick us up at the airport instead of the hotel as originally planned. From the moment they met us at the airport and gave us Maasai blankets as a gift to our arrival back in the United States they stayed in touch with us to ensure that we had a safe trip home, everyone at Africa Marvel Tours were amazing.
We had two specific guides during our safari, David for our time in Kenya and Shabani for our time in Tanzania. Each of them were extremely knowledgeable about the parks and knew where we were likely to find some of the most fascinating animals. Not only did we see the big five, elephants, lions, water buffaloes, rhinos, and leopards, but we had many other incredible experiences, including getting close enough to pet a lion (which we definitely did not) with Shabani and having a cheetah jump on the hood of our Land Cruiser with David in Maasai Mara. They both took excellent care of us and we appreciated all of their help and guidance.
Clearly we had an absolutely amazing experience during our safari adventure and that was in large part due to the selection of Africa Marvel Tours. There are a lot of other factors that will make the experience better including patience to wait and watch for the wildlife, just having a relaxed attitude and not getting stressed, and not putting too many expectations in advance as to what you will see. It is also important to remember that the guides are their to ensure your safety and use their expertise to guide you, but it is your safari and you can request changes as well. It was certainly an experience of a lifetime and we will remember all of the various wildlife encounters for the rest of our lives.