'The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.'
Facts and Questions
Is it safe?
In our 'Vintage Camps' & all safaris safety is our principal concern whilst on any safari for our guests. All activities are planned carefully ensuring your safety is considered. However, wild animals can be unpredictable and therefore any activity associated with them carries an element of risk. Walking in the bush, driving in wildlife areas and canoeing on rivers for example is a specialist exercise and guides are trained and licensed specifically for these activities. Firearms are carried as a precaution when walking. We remind visitors that the essence of every activity, on all safaris, in all places, is to provide a thrilling experience and never fear or discomfort.
How does your organization affect the local wildlife and indigenous cultures that we are to encounter on the Safari?
Our 'Vintage Camps' are a prime example of eco tourism with its emphasis on walking and the low impact nature of camping in the bush. During our walking safari there is no need for vehicles. Our interaction with animals is intimate and our respect for them paramount. Never do we intend stressing an animal or negatively impacting on the environment. But you may ask - but your in their environment? So you are going to? Your right... So the question is how do we keep this to a minimum?
By saying we are sensitive to the fact that the very nature of some safaris in existance where the operator takes no concern for people or place is the reality. It is this concern and awareness that I wish to help positively influence the safari industry by working with small and often family run companies/lodges where I can personally make my feelings and opinions known. In these circumstances you are not just a 'number' but a person who can take away knowledge and spread the good word in that we have the ability to control our impact on all aspects of the environment and the local people while conducting a tour. In large scale tours this is not easy as no ownership is instilled in the guides or employees (or at least rare).
An example: A guide has been asked to show the guests a leopard. Rules say in this park guides can't leave the road - The guide to make the guests happy and to ensure he gets a good tip drives off road to follow the leopard? What should the guide have done? What would YOU support? These are tough questions - We need to act sensibly if we are to visit these sensitive areas. What do you wish your great grand children to see? It is suggested you question your guides while on safari, for you as a guest can have a great influence on the long term effects of tourism in Africa.
By traveling we have already made a decision we are going to have an impact on the environment - So it is our goal to ensure the choices we make with you are as senstive as possible. We are happy to discuss this further with anyone should you have questions. We believe it is our moral obligation and personally important to us to see we do our part.
Do you employ local staff?
For all tours local drivers, guides and companies where required will be employed - All local and all familiar the the local environment. In our 'Vintage Camps' a gamescout will accompany us during parts of a safari where it is a requirement.
You will have time to talk with members of our teams throughout your journey and get to know them - on our tours you will visit the local communities, its schools and villages. All your food is cooked by local staff in the region we are visiting to standards that will blow you away.
How do I get there?
For all tours we will discuss with you the best place to join us.
- 30% deposit secures a booking for our Vintage Camps.
- Balance to be paid 60 days prior to safari start date.
- Custom designed tours require a 50% deposit.
- On request of booking an account # will be provided to make a direct deposit or wire transfer - Most banks and trusts can perform this procedure. All trips are listed in US$. NB The US$ is the most widely accepted currency other than local currency within Africa.
- Note all bank charges are the sole responsibility of the payee not Vintage Destinations.
Written cancellation required:
• 90 plus days prior to safari – 50% refund of Total Safari
• 60 - 89 days - 25% refund of Total Safari
• Within 0 - 59 days prior to safari – no refund.
NB We therefore strongly recommend that adequate travel insurance be taken out at time of booking. Please see our Terms & Conditions for a full description of our Company Policy.
Tipping is very subjective, but the standard scenario is to leave a tip for staff at a Lodge or Camp. You might want to tip seperately a guide assigned to you whilst on safari, but we suggest between $5 and $10 per day of your stay for the combined staff tip. If you are on an escourted tour with just one guide you would normally divide this between the local places you are staying and your personal guide/tour leader. Again your feelings are what count. If you are not happy - pay nothing - This is after all a tip to say you have done a good job. I have yet to come across a situation with guests where they have not wished to leave a tip. While visiting and researching new locations I establish then if this is a place I would want to stay myself or take my friends or family. In many of our escourted tours I have chosen to include tips so guests don't need to worry. The reason been that I know the calibre of work my guides do and I wish to ensure they are paid well. Do ensure wherever you go that the tip DOES get shared with all staff who work behind the scences and not just the guide working with you personally.
Group sizes and age restrictions
Our Vintage Camps safaris are exclusive: in the past we have catered to only one party at a time whilst on trek. The increased demand from single individuals and small groups wanting to join other walkers allowed us to offer set departures - Please see our Camps website for details. Participants on a walking safari must be 12 or older but consult with us for options for the younger children. All our other tours to onward destinations are generally suitable for most ages and as each tour is designed for you specifically then we ensure you will not be subject to an activity beyond your capabilities. Good communication by all at all times is key in this process as we design your tour.
Waiver and release of liability
The objective of us designing a safari for you is to subject you to rewarding experiences not danger. However we will require you to sign (or your parent/guardian if under 18) a disclaimer to acknowledge acceptance of the terms set out. You will need to fill out separate forms for each location we stay at as well as one for Vintage Destinations.
What is included and not included?
For each safari we offer or create for you and clearly printed on your invoice the details of what is and is not included will be provided. Feel free at anytime to check on these details as we design your tour. This is where many people are mislead by tour prices. e.g. In Kenya park fees daily are USD40.00 per person. If these park fees are to be paid by you during a 3 day tour that's another USD120.00 on top of your tour price. Check the fine print!
Fitness and Health
In our Vintage Camps guests should be able to walk comfortably for up to 3 or 4 hours at a time and enjoy reasonable health. However each day we plan to suite the abilities and desires of the group.
Malaria prophylactics are encouraged, as is any personal medication that one could require once on safari. Personal medical insurance is essential.
Again, each tour will be designed so that if you are someone who is not able to walk at all we can make a plan. We do offer tours for those with special needs. The vehicles and accomodations are chosen where they have wheelchair access and have all the needs required for a successful safari for someone with a physical challenge. We welcome all guests with all needs and we will organize to accommodate special needs with pleasure.
Please ask us for more details as we operate with partners who specialize in persons with special needs where by their gameviewing vehicles are designed for wheelchairs and other special features. You can see some of the vehicles & guests in our galleries.
What to Bring
A detailed suggested list will be sent upon booking. The atmosphere in all places we stay is informal, so casual neutral coloured clothing is both practical and acceptable. Depending on which Destinations you have chosen the summer months of September to December generally require cool clothing, with long, loose clothing for evenings. From May to August it can be quite cool at night and in the early mornings, so warmer clothing is advised. But again - we will advise you based on your tour what you need to bring and be aware of.
We advise that guests bring a good pair of lightweight walking shoes for the walking safari.
A good pair of binoculars and an adequate supply of film/memory cards/batteries are also recommended for those with cameras. On all days except the Vintage Walking Safari, electricity is generally provided via generator or mains. Different African countries utilize different socket types. Please ensure you have the correct ones for the coutries you will be visiting.