Q & A with Charlotte Opperman, Marketing Director, Aardvark Safaris, with offices in the UK and USA. More than 15 years of experience crafting tailor-made safari and beach holidays to 15 country destinations in sub-Saharan Africa.
The sub-Saharan countries we target are incredibly varied. So too are clients – they have different ideas for their holidays. One cannot simply push square pegs into round holes and expect a successful outcome. So our approach is to ask clients many questions about their preferences, make suggestions and gauge their responses, and then craft a safari that will best suit them. It Is important to know that this typically does not cost more than it would for a person to make his or her own arrangements.
DO FIRST-TIMERS PREFER CERTAIN COUNTRIES?
Those on their first safari probably favor Kenya or South Africa. Kenya has become known through popular media, nature documentaries andfilms like “Out of Africa." South Africa has been a must-see destination for a long time with an incredible choice of safaris available.
WHAT ABOUT DISEASE AND SAFETY, HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THESE CONCERNS?
We would not have much business if it was not generally safe in our destinations, and we certainly would not travel ourselves or bring our own families to these places. We do understand that the unknown can be frightening. With our intimate knowledge of each location, we can answer specific questions and give people confidence. Also, we can put people in touch with past clients, many of whom had similar concerns but in the end fully enjoyed their safaris.
They more than most people imagine. Fixed camps, whether they are tented or lodges, will have rooms with proper beds and bathrooms with showers, baths and flush toilets. There will be public areas with bar and restaurant, and in many case there are such amenities as a swimming pool, lounge, library and viewing deck. Meals may be served alfresco in some locations to make the most of the property and the views. These meals will be high quality, using fresh ingredients grown locally or brought in regularly, with all dietary requirements catered for with imaginative options.
Tanzania and Kenya combine well with Zanzibar. Those heading to South Africa can easily access the beaches of Mozambique or Mauritius. The one safari and beach combination people often do not know about is Zambia and Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi is a huge freshwater inland sea which offers world-class water sports, plus it has a very African feel among its lakeside properties..
Solo travelers are certainly welcome. They can have many opportunities to be social with different groups as everyone is included in camp activities and meals. If one prefers to join and stay with one group throughout their holiday, we can make those arrangements. This works best for holidays in Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia. I would also like to mention that many camps don’t charge a single supplement for certain times of the year or for the first few rooms sold.
SO WHAT ARE APPROPRIATE SAFARI COLORS?
Neutrals - beige, darker greens, and khaki. One should avoid wearing bright colors, also no whites or blacks.
I think human encroachment onto wildlife areas is the biggest threat to wildlife anywhere in the world and not simply in Africa. The good news in Africa is that local communities understand the importance and value of protecting wildlife in their natural habitats. That is what brings the European visitors and much-needed income. The Masai community is a good example because they do not depend on agriculture, which would use up land around the Masai Mara and make it much more difficult for animals to roam freely. The Masai people keep their land open and wild, thus earning a better living from nature tourism.
Pleasure. If you are in the UK, come to our offices and meet us in person, or we will come out to where you are located. We are happy to answer many more questions!
Click on the buttons below to share this post on Social Media