All our trips are planned bespoke for you and your family/group around your particular interests, needs and budget. We spend much of our time providing you with options in many different parts of the country over email and phone: we create an Outline Itinerary which shows where you’re staying, what you’re doing and how the transport works for each day, priced accordingly.
This Outline Itinerary is then shared with you and your family/group for comment and changes, and we then redraft it based on what changes you’d like to make. Depending on the complexity of the trip (e.g. many different countries, modes of transport or size of the group), it can sometimes take many months of planning and consultation before we get to a final draft of your Outline Itinerary. At other times, it can be very quick and we can be ready to start booking your trip in less than a week.
Once you’re happy with our Outline Itinerary, we make provisional bookings at each place and with each service we’ve suggested. We also issue you with a pro-forma (provisional) invoice, so that you can see exactly what everything is costing on one page.
Do note that at this stage, as you have not yet paid a deposit, all prices for all services (internal flights, tours, activities, accommodation) remain variable. We do of course try to make our pro-forma invoice as close to the final price as possible but prices aren’t guaranteed at this stage.
Please also note that if you don’t pay a deposit timeously, provisional bookings will expire and will have to be remade.
Once you’re happy with the pro-forma invoice, we ask you to pay a deposit for the trip. Generally speaking, this is 25% of the total cost of the trip but if you’re booking very close to your departure date, it may be as much as 50%. We offer four ways to pay:
1. Make a credit card payment using the secure link on the invoice (note we split the card fees with you, so there’s a charge of 1.5% for this option)
2. Transfer directly into any one of our bank accounts, GBP, EUR, ZAR or USD (details at the bottom of the invoice)
3. Request us to send you a TransferWise payment request
4. Request us to send you PayPal payment request (note we split the fees with you, so there’s a charge of 1.5% for this option)
Note that your trip is not confirmed until you pay the deposit, neither are the prices quoted.
The same day we receive your deposit, we pay this over to all the providers concerned (we do not retain our client’s funds at all in our own account). At this point, the pricing becomes final and your bookings are confirmed. Your deposit is normally (but not necessarily) still refundable until 60 days before your booking starts.
At this stage, we’ll also need some personal details from you, like your passport numbers, expiry dates, full names of everyone travelling and so on. We’ll also need to check on dietary requirements and preferences and any mobility issues.
This is also when we start writing your Published Itinerary. This is the ‘book of the trip’, a fully detailed, highly readable, hyperlinked publication all about your journey to South Africa. It includes all the details of pick up times and places, your internal flight and car hire vouchers, train tickets, dining bookings, etc. etc. as well as detailed descriptions of each place you’re staying and what there is to do in the area. This Published Itinerary takes us at least a month to write (we take it very seriously) and normally you will receive this at least two weeks before you travel.
If you book your trip a long way in advance, the interim payment stage will fall halfway between the date you paid your deposit and 30 days before your trip is due to start.
If your trip is booked for departure within 60 days of the deposit being paid, we don’t require an interim payment but we will require final payment not later than 30 days before departure.
Your deposit and interim payment remain refundable until 60 days before departure. After this date, should you cancel the trip, you may not receive any funds back at all, or only a percentage of what you paid towards the trip. It’s thus very important to consider insuring your trip against the costs of cancellation. We can offer our own cover or you may wish to contact your own insurers.
When we receive your final payment (normally due 30 days before your trip is due to start), we send you your ‘One Month to Go’ information pack. This includes all the details for things to check and pack for your trip, such as vaccinations, safari wear, how to manage cash and credit cards, SIM cards, internet and navigation. We’ll provide you with an option to have a local SIM card mailed to you along with hard copy maps of the route you’re travelling on.
At around two weeks before you travel, you’ll receive your Published Itinerary as a PDF with all the details of your trip in it. We’ll include a final copy of the Outline Itinerary too.
At this stage, we also reconfirm every single component of the trip with every single place and service involved.
Finally after all that planning and preparation, it’s time to actually go! We’ll do some final checks with you before you get on the plane.
Once you land in South Africa, we reconfirm every component of the trip on a daily basis, staying in touch with you by WhatsApp or email to advise you of changes and updates. This also means you’re never alone at any stage of the trip: we’re always available 24/7 whilst you travel for anything you might need.
Even after you get home, our service to you doesn’t stop. We make sure to check in with you to find out how everything went and to give you the opportunity to update us on certain components (we cannot visit every place we book every year, although we try to, so our travellers help us a lot with updates).
And so that’s it – until the next trip!