British Tourist

Where is the best place to book a safari in the UK?

There’s nothing more naturally invigorating than sitting a few feet away from a watering hole, surrounded by elephants and the like while enjoying the comfort of a luxury holiday. It’s fact. Safaris are one of the best ways to see the natural world without harming the environment, putting yourself in the more “zoo-like” position rather than inhibiting the animals. With Africa being such a large country, booking a safari is always best done through a tour operator or travel agent; but picking which one to go with is a tough choice! We’ve got a short list of three of our favourite agents below for safaris to help narrow your decision so that you can get out there and take on the wild!

KUONI

KUONI are a luxury travel agent that specialises in tailor made holidays specific to your needs and demands. They have stores all over the UK and are commonly found inside John Lewis department stores, but with COVID-19 they are also doing virtual appointments and sessions with their travel experts from home. 

When it comes to safaris, KUONI is one of the best options for variety and options in the best locations in Africa. A safari in nature is quite a luxurious trip, so it makes sense that a place like KUONI would fit the bill to create the perfect trip for you. The toughest part about booking with KUONI is that they focus so heavily on experience and tailor-made trips that you cannot just easily find an accurate price using their website – you have to contact them. While this is fine for those who have travelled with KUONI before and know the experience, we’re strong advocates of comparing prices and shopping around, which is tough to do without the price. Due to the luxury nature of KUONI, prices for trips with them are usually quite high, although they do have some reasonable pricing structures for destinations in Kenya depending on the time of year. 

Your travel expert with KUONI will be able to deduce where is best for you to adventure based on what you want to see, offering safaris and expeditions to Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. You also get the added benefit of no specific brand-association from KUONI, so they’ll find the best flights and accommodation experiences and prices that are available to you for your experience. 

In a recent survey, KUONI were voted joint-top as the best holiday company in the UK by Which?

Virgin Holidays

It’s important to note that Virgin Holidays have currently suspended their safaris and expeditions bookings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to see these bookings back soon.

Virgin Holidays offer a similar style of luxury booking for a safari in Africa as KUONI do, but they are lot clearer on price and options than the latter. With an easy to use website, you can find an estimated price with a lot of options in no time, allowing you to easily compare and explore other options whenever you see fit. Virgin Holidays also have stores all over the country with helpful staff ready to tailor a holiday to you at a more reasonable cost.

Virgin Holidays often have a greater variety of options available for booking, although their destinations remain very similar to others (as these are the best places to visit for safaris). One major difference between Virgin and KUONI is that Virgin Holidays has sister brands, such as Virgin Atlantic, that help to bring your package deal to a more reasonable price. When booking with these guys, you’ll often get extra discounts or benefits that you won’t find at independent travel agents who have no affiliation with airlines or hotels / resorts. The downside to this is that there is also not much choice or variety in this, so you’re limited to their airline routes and fares, as well as their partner brands (like Delta, KLM and Air France).

Virgin Holidays also have an extra service called Platinum holidays, equipped with Platinum hotels in various locations around the world. These locations include a good amount of lodges and resorts in South Africa and are perfect for safaris or expeditions where price is not a factor. As we mentioned for KUONI, a safari is a fairly luxury experience regardless, so you’ll always get some level of feeling top dog – but these platinum level bookings really take the VIP edge that you may want, adding a lot to your vacation.

Travel Counsellors

If you’ve never dealt with Travel Counsellors before, you’ll be intrigued to know that it is one of the most unique offerings of travel agents in the UK. The company consists of self-employed agents that work under the Travel Counsellor brand, with thousands across the UK in every corner of our country. When you visit the Travel Counsellor website, you’ll be encouraged to find your local agent who can help to book your holiday for you, giving you a personal touch that we absolutely love – and we know you will too!

This personal approach helps to enhance the tailor-made experience that the other booking agents offer, with knowledge and experience pushed through every agent on a level that is hard to match. One of the major benefits of going with these guys, however, is the fact that they’re completely impartial and have no ties to any specific brand, so you have the full choice of the travel spectrum available to you. Much like the travel agents you’re used to, they’ve visited, reviewed and experienced every location they offer too – so there’s no risk.

When it comes to booking a safari, we think that Travel Counsellors are one of the best options for variety, cost and experience all-round. They’re not much cheaper than the other guys out there, but the experience is perfectly portrayed and tailored to you that you’re almost guaranteed to have a good time. You’ll be walked through the process in a much more personal way than a standard travel agent can offer too, which is always perfect when visiting a destination like Africa that is so large it can sometimes be a little daunting.

You can book safaris with almost all tour operators and travel agents in the UK, but doing it right is something that’s definitely important. The brands we’ve recommended in this list are some of the more premium ones in the country, but a safari is a luxury trip that is often on the higher end of cost than other holidays. You can definitely do it on a budget, but it’s always best to get in touch with the agent you prefer and see what they can do for you. We hope you enjoy your safari! Take some pics and tag us on Instagram @britishtourist!