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Born Free Safaris and Tours
Safaris, Tours and Travel to Africa for 35 Years

FAQ

What is the Experience of Travel to Africa?
You can expect one of the best trips of your life. Every trip is a unique combination of varied and beautiful scenery, exciting game, cultural experiences and exciting activities. Africa travel offers a high degree of comfort, excellent service and delicious food.
A safari is exhausting yet exhilarating. An average day begins at dawn with tea and a sunrise game drive. You are back to the lodge in time for a wonderful breakfast with fresh baked breads, local coffee and your choice of items such as eggs, pancakes and fresh fruit. During the heat of the day when the wildlife is at rest you may wish to relax too. If you prefer, a full day’s game drive can be arranged with a picnic in the bush. Some areas offer walks, horseback riding and village visits. In the afternoon when the wildlife again comes alive, there is another game drive that will go until sunset. Many of our safaris will stop for ‘sundowners’ in the bush. Bush walks are planned with picnic lunches. In some areas we can arrange for night drives and other activities such as a village visit. In the evening, everyone gathers to exchange stories of the bush. Sometimes there is a roaring campfire and stories last long into the night. Retire – sleep well as the sounds of the bush put you to sleep. We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but we can assure you it will be another exciting day! The local people are wonderful and love Americans. East Africans and especially our guides have a special affinity for children and you will find much of the conversation devoted to their interest. There is nothing unusual about an instant soccer game, an exchange of jokes or a spontaneous dinner at a local home. When you travel to a safari country such as Kenya, Tanzania or Botswana your main goal is to see the wildlife. Born Free always mixes the days drives with stops at villages, handicraft shops or to take a walk to learn about the flora and fauna. Most of the time, the trip is paced to the travelers interests. When heading to South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, West Africa and North Africa your experience will include visits to historic sights, cities and interactions with local people.  
How do I Select Where to Go?
The continent of Africa is three times the size of the United States. The U.S. would not even reach border to border on the upper half of the land mass. If you are visiting Kenya, Tanzania, Victoria Falls and South Africa, you are reaching areas that would cover a distance from the United States to the tip of South America.
While Kenya and Tanzania are not that large – it does take time to go from one area to another, often without much difference in terrain. We urge you to pick your travel destinations wisely. Spend more time in one area, seeing what there is to see. Don’t rush to another destination if there is nothing much to gain. We believe in a quality experience rather then a quantity of places. If you are going on safari, you need to consider the time of year you want to travel, your budget and your interest in interacting with local people. Please refer to our Best Time to Travel guide for more tips on choosing where to go.  
What is the Travel Comfort Level in Africa?
There are not many inconveniences in the more sophisticated countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, and Southern Africa. Food is wonderful and varied, most dietary needs can be met. Lodges are good if not world-class. Your comfort level might be challenged on rough roads, multiple flights, changes in locations, and number of guests in a vehicle. Be sure to understand the full travel details about your trip before you book. However, there are countries that are more difficult then others. Accommodations can be very basic, infrastructure unsophisticated, food simple. While on safari you will be off road and can be out for many hours, no matter how deluxe a trip you book.
The conveniences and the inconveniences will depend on which safari you select. We encourage you to call the Born Free office and discuss your comfort level with one of our safari consultants. We can then direct you to the right safari. Most travelers come back from Africa raving about the level of services the guides and staff provide. The food in Africa is in one world ‘fabulous’. The choices are wide and we can cater to any dietary need from vegan to diabetic. Speak with our consultants for more information. To help you make the most informed decision about your journey, each of our itineraries is designated an accommodation comfort level:
  • FINEST IN AFRICA: Outstanding award-winning properties rated for their location, service and ambiance. Trips that feature Africa’s Finest may also include stops at ‘High Comfort’ properties. Africa’s Finest can include premium safari camps where nothing is left behind in comfort, a hotel under canvas.
  • HIGH COMFORT: All the amenities and more. Top properties and general Born Free favorites, selected for their comfort, service, facilities and location.
  •  MODERATE: Generally, simple, well located and appointed accommodations offering an excellent value.
  •  SAFARI CHIC: Truly a wonderful property, ‘oozing’ with ambiance! Services always rain supreme. Special activities are often available such as bush dinners or cultural interactions. Safari chic can be a deluxe camp with excellent facilities or an over the top lodge. Generally a tented camp with all conveniences, special activities and a fabulous atmosphere. Nothing left behind in comfort.
  •  SIMPLE PLEASURES: Simple, clean and safe accommodations. They also may be suggested to the budget traveler. On Born Free trips, ‘Simple Pleasures’ accommodations are selected because they are the best available in the area and offer an excellent value.
  •  EXPEDITION CLASS: For those who have a quest for adventure, discovery and are in good physical condition. Drives might be long, walks can be strenuous. Accommodations range from no fuss camping to very basic accommodations. Comfort levels in camping may vary but travelers need to be ‘ok’ with simple comforts. Hotels in this category are generally selected because they are the best in the area.
 
What Should I Consider when Choosing an African Travel Company and Itinerary?
Our policy is that you should do quality rather then quantity. Quality in not necessarily a premium property, but premium locations that will enhance your experience. There are certain things you should never give up when looking at trip features, such the number of game drives, how many guests are in each vehicle, and whether the trip geared to the time of year you are traveling. More parks do not necessarily mean a better trip.
Does the company have a financial interest in any area in Africa? If they do, this will not necessarily guarantee a better price. An Africa based company will try to direct you to their area of operation, which may not necessarily be where you should be going considering all your options. Check to see if the company is United States insured and has errors and omission insurance.
What is a Realistic Budget for Travel to Africa?
For inclusive safaris (air and land) consider a starting point of $6000 per person for a 12 day trip, and then up from there. If you do not mind longer drives, moderate accommodations, you maybe able to drop that price point to $5500. The more you spend on your safari the more diverse your experience will be. Fancy is not necessary, but the more expensive properties generally present more opportunities for unlimited activities such as night drives, walks, and village visits. Ambiance is not always the most important item on higher priced trips. The more off-the-beaten path you get, generally the higher the cost! And, off-the-beaten path isn’t necessarily an adventure property, several can be considered some of Africa’s Finest.
Lower cost trips are available for places such as South Africa, where you can do a self-drive or go on a small coach tour and take advantage of specials. Egypt also offers numerous bargains in low season. West Africa is not inexpensive and cannot be done ‘on the cheap’. If you find a trip that’s hundreds of dollars lower than an equivalent Born Free program – we can promise you that there is a difference. Even if it is not apparent at first look. We challenge you to find a better value then the trips we offer.
What is the difference between Set Groups, Private, Custom & Independent Journeys?
All Born Free Safari & Tours will include a local host, excellent guides, pick up at the airports, drop-off at hotels and the services of a United States Tour Consultant. No matter which type of trip you choose – there are always chances to meet local people and travelers along the way. Our set departures can include people from all over the world. Born Free tries to include special visits and tours on every type of trip that we recommend.
  • GROUP SET DEPARTURES – This is a trip where there are particular departure dates and a minimum number of required travelers. You will be joined by other guests for multiple days. The main advantage of Group Set Departures is the chance to be with one or two groups during your journey. Group trips will vary in size from one vehicle to many vehicles. They generally caravan and stay together during the trip. Itineraries are set with little variations. It is very important to check the maximum amount of guests in a vehicle and that not only will you be guaranteed a window seat, but also access to the roof hatch. Group set departures are guaranteed in most cases with a minimum of two bookings. Some of the ‘Value’ group departures will not include as many game drives or activities as the Born Free specialty trips. Group trips are not necessarily less expensive then private trips! The main advantage of the group safari is the chance to socialize and stay with one or two cohesive groups during the trip.
  • BORN FREE SPECIAL JOURNEYS – These trips have been designed especially for and by Born Free. You can take the trips as is and join a monthly departure or you can take them on a private basis. These trips are guaranteed once they are confirmed to you. Some of the trips have designated departure dates. Please see tariffs for detailed information on each trip.
  • CUSTOMIZED, PRIVATE & INDEPENDENT JOURNEYS – This type of trip is designed to meet your particular interests. They do not have to cost more then a set group trip. Most groups are based on four guests traveling together. Touring sizes may vary from totally private vehicles to flying to tented camps and doing game drives with a few other guests.
  • An INDEPENDENT TRIP might include a few days on your own on a self-drive segment, then joining a small group for a day tour and adding a multi-day guaranteed small group departure.
  • A PRIVATE JOURNEY or CUSTOM TRIP is one that has been designed for you and your friends and family. It can consist of some segments that are totally private and other segments where you may join other guests for activities. This will be up to you and your requirements.
  • A truly PRIVATE trip will be exclusive use of your own vehicle and guide. This type of trip has great advantages for those who enjoy independent travel, are serious photographers, or are taking children.
Born Free Africa Travel Specialists are here to assist you with selecting the right type of trip. Born Free Safaris & Tours is successful because the participant plays an active role in planning the trip around the travel time, comfort level and budget. There will be an exchange of ideas and this will be incorporated by Born Free to come as close to expectations as possible.  
I am on my own and want to travel to Africa. Is this feasible?
Africa is very conducive for the solo traveler – male or female. We are finding more and more solo travelers wanting to go to Africa. All travelers are always met by a local host, checked in to the hotel and escorted to their locations. If requested, we will try to put solo travelers together. During meals solo travelers can join group tables, in lounges everyone joins in. For the solo traveler who prefers private services, the guide becomes your tour escort.
Can I do a self-drive trip in Africa?
We do not recommend a self-drive safari in any area. Safari country is not self-drive friendly due to the game. It’s dangerous, plus the idea is to get close to the wildlife, and you must be a trained as a professional to approach the wildlife. In places such as Namibia or South Africa we will gladly assist with a self-drive tour segment and recommend tour routing.
Is There More to Africa than Just Wildlife Safaris?
Africa is a diverse continent with many things to see from the Pyramids of Egypt to the wine country in South Africa. All Born Free safaris and tours are designed to be an interesting combination, highlighting the best the countries have to offer with time for you to stretch or even explore a bit on your own. We do feel meeting the local people should be an important part of any trip and will plan stops at villages. Trips can also include river rafting, mountain biking, hiking, volunteering, and shark-diving. The options are endless.
Is it Safe to Travel to Africa?
The people of Africa are very friendly. Their wonderful smiles greet you upon arrival and their sense of humor will enchant you. When we judge if somewhere is ‘safe’ we look at the local people and how they welcome the traveler.
If the general atmosphere is not hostile and there have not been any recent incidents against travelers, then we will encourage travel. In saying all this, we know the world is unpredictable. It is our governments’ responsibility to let us know about any situations that might endanger us as U.S. citizens. The State Department will ‘over warn’ us – but this is for our own protection. One must put these warnings, in perspective. Did you ever wonder what the world says about travel to the United States? An interesting exercise is to see Australia’s or other countries websites about their citizens traveling to our country. Take a moment to view the travel advisory for Australian citizens wanting to visit the United States: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/United_States_of_America This is not making light of any situation, we just need to understand the world we live in. Born Free’s priorities are for your safety, comfort and enjoyment. Born Free and our associates keep abreast of all situations political and non-political. If a situation occurs we have 24-hour hotline. Most of our vehicles are equipped with emergency telephones. We have the ability to change itineraries at the last minute and would certainly cancel a trip if we knew you would be in harm’s way. If you have any questions at any time regarding your destination, do not hesitate to call. Your safety and comfort in traveling to any area is our foremost concern.