Africa

Safari Legacy Looks to New Business in U.S.

written by | Posted on April 1st, 2010

That hands-on experience is probably one of the reasons why the company does a lot of family safaris, especially in the summertime. “We have a family of four or sometimes we might have a grandmother that brings her whole family of 18 to go on safari,” she points out.

Kunath says the company primarily works in East Africa, although they also offer programs in South Africa. “Tanzania is probably the most popular one right now and that’s primarily because Kenya still has a travel warning on it. It’s mostly perception, it’s not reality. But from a liability standpoint, a lot of times–especially groups and non-profit markets—will stay away from Kenya because of that warning. So right now, it’s Tanzania and Rwanda. Rwanda has actually become a very hot destination. And that’s one reason why we decided to go into Rwanda. We’ve been working there now for a year setting up our office. It’s just a no-brainer for us to be able to offer that as an optional extension and not have to contract our services out.”

One of the more unique programs Safari Legacy runs in Rwanda is the gorilla trek. “It’s still a niche market. For example, when you have a Rwanda extension to a group, you might get two to four people doing it out of a group of 16. So it’s still not the majority of people, but it’s a really easy access to gorillas. It’s different than Uganda, which requires more physical ability and it’s a longer trek usually to find the gorilla group, whereas in Rwanda, it’s typically a shorter distance,” she explains. “[In terms of the physical strain], the average person can do Rwanda instead of Uganda. It’s only three nights and it is expensive but people are paying it because the gorilla permits are $500 pp.” Still, she adds, their rates are better than most. “We have a really good price offering, I think, because we’re not contracting out anything.”

In terms of service, the company’s “big thing,” is just being available to the client or the guest 24/7. “I’m here in the U.S. and they’re there in Tanzania so we’re available at all times. If you can’t reach me, you can reach them so it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week and when you call, you get an actual person and not a machine, which is rare these days.”

At the same time, she adds, “I come from a very large tour operator background so I kind of understand what the direct clients want and what the travel agent expects.”

Still, she says, “We don’t have a lot of marketing out there to travel agents. We’re in the process right now of looking into how we might be able to go about that. We are ASTA members and we’re a supplier member of USTOA.” So the odds are, if you’ve been selling Africa, you’ve probably inadvertently done business with this veteran safari operator more often than you know.