African Safari - The Last
is a land of contrasts with serenity, savagery and breathtaking
beauty, steeped in romance and adventure. The magnificent
scenery embraces snow capped mountains, lush forests, shimmering
plains, mighty rivers, sparkling lakes and sandy beaches.
The variety and abundance of wildlife is legendary and there are
fascinating colourful tribes to discover, from a different
world. Quite simply, an African safari is the unforgettable
vacation of a lifetime.
Safari is the most evocative word in the history of travel,
conjuring up an image of rugged explorers in faded khaki,
stirring encounters with big-game, painted sunsets and drums
throbbing in the night.
The Dark Continent was almost unknown for centuries, a land
reputed to contain monstrous wild beasts, giants, pygmies and
ancient cities overflowing with gold.
was thought that the Queen of Sheba ruled a magnificent empire
near the source of the Nile and that the jewels of King
Solomon's mines lay beneath the fabled Mountains of the Moon.
Arab traders had settled along the East African coast by the
year 700 and for the next 1,200 years, they and their
descendants penetrated inland on ivory trading and slave raiding
expeditions, accompanied by Swahili porters and guides. The term
safari was thus coined in the Swahili language, meaning a
THE VICTORIAN ERA
Although the African coastline was fairly well charted by the
1700's, it was not until the mid 1800's and the great Victorian
era of African exploration that the interior was finally opened
up to the outside world through the exploits of missionaries,
ivory hunters and gentleman adventurers.
These pioneers trekked thousands of miles on foot and were often
several months out in the bush with a long train of porters and
a troop of armed soldiers. They bartered with villagers for food
or shot whatever game they saw, marches being planned from one
waterhole to the next. There were prowling wild beasts,
debilitating fevers, hostile tribes and mutinous porters to
The first slave traders in East Africa had followed ancient game
trails. Later, explorers like Richard Burton, John Speke and
Joseph Thomson followed the slave routes. Then came the
Mombasa-Uganda railway, reaching in 1899 a place the Masai
central Africa, David Livingstone's extensive travels were
prompted by missionary zeal, while the hunter Frederick Selous
trekked south-east Africa in search of ivory and trophies for
museums collections. On the trail of men such as these came the
visionary empire-builder, Cecil Rhodes, with his British South
AFRICA BECOMES FASHIONABLE
the early 1900's, Kenya was acclaimed as the winter home of the
aristocracy. Originally known simply as Mile 326, Nairobi soon
became the safari capital.
The most popular departure point for safaris was the Norfolk
Hotel, frequented by visiting European nobility, big-game
hunters and the rough-and-tumble local settlers. The Norfolk
boasted hot baths, spring beds, a well-stocked bar and a French
The Norfolk revellers were a motley collection of hunters and
farming pioneers, striving to make a living in a new land of
opportunity. Clifford and Harold Hill were ostrich farmers whose
birds were plagued by lions. They decided to invite hunters in
to shoot the lions, charging a fee for this. Visiting hunters
turned up in droves: the safari business had begun.
Nairobi's first safari outfitting company was called Newland and
Tarlton and they had the most distinguished professional White
Hunters on their books; men like Leslie Tarlton, Bror von Blixen
and Billy Judd.
1909, ex-President Teddy Roosevelt set out from the Norfolk
Hotel on a hunting safari that broke all records for size and
splendour. There were 500 uniformed porters and a half-dozen
White Hunters participating in this epic, the first safari ever
captured on film. Roosevelt helped to popularize safaris with
the publication of his book 'African Game Trails'.
was a romantic age. Fritz Schindelar rode down lions on
horse-back in a spotless white suit of riding clothes, gambling
extravagantly and wooing the ladies with his flamboyant charm.
The fearless Alan Black shot 14 man-eating lions and hung the
tips of their tails from his slouch hat.
Philip Percival guided the Duke and Duchess of York and the
famous American film-making couple Martin and Osa Johnson. Beryl
Markham learned to fly and started an air-drop mail service for
safari parties on the move. Denys Finch Hatton scouted for game
in his biplane and also escorted the Prince of Wales on safari.
THE ERA OF CHAMPAGNE SAFARIS
Grand safaris such as these generally required 30 porters per
White Hunter, plus 40-50 porters per client. Tailors were
provided to make the client's clothes and armchairs were taken
along on safari, together with folding baths, cases of
champagne, a small library of books and one or more cooks to
provide eight-course dinners. After every item had been checked,
the equipment was parcelled out to the porters in 60-pound
loads, to be carriedon theirheads.
The appearance of the motor vehicle changed the picture
considerably. Now, a client could engage a fleet of vehicles and
travel virtually self-contained over long distances. Porters
were needed only in terrain where the vehicles could not go.
Money was no object in the pre-Depression days of the 1920's and
the affluent visitor (whether an English lord, American film
star or Indian maharajah) would contract a safari outfitter to
organize a custom-planned safari complete with White Hunter,
menservants, gunbearers, porters, provisions, guns, cars, trucks
Some of these safaris were incredible, with the tents alone
covering an acre of ground. There were generators, electric
lights and enough vehicles to fill a small parking lot,
including zinc-lined trucks for the cold storage of food and
different vintage wine graced each course and the sumptuous
cuisine was supplemented with imported delicacies from Fortnum
and Mason of London. When two such safaris met, the chefs would
often compete to see who could stage the most lavish banquet in
backing from George Eastman of Eastman Kodak, the Americans
Martin and Osa Johnson arguably pioneered the photographic
safari in the early 1930's, travelling to Lake Paradise in
northern Kenya and spending four years there, exploring and
They wrote popular books about their numerous safaris and took
countless pictures, later touring America with their motion
pictures and doing a great deal to promote African travel and an
interest in the animals and cultures.
The Johnsons were also the first to undertake an air safari.
They flew two Sikorsky flying boats from South Africa up to
Nairobi and used them to visit remote parts of Kenya and to find
the pygmies in Zaire.
was during this period that Karen Blixen wrote the Kenya classic
'Out of Africa,' which became a popular book and helped
establish a new respect for wildlife and the local tribes.
Eventually, hunting was properly regulated with conservation in
mind. Wildlife was recognized as a valuable natural resource to
be preserved for the benefit of all mankind and vast wilderness
areas were set aside as exclusive sanctuaries for wildlife.
THE MINIBUS TOUR
The onset of the Second World War ended the era of champagne
safaris and sheer extravagance. In a memorable post-war speech,
the British Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, spoke of the
'winds of change blowing through Africa.' Many African countries
' in the 1950's and 1960's gained independence from their
colonial administrators (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and
Portugal) and most of the new nations pledged to continue
the 1950's, daily flights commenced between Europe and Nairobi,
bringing a sudden influx of middle-income travellers. To serve
them, the minibus photo tour was developed as an inexpensive
alternative to the old-fashioned safari.
This steady stream of camera-toting tourists, combined with the
desire of African countries for increased foreign earnings, set
the stage for African tourism. Lodges were built in the
newly-developed parks and reserves and convoys of zebra-striped
minibuses ferried the groups around the tourist circuits.
THE OLD-STYLE SAFARI
Today, you would only want a minibus tour if 'low price' is more
important to you than the quality of your African experience.
Certainly the best way to enjoy the magic of timeless Africa is
on a traditional old-style safari and the choices are almost
You can explore virgin bush country in a four-wheel drive
vehicle or on horse-back, or stalk animals on foot with a
professional guide (the modern non-hunting equivalent of the
former White Hunter) to experience adrenalin-pumping encounters
with big-game at a few feet.
Wait up in tree hides overlooking game trails or sit at
waterhole blinds as the herds come down to drink. Learn to
identify spoor and spot the more elusive species, marvelling at
the complexity of animal behaviour.
Discover birds and see hundreds of species ranging from the tiny
irridescent sunbird to the eight-foot tall ostrich. Whatever
your interests, an appropriate safari can be planned for you, as
an active participant or as an interested observer.
The discriminating traveller who wants a special safari will
understand that the most important aspect is the quality of the
guide. Also, the smaller the group, the better the trip will be.
The best safaris are those with like-minded participants and
this alone is a good reason for having custom-planned
Rather than enduring long drives on poor roads, you may decide
to fly between distant wildlife regions. It is also preferable
to avoid one-night stops and spend two or three nights in each
area, making the pace more leisurely and enjoyable.
The best permanent accommodations are the small lodges and camps
of character and the private farrns and homesteads, not the
popular tourist lodges.
The classic old-style luxury tented safari is the finest African
experience that you can have. If you go to Africa and do not
sleep in a tent or walk 'in game country, you have only been on
vacation and not on safari.
going to Africa on safari, you are continuing a great tradition
begun by the early pioneers and carried on by famous writers,
film stars and royalty.
old-style African safari is the last great adventure ...
THE WORLD OF OLD-STYLE AFRICAN
old-style African safari is an unforgettable experience that has
no parallel anywhere on earth. We use the term 'old-style' to
distinguish our traditional safaris from the modern version with
its tour groups and minibus marathons.
choice of destination can be bewildering and although there are
more than thirty countries (sub-Sahara) on the African
continent, the foremost safari destinations tend to be in
eastern, central and southern Africa. In alphabetical order,
these are: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and
safari seasons are different in each country, so when we help
you decide where to visit, your proposed time of travel will be
a significant factor.
a mistake to think you will see more animals in one region than
another. What you will see depends much more on the proficiency
of your guide, on local game movements and migrations, on the
time of year and even the time of day you are out game-viewing.
the huge variety of safaris on offer, do not waste your time
leafing through different brochures because you will only become
confused. Call us today.
will answer your questions fully and discuss the various
alternatives, helping you to determine what safari will suit you
best and also planning and arranging everything for you, from
start to finish. Basically, there are two types of safari. You
can either join a group on a scheduled-departure tour with one
of the large U.S. tour operators (which we can also assist ou
with), or you can enjoy a custom-planned safari, designed
especially for you and your family or friends.
of our clients choose a personalized safari and this is
certainly the best option for the astute traveller who desires a
special African experience.
the many safari alternatives are:
Exclusive old-style luxury tented safaris: the ultimate
safari of quality.
Exclusive 'no frills' tented safaris, with more than
Lodge tours using small premises of character: intimate
tented camps, owner-operated ranches and homesteads.
Adventure on foot with porters, or with horses, donkeys,
camels or canoes ...
Special interests like photography, cultures, birds,
flowers, fishing etc.
However, if you do decide on a tour offered by another company,
we will be pleased to book the arrangements on your behalf to
ensure that you get the most appropriate itinerary and the added
benefit of our own expertise and impartial advice throughout.
African safari tradition was firmly established by the early
1900's and we are proud to be keeping alive the old standards of
personal attention, custom-planned arrangements of quality,
exciting and original itineraries, comfortable accommodations of
character, stylish travel at a leisurely pace, warm hospitality
and the finest wildlife guidance.
Safari Consultants of London, we create individual and authentic
journeys in Africa, putting life and atmosphere back into the
of London, Ltd.,
5051 Pelican Colony Blvd., # 603,
Bonita Springs, FL 34134-6910, USA
390-1507 or (800) 648-6541 Cell:
(239) 405-3455 Fax: (239) 390-1721