Four guests posing with their private guide for a photograph at a petrified tree in Sossusvlei.

Private Guided Safaris

November 28, 2023

It seems like the ultimate luxury, but hiring a private safari guide can take your wildlife experience to a whole new level – here’s how.

Why you should consider booking a private guided safari 

The guides

Private guides are masters in their field. Highly experienced, they know the bush like the back of their hand, are passionate about what they do, and are like walking encyclopaedias. They’re also multi-talented, acting as host, storyteller, tracker, explorer, conservationist, and trouble-shooter. It’s like having a private concierge in the bush, basically.  

Our private guides are some of the best on the continent. They’ve all been ‘tried and tested’ by us, and have the necessary FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) qualifications – seen as the gold standard of guiding in Southern Africa.

Flexibility

Your guide is here for you, and you only. If there’s an incredible sighting of lions taking down their prey, you can race to the right spot without having to check with fellow travellers first; if you want to linger over a dung beetle trying to push a ball up a hill, you can do so, too. Offering the ultimate secluded adventure, you’ll often also have access to remote destinations, whether it be wide open plains, an expansive desert, or hidden pockets of the untamed Okavango Delta. In a word, having a private guide offers incredible freedom, allowing you to explore at your own pace.

Exclusivity

A private guided safari means having an itinerary that’s adapted to your interests, preferences, and needs. You’ll be completely undisturbed, and will be able to deep-dive into the journey, immersing yourself in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. This also means that you’ll avoid having certain facts or stories repeated at different game lodges or on different drives – allowing for continuity and a personalised trip.

Peace of mind

Being accompanied by a private guide means that you don’t have to worry about a thing, freeing you up to lean back and really enjoy the experience. You don’t need to think about any admin details such as flight times, transfers, or schedules – your knowledgeable guide will take care of everything, and you’ll be in the safest of hands throughout.  

Who is it for? 

Families

Travelling with little explorers in tow is stressful at the best of times. A private guide will help take away any potential strains that might arise when travelling as a group, defusing potentially tense situations (any parent will know what we’re talking about!) with a relaxed attitude and a great sense of humour, so you’re able to spend precious quality time as a family. Another huge plus: your guide can adapt the itinerary to suit the age of your children, and keep them engaged through mini-tracker programmes and fun activities – which will also teach them about nature and wildlife in a playful way.

Safari novices – and safari pros

Your first safari will leave a lasting impression – so it’s worth making it extra special by booking a private guide. He or she will alleviate any worries you might have, and will make sure that you get the most out of the experience. On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned safari traveller, you’re likely to have very different requirements, perhaps wanting to focus on a special aspect of your trip such as conservation, or planning a tented safari experience that lets you rough it in style while staying mobile. Whatever your requirements, a private guide can tailor the experience accordingly.  

Photographers

Whether you’re a passionate hobby photographer or a pro, a private guide will help you get that elusive shot. Drawing on years of experience, practical knowledge of the surrounding fauna and flora, and extraordinary tracking skills, he or she will place you in the right spot, at the right time. Many guides also have a keen interest in photography themselves, and are familiar with the ins and outs of getting the most intimate wildlife shots. Some even specialise in photography safaris – chat to us to find out more.

Birders

Does the thought of sighting an orange-winged pytilia have you all aflutter? Or are you desperate to add a Pel’s fishing owl to your birding list? If you’re an avid twitcher, it pays to have the expertise of an equally passionate guide to hand, who’ll happily spend hours with you spotting some of Africa’s 2,300 bird species. While all safari guides are well trained in the art of birding, and know many species (down to recreating the bird’s call), you’ll get the most out of a safari with an experienced bird guide – we can make recommendations.

Honeymooners

Let’s face it, after the whirlwind that are wedding preparations, and the big day itself, all you want to do is escape – and the last thing you need are fellow travellers asking you (often very personal) questions. A private guide, on the other hand, is discreet and a great people reader, knowing exactly how much to engage, and when to give you and your spouse space to just be and revel in the feeling of being newlyweds.

What to expect on a private guided safari

The great thing about going private is that you can tailor-make it according to your group size, interests, and budget. You’ll have your own schedule and vehicles, and can even book entire lodges and camps on an exclusive basis if required.  

And while there’s no ‘typical’ day as such on a private safari, your daily itinerary is still likely to follow a certain pattern, starting early (we’re talking about a pre-dawn wake-up call), followed by a light breakfast before you set off on the morning’s activity – whether that be a game drive, nature walk, boat safari, or conservation expedition.    

You’ll return to your lodge or camp late morning to enjoy a leisurely brunch, and can then relax before meeting your guide again for afternoon tea, and setting off on your afternoon game drive or activity –which should definitely include an obligatory bush sundowner! You’ll finish the day with dinner, either at the lodge or al fresco under the stars in a special setting out in the wilderness, which would then be combined with a night drive.

What's included?

  • Accommodation
  • Meals (details on request)
  • Vehicle and all vehicle costs including fuel
  • Professional guide and all guide costs
  • Drinking water in the vehicle at all times
  • All activities as indicated and as can be done with NTS guide and vehicle
  • Park entry fees
  • Meet and Greet
  • Airport transfers and shared road transfers as necessary
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Comprehensive travel diary with detailed itinerary, map, route descriptions, booking vouchers, contact numbers and useful information

Intrigued to find out more? Then click on the links below, or get in touch with us for a chat!

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