Here at Stanley Safaris we are very selective as to who we partner with in terms of accommodations throughout Africa. When choosing which camps and lodges we want to use we look at 4 key factors. It is these key factors in each property we use that ensures when our guests come to Africa for their safari vacation, they are getting the most from their time here.
This is what we look for when choosing who to work with:
Small and Privately Owned
By being small and privately owned they can be flexible and agile and be able to offer a more personalized experience to our guests. More often than not, we know the owners and this means we have a personal relationship with people that will be looking after our guests.
The beauty about Africa is that there are extremely passionate people that own and often run the camps we use. They are passionate about Africa, the people, the wildlife, the environment and their guests. Take the time to meet these people and listen to their stories as you sit around the campfire in the evenings.
Kyle Branch is one of the partners of Tusk & Mane who own some of our favourite camps in the Lower Zambezi in Zambia. Here Kyle is out guiding some of the guests staying at the camp. Both Kyle and Luke are very hands on owners and are in camp all the time. This ensures our guests are extremely well looked after whilst on their Zambian Safari Vacation with Stanley Safaris.
Prime locations is key to ensuring our guests get the best from their time in Africa. There is no point staying in a lovely lodge or safari camp, but being so far away from the action it is pointless even being there.
It is not always about prime locations as animals move depending on the time of the year. This is where our expert knowledge kicks in and we can ensure our guests are staying in the right camps, at the right time of the year to maximize their overall African Safari experience.
Somalisa Acacia Camp in the heart of Hwange National Park is right on a permanent waterhole that attracts wildlife throughout the day and night. In the peak of the dry season (June to Oct), there could be over 1,000 elephants that pass through the camp to drink from the pool and waterhole. The perfect location for the camp.
Experience & Guiding
The whole reason our guests come to Africa is to be on safari, meeting the people and experiencing everything that Africa has to offer, so this is vital to ensure our guests go home having experienced Africa to its fullest. Whilst in Africa, your guide is the most important person our guides will meet. They are the person that will make or break someone's safari experience, and so it is one of the most important elements when we choose who we want to work with.
We are not about thread count on the beds, or the gourmet food and butlers, for us it is experience first and the frills are a bonus. Nowadays, exceptional food and world class wines are an expectation and form part of the experience.
Part of what we love about the smaller, privately owned camps is that they are all about the guest experience. There is no such thing as schedules or timetables whilst on safari and it is this flexibility that ensures the best experiences. Getting out on foot and tracking wild dogs through Mana Pools, sleeping under the stars in a fly-camp in Tanzania, walking the length of the Serengeti following the path of the migration, tracking lowland gorillas through the jungles of the Congo, these are the things our guests are going to remember when they head back home. These are things they are going to talk about to their friends, family and grandkids.
Conservation & Community
The survival of Africa's wildlife is our responsibility and for this reason, we only partner with properties that play an active role in conservation and community projects within the areas they operate. Too often, the "conservation and community" tag line is used purely as a marketing tool, so it is important to make sure the camps and lodges are walking the walk. Guests staying at the camps often have the opportunity to visit the projects the camps are supporting and seeing the exceptional work being done on the ground. We are not a voluntourism company, but by working with key partners, we know that by our guests staying at those camps and lodges, their Dollars are going to fantastic community and conservation projects.
Guests can get involved by donating and certain camps and lodges offer opportunities to donate to certain research and conservation efforts and then get to see the work being carried out. Whether guests donate to rhino notching and monitoring in Tswalu Kalahari in South Africa, Morukuru in Madikwe or Marataba Conservation Camps - we know the money is going to the right places.
Often camps have been built in certain locations to help conserve the area. By having tourists paying to go to the area, poaching is reduced and the local communities can then see the benefit of conserving the area and wildlife. Local camps and lodges employ people from the local communities and so again, the tourist Dollar is making its way back into the local communities which is key to the future of our wild places.
South Africa Safaris
Shaun Stanley - owner of Stanley Safaris.