Safari tips you can trust
Don't take a risk
Never book with a budget-safari category operator or agent without first thoroughly checking it out. Incompetent and unscrupulous operators outnumber the reputable ones in that category. Book with the wrong one and you could possibly:
Face departure delays, sometimes measured in days
Have an inept or uncaring guide
Ride in a crowded, run-down safari vehicle that breaks down in the middle of nowhere
Camp out under conditions worse than promised
Pay for extras that are normally part of a safari tour price
Lose your investment
In contrast, virtually all high-end operators are reliable and trustworthy. The same is true for most (but not all) mid-range operators.
It's generally safest to book your safari tour through your local travel agent or directly with the safari operator via its website.
Hundreds of safari-booking websites exist. Be aware that while most are reliable and trustworthy, some go in and out of business, leaving customers in the lurch. Select with care.
Deal with the best
The best safari operators are usually the most successful. Because they have healthy revenues, they can afford new vehicles, good maintenance and competent guides. Financially struggling firms are more apt to use old, ill-maintained vehicles and hire rookie guides who learn their trade literally at your expense.
The cost of waiting
I recommend you book your safari before arriving in a safari country - and if you are going on a high-season safari, do it months ahead of time. If you don't pre-book and the vehicles and driver-guides of all the reliable operators are fully booked (it happens), you may have to hang around town (no fun) for several days or more waiting for a tour opening. Or, in desperation, you end up booking with a disreputable outfit.