Travel & Leisure Magazine's Top Safari Operators for 2014

By Clark Norton
October 3, 2014

In its 2014 World’s Best Awards, Travel & Leisure Magazine has named its top five African safari operators, as chosen by its readers. Reflecting the readership demographic, most are luxury outfitters that will custom- design a safari itinerary for you if you desire, or suggest a previously arranged itinerary.

Here are the top five picks, complete with sample safaris for each:

 1. Rothschild Safaris


Rothschild, owned and operated by people who come from Africa and are passionate about safaris, works to match travelers with accommodations and safari itineraries that suit their interests and budgets. Wildlife viewing is their top priority, followed by accommodations, and they’ll plan a trip that best suits the season when you want to travel.

They have more than 30 years experience in working with camps and lodges that range from low-end to ultra-luxurious, and believe they can reliably match travelers’ goals and expectations with the right locations and lodgings (apparently Travel and Leisure readers agree, since they’ve been named to the top spot two years in a row).

Sample Safari: the Botswana Safari Explorer 

 

2. Africa Adventure Company


Top-five ranked in both 2012 and 2014, the Africa Adventure Company is headed by a veteran Africa guidebook writer and his wife, who hails from Zimbabwe. They will arrange customized and small-group safaris to some 15 African countries, and like to work with safari camps that are “symbiotic with nature and the community,” as they put it, promoting sustainable tourism and eco conservation. They focus only on Africa, and match itineraries and local guides with your individual needs.  

 Sample Safari: 14-Day Family Adventure to Zimbabwe 


3. Micato

 

Micato, which ranked second in the 2013 readers’ poll, has won Travel & Leisure’s award for world’s best safari outfitter a record nine times, and has been named to the magazine’s Hall of Fame for its consistent performance. Run by an ex-official in the former British government of colonial Kenya who still lives in Africa, Micato is a luxury operator that promises “sumptuous indulgence” even when out in the bush.

And it has a number of other strong selling points: Micato guarantees every departure and has never cancelled a trip. Concierges are available 24 hours a day in Nairobi, Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Arusha to make sure all goes smoothly on your safari, and a safari director accompanies every East African safari. For every Micato safari sold, the company pays for an African child’s education. And there is no tipping at any point during one of their safaris.

Sample Safari: The Hemingway Wing Safari (Kenya and Tanzania) 


4. Wilderness Safaris

 

Wilderness Safaris, founded in Botswana more than 30 years ago, ranked fifth in the 2013 poll. The company offers private access  via some  50 luxury safari camps to more than seven million acres of pristine and remote African wilderness in eight African countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo and the Seychelles. It runs wildlife, marine, and cultural safaris in these locations and prides itself on its longtime dedication to ecotourism.

Sample Safari: Odzala and Segera Retreat (Congo) 


5. andBeyond

 

andBeyond specializes in custom designing luxury African safaris, primarily through the 33 safari lodges and camps it runs in seven African countries. Its mission is to protect wilderness lands, wildlife, and local communities in Africa by maintaining millions of acres of endangered land for the purpose of sustainable tourism.

Sample Safari: Grand South Africa Villa Safari 

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Tours & Operators on Stride Awarded and Featured by:

  • National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure
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