Most travel companies have a rather prosaic “about us” page. I wanted to give ours a bit of a voice, make it more human.
Myself and my co-founder Ric founded what became Safari.com back in 2006 (the domain was operating for a long time before this of course, but that’s another story). When we started we would never have guessed we'd send over 25,000+ people on safaris during the course of 15+ years.
Ric and I have co-founded four businesses together. Neither of us were active in Safari.com for some time, but I came back on a few months ago to grow the business and get us back on track after some very difficult years with covid. I’m glad I did - telling the world about the treasures Africa has to offer is more of a vocation than a job. Looking at safari content and beautiful pictures constantly has a psychologically bolstering effect on the mind.
In 2018, we sold half of Safari to Caxton CTP. They’re a publicly listed company in South Africa. At the time of this article they have about R2.8billion (approx $165m), sitting in cash. I mention this because people are nervous of who they do business with now when it comes to travel - understandably so when so many people lost money during covid dealing with airlines and travel companies (I was one of them).
But in the words of Elton John we’re still standing!
And having well funded shareholders is a key part of that. Without outing anyone (though it's tempting!), companies can talk about "protection" offered by certain associations or tourism boards, etc but at the end of the day, when it comes to financial protection, it's really going to come down to the shareholders of the business you're interacting with. We care deeply about our reputation and our main focus as a business is to be THE safari authority. That means maintaining a high level of trust and we’ve always felt it’s important to operate in a manner which allowed us to look any customer in the eyes. So customers never have to worry about having their funds with us. The fact we maintained this through covid is testament to these words.
From there it's about delighting customers every step of their journey with us. The energy at our business right now is amazing and it’s just so inspiring to see everyone operating with such enthusiasm. It makes me so confident about the future that I can’t wait to see the levels we can take ourselves to.
Everybody at the business is born in Africa and our consultants have first-hand knowledge of the majority of the destinations and lodges that they package for customers. But it's not just knowledge - it's about the energy of the people that make up the company and you'll notice it immediately when you interact with any of our travel experts. We’re shifting in the competitive landscape as we realise that a lot of people prefer doing business over instant message now. On top of that we made a decision as a business that if consultants service foreign customers then we should align ourselves (within reason) with our customers daytime hours. It's about commitment to world class service levels and we're all ready to do whatever it takes to delight our customers.
I hope this casts a little warmth on who you're doing business with and we look forward to planning world class safaris for all our travelers. We're so excited for 2023 and wish everyone a happy holiday!