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GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

Manchester, United...
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GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

Hello,

Question 1: I'm torn between opting for a GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris custom itinerary for a trip to Botswana. Can anyone offer any advice, comparisons, benefits?

Question 2: Is there any benefit in booking direct with either company versus going through a local or international agent?

Thank you

Maun, Botswana
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532 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

Are you sure the Company is called GoBeyond? - Go Beyond Travels is a Tour Broker in India and do not offer Botswana amongst their destinations.

I suspect you mean &Beyond Safaris - who like Wilderness Safaris are major players in Botswana, owning and managing a number of excellent Lodges and Camps and also offering Mobile Safaris.

Both Companies have an excellent reputation, and some amazing Lodges - you don't mention your itinerary, so it is difficult to compare what each company is offering.

Wilderness do not take bookings direct, you have to use an Agent - in the UK Imagine Africa is one of their leading Agents - see http://www.imagineafrica.co.uk/

&Beyond - see http://www.andbeyond.com do take direct bookings, but will also advise you if you wish to book with one of their UK Agents

Booking with an Agent in the UK will not be cheaper, all their prices are based on the US$, so booking at the moment will be good when paying in £s

Another major advantage for booking through a UK Agent is that they will be covered as members of ATOL or ABTA if anything goes wrong.

Nairobi, Kenya
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1,724 posts
265 reviews
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2. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

I've stayed at AndBeyond's camps, and one Wilderness Camp, and I think that the quality of the guiding is better at Wilderness Camps. I would also strongly recommend Kwando safari's camps as their emphasis is on the guiding. I've dealt with many travel agencies before, but the finest one in my opinion is www.expertafrica.com. They were voted last year as the finest travel agency in the U.K. specializing in Africa. They will give you what you're looking for. They will also support you 100% if you have any problems on your safari. On a safari 3 years ago, the Airline lost my baggage; Ellie of Expert Africa managed after 18 days to get it back for me. I'm going on safari with them this year, and am planning to go safari with them again next year.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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4,919 posts
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3. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

I also assume you mean AndBeyond. I've only stayed at one AndBeyond camp which was OK, but I wasn't that keen on it. But they are currently refurbishing that camp (Sandibe) and doubling the number of tents, which would definitely put me off going back. I've stayed at a number of Wilderness camps which were all excellent. Personally, I think the Wilderness chain has more choice of camps in better areas. Some of AndBeyond's camps are not in private concessions (eg their "under canvas" options) which means the areas will be busier.

Of course, there is no necessity to stay with only one group, there is nothing to stop you mixing and matching camps from different companies. I have mixed Wilderness, Kwando and AndBeyond. Sometimes there are cost savings for spending a minimum number of days with one company, and so it will depend how long your trip is and at what time of year whether it makes sense to do the whole trip with only one company, or whether you could use more than one. From that perspective, an independent agent is the best person to advise on that. As mentioned above, Wilderness don't take direct bookings anyway.

I've used Safari Specialists in Maun to book several Botswana trips, and found them excellent. I've also used both Expert Africa (several times) and Imagine Africa (once). The trips Expert Africa have organised have gone very smoothly, and they've helped me sort out some tricky rescheduling of trips when airlines have cancelled flights. Imagine Africa were very nice to deal with when organising the trip, but left me stranded at Lusaka airport with no transfer waiting as they'd told my hotel the wrong flight details (the hotel showed me the email from them). No worries, I got a cab, but less experienced Africa travellers might have found that a bit daunting, especially a woman travelling alone. It hasn't really inspired me to use them again.

Nairobi, Kenya
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1,724 posts
265 reviews
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4. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

I have also found AndBeyond safari agents to know less than their counteparts at www.expertafrica.com. A major problem in the safari industry is not only dishonesty, but many travel agents simply don't know their product very well, as they've never been there or visited 10 or 20 years ago. You won't find this problem at www.expertafrica.com as they always revisit their properties and depend as you can see on their client's comments on their website.

Minneapolis...
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3,350 posts
42 reviews
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5. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

Can't speak to &Beyond, but we just stayed at 5 Wilderness Safari camps in November. They were wonderful. The guiding at 3 of the 5 was AMAZING. The other 2 guides were very good, just a bit younger. I would highly recommend WS. We used an agent in the US who is very well versed in WS. I think he has personally been on safari in botswana 30+ times. We had spectacular sightings. Using the WS green season specials, I felt our price was great value. I would highly recommend WS and would use them again.

London, United...
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9,703 posts
23 reviews
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6. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

As you are based in the UK I can recommend both Audley Travel www.audleytravel.com/destinations/africa.aspx and http://www.africatravel.com. We have used both of these agencies for safari trips in various African countries and have been very happy with their advice and arrangements. We have stayed at a number of Wilderness camps in various countries and have always been completely satisfied with the facilities and the guiding. In Botswana we stayed at two Kwando camps and were more than happy with our experience.

7. Re: GoBeyond or Wilderness Safaris? Please help.

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