Wanted: A family of six – two adults and four children aged between six and 12 – want to go on safari in Africa, but want advice on which country to visit.
65-66 Catton Chase, Old Catton
There was a display of cards by a local school, and brochures were beautifully displayed. I was immediately acknowledged with a smile and the agent was friendly and enthusiastic, checking about non-malaria safaris so the children wouldn’t have to take tablets. I was given a cup of tea by a colleague, as I had a cough.
The quote was for a seven-night Travel 2 holiday in August, departing Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic and staying in a three-bedroom chalet at Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa. It cost £12,017, including two game drives per day and private minibus transfers. The experienced, professional staff supported each other, and they were considerate when I was coughing – it was a very pleasant, relaxed experience. They let me decide what would be best for my family without a hard sell.
15 Bedford Street
The agency looked warm and cosy, with neat brochure displays. I was greeted immediately by a pleasant agent and given the right amount of choice after lots of open questions and free-flowing conversation about the children, weather, rooms and a beach holiday extension.
Both quotes were for the same 11-night trip with Somak Holidays, one in February for £13,012 and one in August for £14,032. We would fly from Heathrow with Kenya Airways, for the Thorn Tree Safari (four nights) and Voyager Beach Resort (seven nights). The agent was kind, friendly and professional.
24 Castle Meadow
The agency looked professional, like an open-plan office, and staff were smartly dressed. The agent was keen to tag on a beach holiday but that didn’t match my requirements. A great amount of detail was required, such as children’s names and birth dates, and we talked about rooms, driving, weather and malaria.
The first quote was with Ilios Travel, for a 12-night holiday in August, flying from Heathrow with British Airways, plus car hire, for £11,734. The second was just a weblink to a seven-night Intrepid Travel safari in Kenya, costing about £11,500.
Bernadette Tibble, travel consultant
As an independent agency, tailor-made holidays are our bread and butter – and we sell safaris quite regularly. With a family booking like this, it’s important to think about factors such as malaria and connecting flights.
The Oyster Travel staff were very professional, considerate and helpful, and produced a quote which matched the brief exactly. Premier Travel offered good service and options, but the Trailfinders experience was not so enjoyable and the quote less suitable.
The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location.
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