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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Pros of Hiring a Private Guide on Safari

On safari, you have the choice of booking a lodge and going out on game drives with their respective guides or hiring a company like Epic Private Journeys where former lodge owner and Tanzanian native Rob Barbour will act as a private guide. Obviously, there’s an extra cost involved, but if you’re splurging for this amazing opportunity, it’s important to do it right. The lodge guides we had the past two weeks were hit or miss. Laser-eyed Lazarus at Lamai Serengeti was brilliant, spotting a leopard high up in a tree after a kill and a male lion hidden in the tall grass. We watched as other Land Rovers simply drove past, not seeing the amazing sights we were witnessing. At other lodges, however, I could barely understand the guide’s English, and some couldn’t get the right position for getting the best photo, like a cheetah resting under a tree at sunset. 

 
Rob works with the driver and guide, telling him when to stop, spotting lions others had missed, and giving us a well-rounded description of each animal, including probable age. Just as important, he was with us practically the entire trip, helping with travel logistics. Don’t take this for granted. There are no airports in the Serengeti, Grumeti, or Mwiba, simply strips of pavement for small airplanes to land. So you better double-check to see exactly when your plane is arriving the next day or you won’t be leaving. Most of all you develop a relationship with a private guide that lasts far beyond one trip. Rob travels all around east and southern Africa, from Uganda to Botswana, with clients who request his services year after year. Travel with Rob and you have a genuine friend for life, one who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the African bush. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/31/15 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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