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Small Group Tour Or Private Tour: What You Need To Know

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I know who I am travelling with, so why the question?

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You find your tour operator, you choose your time of year, you decide which parks you want to visit. But who do you want to travel with? Not a silly question, and the answer is very important, says our expert, Safari Wanderer. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so everything has to be just right – especially your travelling companions!

Well, you have an important choice to make. Yes, of course you already know who’s going with you – maybe just your spouse, or your children too, maybe your safari to Tanzania will be with a group of friends. But depending on the choice you make, you could also be sharing your time and space in Tanzania with someone else. Many operators provide two choices: those that are usually called private tours and those that are called small group tours. The difference is important.

So what's a private tour?

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The clue is in the name. In a private tour, you will be in your safari vehicle in an exclusive party with your chosen travelling companions and no-one else (oh, apart from your driver-guide, of course). Your driver-guide is always in charge (for safety reasons) but other than that you get to ‘call the shots’ without worrying about the needs of others. If you want to look for a lion, your driver-guide will oblige; if you want to spend an hour photographing elephants, not usually a problem (as long as your family or friends agree, of course!) Our private tours, needless to say, are a popular choice with honeymooners, and with those celebrating a special birthday or anniversary.

And what about a small-group tour?

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On a small group tour, you and your group will travel with strangers, like-minded adventurers who will share your love of Africa and its treasures. On safari, a maximum of six passengers travel in the same vehicle – plus the indispensable driver-guide, of course – while on a Kilimanjaro trek there are no more than ten people on a small-group tour. It’s a chance to make new friends, to share experiences and opinions, while still retaining a degree of intimacy.

Are there any other differences between the two?

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Well, exclusivity comes at a price, so typically a private tour will cost more than a small-group tour, typically around 10 to 15% more. Apart from that, whichever choice you make, you will enjoy the services of the same expert driver-guide, stay in the same accommodations, see the same wildlife and travel in the same safari vehicles. You just need to decide … who you want to share this amazing experience with!
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