You'll travel through some really wild country, so be prepared to be flexible.
Small group, 4-16 adults.
7 nights camping.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms unavailable.
All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners.
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, tour leader.
Small group holiday
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Small group safaris to Zambia
Activity: Canoeing offers a superb, quiet way of approaching wildlife. This is a less disruptive and more environmentally way to travel. The trips are led by professional guides through the Zambezi River and Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. We pay national park fees, which go towards conservation of wildlife but also to the communities which co-habit this space. Our game drive and walking safari offer clients the chance to learn about some fascinating species, like elephants, warthog, waterbuck, impala, Kudu, rare Samango monkeys, bird species and nocturnal animals such as genet, civet, hyena, porcupine, aardvark and if really lucky, the elusive leopard.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: We will spend the entirety of the trip camping in the wild and in seasonal, semi-permanent tented campsites. This is better for the environment than using more permanent facilities as at the end of the canoeing season, any impression we have left on the land is wiped away as the river floods and green season rains return the environment to its natural state. Much of the campsite is built from reed mats provided by the local villagers, whilst the camp also runs on solar or inverter lights for minimal noise pollution. As our operators are a small, family-run business, most produce can be procured through small scale local supermarkets and vendors. Meals include fresh fruit, salads, local stews, curries and pasta.
Community: We have the option to spend time at the Magurumeno Orphanage School, which is run by a local man for children in the area. This is a great opportunity to lend a hand and we encourage clients to bring with old clothes, educational supplies and sporting equipment. Gardening tools and seeds are also greatly appreciated here as the vegetable garden is often trampled by elephants. In the future, we hope to pay for a protective fence for this garden.
A Fair Deal: Employed staff members are predominantly indigenous to the area thus contributing towards the unemployment problem in the surrounding villages. Employees receive training to become guides on the river through a comprehensive training course which includes practical assessment and written exams set by local authorities. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help you understand how you can help reduce your impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from your visit.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.