Born Free Safaris & Tours
About Born Free Safaris & ToursBorn Free Safaris is proud to have been chosen as a top African tour company in prestigious travel publications including: National Geographic, Travel Holiday, Los Angeles & New York Times, San Francisco Examiner, Fodor's Family Holidays & the Sierra Club Guide. Born Free is recommended by KLM/Northwest, South African Airways, Official Government Tourist Offices, and numerous travellers we have hosted over the years. Referrals can be supplied on request. The range of adventurous activities available from Born Free Safaris are unmatched by any other African tour operator: Services to over 30 countries within Africa, from budget to the luxurious and everything in between. Wildlife safaris, Walking safaris, Air safaris, Rovos Rail & The Blue Train, Unique Cultural Experiences, Historical-Religious tours, Exclusive Mobile & Permanent Tenting, Lodges, Bed & Breakfast, Private Homes & Ranches, Hot Air Ballooning, Whitewater Rafting, Canoe safaris, Golf tours, Mt. Kilimanjaro treks, Horse-Camel-Elephant back safaris, Weddings, Honeymoons, and More! Born Free Safaris is a leader and trendsetter in African travel, always striving to reinvent the African experience, coming up with new, exciting and original adventures that fulfill the travelers dreams of Africa. Born Free Safaris' specialty are custom tours, tailor made by working together with our clients to fulfill their dreams. Any of our brochure programs may also be altered to better suit the needs of our clients.
It is impossible to pick out one part of our trip as the most memorable or enjoyable. The entire experience was pure magic. I first spoke with Alana of this African safari company in March of this year. I explained that this was my "bucket list" trip and my wife was not as enthusiastic about going on Safari as I was. Alana and I discussed many options, different camps and hotels and based on her recommendations created a 9 day Private Safari Itinerary. While I can't give Alana and her team any credit for what we saw on Safari I can and will give them all credit for having every detail of our trip down pat.
Alana and Nancy coordinated our trip from our departure from Newark Airport in the US through Heathrow into Nairobi and on to Arusha. Every needed visa, vaccination, hotel room, plane connection was discussed, explained and then when we were actually on site materialized on schedule. It was so comforting to arrive in a foreign land and be greeted by someone exactly as described. My wife who went with unknown expectations was blown away by the comfort, service and beauty of the camps we stayed at. Booking a private safari over a group safari was the best idea for us. Where I originally thought it would give us the opportunity to relax during the middle of the day, it enabled us to go on game drives almost every day for the entire day. We stayed at Tarangire Treetops, The Manor at Ngorongoro Crater and the Migration Camp. Now that we are home it is my wife who is interested in planning a return trip to Africa with our entire family. This African safari company did a great job.
I wanted to go on a three week trip to Kenya and South Africa in February/March 2016 with six retired friends of mine. I emailed a brief statement of what I hoped we could experience on this trip to three separate Africa specialty travel companies. Within four minutes of sending that first email, Alana Hayden of Born Free Safaris was on the phone with me. My decision to book our trip through Born Free was not because they had the most impressive website or because they promised the most and offered me the lowest price. Born Free won my business because their first priority was a sincere desire to build a lasting relationship with me. They cared about knowing not just where I wanted to travel but also understanding why I wished to go to Africa in the first place. Alana knew all the right questions to ask to help me clarify my thinking and to get me started on establishing some priorities. We spoke multiple times over many months. Our original trip morphed in exciting ways that I never could have predicted before speaking to Alana. Because I was encouraged to participate in the shaping of the itinerary, I had an important sense of ownership in all the decision making. I was not just buying an existing travel package and hoping for the best. Alana helped me to understand that any memorable trip worth taking is so much more than just about going places. Knowing how to craft, assemble and sequence different experiences and encounters can transform your journey into a true "Trip of a Lifetime." Alana Hayden is a rare find in the travel industry. Her extensive experience and respected background make the process of planning a trip to Africa, for her clients, both seamless and fun and I certainly had the impression that she still genuinely seems to enjoy working her travel magic.
So, perhaps it is redundant to state that our 2016 trip was a huge success. There were no airport connection snags. One of Born Free's contracted employees in Kenya greatly exceeded my expectations by very quickly retrieving some lost luggage of mine that had remained behind in Johannesburg. Our tented safari experience in the Maasai Mara was so uniquely wonderful that we continue to talk about it fondly many years later. The two local travelling guides that we had in South Africa quickly became good friends. They tolerated our gazillion questions and we had the sense, on several occasions, that we were being shown places that many other tourists never saw. In South Africa, we unfortunately had a small medical emergency that was quickly and efficiently addressed. Alana called us every day to make sure that my friend was feeling fine and was able to enjoy the trip. Wherever we went, we felt safe and well taken care of.
I was so impressed with Born Free's brilliant organization of our 2016 trip that I contacted them again in late 2019. Alana helped me organize a small group trip to Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. Unfortunately, COVID-19 arrived on the scene and that trip had to be cancelled. I will never hesitate in the future to call on Born Free Safaris to be my Africa trip partner. Alana and her small team have certainly earned my enthusiastic respect, gratitude and admiration. They deserve your serious consideration.
This was a second trip with Born Free Safaris, the first being one of their first trips ever - back in the mid-1970s! That was the most spectacular trip of a well-travelled life and the last trip with them in 2016 was a close second.
We started our trip in Arusha, Tanzania - being met by their kind and informative representative. We stayed over night at a pleasant lodge in Arusha, welcomed by monkeys all over the grounds in the morning. We then were flown to my favorite spot in the world, the middle of the Serengeti National Park. We were picked up by our friendly and well informed driver and the first afternoon in the Serengeti it felt like we were able to see almost every animal in East Africa. Elephants, lions, hippos, giraffe, many kinds of deer, and even a leopard in a tree! We arrived at our first beautiful tented lodging at sunset, and had a delicious dinner before retiring. At least, what we thought was retiring. While we readied ourselves for bedding down we heard a lion and lioness mating, with the lion roaring and grunting as if they were right outside the tent! (we heard in the morning they were over a mile away, but the noise was so loud you couldn't tell.
From that time on our trip was a magical wonder - more drives in the Serengeti; staying in a beautiful lodge near the Ngorongoro Crater (one of the wonders of the world); venturing down into the crater and seeing all of the wildlife,; flying to Nairobi Kenya and visiting the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage; flying down to Zambezi and visiting Victoria Falls, the highest falls in the word; and visiting the waterways of Botswana and Chobe National Park - with one of the highest concentrations of elephants in all of Africa, and birdlife that is beyond the imagination.
Along the way we stayed in idea lodges, both high end and moderate - with only one exception (where we had complained because of bugs in the bedding and lack of escorts in the dark at night). With the other lodges we had fantastic rooms, service with great attention, and beautiful settings.
We had one issue that we would have arranged differently. Our return back home from Botswana to the Western USA through Johannesburg was too long and too exhausting. There were no breaks and we should have arranged to break it up into 2-3 days.
All in all, Born Free IS the company to go with if you want an all round, educational, safe and decently priced trip to Africa. They are great for families, couples or individuals on tour.
Alana and her staff are simply incredible!
After submitting a request to Zicasso, Alana called me to tell me that I could not do the things I thought I wanted to do. (She was right. I thought of camping trips in the United States. I can't drive a 4x4.) She then told what I COULD do. She proceeded to ask what I wanted to see and where I wanted to go. I sent her four single spaced pages of places, people, animals.
She fulfilled all my wishes - from spending the night with bushmen to leisurely seeing the rock paintings at the Tsodilo Hills in Botswana to visiting the quiver trees in Namibia.
Alana once said that I wanted it all. She was right, and she gave all I asked for. My journey started with a small group tour in Botswana's Okavango Delta, where we say hippos, elephants, giraffes, fast food (impala with MacDonald's arches on their hind quarters), and an incredible zebra fight. Next was a private guided tour to the Tsodilo Hills and bushmen.
After taking a bus and the Blue Train from Gaborone to Cape Town, where I spent a few days, I flew to Windhoek, Namibia. Alana had arranged another private guided tour to the Quiver trees and a ranch where I could have petted a leopard,(sanity, or fear, took over and so I didn't). Finally, I joined another small group to see penguins, sea birds, antelope, lions, elephants in musth, and giraffes fighting. (It was mating season while I was in Africa.)
The most impressive things? A young bull elephant walking calmly across the savanna with no bars or moats. An extremely dangerous snake leaping high, hanging coiled in the air, turning to look me square in the eye, then turning again to shoot out into the bush. Dancing with the Himba.
Cleanliness of vehicle
Meet and greet team
Quality of itinerary
Responsiveness of staff