Things to Consider when choosing at tour Operator in Rwanda
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right tour company to use for your safari in Rwanda. They include: –
Website: Does the tour company have a website? Check if they have an About Us page and how long they have been in operation. What is their motivation? The company must be able to manage all aspects of your tour especially if it involves a safari in more than one country.
Ownership: The ownership of a tour company should not really matter. That side, there are some who think that international brands offer the best services. While this may be true for some companies, our experience shows that many of the local tour operators in Rwanda can offer the same level of quality and at a reduced price. Many of the international tour companies actually use local tour operators to manage their safaris. Whereas international companies may guarantee absolute quality of services, you can support and empower the local people by choosing their companies.
Price of the Tour: Everyone wants a discount regardless of whether they are traveling on budget or Luxury. In selecting a tour company, consider the price but remember that a lower price my affect the overall quality of a trip. Moreover, a lower price may mean that some services or activities are excluded or that there are hidden costs. It’s better to accept a reasonable price and get assurance from the company that they will deliver what they promised. To get the best possible price, you might want to compare prices from different tour operators before making a decision.
Company Banking Information: Before booking with any tour company, ensure that they have a bank account in their name. Having a company bank account is a sign that the company is registered. Do not send money to individual bank accounts. Some companies may provide you with the option of paying by Credit cards through a system like Pesapal. Ensure that it is a company Pesapal account. Avoid using Money transfer services like World Remit, Money Gram or Western Union when making payments for your trip unless you have traveled with the company before.
Reviews from past clients: What do other travelers say about the tour company? Do they have reviews on google and TripAdvisor? If you have doubts about the online reviews, ask for contact details of past travelers – preferably travelers from your own country.
Group Size: As an elder, you may want more privacy or not be comfortable around partying teenagers for days. Young traveler may also feel out of place or bored if in the company of a bus full of only seniors. Other travelers prefer private tours in order to learn more from the Guides about the destinations. Group tours are excellent for travelers who wish to meet new people and have fun. Your tour operator must therefore confirm if it is going to be a private or group. If you want to join a group, let it be known in advance because most of the tour operators organize private tours.
Social Media presence: Can you find your tour operator on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other social media platforms. Even though your final choice of tour company shouldn’t be based solely on social media presence, it is one way of finding out if they are still active.
Safety Precautions in place: A good safari company must have measures in place to protect travelers. Such measures may include but is not limited to having speed limits, ensuring that client luggage is protected at all times, following park rules regarding game drives and not exposing travelers to unsafe places or wrong people.
Membership to local Tour Organizations: Although membership to specific country tourism association is not a requirement or a guarantee to quality, it still helps you gauge the reputation of the tour company in Rwanda.
Giving back to the Community: Does the company use some of its profits for the benefit of the community? If you want to ensure that part of your money goes to support the local community, book with a company involved in wildlife conservation, Eco-tourism or general philanthropy.
Tour Guides and Drivers: A tour Guide or company driver can make or break a trip. Remember that Tour Guides/Drivers will be the representative of the tour operator and go with you to all the destinations. As the Tour driver to provide a Driver/guide who is experience, knowledgeable and can speak a language you understand. The Guide/Driver must be experienced, pleasant and used to dealing with international travelers. You can find out what other travelers say about the company Guides/Drivers from their TripAdvisor or Google review pages.
Communication: A good tour company will answer to your inquiries as soon as possible. This frequent communication must be sustained even after you make the payment for the trip. Each communication must show knowledge and experience.
Itinerary: A good tour operator will provide an itinerary that is as complete as possible but also flexible. By flexibility we mean the ability to modify it so that it is in line with the activities you are interested in. You the travelers should be the one to make the final decision regarding what activities are included based on the recommendations of the tour operator.