Contiki is finally offering tours to Africa
IT DIDN’T seem there was anywhere you couldn’t go — even places you’d never heard of — that you couldn’t visit on a Contiki tour.
When it celebrated its 55th birthday last year, the powerhouse tour company was taking 18 to 35-year-olds on trips to 60 countries across six continents, with 300 different itineraries and eight different types of tours.
Contiki tourists have been able to explore remote towns in Iceland, go deep into the Californian desert, circle around southern Sri Lanka, visit ancient cities in Japan, and go trekking in the jungles of Guatemala.
Those Contiki coaches could seemingly go anywhere. But there was a massive piece of the global puzzle missing.
And after hearing all the customer feedback, Contiki said it was finally plugging that gap: it was going to Africa.
Technically, Contiki tours have operated on the African continent, with tours taking in Egypt and Morocco in the north.
But a bunch of just-released tours have unlocked East and South Africa for the first time for Contiki in decades — and it’s the first time a new region has been added to the company’s tours since it first ventured into Latin America in 2010.
Contiki’s head of marketing Vanessa Fletcher told news.com.au there was a strong call from travellers for East and South Africa.
“As travel becomes more accessible, we will continue to push travel boundaries and give our travellers fresh and exciting destinations to visit,” she said.
“Contiki did previously have trips in Africa when it first launched back in the Sixties but most recently has only operated popular trips in Morocco and Egypt.
“With the growing desire of the millennial traveller to explore new places we decided it was time once again to take on new frontiers and adventures with new and improved Africa trips.”
The four new trips take travellers to South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya, and there will be five extension trips to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, visit the beaches of Zanzibar or see the gorillas in Uganda.
They’ll deliver all the quintessential experiences of these regions in Africa: spotting the Big Five at Kruger National Park, witnessing the Great Migration in the Serengeti or Masai Mara, visiting Victoria Falls, river rafting on the Zambezi River, bungee jumping off the bridge linking Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“The Africa trips will have a few key points of difference with small group sizes — approximately 20 passengers — and premium accommodation,” Ms Fletcher said.
“We’ll stay in hotels, safari lodges and luxury safari tents. Guests are guaranteed proper beds and ensuites plus lounges, patios and swimming pools to relax in after a day of adventure.
“Our local guides will get you closer to the wildlife in East Africa in our 4WD, seven-person safari vehicles — fitted with pop-up roofs for 360 degree viewing and large sliding windows so you can really see it all.
“We’ll take you around the famous Kruger National Park in our private, luxury mini buses, plus you can avoid any long schleps by flying straight into the hot spots like Victoria Falls all included in the price of the trip.”
Entry fees to all game reserves were also included in the tour price, Ms Fletcher said.
The tours were also designed to be combined — good news for travellers struggling to choose between them.
Now, Contiki tours cover Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Europe and Great Britain, the United States and Canada and Latin America.
Contiki’s new Africa tours are on sale now.