‘Duck egg blue! What in the world is Duck Egg Blue?!’ These were the words I asked, restraining myself, to my then fiancé who was obsessed with a wedding that was ‘just right’. We had just got engaged, we had a year until our wedding day and already she was stressing over the colour. I didn’t get why she was obsessed with ‘Duck egg blue!’ I couldn’t see how anyone was going to walk into the church, look at the drapes and say ‘Oh look that’s Duck Egg Blue’, because there is no difference between normal blue and Duck Egg Blue. Yet she was obsessed with finding this colour and it had to be found way in advance along with a whole range of things which I found pointless and she had to have… But then the day came when she walked down the aisle in the dress that was ‘just right’, to the music that was ‘just right’ in the church building that was ‘just right’. I realised that this was one of the biggest events of our lives and she wanted to make sure that everything would be remembered.
Planning a holiday to Africa can be just like this. For many, this is a holiday they have been dreaming and saving up for years to go on and they want it to be ‘just right’. However, those of you who have gone through the process of planning a wedding will know, you can get so caught up in making sure everything goes to plan, that you end up unable to relax and enjoy the vacation. What most people say when their wedding day is over, is that they wished someone else had planned their wedding, and herein lies the answer to planning a successful holiday in Africa; get someone else trustworthy to do all the planning. Here are some reasons why:
There are so many things you’ve got to remember. When we were planning the wedding, romantic dates turned into ‘wedding meetings’ where we’d run through the list of things still to do. When we got engaged and the planning just began, things felt easy because we’d ticked off all the major boxes. But as the wedding grew closer, we suddenly realised there was a whole lot of things still to take into account. The same thing happens when planning for that big trip to Africa. You start off booking your flights, accommodation and visas, but as you get closer to the day of your leave you suddenly start thinking things like ‘Have I had all the right injections’, ‘Is the car I’m renting going to be able to deal with the roads’, ‘Will I have enough money to last the trip’, ‘Do I have enough insect repellent’, ‘Have I got all the right papers’ and so many other little things that can plague your mind. This may bring heavy, unwanted anxiety as you fly into Africa for your safari, uncertain of what to expect. This is where getting a professional to plan your trip to Africa is important. They have done it so many times before that they know everything that needs to be considered. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read reviews from people who have travelled with the company I work for (Jenman Safaris), thanking us for taking care of everything. It makes the flight into Africa a chance to forget about stress and begin fantasizing over what’s to come.
There’s just too many options. There must be 1000’s of ways you can have a wedding. My fiancée knew this, I didn’t. Do you have red roses? Or white roses? Or do you have any roses at all? Do you have a traditional wedding, or not? Do you say traditional vows or do you write your own? If you’re narrow minded like me, you will say, ‘Let’s have a traditional wedding, with red roses and repeat already written vows’, but if you’re like my fiancée, you will get lost in the world of options. Again it’s like that when you’re planning a trip to Africa, there are so many options and it’s incredibly difficult to know which options to choose. Especially when you’ve never been to Africa! This is why speaking to professionals who know the continent like the back of their hand becomes so helpful. They know the best accommodation to stay at, they know the best routes to take, they know what’s worth seeing and what’s not and they know how to do it in the best way possible.
It’s incredibly time consuming. I did fairly well in maths at school, but there is no way I could add up all the time we meticulously spent browsing through venues, weighing up DJ’s, choosing materials, running through seating arrangements, following up on the guest list, choosing the perfect wedding song and altering the dress for the hundredth time. My wife and I often look back on our wedding preparation wishing we had more time to think about other things, like the marriage to take place after the wedding. When you’re planning for your dream holiday in Africa, you can end up wasting so much time looking through all the different activities, accommodations, various legal aspects and many other things which take up valuable time. When someone experienced takes over your planning, they cut your time spent focusing on your vacation preparation dramatically because they already know most of the things you need to do and choose. In fact, we often have people book our pre-planned, scheduled tours, because it saves even more time, effort and stress.
You struggle to enjoy it completely. At the end of our wedding, we sat back and while we thoroughly enjoyed it, we could have done away with some of the worry. On the wedding day, I can still remember the concerns running through my mind as I stood at the altar. I wondered if all the groomsmen would remember what we asked them, if I’d make a mistake when repeating my vows or if someone would say something uncalled for in a speech. My wife had similar concerns, she worried about whether the car would get her to the venue, whether she’d trip over her dress and the entire night she was on alert to make sure everyone was happy and enjoying themselves. Once you finally arrive in Africa, you can spend so much time worrying about whether things will happen or not, because you planned them in a third world continent that you may not know so well. This means that instead of relaxing, enjoying the wildlife and spectacular views, you’re likely to spend your time worrying about a host of things you don’t want to be worrying about, because it’s your responsibility if things go wrong. Giving the planning over to someone else means it’s not your problem, it’s theirs and if they really know what they’re talking about, they are a far better choice then you if things do go wrong. Relinquishing the responsibility can free you from anxiety and help you truly enjoy your holiday.
As you can see from above, preparing for a vacation in Africa is a lot like preparing for your wedding day and it’s best to get someone else to plan your trip for you. But not just anyone, someone who knows what you want and knows Africa well enough to take away the stressful planning for you. This is one of the reasons why I love working at the company I do. The staff at Jenman really do know Africa inside and out, they love people and the thrill they get from their job is knowing that they’ve given their clients their dream holiday. I know this to be true from the countless times they’ve sat at the lunch table going on about the amazing tours they’ve organised. If you’re thinking of planning your next African holiday, why not contact them, they’d love to help you.
– Gareth Maggs