This week at Travel Butlers HQ, we’re cracking open the bubbly to celebrate 10 years in the safari business. Exactly a decade ago, we opened our virtual doors and began creating personal, unique safari holidays for our customers. Now, ten years down the line, we are immensely proud of our company and very thankful indeed to everyone that has supported us along the way, from customers to lodge owners and from agents to our very own staff.
Our landmark anniversary has inspired us to take a nostalgic wander down memory lane and reminisce about how it all began. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, here is the story of a trip that turned our lives upside down – for the better.
Eleven years ago, we set off on a career break adventure that ended up shaping our personal and professional lives. We were all set to travel the world and we spent a good chunk of time in South America, but shortly after arriving in South Africa, we found ourselves completely hooked. Everything about South Africa grabbed us – the culture, the incredible beauty of the landscape, the people, the wine and, above all else, the amazing wildlife. We couldn’t wait to find out what the rest of Southern Africa had in store, and the more we explored, the more in love we fell. Each safari left us hungry for the next one and we soon realised that we had become hopeless Africa addicts.
And then we had our lightbulb moment. Suddenly, we had the idea to build a company that could bring the best wildlife experiences of Southern Africa to the UK market. Once this idea had taken hold, there was no going back. We knew immediately that we wanted to become real experts in our field, so we spent a year travelling throughout Southern Africa on a hunt to discover the perfect locations and safari holidays to offer our customers. We roamed from cosmopolitan Cape Town to Kruger National Park and from the desert plains of Namibia to the rich flora of the Garden Route, all in search of the best wildlife destinations and safari holidays for our prospective customers.
We even trained as safari guides ourselves in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in order to really understand the ways of the African bush and its abundant wildlife. There really is nothing like waking up to the sounds of the bush and spending each night under a sky bright with stars. After a month living in a basic tent, learning to track wildlife and guide game drives every day, we were confident that we had finally earned our safari stripes. As you can probably tell by now, we don’t do things by halves!
We quite simply had the time of our lives and our determination to make Travel Butlers a reality grew day by day. We couldn’t wait to get down to business and start spreading the word about safari holidays in Southern Africa. At first, we specialised in South Africa and Namibia, where we felt that we could offer the most comprehensive advice. We set up the website whilst living in Cape Town and made our first sales from a little apartment in the lovely Camps Bay area. We can both still remember our first customer, who booked a stay along the iconic Garden Route in November 2003, and I’m sure we always will.
So that was it! We had lift off! The past decade has been a wonderful roller-coaster ride, and we’ve seen Travel Butlers go from strength to strength. Over the years, we’ve expanded to sell the whole of Southern Africa as well as Kenya, Tanzania and the Indian Ocean. We’ve continued to explore at every opportunity so that we can advise our customers from our own personal experiences, and we’ve visited the majority of the safari lodges that we feature on our website. This approach has helped us to win several prestigious awards, including the SATOA award for best tour operator in both 2012 and 2013.
Looking back over our journey, we feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved, but we certainly couldn’t have done it alone. We’re so grateful to the wonderful people that have worked with us at Travel Butlers to bring such brilliant safari holidays to our customers. We would like to give special thanks to Natasha, Anneli, Bryony, Susan, Alys, Tracy and Keran for their hard work and support over the years. It’s been a pleasure to work with you all!
And, there’s more! Travel Butlers wouldn’t be possible without you – our customers. So, to celebrate our tenth anniversary, we would like to give something back with a very special offer. Right now, we’re offering you the chance to pay a deposit of only £100 per person to secure your safari holiday to South Africa or Namibia in 2014. The offer is valid for all new bookings confirmed between 12 November and 31 December and the balance will be due 8 weeks before travel, as per our usual terms and conditions.
This £100 deposit per person (or equivalent amount in USD, EUR or ZAR) will secure your safari lodge, hotel bookings, and transfers or hire car in South Africa and Namibia. If you would like to book your flights with us, we’ll need to take payment in full for these at the time of booking. We can accept payment by bank transfer, Mastercard, or Visa, or UK debit card, with no surcharges for card payments.
Our company has grown directly from our love of Southern and East Africa and we know from experience that a safari holiday is something that will stick with you forever. We believe that everyone deserves a Big Five safari at least once in a lifetime, so we’re hoping that this offer will make it easier for you to head off on your own safari holiday.
Thank you all for a brilliant decade. Here’s to the next one!
Paul and Tracey Campbell