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It takes more than one setback to stop Leora Rothschild from doing what she loves. After Rothschild’s previous employer, a safari company, went belly-up in 1998, the native South African saw an opportunity on the horizon. She decided to start her own business — Rothschild Safaris — using the knowledge she had gained from previous work with luxury safari operators.
Personal touch is everything at Rothschild Safaris, due in large part to the extensive knowledge each employee has of Africa. The company always has someone traveling through the continent at any given time, and guides keep up to date with the latest lodges and operators. They then leverage their personal travel experiences to craft the best itineraries for clients.
“From day one, everything we’ve done is based on firsthand experience,” Rothschild said. “While our clients are booking high-end travel in Africa and beyond, we never sell on price alone. For us, it’s all about creating the best possible experiences and crafting custom itineraries that are totally unique for each and every client.”
Making It PersonalRothschild’s own personal experience often goes into the itineraries she plans, especially when it comes to family travel.
“I’ve been on many family safaris with my children to test the waters, and I’ve definitely found that, along the way, some of the lodges that say they’re ‘family friendly’ don’t really care about bringing the children out,” she said. “But there are others that are really engaging and have great family programs. Being able to go and experience the activities has helped us design better trips. I can come back and tell a client that a lodge we’ve booked is no longer a good fit for them. A lodge that used to be great might get bought out by another company — it’s constantly changing. Keeping on top of it is a full-time job.”
Where to Spend, Where to SaveRothschild Safaris is determined to find out how clients can get the most for their money.
“There are some destinations where we feel it’s essential to spend,” Rothschild said. “And then there are some areas where you really don’t have to spend all that much to get the same experience. We understand agents are cost-conscious, and we also know they’re not looking to book the same trip again and again. They’re trying to look through the eyes of their clients.”
Trips of a LifetimeThe safari outfitter is always looking for one-of-a-kind activities to offer. The operator can help clients plan volunteer activities at Masuwe Primary School or Nakavango Conservation Centre in Zimbabwe, for example, or set up a hot lunch on the Ngorongoro Crater floor.
“If we have honeymooners, we can bring them to the little island in Victoria Falls,” Rothschild said. “It’s those little extra things that most companies don’t even offer travelers that are important.”