Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.
Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Namibia small group vacation
Accommodation and Meals: For 11 out of 12 nights we stay at a campsite, meaning our environmental impact is relatively minimal compared to using hotels and other fixed accommodation. Most of these campsites also make use of solar panels to power lights and cooling facilities. We are in support of campsites and lodges that employ local people and show an interest in local communities. Although sourcing local produce may be troublesome in a country as arid as Namibia, our chefs try to use nearby suppliers as much as possible. Dinner at camp will usually be a locally sourced BBQ over an open fire.
Conservation: Our local partners make annual donations to the Save the Rhino Trust, who carry out conservation studies, educate young children about endangered species’ and train game guards from local communities to defend Rhinos from poachers. Our entrance fees to National Parks like Etosha, also go towards the maintenance of this incredible environment and the several species of wildlife which make this trip so exciting. These fees also help nearby communities by contributing to the wages of those who are employed there and also supporting initiatives in surrounding villages.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Local Craft and Culture: We visit as many produce and craft markets as possible on this tour as a means of supporting the local community and in some cases celebrating traditional craftsmanship. For instance, on the way to Windhoek, we stop at Okahandja, which is an important centre for woodcarvers from the north. Here we will visit the woodcarvers' market on the side of the road and this is a great place to buy some souvenirs. When we visit the indigenous Ovahimba people, clients have another opportunity to purchase small gifts, jewellery and textiles which have been handmade by village members.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of Namibia small group vacation
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 27 Oct 2016 by Angela Hill
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Seeing the Rhinos. When I was there before only saw 1. This time saw 9!
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Take lots of T shirts and shorts as very dusty and sweaty. Just one fleece required for early mornings.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?