This trip can be tailor made between Jan - Mar and July - Oct to suit your requirements
Small group vacations
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
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.
Responsible tourism: Kenya vacations, safari and beach vacation
On safari: As well as the community gaining from tourism to these community-owned areas, the wildlife is helped too. These large areas of land adjacent to the parks and reserves form a wider area for the wildlife to roam without persecution, and indeed, without to so many tourists!
Pinewood beach: In terms of the environment, Pinewood help protect Angolan Colobus monkeys in the adjacent forest, try not to sell anything in plastic bottles, harvest rainwater for hotel use, discourage the local sale of seashells, created a Whale Shark Trust to protect these animals and in collaboration with Sea World California support a tagging exercise, only wash towels when requested, and try to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna.
Carbon Offsetting: The tour operator is a multi-award winning responsible travel company, and for each person traveling with them they plant 10 indigenous trees in a degraded area of northern Tanzania.
On safari: Our driver-guides and camp staff are all Kenyans, and our partners on the ground are as committed as we are to responsible tourism. We camp in two Maasai-community-owned conservation areas. These communities receive an income for the use of the land and also an entry fee per visitor, so they are now earning from their own natural resources – the land. In addition, roads in Selenkay were built with local labour, so direct employment is forthcoming from the tourism which comes here. Another form of employment is that local game scouts patrol the areas to protect the wildlife.
Pinewood beach: The hotel strongly believes in and practices support for the local community and local suppliers. For example, locals are employed out of preference, they buy vegetables and fish locally, they have an agreed policy/conduct code for any beach vendors, they arrange for guests to visit the local village, school and clinic. They also back the Kwale Eye clinic. They are currently setting up a trust fund to help local schools too, and are actively working against child labour and sex tourism.