• Booking your tour

    • Why book with Encounter the Wild?

      We aim to set ourselves apart by offering pioneering wildlife tours at competitive prices. Our small group of friendly and experienced staff ensure that every detail is taken care of, from your initial enquiry to your arrival back home.

      We’re a small company with big connections. By booking with us you get the benefit of our unrivalled travel experience and the local knowledge and support from our exceptional tour guides around the world.

    • How do I make a booking?

      By booking with us, clients benefit from dealing with someone directly who has personally experienced the tour and has an excellent knowledge of the destination and the wildlife. We therefore start all bookings over the phone or by email to be sure that you can ask plenty of questions and be satisfied that the tour is right for you before securing your place.

      Making a booking is fast and simple. Simply select your tour and then contact us at the office to start the booking process.

    • What happens when I have completed my booking?

      Once we have received your completed booking form and deposit, we will send you confirmation of your trip, a bound copy of the Tour Brochure, and a payment receipt. Your Tour Brochure gives you all the information you need on booking flights, packing for your tour, and what to expect from the date of arrival until your journey home.

    • Do you sell flights?

      All our tours are ‘land only’ as we do not sell international flights. However, we do want to make arranging flights as simple and cost-effective as possible and can advise you on flight arrangements and how to get the best prices. We work with a number of ATOL licensed air travel agents who we can put you in contact with. All internal flights are included as part of the tour price and are booked via our local representatives and suppliers.

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  • General

    • What about ATOL and ABTA?

      An ATOL licence is required when selling flight inclusive holidays. We do not sell flights and therefore do not require an ATOL licence. ABTA stands for the Association of British Travel Agents and is an umbrella organisation representing Travel Agents in the UK. Encounter the Wild is not a travel agency.

    • Can I get a tour testimonial or recommendation?

      Yes, many of our clients share testimonials on our website and are happy to offer personal recommendations to new clients. Please contact us if you would like this.

    • How do you offer financial protection?

      We provide 100% financial protection on every booking. The UK Package Travel Regulations 1992 require us to provide security for the monies that you pay us for a tour and for your repatriation in the unlikely event of our insolvency.

      Encounter the Wild comply with the regulations by offering financial failure insurance on every booking made with us. This protects you and your money. Please read our Booking Terms & Conditions for full details and download a copy of our Insurance Policy

    • Can I travel as a single traveller?

      Many of our guests travel as a single traveller and our friendly tour groups are a great place to meet likeminded travellers with a passion for adventure and the outdoors. Should you wish to make a booking on a shared basis, we will make every effort to pair you another same sex guest. Alternatively you may wish to have your own room and in this instance a single supplement will apply.

    • How fit do I need to be?

      This very much depends on the nature of the tour and we are happy to provide you with all the advice and information you need by phone or by email. Your Tour Brochure (available on request or sent to you once a booking is made) details the fitness requirements.

      Several tours include trekking for long distances and at high altitudes, travelling by vehicle and on foot through wilderness areas, and excursions in extreme weather conditions.  We recommend that you speak to one of our expert staff to discuss the fitness requirements of the tour and any concerns you may have. It may also be appropriate to undertake some pre-tour training to enhance your fitness, although we will always advise you if this is the case.

    • Do I need a visa?

      Many of our tours require a visa to be arranged prior to travel. We do not process visas, but can recommend an efficient visa service and assist you with completing the applications. It is your responsibility to ensure that all visas are in place prior to travel.

    • Do I need a passport?

      Yes, you need a passport for all of our tours. Please ensure that you have a passport valid for at least 6 months from your date of travel and adequate space for visas and immigration stamps.

    • Are the countries safe?

      We only operate our tours in regions where we are sure that the political and social environment is safe. We constantly monitor the travel advice from consulates, embassies, the media, and our network of suppliers to keep abreast of any important political changes that affect our destinations. Should our destinations be deemed unsafe, we will either remove the tour from our portfolio or cancel any existing tours to that destination. In the unlikely event that this occurs during your tour, we may have to make changes to the itinerary to safeguard your welfare. We recommend that all our guests refer to the Foreign Office’s website for specific advice on countries and regions: www.fco.gov.uk.

    • Why are there minimum group sizes?

      All of the itineraries included on our website require a minimum number of participants before the tour can operate. This is usually a minimum group size of 4 people. In the very unlikely event that we do not reach this minimum number, we will review the situation and discuss your options with you.

      Having a minimum and maximum small group size allows us to be cost-effective and ensure that your tour experience is personal and intimate. Small group number allow us to get closer to the wildlife and improve our chances of wildlife sightings.

      You must check with us that your chosen tour has reached the minimum passenger numbers required and is guaranteed to run before paying for your air tickets, transport connections, visas or any other item or service related to your tour.

    • When should I book my flight?

      Please also refer to: Why are there minimum group sizes?

      We will contact you 12 weeks before your departure date to review the number of people booked on your tour and discuss your options regarding flight arrangements.

      You must have confirmation that your chosen tour has reached the minimum passenger numbers required and is guaranteed to run before paying for your air tickets, transport connections, visas or any other item or service related to your tour.

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  • Questions about our tours

    • Why do you only have small groups?

      Wildlife viewing is often at its best when the group is small. This allows us to be more responsive to wildlife encounters, offer more space and freedom for guests to take photographs, and generally allows for a more personal experience. We do offer larger group tours, but this tends to be more on request or when travelling to the polar regions.

    • Do I have to be a wildlife expert?

      Not at all! Our guides are the experts and you do not need to have any previous experience of wildlife watching or photography. Many of our guests are new to this type of holiday and have no prior knowledge of the wildlife they will see. That’s often what makes the tour such a memorable experience. All you need is a spirit of adventure!

    • Do you offer tailor-made/bespoke itineraries and are your tour dates flexible?

      Yes. We can arrange bespoke tours all around the world and at various time of year. If you have a specific wildlife tour in mind, would like to experience a different destination, or simply travel on different dates than those advertised on our site, just let us know and we will be happy to help.

    • Do you arrange tours for families?

      We offer several tours that are suitable for families. These tours can be tailored to include learning about the natural and time for the family to relax. For example, our new rare mammals tour in South Africa is perfect for families – an exciting camping adventure in a malaria free zone and plenty of Meerkats! Due to the adventurous nature of our tours, we do sometimes operate a minimum age policy.

    • Who travels with you?

      Our tours are suitable for everyone. From professional photographers to first time travellers, our guests come from a variety of backgrounds and age groups. Typically our guests are aged between 25 and 70.

    • Do you share facilities with other tour groups?

      Depending on the destination, we sometimes share transport and accommodation with other likeminded travellers outside your tour group. However, our tours have been designed and priced to be exclusive wherever possible and include excursions and activities that take you away from the crowds. Local laws and travel restrictions sometimes limit what we can do in this respect.

    • Will I see the wildlife I want to see?

      The ultimate question! Our tours often focus on rare and specialist wildlife and seeing some species can never be guaranteed. Seeing the rare animals in their natural environment requires skill, patience, and sometimes a degree of luck. However, we will take you to the best places to see rare wildlife, at the optimum time of year, and use the best local guides to maximise your chances. We can never guarantee sightings or photography opportunities, but promise to work tirelessly on your behalf to locate what you want to see. All of our tours include a wide variety of animal and bird species and our guests are rarely disappointed with the encounters they experience.

    • How much time will I spend watching wildlife?

      All of our tours have been designed to maximise your time looking for and observing wildlife. This often means considerable time spent in wilderness areas and day and night excursions with your guide. Guests have complete freedom to opt out of wildlife activities at any time during the tour should they wish to have more time to relax.

    • Will I always have a tour guide with me?

      Most of our tours include a local expert who acts as your guide for the duration of tour. Our guides are bilingual, experienced naturalists and know the countries & regions intimately. On some tours you simply don’t need a tour guide with you all day every day and in these instances the staff and guides at the lodges or camps we use operate as your guide or driver. If the tour requires a guide to be with you at all times, we ensure that this is the case.

    • What accommodation do you use?

      We select our accommodation on the basis of location (i.e. proximity to wildlife habitats), their environmental policy, service, and of course comfort. This means that we use a wide variety of accommodation from tented camps on the frozen sea ice to luxury lodges deep in the Masai Mara.

    • What is the food like on tour?

      One of the great things about being on tour is the chance to experience different cuisines, whether it be dinner around a campfire or at a luxury safari lodge. Meals often combine local dishes with western and European style dishes. Regardless of your destination, we aim to provide filling, nutritious, and tasty meals that will not only sustain you during your, but be enjoyable. We make every effort to cater for vegetarians and people with allergies and ask that you advise us of any special requirements on making your booking.

    • What about health and safety on tour?

      The Tour Brochure we send you on confirmation of a booking offers general recommendations on health and staying fit during the tour. However, it is vitally important that you seek expert advice and discuss your specific requirements with a medical practitioner prior to travel. The Travellers health line at MASTA in the UK is a premium health advice service on 0906 8224 100.

      All of our suppliers are contractually obliged to conform to appropriate standards for vehicle maintenance, fire safety, hygiene, and security.

    • Do I need specialist equipment and clothing?

      We always provide a very detailed packing list for our tours. This list has been designed from our personal experience and includes plenty of handy tips and advice on clothing and equipment. Most of the tours do not require anything specialist apart from good walking boots, a waterproof jacket, and a good quality rucksack/day bag. For some specialist tours to regions with extreme climates (polar regions, mountain areas, etc.), we often offer specialist clothing via our local supplier or through a recommended hire service in the UK. This is a simple and cost effective way of obtaining high quality jackets, sleeping bags, boots, etc. for your tour.

      Apart from clothing, we can provide all the advice you need on camera equipment, binoculars, snorkelling and diving equipment, etc. Simply ask us and we’ll ensure you have everything you need to get the most out of your tour and stay safe & comfortable.

    • What will the weather be like?

      This of course depends on your destination. We offer some basic advice on our website, but the Tour Brochure contains everything you need to plan for good and bad weather during the tour. Please read our terms and conditions for further information on how we deal with bad weather and its impact on the tour itinerary.

      If we have not answered your question, please call our office and speak to one of our tour specialists on +44 (0) 20 8432 6464.

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