Each year over 4,000 qualified tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists from around the world vote to nominate the best safari camps, lodges, houses, mobile and riding operators, and wildlife organizations for the Safari Awards. A team of 14 judges said to be “the most highly-respected, knowledgeable independent tour operators selling safaris,” then decides who among those nominees are the best in several categories.
The big story this year is Norman Carr Walking Safaris, which took the highest honor- “Best Safari Experience in Africa,” as well as “Best Walking Safari” in the 2015 Safari Awards. “The legacy and the history of the company really stand out,” says Sales and Marketing Director Mindy Roberts. Founded by Norman Carr who pioneered the walking safari 64 years ago, she calls him “a man with a vision way beyond his time.” She especially attributes the award honors to the guides. “Our guiding team from Mfuwe… we think are some of the best in Africa.”
Known as the “original safari company,” Norman Carr started walking safaris more than 60 years ago in the Luangwa Valley, and today their properties include four bush camps, Kapani Lodge a luxury camp along the Luangwa River, four of which are listed on Glamping.com.
Luwi Bush Camp, a Norman Carr Safaris property listed on Glamping.com, is one of several camps included in the Norman Carr Walking Safari that was named “Best Safari Experience” and “Best Walking Safari.”
Kakuli Bush Camp is also one of the winning properties featured on Glamping.com.
Down the Luangwa River from the bush camps is Chinzombo, winner of “Best New Safari Property” and runner up of “Best Safari Cuisine”. It was the original green season base for Norman Carr in the 1970s, now a “super luxurious” camp that “retains its bush feel,” according to Norman Carr Safaris.
“Best Safari Spa/Retreat” goes to Sasaab in Kenya, the spa is known as “Spasaab,” uncommon for being “purpose built into the rocks” and said to have “impressive views and tranquil sounds of birds and the river.”
Kudos to Kenya’s Lewa Safari Camp and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (also known as Lewa Downs) for winning “Best Wildlife Conservancy Organization,” as well as “Personal Contribution Wildlife” award given to Ian Craig, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy & NRT (Northern Rangelands Trust).
A safari experience offered by Ker & Downey Botswana was also an award recipient. The Botswana walking safari “Footsteps Across the Delta” was a winner of “Best Ecologically Responsible” and “Best Family Safari Experience”.
The awards come at a good time for the tourism industry, with overreaching concerns over the spread of Ebola, considering that the award-winning resorts are approximately 5000 miles from the hot zone in Western Africa. That’s literally like being afraid to visit Miami because of an outbreak in Anchorage, Alaska. Congratulations to these and all the winners of the 2015 Safari Awards.