The World's Best Safari Outfitters in 2016

Deeper Africa
Photo: Olaf Otto Becker

When it comes to high-end safari planners, insider knowledge and impeccable organizing skills are standard. What separates the great outfitters from the very best is the ability to listen to clients and then create a trip that aligns with their personal desires and exceeds their expectations. That’s what lifted Deeper Africa, a small company that specializes in eastern and southern Africa, to the top of this year’s World’s Best list. Wil Smith and Karen Zulauf, the couple behind Deeper Africa, make a point of accommodating each client as they would a personal guest. “Deeper Africa's expert understanding of African safaris, and their willingness to listen and customize our itinerary, allowed us to put together the trip of a lifetime,” wrote one reader. “We could not imagine a more perfect experience.” Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated safari outfitters on their staff and guides, itineraries and destinations, activities, accommodations, food, and overall value. Deeper Africa was a first-time winner — and it wasn’t the only one. Second place went to another debut, Extraordinary Journeys, founded by mother-daughter team Marcia and Elizabeth Gordon. “Extraordinary Journeys planned by far the best travel experience of my life,” one reader proclaimed. “The itinerary was flawless and everything went off without a hitch. We had a minor hiccup in Mozambique, but Extraordinary Journeys had it sorted out within minutes. I was honestly shocked by their responsiveness.” Here’s to more happy surprises.

01 of 10

No. 10: Africa Adventure Company

Africa Adventure Company
Courtesy of Africa Adventure Company

Score: 94.43

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No. 9: Africa Adventure Consultants

Africa Adventure Consultants
Courtesy of Africa Adventure Consultants

Score: 94.88

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No. 8: Thomson Safaris

Thomson Safaris
Courtesy of Thomson Safaris

Score: 96.67

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No. 7: Lion World Travel

Lion World Travel

Score: 97.15

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No. 6: Mango African Safaris

Mango African Safaris
Courtesy of Mango African Safaris

Score: 97.63

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No. 5: Ker & Downey

Ker and Downey
Courtesy of Ker and Downey

Score: 97.64

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No. 4: Rothschild Safaris

Rothschild Safaris
Courtesy of Rothschild Safaris

Score: 97.82

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No. 3: Micato Safaris

Micato Safaris
Courtesy of Micato Safaris

Score: 98.26

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No. 2: Extraordinary Journeys

Extraordinary Journeys
Courtesy of Extraordinary Journeys

Score: 98.62

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No. 1: Deeper Africa

Deeper Africa
Olaf Otto Becker

Score: 99.43

This small outfitter based in Colorado doesn’t try to do it all — geographically, at least. Deeper Africa specializes in just seven countries — Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe — and in providing highly personalized service. “Deeper Africa worked with us to get us the exact experience we were looking for,” said one T+L reader. Plus, it's easy to see Deeper Africa’s commitment to conservation-minded, socially conscious tourism. “It was more than a safari,” another reader said. “I felt connected.”

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