Navigating the Wilderness: Understanding Safari Suppliers and Sun Destinations

Embarking on a safari adventure is a dream for many, but behind the scenes, there’s a crucial player ensuring the seamless orchestration of these experiences – the safari supplier. As a key player in the travel trade, Sun Destinations stands as a pivotal link connecting discerning travellers to the heart of Africa’s wildlife. Mallory Kuyk-Michaels, Account and Human Resources Manager

Sun Destinations is a reservations and marketing company for camps and lodges across Southern Africa’s key safari destinations. These accommodation products make Sun Destinations a leading supplier of well-established lodges within the safari industry.

SD Team Game Drive

Demystifying the Role of a Safari Supplier

A safari supplier isn’t a travel agent or tour operator, yet their roles in the industry are interwined. There’s a symbiotic relationship among all key groups within the industry. Because there is often mass confusion about Sun Destinations’ role in the marketplace, we’re going to unpack this by shedding some light on the topic.

  • Travel agent (seller): A travel agent sells holiday packages that are usually inclusive of flights, accommodation and activities. These carefully curated packages are generally put together by tour operators.
  • Tour operator (creator): A tour operator tailor makes packages for travel agents or direct guests, using products from preferred suppliers. When dealing with direct guests they seek to understand the guests’ budget, personality, travel time, and safari needs. From this launching off point, they match suppliers to create various packages according to guests’ needs.
  • Safari supplier (product supplier): As its name suggests, this is the “supplier” who supplies direct guests and agents (tour operator) with their own products. A safari supplier constantly seeks to build trade relationships with tour operators, and lodge and camp owners. Agents usually get a reduced rate (STO) for a suppliers’ products. A supplier will while marketing themselves

A safari supplier is the linchpin that bridges the gap between travellers seeking a memorable safari experience and the intricacies of the travel industry. Essentially, we act as curators, carefully selecting and managing a portfolio of bush camps and safari lodges to deliver an unparalleled adventure to our clients.

Sunset at Umkumbe

As a safari supplier, what Does Sun Destinations do?

We chatted to Mallory about Sun Destinations’ role as a safari supplier, who elegantly defined the company’s role as the following.

At Sun Destinations, we take pride in serving as the voice of each individual property to the trade. Acting on behalf of these remarkable camps and lodges, our Reservations team is committed to handling direct and trade enquiries with seamless efficiency. This unique approach ensures that every guest experiences direct communication with their chosen camp or property, fostering personal connections and creating a foundation for enduring relationships with our valued trade partners.

Our agents can benefit from the following:

  • Offers a seamless reservations and booking  system
  • Favorable STO rates
  • Quick turnaround time with provisional enquiries and bookings
  • Relationship building with key individuals within the reservations team
  • Hierarchy for when issues arise—easy to escalate problems
  • Emergency after hours contact number
  • Expert knowledge about each of the products
  • Continuous product updates and presentations

Sun Destinations

As a representation company for camps and lodges, what does Sun Destinations offer?

As discussed, Sun Destinations supplies the safari industry with a multitude of camp and lodge options in coveted destinations. When these camps and lodges join our portfolio, we represent them both online and offline, ensuring we are constantly pushing their brand forward while marketing our own brand. Camps and lodges have the option of joining the Sun Destinations “family”, where a marketing plan can be tailored to suit your needs. This can include anything from reservations to social media and digital marketing.

In this collaboration between Sun Destinations, our trade partners, and the individual properties, we see each piece coming together to form a cohesive puzzle. Together, we work harmoniously towards one shared objective: delivering successful and unforgettable experiences for our guests. Our trade partners are integral to this mission, playing a crucial role in shaping the narrative of every safari journey.

Our portfolio manager chats about Sun Destinations

As the Portfolio Manager at Sun Destinations, I’m proud to represent a leading supplier in the safari industry, specialising in two of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations: South Africa’s Greater Kruger and the captivating wilderness of Botswana.

At Sun Destinations, our carefully curated portfolio consists of 17 lodges, each offering an authentic bush experience and supreme safari adventures. Our commitment is to provide you with an authentic safari experience, characterised by intimate, owner-managed lodges that offer unparalleled encounters with Africa’s captivating wildlife. We are the driving force behind trade representation, marketing, and central reservations for these exceptional lodges. Our mission is to connect travellers with Africa’s hidden gems, ensuring unforgettable safari experiences while supporting conservation efforts and local communities.

Whether you’re a traveller seeking an extraordinary safari experience or a partner in the travel industry looking for representation, marketing, and central reservations services, Sun Destinations is your trusted partner.

WTM Sun Destinations