Client Reviews

For over 20 years EXPLORE has operated highly customized safaris for individuals, their families and friends and some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. From the discriminating traveler in search of luxury in pristine wilderness to the serious adventure seeker looking to stretch their boundaries in unexplored territory, all have found their own dream of Africa through EXPLORE.

“A cross between Goldie Hawn and Beryl Markham, she is the go-to gal for the most familiar as well as the most out-there safari.”

Richard Story, editor of Departures magazine

“Explore is top notch! They find the best lodges and the best guides, and create outstanding, highly-educational safaris for the most discerning traveler. They develop the finest hand-crafted safaris of anyone we know in the US.”

Philip Lovejoy, Deputy Executive Director at Harvard Alumni Association

“Bostwana is one of Africa’s great havens for wildlife and needs to be protected. Explore has shown exceptional commitment in educating its travelers and providing support for conservation through its excellent safaris.”

Peter Seligmann, CEO, Conservation International

Recent Client Reviews

PANDEMIC TRAVEL: “The most spectacular trip I have ever taken, which I thought was impossible after the first safari Katie at EXPLORE had planned for me. Africa; not just the animals, but the people, culture, and habitat get under your skin like no other place I have visited. If you are touched by the lives of animals, curious about nature, in wonder of the universe, and energized by loving joyous people, an African safari is the unique alchemy that combines all those beautiful forces that are beyond memorable, leaving a life long imprint on your soul.

I trusted Katie again to guide me to the right places, at the right time of year, to stay in the best camps with the most experienced guides. In this case it was the world heritage site of the Okavango Delta in Botswana that I was keen to see, but also Zimbabwe that I knew nothing about but fell in love with. Visiting Africa is a big commitment in time and money, and EXPLORE has always delivered an absolutely flawless trip in terms of preparation, organization, and experience. With COVID this year, of course I was initially concerned about what that meant to the itinerary. Here again, just as part of all their other organization and planning, every aspect of COVID was completely anticipated and thoroughly dealt with. COVID ultimately had no negative impact on the trip, and may have even been beneficial as the camps and reserves were less crowded. By going during this time, I felt that I was supporting an important industry that is vital to the well being of African wildlife.

Thank you again Katie and EXPLORE for such a wonderful, life changing, but I refuse to be a once in a lifetime trip.”

Stuart Morkun, June 2021

“I would recommend Cherri and her team to anyone. I went with my family of twelve and then took an additional Safari in Kenya. All the camps we stayed in were superb, each in their own way. Our guide, Sam, thought of everything, besides being an adorable company. I was only bitten by a mosquito ONCE! The camps were all unique and beautifully maintained. Transfers were effortless. Can’t say enough about this trip of a lifetime. Flawless!!!”

Delphi Harrington, September 2018

“My husband and I along with another couple had never been to Africa with very little knowledge of the area. This was a dream vacation and we had very high expectations. All were met with lots for fun extra surprises along the way. Several of the lodges surprised us with special birthday wishes, we also felt we were given the best rooms, guides, and trackers at most of the lodges due to Cherri’s special association with each of them. Special thanks to Cherri, Liz, and Elizabeth from Explore for planning our dream trip. We can’t wait to go again! “

Cole Jennings, July 2018

“Oh my gosh…my trip exceeded my expectations on so many levels. Katie listened to what I wanted out of my first safari — elephants, elephants, elephants – and put together an amazing itinerary. Katie and staff answered all of my “first timer” questions with patience and detail. The travel guide I received was complete in every way and left nothing to surprise nor chance. I couldn’t have been happier with my experience with Katie and EXPLORE.”

Melinda Brown, June 2018

“Excellent details on the trip. This was well supplemented by answers to my further questions. I felt confident about departing — alone, by myself.” “

KC Lam, February 2018

“Cherri and her staff provided us with top notch personal care. They arranged seamless transfers and transportation so that we could focus on the wonders of our journey rather than fretting about the details. I love the fact that Cherri and Richard are so involved in improving the community services for local people. Bravo Cherri! I heartily recommend and endorse!”

Claudia Downey, September 2017

“Elizabeth pulled together a trip of a lifetime in record time for us!”

Beth Malloy, July 2017

“We traveled in May, 2017 to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Cape Town South Africa and to the Phinda Private Game Reserve. Cherri and her team arranged all lodging, activities, guides and ground transfers. All were handled expertly and the advice of the team as well as the arrangements were both well communicated before the journey and flawlessly executed. We were delighted with all lodging and arrangements. We will definitely use them again if our plans call for Southern Africa!”

Jon Senkowsky, May 2017

“This is the 2nd time we have worked with Elizabeth at EXPLORE, and as with our 1st trip,she handled everything perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Elizabeth exceeds expectations and is a pleasure to work with. I’m hoping we have another opportunity to work with her again.”

Carey Johnson, February 2017

“The itinerary was about as perfect perfect as we could hope for, and as we told our agent, it was the Mercedes of Safari’s. The quality of our guides were exceptional, and the same can be said for our accommodations.”

David & Judith Hess, August 2016

“All arrangements as requested and executed flawlessly. Amazing experience! A trip of a lifetime! Katie gave us outstanding support from initial contact, during planning phase, and while traveling. Perfection!”

Joe & Linda Rothman, July 2016

“The itinerary was well put together with excellent lodging facilities, easy and assisted transfers, good food, excellent activities, and superb service from all parties involved. We had no issues, hick-ups, or problems with the schedule that was assembled. It was fantastic. Elizabeth was knowledgeable, knew how to put together a seamless itinerary, was very responsive to our questions/comments, and arranged for all the activities we desired. The result was an awesome trip.”

Ron Orlosky, August 2018

“I am very happy with how Ryan and Katie planned and executed our trip! It was beyond expectations. I would recommend them to everyone I know! They listened to every request my HUGE family had and made them all come true. They even helped us when flights got canceled and made it possible that everyone saw Victoria Falls when we thought that might not be possible. Thank you so much Explore!”

Samantha Testa, July 2018

“The trip exceeded our expectations. We liked the closeness with the animals, the experts explanations, the uniqueness of the camps and of course those African landscapes and sunsets!”

Flaminia Ravalli, June 2018

“This was a trip we had dreamed about for years. I can honestly say that it was more than we imagined. Everything was so much more magical than we thought it would be. Nothing disappointed us in any way.”

Susan & Nick Vandemoer, May 2018

“Katie on Cherri’s staff planned our trip in Oct. 2017 to Madagascar and was really great to work with! We spent a lot of time talking on the phone and corresponding back and forth via email, in the beginning, to really get a feel for what we wanted to do. The discussions continued during the planning stages as well. This is all very important to me because I really want them to know what I want. Failure at this stage leads to the most disappointment for me by a long shot. None the less, she was very in tune our wants. The paperwork sent to us before the trip was helpful and complete. The execution of the trip was also nearly flawless, which is saying a lot in a place like Madagascar! Our guides were excellent which is another exceptionally important part of a trip for me. To sum it up- we had a wonderful trip and we would definitely work with Cherri and Katie again! “

Amy Evers, November 2017

“My husband and I took our kids on an African safari in 4/2017. We used Cherri Briggs and her team. I was blown away by the experience from start to finish. Cherri and Katie have deep knowledge of the continent really; they know exactly where to go and when (critical when talking about safaris which can be impacted greatly by seasons) and planned the exact perfect trip based on our unique interests and tastes. They crafted and recrafted the experience, based on multiple conversations gathering input from me and my responses to their (incredible) insights. The final trip was nothing short of extraordinary: a week and a half at two camps in Botswana, a few days at Victoria Falls and a final stay at a camp in Zimbabwe. Magical experience! I’d recommend them again and again!”

Melissa Brecher, April 2017

“Katie at EXPLORE put this trip together in 2 weeks. I have traveled with other similar Travel Specialists, and this was the most organized of all providing the most resources. This was an amazing trip where every day was a revelation, poignant and beautiful….and then the next day was even better! “

Stuart Morkun, March 2017

“What differentiates Cherri Briggs and EXPLORE from the competition is sheer competence, passion, deep knowledge of the area, excellent relationships with the major providers and the ability to understand what the client wants. Cherri spends over 6 months a year in Africa, and is current on developments and has incredibly accurate information of the lodges and the environment and tries to understand what the customer wants. She is right on point with recommendations and understands where the game is, whether you can go off-road to get close up, and what will excite and thrill the customer. She is extremely prompt, always available, values questions and engagement and does not try to fit the client into one pre-planned package like the major agencies but rather specially tailors and customizes the trip for each client. Her planning is meticulous and flawless, and she has a superb office led by Elizabeth Rand who is an organizational master. Cherri knows the people who the run the camps and can get immediate answers that are accurate and correct. Her office is precise and the arrangements have been extraordinary. “

Nick Kourides, September 2016

“Cherri Briggs has been working with First Peoples Worldwide for well over a decade and contributed her time to helping indigenous people plan how to effectively utilize their natural resources through tourism as a means of development, without compromising their cultural values. Cherri has helped us in Alaska with the Inuit Nation and introduced us to Aboriginal Australia and the San people of the Kalahari in Botswana. Her respect and commitment to indigenous people is admirable and something rarely seen in tourism. You can be sure that if you travel with EXPLORE due respect and adequate contribution is being made to local people.”

Rebecca Adamson, First Peoples Worldwide

“Explore’s guides are among the best in Africa! Explore has never disappointed us in our innumerable trips throughout the continent over the years. Their guide’s specialties, from birds to reptiles, archaeology to photography, culture to the big mammals, makes for an incomparable experience. Our trips have featured meetings with world-renowned researchers and conservation experts. Explore goes well beyond what your normal tour operator would because of its passion and commitment to Africa.”

Dr. Mabel L. Perkerson, Chapter President, Explorer’s Club, St. Louis

“Amazing trip! We’ve traveled on many luxury vacations and this was by far THE BEST! The itinerary was fantastic and I’ve already recommended Explore to 5 people. Absolutely BEST IN CLASS!”

Justin Chang & Michelle Chan, July 2016

“We arrived back from what can only be described as a once in a lifetime experience. The trip was absolutely INCREDIBLE! I still can’t believe how amazing it was. My wife and son are still in high spirits. EXPLORE really thought of everything for us and you were fantastic to deal with, down to all the small details and the package of shirts and notebooks etc! Thank you so much for making this very special journey so memorable for us. It certainly will stay with us.”

Eric Ripert, Chef & Co-owner of Le Bernardin restaurant, April 2015

“Katie at EXPLORE has been amazing from our very first inquiry in October 2014 about imagining a trip to Madagascar in fall 2015. She walked us through several scenarios and even secured an invitation to visit the Lemur Conservancy in Florida to acquaint us with those surprising creatures. We felt personally guided all along the way. Katie designed the itinerary to perfectly fit our needs and interests and built in a wonderful array of luxurious delights. We never arrived in an airport without being met and handled like true VIPs. We also appreciated the personal welcome in all the South African hotels with notes, wine, and special treats. EXPLORE’s attention to detail is breathtaking.”

Mary Trudel (September 28, 2015)

“Elizabeth is always remarkably patient, enthusiastic, competent, and responsive. We couldn’t ask for someone more professional, personal, knowledgeable and fun to work with. We are so fortunate-and I don’t take the experience for granted. We make almost annual trips to view amazing wildlife, and with regular assistance from EXPLORE, it has become part of the regular rhythm of our lives.”

Madeleine D (September 9, 2015)

“We have run out of superlatives! We’re not sure what our expectations were but EXPLORE greatly exceeded them with their incredible itinerary planning, attention to detail and understanding in what we were looking for in our first trip to Africa. The safari portion was so unique from any other travel we have experienced that words do escape us.”

Sam Chapin (May 26, 2015)

“As a travel planning control freak, I am so grateful I did not try this myself–the resulting trip would have been a mere shadow of the one planned for us by EXPLORE. Thank you and we no longer talk of African travel in terms of one time only. I can see doing it again in the future. I’m sure EXPLORE would offer alternative, equally wonderful camp destinations, but right now our temptation would be to return to the same ones since they were so perfect.”

Bill & Marie Noland (May 20, 2015)

“Super well organized, great rapport with travel organizers, excellent service and communication, couldn’t have been better! Highly recommend to anyone seeking a high-end experience yet authentic and relaxing and definitely not pretentious. “

Joy Rasmussen (February 11, 2015)

“We could not have put together a better itinerary to introduce us to Africa and safari. There really are not sufficient words to describe the trip itself. We were met with graciousness and beauty at each step along the way, both in the people and the land itself. Our accommodations were beyond our expectations in every way, and our travel legs went off without a hitch. Katie’s help in setting up the trip was excellent. We went in not knowing a thing about Africa, where we wanted to go or really what we wanted to do. She took what little input we could give and set up a trip that we could then start to consider and play around with. She informed each of our hotels/lodges that we had planned this trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Each hotel and lodge did something very special for us to celebrate – a bottle of wine, special desserts, rose petals, and the like. This was definitely over and above and made us feel very special-and reminded us in each place of why we were there. Thank you for that.”

Beth & Frank Southers (October 16, 2014)

“We had a great time and our visit to the school, clinic and fish farm enriched our understanding of life in Zambia in a way that no safari experience could. The time we spent with Richard at Kanyemba and Chiawa was fascinating and very meaningful for us. Richard and Cherri’s work there is impressive. Thank you Katie, you are a great pleasure to work with-excellent communication, very professional, just tops! We did not know what to expect but we were thrilled by our experience-way beyond what we might have imagined. This was probably our swan song in BIG TRIPS. We will be delighted to refer anyone who plans a trip to Africa to you! “

Catherine Smith (October 7, 2014)

“The trip was extraordinary, to the point of being surreal. We got home and said “did we really just see all of that?” It was beyond our expectations, and we had HIGH expectations. Everything was well coordinated-all went smoothly.”

Patricia Campbell (September 12, 2014)

“We were totally pleased. Working with Elizabeth was a joy and she arranged a very special itinerary. Every suggestion she made as to countries to camps and activities was spot on. She is incredibly responsive to questions and requests. When we return to Africa, as we hope to do, we would not consider using anybody else. Not a single hitch. Complete professionalism. We would not change one thing!”

Cort Frohlich (September 10, 2014)

“To safari in Africa has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. This trip exceeded my expectations! My mouth stayed open and my eyes wide in awe at every experience-the beauty of the people, the animals, the food, the places…Elizabeth left nothing to chance-every detail spelled out for us from timelines to packing. Timely response to all our questions and talked with us as a friend. Thank you for our dream-of-a-lifetime vacation!!!”

Susie Mills (September 8, 2014)

“Everything we hoped for-order of itinerary, camps and staff, internal transfers & charters and of course great gave viewing in Okavango Delta and Sabi Sands. EXPLORE gave us the most important thing: a fantastic trip within our budget with peace of mind traveling alone through Africa from start to finish.”

Julie Kaplan (August 31, 2014)

“The trip was incredible! Katie helped me put together an itinerary within our budget that gave us so much variety and opportunities. This definitely was a trip of a lifetime. Loved all the animals we saw-we were very lucky! Thank you for giving us such a wonderful experience we will never forget!!”

Sharla Washburn (August 27, 2014)

“Grace and I had a wonderful time in Madagascar. Very well organized trip. To go that far and to such an unknown country, we needed experienced and professional guidance. All provided! Excellent communication and nudging when needed. EXPLORE has certainly found the best places and guides. Thank you very much for such an exciting trip!”

Gary Christensen (August 23, 2014)

“Our itinerary fulfilled all our hopes and expectations. We especially appreciated recommendations on areas we hadn’t considered and how to best maximize our travel time. We felt very well prepared. Logistics were flawless. Katie was a joy to work with and very responsive.”

Allison Feeney (August 16, 2014)

“Many vacations may leave us feeling refreshed and relaxed. However, only a very few, like our recent trip to Costa Rica, manage to inspire, rejuvenate, and transform us long after having returned home. For two weeks we traveled to exciting and varied destinations, guided by one of the most talented guides we have ever met. The wonderful itinerary, created by Explore, was diverse and provided us with many opportunities to admire this beautiful country full of life and nature. The Accommodations were wonderful and the food delicious. Assured and supported by Jonathan, we felt the invigorating effects of Costa Rica, and at the age of 65, engaged in many adventurous activities such as zip lining, ocean kayaking and snorkeling, and volcano climbing. Most amazingly, we discovered and thoroughly enjoyed horseback riding on several occasions, making our way up the mountains to remote waterfalls, and through cattle herds on a working ranch. We were often humbled by the country’s incredible commitment to conservation and sustainability and have altered our environmental practices upon our return home. This trip was certainly reflective of the county’s favorite saying “pura vida”- pure life. Thank you Explore, and thank you Jonathan for an unforgettable trip. We will see you next year!”

Thomas & Daniela Morse (March 9, 2014)

“In hindsight, we chose the right person at EXPLORE (Katie), the right tour operator (EXPLORE), the right itinerary and the right camps!”

Gary Christensen (January 28, 2014)

“Elizabeth, thank you for making our first safari so perfect! It was incredible from start to finish. We were met, greeted, guided and indulged throughout our trip. Everything went so smoothly-no stress traveling at its best.”

Amy Pearl (January 7, 2014)

“The trip was amazing, exceeded every expectation. The itinerary was perfect-a great mix of experiences. Elizabeth, thank you for all your hard work! Thank you to the EXPLORE team that worked behind the scenes to make our trip a dream come true!”

Sarah Spindler (November 10, 2013)

“We attempted to plan a month-long, highly complicated African trip with a larger, well known African travel company. Their apathy and impersonal service led us to look for other operators. Thankfully, we found Cherri Briggs and Katie McDonough at Explore through the CNT specialist listing. Our trip was nearly 5 weeks covering 4 countries (Rwanda, Zambia, Botswana, & South Africa). We didn’t want a “run of the mill” package trip like most people were offering us- we wanted something creative and unique. From the very start, Katie listened to us and talked us through the options. What we got was a trip of a lifetime. 10 out of 10. During the trip, we kept expecting something to go wrong, and joking that “Katie is still batting 1000”. There is nothing Explore could have done to improve. It was outstanding in all ways. And the service and attention we received from Explore far exceeded the norm- Katie was professional, personal, and efficient. We just gave her a standing invitation to come visit us so that we can take her out for dinner as a thank you. The trip was that good. Not a day goes by that we don’t discuss our trip of a lifetime. “

Bob & Cora McDonald (October 18, 2013)

“On a recent trip to Southern Africa, a simple baseball cap invited a unique opportunity to connect with the people of Zambia and Botswana. The EXPLORE cap I wore everywhere prompted many conversations about the organization and founder, Cherri Briggs. I quickly realized that Cherri Briggs is admired and loved throughout Zambia. I was regaled with innumerable stories of the wonderful things Cherri and her husband, Richard, had done for the local communities throughout Zambia. I heard that Cherri had helped local women start a chicken business, tailoring business, protected farms and much, much more. Inevitably, these discussions became a catalyst for much more personal discussions and friendships. Charles at Sausage Tree Camp requested I tell Cherri he asked about her and to send his regards. Our guides at Baines River Camp, Moses and Leonard, were excited to take us by boat past Cherri and Richard’s beautiful property on the Zambezi River. Prince and Charles, also at Sausage Tree Camp, even offered to help us acquire property, I think because they feel so strongly about Cherri.

My EXPLORE cap was also recognized in Botswana, where again people inquired about Cherri. Doug and Sandy at Walk with the Elephants were excited EXPLORE referred us, as they were happy Cherri’s company had recognized their amazing work. I understand Cherri was also invited by exclusive safari operator ‘andBeyond’ to represent the U.S. safari industries at the top secret release of six white rhino into Botswana’s Okavango Delta. What EXPLORE and Cherri Briggs has accomplished in Southern Africa is truly astonishing. On this, my fourth African safari with my family, a simple cap bearing the logo of a revered woman and her organization left me with a new found appreciation for choosing a travel specialist that can both plan the adventure of a lifetime AND change the world. If there is ever an opportunity for us to help those in Africa, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We have come to love Africa and want to do our part to give to those who have found a special place in our hearts”.

Susan Harvey (September 3, 2013)

“Thanks to the expertise and detailed planning of Cherri Briggs, Katie McDonough and their EXPLORE team, our trip was magical…and unforgettable. They helped me choose a perfect “first trip” itinerary—Capetown, Botswana and Zimbabwe. All of the arrangements went flawlessly. The accommodations were luxurious. The gourmet cuisine was decadently delicious. The guides, trackers and camp hosts were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, entertaining…and attended to every detail to ensure a memorable, jaw dropping experience. I am already planning my next trip with EXPLORE. I highly recommend this extraordinary travel company to anyone looking for a remarkable adventure in Africa.”

Sheri Steiner (June 1, 2013)

“Morocco was truly a trip of a lifetime for Ed and I and a perfect 25th anniversary trip! The special surprise on my birthday from Elizabeth at EXPLORE was so appreciated!”

Cheri Trousil (May 1, 2013)

“The progression of camps on our trip was excellent, guides were wonderful, and no decisions had to be made as everything was taken care of. Elizabeth is a great communicator with clear and timely information.”

Chris Quartin (April 28, 2013)

“The trip of a lifetime – we’ll never forget the encounters with the animals and people. We had little idea how wonderful the safari game rides would be. On the morning game rides, I felt there was no where nor nothing else I would rather be doing.

Excellent presentation of itinerary and very detailed. Our expectations were exceeded.

Carole Petersen (April 25, 2013)

“Katie really exceeded our expectations and planned an exceptional trip. She was very nice, knowledgeable and experienced in our destination. Katie’s extreme attention to detail produced an absolutely flawless trip. We enjoyed all the accommodations and tours.”

Farah Gopalani (April 9, 2013)

“Katie McDonough of EXPLORE, Inc. planned a wonderful itinerary for us. We had a great time, with superb accommodations, great food and service. We loved seeing all the animals and birds in their natural setting and learned a lot about them and Zimbabwe in general. Katie did a fantastic job in customizing this trip to fit our schedule and needs. I would have stayed longer in Africa if we’d had more time. There is so much to see and learn there, it was our first trip there and we loved it. “

Betty L. Barker (March 14, 2013)

“We are back from South Africa and wanted to thank you for a trip of a lifetime. We are seasoned travelers, with 35+ international trips across six of our seven continents in the last 15 years, but our time in South Africa will be remembered as a favorite.

We went to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and had flower pedals decorating most of our dinner tables, baths drawn, dinner on our Exeter River lodge deck by candle light and the most amazing actual anniversary. As I told Elizabeth earlier, our 25th anniversary started with a beautiful high desert hike to 10,000 year old cave paintings with Seppie explaining it all as we spotted wildlife. Then off to a gourmet breakfast, couples massage the most amazing surprise picnic the Bushman’s Kloof staff set up for us – canoeing to a cove along the water to find blankets and pillows, an ice bucket of cold water and beer, chicken, quiche, baked brie, veggies, fruit, sandwiches… It will continue to be, our most memorable picnic. We moved on to relaxing in the honeymoon suite next to our private infinity pool, high tea under the massive figs trees and a game drive with sundowners. To top the day off, we returned from dinner to find the staff had decorated our suite with flower pedals, candles and champagne.

Elizabeth, you did an outstanding job in crafting an itinerary that perfectly met our interests. We just wish we’d had more time. And the Explore trip materials were so professional prepared and answered every question along our route. Elizabeth also saved the day by jumping in to adjust our itinerary when I discovered I had communicated the wrong flight arrival time and again when Lufthansa delayed us overnight in Munich. It was so comforting to know she was alerting our airport transfer, hotel and guides of the time change.”

Nancy Blake (February 11, 2013)

“Every “i” dotted and “t” crossed. We did not have to think about a thing it was all taken care of by Elizabeth! Our pre-documents were so well organized if we ever had a question it was answered in our “bible”! It was a spectacular trip I can’t say enough positive things about it! This was our 4th trip to Africa and I don’t understand why it took so long for us to make it to Tanzania! I’ll recommend EXPLORE to anyone wishing to travel to Africa!”

Brenda Ward (February 7, 2013)

“Our trip was perfect from beginning to end! The final itinerary booklet was complete in each detail and every part of the trip ran as smoothly as clockwork. We were very well taken care of. Each tent camp was different and yet staff at each was excellent and anxious to please. The amount of wildlife and variety filled all our senses. Thank you again Elizabeth for all your help and wonderful planning.”

Monica Reed (January 31, 2013)

“Everything about the trip was fantastic-the camps, food, guides, hospitality, game runs. You could not have provided better planning.”

Kathleen Jordan (December 26, 2012)

“As a person who worked in the travel business for 30 years, I commend your company.”

Beverly Sands (December 23, 2012)

“Can’t say enough-excellent trip/adventure. Itinerary was perfect. EXPLORE goes above and beyond. The organization of our itinerary, the timeliness of our paperwork, the attention to detail and above all-the personal yet professional touch!”

Sheila Haddad (November 21, 2012)

“The trip was amazing. Elizabeth did such a phenomenal job with the itinerary and the accommodations. Each place was better than the next. I usually love to plan my own trips (part of the adventure) but in this case, there was just too much to figure out. Other travel sites would not even consider our budget and the trip Elizabeth planned within our budget was beyond my expectations. Thank you Elizabeth for planning such a special trip. The safaris were thrilling-to be that close to the animals in their environment is something I will never forget. The people we met along the way just added to the richness of the experience.”

Jennifer Riffle (November 15, 2012)

“We would like to thank Explore Africa, and Katie specifically, for their service in creating and coordinating our initial safari to Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Starting with the planning process and ending with our last night in Cape Town, everything went as planned with no surprises. The service that Explore provided allowed us to focus on our safari experiences and not on travel coordination. Explore’s recommendations for camps and experiences was great. The camps met and exceeded our expectations and our guides provided insight into the region and the related aspects of the individual ecosystems. Having traveled throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific (Australia & New Zealand) this trip ranks as one our best. As a result of our experience, we fell in love with Africa and are planning our return. Thanks for a great experience.”

Ted & Marilyn Schirmacher (Sept 28, 2012)

“There are no words to describe how magnificent our trip was thanks to your great effort on our behalf. The hotels were beyond anything we have ever experienced and we have been to many great places. Every person on our schedule met us on time AND everyone was totally delightful. We are deeply indebted to you for all your efforts in making this a trip of a lifetime. Please feel free to use us as a reference in any future trips for others. “

Stan and Jeanne Cohen (Sept 28, 2012)

“Bill, Pat, Jeane and I had the trip of our lives. Your attention to detail was prevalent throughout. All of our drivers were punctual, polite and knowledgeable. The camps were awesome! You sequenced them perfectly.”

Sharman Rowe (Sept 9, 2012)

“We are back safe and sound from Africa and had a phenomenal time! Your choice of camps and the order in which we visited them could not have been any better. We kept saying to each other — it can’t get any better than this — and then it would. Wow – you outdid yourself and we are certainly glad you did!

Thank you for helping design the trip of a lifetime for us. We’re not sure if it was your doing or the luck of the draw, but we had absolutely the best room location at every camp. We felt very special and spoiled!”

Nancy & Kent Stow (August 12, 2012)

“After attempting to cobble together a trip on my own and getting nowhere after 3 months, I contacted EXPLORE for help in mid-April. We had a specific two week window for three of us to meet up and travel(my husband was on business in South Africa, my daughter was in the Peace Corps in Mozambique, and I was in North Carolina). The rescue itinerary was a fabulous trip that ran without a glitch.

ALL arrangements were made including shuttles, escorts for border crossings and airline transfers, and coordination of airline tickets. A timely information packet for trip preparations, (immunizations, packing needs, cash needs etc) was spot on. We received a keepsake spiral bound day-by-day itinerary and travel details including tipping guidelines,departure fees, currency needs,and visa fees, which proved invaluable. We also loved and used our EXPLORE cap and shirt. Our visits to the Bushcamps in Zambia, Victoria Falls, Idube at Sabi Sands in SA were a perfectly balanced experience for our first safari vacation. The food was fabulous and the sites were beautiful. Staff and guides were extremely knowledgeable,accommodating, and respectful of the wildlife. We had a unique experience each day and travel between destinations was scheduled so no day was wasted with “travel only” making the most of our time together. Our photographs are amazing! “

Linda, Rick, and Eden Steele (August 10, 2012)

“As always, EXPLORE contributed exceptional clarity and responsiveness in communication, careful planning, knowledgeable suggestions and enthusiasm.”

Madeleine Cohen (July 12, 2012)

“The trip was absolutely amazing! Thanks for going all out to us into Kaingo, Nkwali, Chiawa, and Old Mondoro. Between the natural world, the amazing camps and other guests, it was an extraordinary introduction to Africa. Talking with other guests, we realized how fortunate we were to have secured reservations at such superb camps so last minute ~ all thanks to you!”

Renee Whitehead (July 6, 2012)

“My experience working with Cherri can best be described in two adjectives: delightful, extremely rewarding. My husband and I continue to be impressed with her responsiveness, creativity, and willingness to listen to us as we have described our travel preferences and goals for our trips. Cherri and her team have put together six trips to Africa for us over the past 6 years, each lasting 4-6 weeks, and each unfolding without a glitch and offering the types of experiences we requested. Her interest in us as individuals, willingness to listen to us and offer various activities tailored to our interests, as well as her expertise in all the aspects of travel within Africa have been the foundation of each of our unique trips.

The pre-trip planning process for each trip has been extensive and enjoyable for me. Once we decide on a time-frame for an upcoming trip to Africa, I notify Cherri and provide her with as much information as possible concerning the destinations and experiences we have in mind. What follows is a lot of discussion back and forth as we get into the particulars of the different locations, camps, available activities, etc. As Cherri has gotten to know us better and has become more aware of our individual interests, she routinely suggests areas and/or activities that she thinks might interest us.

I know for a fact that Cherri is aware of our status in real time at each camp we visit, constantly keeping track of how things are faring for us on our trips. She and her team are at all time accessible to us. I can recall only one occasion in all our EXPLORE-planned trips when I have contacted her Director of Operations, Elizabeth Rand, in this particular instance regarding the timing of a private charter flight from an island in the Indian Ocean; Elizabeth promptly answered my call and provided the requested information.

In my opinion, Cherri’s strengths include her extensive and thorough knowledge of the African continent and environment, impressive organization skills, communication with her clients, her follow-up, professionalism, creativity in designing custom trips tailored to the client’s interests and goals, and her hands-on involvement in each trip arranged through her company.

I’ve thought for some time, trying to come up with a liability that I could offer to suggest improvement, but I honestly can’t come up with one; Cherri’s one of a kind, has the luxury of functioning within a small company which affords her the ability to offer the unsurpassed personal interest, involvement, and service she extends to all of her clients.

Before our first contact with Cherri, my husband and I had traveled extensively throughout Europe and the western world, but we had never ventured into an exotic location such as Africa. Then, six years ago when we began thinking about taking our first trip to Africa, we crossed referenced out of several travel periodicals and found Cherri’s name was consistently at the top of each list we reviewed. For travel to a location such as Africa, with all the unknowns of culture, travel logistics, health considerations, etc, we wanted expert guidance. As it happened, at the time of the beginning of our search we were at our ranch outside of Steamboat Springs, CO, noticed that the EXPLORE office was located there, so we decided to start our investigation of Africa tour operators with Cherri’s company. Fortunately, the timing of our visit to the office coincided with Cherri’s annual summer visit to her home there – and the rest is history. Although we had planned to interview several tour operators before deciding on one for this very special trip for us, we left the EXPLORE office that day, so impressed with Cherri’s knowledge, genuine interest in us and our travel experience, and the reception we received from her staff, we both agreed that our search was over – we had found the person/company for us.”

Barbara Hollweg (July 6, 2012)

“When we first traveled to Africa, we said it was going to be a once in a lifetime trip but then we fell in love with the continent, the people and the wildlife and we are now in the process of planning our third trip. We originally chose EXPLORE to plan our trip because of their reputation but soon found that that reputation was well deserved. Each trip was custom planned to celebrate our unique interests and to respect our budget. We honestly felt as if a friend was planning our trip. They took time to listen and made suggestions and continued to rework the itinerary until the time of the year, countries, camps, guides and cultural experiences were complete. We are anxiously looking forward to our third adventure with EXPLORE.”

Susan & John Peter (June 12, 2012)

“It was with trepidation that I signed up for a major trip to Africa. I had always planned my international travel myself, and here I was relying on someone else to make all of the decisions and arrangements. Up until our very first safari outing I continued to be concerned, and then I was blown away in amazement! With the animals so very close, I was scared, but also confident that I these were experienced professionals. I silently repeated to myself, Thank you Cherri, Thank you Cherri. No matter what the rest of the trip would be, this first evening was all worth it.

I knew I wanted a safari, but I didn’t know where to begin, I was out of my element. The EXPLORE Africa team interviewed me very carefully to determine exactly what would suit us. They advised us on the time of year, all of our options, and what to expect. I had been considering travel in May, but EXPLORE told us of the recent climate changes, and that September should be considered. Our focus was photographing animals. The EXPLORE staff advised us when it was worth our while to hire our own vehicle and guide.

We started in Zambia, then to Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls, and finished in Botswana. Another considerate detail – we could have seen Victoria Falls from the Zambia side, but in September there was much more water to be seen from Zimbabwe. This again was insight from EXPLORE Africa.

Even after the first camp visit, I was wary of transportation arrangements and connections. Again, after the first land and air transfer, we understood that all details had been covered. Every transfer was seamless. Initially this was our one trip to Africa, and now we’re already considering visiting again.

After photographing these animals in Africa, we were determined to go to the Galapagos. Here again, I was out of my element – we have never been tempted by cruises. Even though it’s not Africa, Explore has a staff member – Katie McDonough – with extensive South American experience. She asked me numerous questions to determine just what we wanted, and then directed us to just the right cruise for April 2012. Another great trip!”

Lorraine Spector (May 18, 2012)

“We had a wonderful honeymoon in Southern Africa which was brilliantly put together by Cherri and her team. Quite a daunting task to do the garden route in South Africa, Capetown and Winelands, safaris in Botswana, Victoria Falls and Mozambique all in one go but the whole trip was flawless and incredible! Every hotel we got to the managers welcomed us and arranged the best rooms with the best views, every restaurant reservation had the best tables (we were delighted by the Test Kitchen) and the safari experience was unbelievable. Savuti and Kings Pool were the awesome with great game viewing, and Jao quite an experience. Cherri really nailed the order and choice of camps, fantastic experience. Mozambique was also incredible in Azurra and we even met the president of Mozambique, what a trip. Cherri I can’t thank you enough for organizing this all for us, doing it all over skype and email from Brazil got me worried a bit but once we we got there we knew we had made the right choice in choosing you to plan our honeymoon. Fantastic!!!! thank you very much!”

Marcelo Orberg (May 15, 2012)

“I returned home Thursday night from our amazing travels through Morocco! My insistence and EXPLORE’s efforts to enlist Mohammed as a guide were fully rewarded. He really is a gem. We connected with him in a very special way. While we’re certain he makes a good connection with most of his clients, I do believe something special happened in our case.

Anyway, the trip was great. Hotel accommodations were near flawless. We esp. adored La Maison Arabe, Riad Myra and Villa Mandarine. All first-class choices. Travel was easy and convenient in a 2011 Mercedes van with a very able driver, who got us through a rough spot in the Atlas Mts during a full-out hailstorm.

Of course, the country with its diverse topography and rich culture, blending Berber, Arab, French and Moslem influences, is exceptional. We learned an incredible amount about the people, their history, politics, art, food and ways of life that gave the trip context and heft.

I appreciate EXPLORE’s responsiveness to our concerns, its patient professionalism and willingness to be flexible with us in a variety of instances in the design of the itinerary, etc., and I would be happy to recommend its services to friends and family.”

Kenneth Kirshbaum, PhD (May 2, 2012)

“Elizabeth did an impeccable job of making sure all the details were completed and we had quality accommodations and services without breaking the bank-despite my frequent changes!”

Mary Townsend (April 15, 2012)

“EXPLORE did a magnificent job on all aspects of my trip “The Heart of Southern Africa” in September 2011. This was the 8th trip to Africa I have done with Cherri Briggs, EXPLORE’s owner. This time I invited 10 of my closest friends on the safari and they all absolutely loved it. It wasn’t easy either as each and every one of them made their own deviations to their itinerary, so the EXPLORE staff had their hands full, but there was not a glitch from start to finish! From our arrival in Johannesburg to our departure from Lusaka everything was perfect. Our tented camp in the Okavango was outstanding, a two day cruise on the Chobe River on the Zambezi Queen a treat, the Victoria Falls Hotel beautifully refurbished, and then the Royal Zambezi River Lodge was a fantastic end to a great trip. We all loved visiting the projects EXPLORE created in the community areas for young women and local farmers, which I am sure encourage local support for conservation efforts. I think the Lower Zambezi is one of the most spectacular places in the world…… have sundowners on a boat in the middle of the river watching elephants on the islands is an experience never to be forgotten. It was a perfect EXPLORE trip and I am ready to go again, this time to Kenya!”

Singer Rankin (February 27, 2012)

“I had an amazing trip! I saw and experienced so many things. For me, the trip was smooth and well-organized. Not only were they (my expectations) met, but they were exceeded. A truly unforgettable trip.”

Sherri Wong (January, 21, 2012)

“The trip was beyond expectations-we saw so much and truly were able to cover a variety of terrain, see very different animals in different areas, and loved being able to experience different camps. For the most part, it was like clockwork and was the trip of a lifetime.”

Claire Adelson (January 16, 2012)

“The entire itinerary was amazing and one of the best trips we’ve ever taken. Bush Camp Company was perfect and exactly as described. EXPLORE’s preparation and help was unsurpassed. We would recommend EXPLORE to any of our family and friends. It was the best travel service we have ever used.”

Ray Kim (December 10, 2011)

“I first went to Zambia with EXPLORE in October 2009 and had such a life-changing time that I immediately booked a return trip for October 2011! The first was with strangers, the second was with some of my closest girlfriends; both experiences were unbeatable. Not only were we treated to once in lifetime classic Africa experiences (canoeing the Zambezi, happening upon an entire pride of lions, sundowners, bush dinners on islands in the river), but to age old treasures — quiet moments and romantic nights of talking, laughing and learning. We are already plotting a ladies trip for 2014. EXPLORE did such a great job..Organizing all my crazy friends with all their family obligations (most are mothers of young children) and working with their varying and ever changing schedules was near impossible but seemed easy for them. Everything operated with precision and the community experience was moving and 100% authentic. I haven’t traveled with an operator who is more genuinely involved in community projects and as well loved as EXPLORE. They are really making a difference.”

Amy Richards (November 10, 2011)

“My husband and I, with another couple, have always wanted to go on safari in Africa. We scouted the internet for tour groups and the very best time of year to visit Africa. After interviewing many tour operators via e-mail, telephone and one dinner meeting, we chose EXPLORE, Inc., largely due to recommendations of others who had been on EXPLORE tours. We chose September 2011 for our trip date and then talked several times with EXPLORE’s knowledgeable staff members about our itinerary. We had many “must see and do” objectives to cover, and Southern Africa is a huge territory. We started in Victoria Falls at the stately Victoria Falls Hotel with views of the famous Victoria Falls Bridge and Gorge. We took a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls, and then after two nights we were taken aboard a river boat for a cruise on the Chobe River overlooking Chobe National Park where the highlight was a large herd of black sables, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of elephants traversing the terrain to drink at the Chobe river, where we sat aboard our boat and watched! Next we had two of the most unique and remarkable experiences ever, in Botswana, at tent camps where game were observed in the morning and afternoon. The wild animals we were privileged to see were spectacular and ranged from elephants, giraffes and zebra to a pride of lions feasting on a cape buffalo and a cheetah eating an impala high up in a tree. The tent accommodations were authentic, yet very comfortable. I might add that we never experienced a meal that was less than excellent. We traveled via 6-8 seat planes and landed on improvised mud packed landing strips. It was pure adventure and very exciting…yet….our adventure to such wild and remote tent camps went without a hitch. People met us exactly where and when they were scheduled to meet us. It was simply amazing that every detail was covered! Our guides were extremely knowledgeable. They always asked what we wanted to see and which animals we had seen the day before so they could direct the safari drive for us to see game that we hadn’t seen yet. The chefs always knew of my husband’s lactose intolerance….every personal issue was taken into account. Our last stop was Cape Town. It was a perfect end to a marvelously planned trip to Africa. Before I went to Africa with EXPLORE, I thought it would be my one and only life time trip there…, I am eager to plan the next trip to Africa and I wouldn’t go with anyone but EXPLORE!”

Su & Richard Ellis (October 11, 2011)

“Incredible, fabulous trip with EXPLORE. Loved the “choreography” – i.e. where we went and the sequence of those venues. Also very much enjoyed seeing the various projects of Richard and Cherri. Khwai Mobile has a fantastic chef – Florence . She prepared the best food of the entire trip and did it in a very modest camp kitchen!”

Susan Chandler (September 29, 2011)

“The itinerary was perfectly designed by EXPLORE (from start to end.) Not one hiccup. I’ve been ruined for future trips. This sets a new bar.

Elizabeth took care of all our needs and addressed (very quickly) every single question (no matter how silly). The guides and drivers were most professional and friendly. I felt like I made friends. My expectations were exceeded by volumes.”

Kevin Gonzalez (September 25, 2011)

“We can’t say enough about our positive experiences with EXPLORE. Elizabeth Rand again designed, planned, and delivered an outstanding trip for us. Everything about this trip to Botswana was wonderful, but Duba Plains was a particular highlight, and should be on everyone’s Okavango Delta itinerary. This was our second trip with EXPLORE and the planning for a third has already begun. We are so grateful for all that EXPLORE has helped us to experience.”

Jim & Tricia Leissner (September 3, 2011)

“It was a privilege and a pleasure to spend time in a beautiful ever-changing landscape, to enjoy the company and knowledge of interesting, dedicated guides and camp managers, and to view amazing wildlife.

EXPLORE has the highest standards and most professional, personal service! We – again – are grateful to Elizabeth for exceptional help and enthusiasm, as we imagined, as she prepared our trip, and we can’t wait to do it again.”

Madeleine Cohen (August 20, 2011)

“EXPLORE’s service was professional, detail-oriented, very knowledgeable, and most of all, client sensitive. We needed guidance to accommodate the ages of the children and find a trip to satisfy the whole family. EXPLORE was wonderful!

All the accommodations were exceptional in quality, service, location and comfort. The food was amazing as well! Everywhere!

The courtesy and friendliness of our guides and trackers was exceptional everywhere. Their knowledge was superior. We especially enjoyed the personal information they shared with us about their lives and experiences in Africa. The game drives were always filled with interesting things, even if there were no animals around. Our guides were able to accommodate all kinds of activities – hiking, game viewing, bird watching, etc. This was especially true at the Ol Donyo Lodge.

All expectations were met and exceeded! Flawless trip, not even one glitch! “

Alan, Cynthia, Chandler and Connor Farquharson (August 13, 2011)

“We loved every aspect of this trip. The Safari Camps were perfect and the people so kind and gracious. We were pleased with the information. We were able to prepare without worry that we were forgetting anything. We thank you!”

Barbara L. Stadlin, July 28, 2011

“Everything went like clockwork-all flights, lodges, pick-up’s, etc-couldn’t have asked for better. Well done! Thanks for your excellent organization!”

Meg Jandl, June 10, 2011

“We were so pleasantly surprised how everything we did went like clockwork. Everyone was always there when they were supposed to be. Perfect sequence and mix of large lodge to bush camp to luxurious ending and I liked traveling overland one-way to Hwange & flying back.”

Pam Eveland and David Gauld, May 21, 2011