How do we get around India, Bhutan and Nepal
Road travel during our tailor-made tours is in a private air-conditioned vehicle with experienced driver who is used to dealing with the hugely varying road conditions. He will speak sufficient English for transfers but we will also provide you with local guides for excursions. Open jeeps are used for safaris.
There are some opportunities to travel by boat in India such as a cruise on the Brahmaputra and Hoogli rivers in the north east, while a trip on a private converted ricebarge is the perfect way to enjoy the Kerala Backwaters. Rickshaws, also known as tuk-tuks, and cycle rickshaws can be used for short hops in towns and bicycling is an excellent way to discover rural India.
India has one of the largest rail networks in the world and taking the train is not only a convenient and comfortable way of covering some of the large distances between places of interest, particularly in rural areas, it is also a real experience in itself. You will always be taken to the station by a guide or driver who will ensure that you are on the right train and have confirmed seat reservations.
There is a good flight network across the Indian Subcontinent and we use scheduled services where appropriate. Charter planes and helicopters are also sometimes available.
What does a trip like this cost?
All our trips are tailor made, so prices vary. However in simplistic terms:
In Africa most of our clients spend between £3000 and £6000 per person for a two week holiday. Some of our trips (Morocco for example) start as low as £1500 per person. Take a look at some of our sample trips to Africa or contact us for a quote for your safari.
In India, Nepal and Bhutan most of our clients spend between £2000 and £6000 for a two week holiday. Take a look at our sample trips to the Indian Subcontinent
We'll work with you to ensure you get the best value for your money and to advise where it's sensible to save money, as well as where it's really not.
Get in touch and let us know what you have in mind and we'll be happy to give you an idea of costs for your trip.
Who is Natural High?
We're a specialist tour-operator with more than 20 years experience living, working or planning trips to the countries we visit. We create one-off trips to Africa, India, Bhutan & Nepal for anyone looking for an immersive, once in a lifetime travel experience.
What are your contact details?
The best way to get hold of us is to call us on +44 1747830950. Alternatively drop us an email or come and visit our offices:
1 Chaldicott Barns
Who runs & guides the trips?
We've spent the last 20 years building up an extensive little black book of contacts, finding the best partners to deliver each experience from Morocco to Namibia, Kerala to Bhutan. People are what the success of our trips depend on and our safaris and trips are run by some of the most experienced and charismatic guides out there.
How do we know that you will recommend a safari/trip that we will like?
Delivering an outstanding experience for you begins with us understanding what floats your boat. We invest lots of time into making sure we know exactly the sorts of things you will - and wont - like. Then we respond with an initial outline proposal along with costs so you can get a sense of what we're suggesting.
We discuss all the possibilties with you, look at alternatives for you, answer any questions you have and make absolutley certain you're happy with what we're suggesting before you have to commit to a thing. Drop us a line if you'd like to see how we can help you.
Do we have to book our own flights?
We can book flights for you, however if you prefer to book your own flights that's fine. In either case we'll help you choose the best ones, find the best prices and make certain they fit seamlessly into the itinerary. Make sure you talk to us before you book flights
Will we meet with local people on our trip?
Absolutely. This goes to the heart of what Natural High is about - very often these are the very people who'll be looking after you on your trip. We make a point of working with companies who employ highly experienced local guides and do our best to connect you with people who know an area better than anyone else. Take a walking safari with a reformed honey poacher in East Africa, walk the high Atlas with Berber Nomads, hang prayer flags with a former olympic archer in Bhutan, visit the Mehrangarh Museum in a private view with the curator. Ask us about more experiences like this or take a look at some sample trips.
Is there electricity?
Many of the places we visit in Africa are very remote, but in the vast majority you'll have the abilty to charge camera and phone batteries as a minimum. If not from the mains, this is often by generator or from a vehicle. The exception is some of the more remote expeditionary safaris where this may not be possible. Most of the camps we use will have electric (very often solar) lighting. Some of the more remote use kerosene lanterns.
In general most places we visit in the Indian Subcontinent have electricity. Power supplies in remote parts of India and across Nepal and Bhutan can sometimes be eratic but the places we use have back-up generators for low level lighting and charging batteries from a central point. On camping treks we use kerosene lanterns.
If you have a specific requirement (sleep apnoea machine etc) then please ask us and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Is there internet access?
Like it or not, the internet is available in more places than ever. However, access is still very limited in the mountains and speeds so slow it would be quicker to send a postcard. Mobile phones work in many places and in Africa on all but the more remote safaris we offer. The majority of camps and hotels have internet of some kind but remember that in some places access is via expensive satellite uplink, so speeds can be slow and bandwidth restricted. Downloading and replying to the odd email is fine, downloading and watching Lawrence of Arabia isn't.
If you need to be in touch with work while you're travelling or have specific requirements then mention this to us when you get in touch and we'll make recommendations with this in mind.
If there is an emergency can I contact my family?
In most of the places we visit it's now possible to access mobile phone signal. If there's no mobile reception, the places you're staying will be able to help you make contact in the event of an emergency. In some areas we visit such as the Namib Desert, Chad or parts of the High Atlas Mountains you may be advised to travel with a satellite phone. We can advise on this so please ask us if you would like more information.
Is it safe to visit Africa?
Safety is always our number one concern. We've lived and worked in Africa for years and regularly visit countries from Morocco to Chad to Namibia to research trips, and to ensure that the places we recommend are suitable for our clients. That said it's impotant to understand that risks are inherrent to some of the things we offer as a specialist - walking safaris for example are exciting partly because of the (small) potential for danger. However we always provide highly experienced and trained armed guides for this very reason. And in a world increasingly under threat from terrorism few places are safer than a small camp in the middle of the African bush. If you're concerned about safety we'd be happy to discuss this with you - drop us a line to get started
Is it safe to visit India?
We have a strong connection with India and work in partnership with people we’ve known there for years; we keep up to date with what’s happening in each region to make sure your travel plans are safe. While we like to get off the beaten track, unlike some other companies, we do not visit places where the British FCO advises against travel.
We’ve lived and worked in the Indian Subcontinent for 20 years and return regularly on research trips to ensure the places we recommend are suitable for our clients. Road transfers are in private vehicles with experienced drivers who are used to dealing with local conditions, and private guides will accompany you on excursions.
You should take the same safety precautions and be alert to scams as you would anywhere else in the world, but should you need it, help is only ever a phone call away.
Can we drink the water?
Yes. All the places we stay provide unlimited clean, fresh drinking water - either bottled or filtered.
What types of food will I have on safari?
Food's a real highlight on safari, so prepare to be pleasantly surprised. You'll be amazed at what a good safari chef can conjure up on an open fire in the middle of nowhere. Expect plenty of fresh ingredients - excellent local beef, poultry and fish, plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. There's also plenty of good foor for children; pastas, pizzas not to mention some superb African dishes. If you have special dietary requirements then ask us about this and we'll be glad to help. We often have vegetarians or vegans travelling so are happy to cater for your dietary requirements
Can I let you know about special dietary requirements?
Absolutely - we regularly have clients with specific dietary requirements and our partners in country will do their utmost to cater for these. Remember to mention any dietary requirements to us when you enquire and we'll bear these in mind in the planning process.
Are there laundry facilities?
While camping treks and some of the smaller expeditionary type safari camps may not have the abilty to offer laundry, most other places offer in-house laundry. Either way we will always make sure you are aware of where you can and can't get your laundry done during your trip.
What fees are included on my safari?
The cost for your safari will in most cases include everything - accommodation, activities, transfers, food and even drinks. This includes all park and concession fees, departure taxes etc. Where something isnt included we will make certain you are aware of this before you book your holiday.
Unlike most holidays, therefore, there is little or nothing left to pay once you arrive. It's important to bear this in mind when you think about what you're getting for your money on your safari (think how much you might spend on a skiing holiday...)
How far in advance should we book our safari/trip with you?
The sooner the better. We recommend you book at least six months before you travel, or if you're travelling at peak times - Christmas, Easter, Summer Holidays, Half Terms - we'd recommend booking 6 - 12 months in advance.
This is because most of the places we stay are small and its important to give yourself the best chance of securing space and not having to compromise with second best.
How do we book our safari/trip with you?
It begins with a phone call for us to discuss your plans with you.
We listen to your objectives, understand what you'd like to see and do and make recommendations. Then you leave it with us to put together an outline trip with costs, based on what we've discussed.
Next comes the fine-tuning. Looking at alternatives, tuning to fit with your budget or objectives.
Once all the pieces are in place and held for you and you're 100% happy with the plan, then comes the time to book.
Once you tell us you're happy to go ahead we take a 25% deposit and book everything on your behalf.
Ready to get started? Take the next step
What if we need to cancel our safari/trip?
It is vital that you have cancellation insurance when you book your trip with us. Once you are ready to book your holiday we take a 25% non-refundable deposit, which is paid to our suppliers to secure your booking. If you have to cancel your safari after this point, you will need to claim the cost from your insurers. Cancellation charges increase the closer you get to time of departure, up to 100% within (usually) one month of travel. Ask us about cancellation charges and we will be happy to explain charges that relate to your trip
How do we get around on our safari?
We use a mixture of private road transfers (with a private guide and 4WD vehicle), scheduled domestic flights and charter flights. The choices depend on where you are travelling and how many of you there are (for example it may make sense for us to charter an aeroplane for a large family, as opposed to taking scheduled flights). We will discuss all of these variables with you and suggest the best options for time and budget.
Game viewing on safari is in specially equipped 4x4 vehicles. In some areas these are fully open-air vehicles, giving excellent all-round visibilty. In others they are vehicles with large windows and roof hatches for you to stand up out of. In each case the vehicles we use are properly safari equipped and driven by experienced safari guides or drivers and give excellent all-round visibilty for photographers.
We do not use minibuses on safari.
Will we need spending money on our safari/trip?
While most of our safaris are pretty much all inclusive, you will need spending money for tips and for anything you wish along the way.
On our trips to India and Nepal all meals are generally included in remote areas but in towns and cities your accommodation will often be booked on bed and breakfast basis to give you the flexibility and choice about when and where to dine. In Bhutan our tours are mostly all inclusive. Tipping for good service is expected and details of what is included will be clearly shown in your itinerary; we will advise you on suggested amounts of money to travel with.
In many places there are opportunities to buy unusual works of art, clothing, jewellery, carpets etc. If you have a particular interest in buying certain things on your travels we'll be happy to help advise you where to buy these and likely costs.
Will we need to tip when on our safari/trip?
Tipping is always descretionary, but it is also a way of life in most of the places we visit. We will advise you the amount you need to tip in each case.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, you must have travel insurance when you book. This must include medical insurance and cover the cost of cancellation charges if you need to cancel your safari.
What is the accommodation like?
Accommodation on our trips is fantastically varied, from small homestays to luxury lodges, traditional tented safaris to tree houses.
In each case we prefer to recommend something with character. And whatever you do we always recommend you mix things up a bit.
Are children allowed on safaris/trips?
Absolutley - at Natural High we travel regularly with our own children and offer some of the most original ideas for family holidays you're likely to come across. Read more about our family safaris in Africa here - or our trips for families to the Indian Subcontinent here