About Us - Great Safaris

About Us

Great Safaris announces new CEO

I am very pleased to announce that Guillaume van Wyk has been appointed as the new CEO effective 20 March 2023, and co-owner of Great Safaris. I couldn’t be happier to be handing over the reins to someone like him. A highly respected industry veteran who has served on several advisory boards, and brings a wealth of experience and an entrepreneurial mindset that will continue the legacy, momentum and growth that Great Safaris is experiencing. Guillaume has been our business development manager for several years and we have worked hand-in-hand. He thoroughly enjoys working with clients, in his words, “if you understand your customer, you can improve your effectiveness and deliver on expectations“.

Guillaume van WykWe go back for nearly two decades when I was Chairman of a new tourism development project in Mozambique and Guillaume the Managing Director of The Sanctuary overseeing a multi-million-dollar eco-tourism development in Africa, establishing services for inbound clients and overseeing the management of multiple lodges. Under his stewardship, the company experienced significant and sustainable growth.

At the same time, his Master’s degree in wildlife management was crucial as he was also overseeing the development and management of the conservation area with the goal to protect wildlife and to enhance clients’ safari experiences. A further important element of his job was the wellbeing of neighboring communities, circa 5,000 people. Under his leadership major projects including houses, schools, clinics, and water security were delivered.

Going on a safari encompasses all these elements: lodging, guest experiences, safari in conservation areas and making a difference in communities, and together with inbound and outbound experiences, makes Guillaume an exceptional fit for Great Safaris.

In 2018, he and his wife took a 12-month sabbatical and extensively travelled Africa to destinations where we operate, dealt with hotels and lodges we use today and experienced an array of activities. He has tremendous insight into product, that in return ensures clients will have an unforgettable trip.

Africa is my passion and I will remain actively involved as Chief Experiential Executive and Founder for many more years.

Dave HerbertI have been deeply involved in African tourism my entire life, started as a guide in my early twenties and designing safaris throughout Africa. Following my boots on the ground journey, I launched my first outbound tour operations from the US in 1976. In the late 90’s, I sold the company and made South Africa my home again, when I was actively involved in the development and management of game lodges in multiple countries in Africa and running an inbound DMC operation.

After an exciting time in Africa, I moved back to the US and started Great Safaris in 2010 as a luxury tour operator. As the ex-chairman of USTOA and recipient of multiple awards over the years, I have had a wonderful career dedicated to the Travel Industry, sharing my expertise in many facets. Along this path I have formed many long-lasting friendships.

Great Safaris is in an exceptionally strong position; the company is financially sound, made significant investments over the past few months into new systems and technology, has a strong management team, increased the size of the team here in the US, employed staff in South Africa and a business that is already surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Most importantly, we treasure our relations with consortiums, travel advisors and suppliers.

We specialize in Africa/Middle East including Islands around Africa. Great Safaris is a wholesale tour operator with its head office in California. Our staff have decades of experience selling Africa creating memories for families, solo travelers and groups.

I wish to personally express my gratitude to you, our clients, who we value and have become part of the Great Safaris family. Keep an eye on your inbox, more exciting news will be forthcoming soon!



Dave Herbert

Chief Experiential Executive

Great Reviews for Great Safaris!

Safari camps in South Africa and Botswana and explored the Cape Town region.

“Travel with comfort, great food, safety and wonderful game viewing experiences. First time trip to Africa for my wife and I. All the guides and boat and safari camp staff were professional and fun. The transfers and connections were seamless. The home hosted dinner near Cape Town gave fascinating perspectives on life in South Africa.”

Submitted by Dave and France from Mission Viejo, CA United States
65 years of age or older. Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

“My husband and I contacted Dave Herbert at Great Safaris after our friend (who is an experienced travel agent) highly recommended him. She has traveled to Africa numerous times and has always relied on Dave to make her arrangements. Not once has she ever been disappointed. So, following her lead, we gave him a call and told him what our budget was as well as what we wanted to see for our first time there. He recommended that we go for 19 days and go on safari to Kenya and Tanzania. He then put together an incredible itinerary that included Samburu National Park, the Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and the Serengeti. We stayed in deluxe accommodations throughout.

Every detail was attended to throughout our trip. Roundtrip transfers were included from small, dirt air strips to and from our lodges; private or semi-private drivers/guides took us on safari twice a day for a minimum of 7 hours per day; the food at each lodge was above average or outstanding, depending on where we were and often was included in the price of our tour; all inter-Africa flights were booked with excellent airlines (sometimes we were the only 2 passengers in the plane!); round trip flights from Los Angeles to Nairobi with a stopover in Dubai were also included in the price (we traveled on Emirates Airlines per Dave’s recommendation–definitely a good call); and we received outstanding service wherever we stayed.

We highly recommend Great Safaris and Dave Herbert if you are planning your first trip to Africa or your fiftieth! He knows the continent like the back of his hand because he goes there and sends his staff there continually to ensure that what they’re selling to their clients meets their high standards. You cannot go wrong with Great Safaris!!!”

Submitted by Carol and Steve Schneider from United States
50-65 years of age, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

Amazing experience!

“All written and oral communications was outstanding! The properties we stayed in were over the top.”

Submitted by MGC from United States
Rating: 5 stars

Reputable and reliable

“Dave was calm and confident. Knowledgeable and attentive to my travel needs. He assured the planning was thorough and follow up calls were completed during the trip to be sure I was well taken care of. I experienced integrity and genuine care with Great Safaris from the beginning to end of my trip.”

Submitted by Debbie from United States
Rating: 5 stars

Experienced, first rate service, guidance and care

“We just returned from 3 weeks in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. I did my research on destinations we wanted to visit and then interviewed 4 different African tour agencies. ‘Great Safaris’ by far had more information, contacts and insightful suggestions for our trip. They were less expensive than the others for the same or better hotels, safari facilities and tours, and they took care of all our intra-Africa flights. We had to stay an additional day in Johannesburg and they took care of the arrangements when I called their local agent (at 6AM). I even received follow up calls to be sure my wife was feeling better.

Since our return, I have recommended ‘Great Safaris’ to numerous friends and neighbors. They are a first class outfit for the vacation of a lifetime. Dave Herbert at ‘Great Safaris’ is the man to speak with.”

Submitted by Herb from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

Spectacular Trip

“We feel that this is the ideal African trip. Started with a visit to Nairobi then progressed through Tanzania with each day progressing to the Great Migration. We have been to Africa several times but nothing can top seeing the Great Migration. Second to seeing the migration was climbing to see the Silverback Gorillas in Rwanda. Great Safaris did an outstanding job picking our guides and the lodges. Everything was first class. Amazing, how good the dinners were in the middle of the Serengeti. We highly recommend Great Safaris.”

Submitted by Mike from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Rating: 5 stars

South Africa/Tanzania trip July 2015

“The reservation was with Great Safaris and was the easiest, most complete, best value safari we have ever has with an Africa Tour Company. We have been sending people to Africa for more than twenty years, and this was the smoothest reservation with the absolute best documents from any tour operator.

Will definitely use Great Safaris again, and recommend them to all of our interested clients.”

Submitted by Jerry Kreutz from United States
65 years of age or older
Rating: 5 stars

Fantastic Trip to South Africa and Botswana

“My husband and I traveled to South Africa and Botswana to do 4 safaris at different camps in each country. Our experience was everything we could have hoped for and more. The safaris were fantastic and we saw all of the animals on our list and more. The guides were excellent, knowledgeable, polite, friendly and very accommodating. Every safari trip was unique and full of wildlife. Each of the camps had wonderful accommodations and terrific food. If I have a negative comment on the trip, there was way too much food! It seemed like we were always being fed. The staff at the camps were wonderful, making sure that all of our needs were taken care of in a timely manner.

We did visit Cape Town and Victoria Falls. Those trips were lovely, the hotels very nice and the guides excellent.

All in all our trip was terrific. We had a great experience, one that we will long remember.”

Submitted by Marsha from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

Excellent, great to work with. A perfect experience.

“Beyond expectations. Fantastic safari and guides.”

Submitted by Maddy Wolpa from United States
Rating: 5 stars

Absolutely Reliable, Wonderful Suggestions, Wholeheartedly Endorse

“In the past I have always planned our trips outside the United States, including Northern and Southern Europe including Turkey. However, when I started the same process for South Africa including a Safari, it was obvious that I really wasn’t up to the task. I was so fortunate to be directed to Great Safaris, who methodically presented me with the options and a frank discussion of each. The result was spectacular, ranging from the choice of hotels in Cape Town to the Safari lodge and the hotel at Victoria Falls, plus the ‘side trips’ and excursions. The family universally felt that this was truly an exceptional, marvelous experience that will never be forgotten. Their assistance each time we arrived at a new destination and at the time of departure was both reliable and up to any standards that I would have hoped to receive.”

Submitted by Doug from Unites States
Rating: 5 stars

The most memorable trip we have ever taken.

“For several years we had considered going to Africa but ultimately selected a river cruise or a trip to some historic place. This year was a significant birthday for my wife so we wanted something special. Some friends who had returned from Africa encouraged us again in that direction. Now that we have been there, we just wish that we had done it earlier. The trip to Africa with its uniqueness, beautiful scenery, and wonderful people made this the best trip we have ever taken. We had superb service, magnificent living quarters, and the highest quality meals. When you add to this the joy of seeing all the animals of Africa in their natural state, shown to you by the most accommodation guides, the result is that you come home better than when you left. If we had seen only the Serengeti and the people of Africa, the trip would have been everything it was advertised to be. Go there!”

Submitted by Keith and Sarah from United States
Rating: 5 stars

Once in a lifetime…

“An incredible experience in every way. It was a seamless South African trip from the airport pick up to the safaris, cage diving, hikes and wine tasting. Great Safaris did an incredible job in the planning and execution of our African experience, so that we could sit back and enjoy the ride. Highly recommended!”

Submitted by Shaun S from United States
35-50 years of age, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

Three safaris in one trip

“Our adventure started February 24 and went to March 17, 2015. We visited the following locations; Nairobi, Arusha, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara, Serengeti Nat’l Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire Nat’l Park, Cape Town, Greater Kruger Nat’l Park, Victoria Falls, and Johannesburg.

This entire trip provided 25,000 miles of air travel, which includes about 5,000 miles within the African Continent. Considering all the above locations, and the pickup and drop off at each airport, never was there not someone to greet us. This made this trip truly a “Trip of a Lifetime.” As for the safaris we did see the “Big 5″ and many many more animals and birds. Great Job Great Safaris.”

Submitted by DBoh from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

Cape Town/Victoria Falls/Zambezi Queen/Kirkman’s Kamp

“My daughter’s Bucket List had one item, ride an elephant in Africa. I contacted my local travel agent and she, along with Dave from Great Safaris, put a trip of a lifetime together for us. Our guide, Adriaan, in Cape Town made our days memorable with historical information and yet fun for a twenty-something and her Mom. Tickets were purchased in advance so there was no waiting for Table Mountain or Robben Island. Each and every transfer was seamless and every driver professional and cordial. I felt as if I stepped back in time at the Victoria Falls Hotel where the service was exquisite. We had an amazing afternoon with the elephants, trainers, and staff and even made friends with Sylvester, the resident cheetah. The Zambezi Queen was above my expectations and although we saw a larger variety of wildlife at Kirkman’s Kamp the opportunity to watch the elephants play in the Chobe River for literally hours was a highlight for us. This is evident by the sheer number of elephant pictures we took! We felt a bit underdressed at dinner but no one paid us any mind and the food was fabulous. Finally Kirkman’s was the perfect end to our two week travels. We saw so many animals and birds on our twice daily drives. The ranger and tracker we had were incredibly knowledgeable and so personable with everyone. Cynthia, our ‘butler’, was a real hit with my daughter and was part of the surprise birthday party we had for my daughter celebrating her early 26th. To be honest, I cannot think of any staff member we encountered that was not courteous and friendly. The confirmation documents from Dave were always accurate and I especially appreciated the Field Guide and Journal that I used daily highlighting what we had seen, referring to it with the ranger, and keeping my daily notes. Dave even contacted me while we were in Victoria Falls to see how things were going. My daughter and I discussed the order of the places we visited and honestly beginning at Cape Town and engaging in the history first was best, then living out the dream of riding an elephant followed by the floating on the Chobe watching elephants and hippos and relaxing, and ending with the Big 5 and early morning drives at Kirkmans was the perfect sequence for us. I highly recommend Great Safaris, Dave, and his cadre of knowledge when booking your amazing African adventure. Congrats to Dave and his team!”

Submitted by Joan from United States
Rating: 5 stars

Fantastic trip well designed and coordinated by the outstanding staff of Great Safaris.

“Africa is a must see experience but only if the tour company knows what they are doing and plans the most interesting sights and places to see and the handles all the scheduling and details so that the trip is a once in a life time experience. The sums up Great Safaris!”

Submitted by Bruce from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

Perfect itinerary and great attention to all the details

“We flew into Johannesburg and transferred to Zambia where we started our trip at Victoria Falls. The helicopter tour of the Falls was amazing. From Zambia we went to the Sabi Sabi game reserve in South Africa, where we stayed 3 days. The food and accommodations were way better than we expected. Our ranger and tracker were extremely knowledgeable and greatly enhanced the daily and night drives.We saw each of the big 5 major animals as well as many other animals. While we saw a post-kill we did not actually observe a kill. From there we flew to Cape Town for 4 days. Our guide made sure we saw all the highlights of the city and made our stay fun and interesting. The Table Bay Hotel was excellent especially being part of a wonderful shopping center. We were so pleased with Great Safaris we recommended them to two other families who did the same trips.”

Submitted by Ralph from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Rating: 5 stars

Great Safaris is the way to go to see Africa with their Drifters brand

“I went on a Great Safaris Drifters brand tour, not once but twice because it is the best way to see Africa. They are the only safari company that owns its own lodges and expedition trucks on an overland adventure. I saw so much wildlife, the drivers/guides were superb, the food excellent, everyone on my two tours had a wonderful time and I made many friends. I especially liked the 18 day South Africa tour because it went to Kruger and other National Parks where the game was plentiful, including the rare black rhino and sable. The lodges are all exceptionally clean, with hot water and a comfy bed, and the lodge hosts knocked themselves out in preparing dinner each night. There were lots of side adventures along the way, including horseback riding in the Drakensberg mountains, white water rafting on the Ash River, Bungee jumping, beachcombing, winery and beer brewing tours, and time to explore areas on my own. The prices are exceptionally low for what you get for a tour of this magnitude. I am ready for another adventure with Drifters and Dave Hebert’s crew at Great Safaris.”

Submitted by Kriss Hammond from United States
50-65 years of age, Experience level: over 5 safaris
Rating: 5 stars

We expected great — we got outstanding!!

“From the moment we deplaned to the moment we left SA, the experience was the “trip of a life time”! We spent 4 days in Capetown, the Safari, and ended at Victoria Falls. The hotels, and especially the Safari camp, were perfect. Love to do it again!”

Submitted by Austin and Jeanine Heberger from United States
Experience level: first safari

Amazing trip with 5 star accommodations even in the tent facilities

“Was not sure what to expect. The trip was quite different then we expected but all on the positive side. Excellent accommodations at all 8 venues. The daily excursions and side trips were outstanding. The flights to the outlying camps were exciting and provided outstanding views of the area. The food was much better then expected and the schedules at the camps were well planned giving us plenty to do and see but provided rest time every day. All in all a wonderful trip thanks to Great Safaris.”

Submitted by Dennis and Bonnie Arnold from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

The best trip ever. Professional,great service, perfect trip, the best!

“Everything lived up my expectations. Nothing went wrong. All was perfect. Very professional. Beautiful documents.. Wonderful”

Submitted by Maddy from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: first safari
Rating: 5 stars

This was an outstanding trip.

“We have traveled all over the world using a variety of travel groups. Also, we have done many independent trips. This trip was our best. The guides were excellent and well verse on the countries we were visiting. It was like having a college professor with us. We were able to avoid large crowds and visit areas not seen by other tourists. We were offered flexibility in what we saw and did which made it a more personal trip. Egypt is a must see especially with Great Safaris guidance.”

Submitted by Agger from United States
65 years of age or older, Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Rating: 5 stars

Everything was wonderful and Great Safaris went beyond most travel agencies

“The communication between Great Safaris and us were more than excellent. Rovos Rail was a wonderful experience. First class all the way. Safaris were something we will talk about for a long time as well as the train.”

Submitted by Jeanne Beadle and Bruce Thomas from United States
Rating: 5 stars

The trip was well planned and well executed with proper pace and quality accommodations throughout.

“The program exceeded our expectations. The tour guides were knowledgeable and articulate. The accommodations were well selected for our unique taste. All of the pretrip materials were accurate, informative, and arrived well in advance of departure. The reservations agent was detail oriented and creative. Just an over all great experience.”

Submitted by KD Nelson from United States
50-65 years of age, Experience level: over 5 safaris
Rating: 5 stars