Safari specialist Somak Holidays has launched a brand new Africa brochure celebrating the family-run operator’s 50th anniversary.
Valid for travel through 2021, the brochure has been extended to 164 pages and focuses exclusively on Somak’s sub-Saharan heartland.
Key destinations include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, which feature in a range of suggested safari and touring itineraries.
Highlights include gorilla and chimp trekking opportunities in Rwanda and Uganda, as well as self-drives and privately-guided tours, and luxury getaways in South Africa.
The operator also offers Indian Ocean beach extensions in Mombasa, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Mauritius and the Seychelles, and three years ago launched in India and Sri Lanka.
As a majority trade operator (94%), Somak chief executive Ash Sofar this week reiterated to TTG the operator’s commitment to the trade with the launch of Africa 2019/21.
“Agents trust us,” he said. “We’re very happy with our relationship with the trade. Too many tour operators think they can do lots of direct business too. We know how to support the trade and why it is important to our business.”
Central to Somak’s trade relations is its focus on personal contact, said Sofar. “We like hosting functions, dinners and lunches,” he said. “We have great presence on the road too. We always want to do more than just send out emails. We know most of our key agents in person.”
Somak hosted four fams this year but is finalising dates and details for six next year - two to Kenya with the rest split across South Africa, Botswana, India and Sri Lanka.
While priority is reserved for key partners, Sofar urged any agents or homeworkers wishing to work more closely with Somak - and potentially earn a place on a fam - to simply get in touch.
Work on Somak’s new Africa brochure - locations, itineraries, programmes - started in May, said Sofar. “Since then, it’s really just been a process of improvement and refinement.
“Africa is our heartland, it means a lot to us so we want to get it right. It’s a reflection of the company we are now and who knows, perhaps the company we’ll be in another 50 years time.”
New itineraries include the five-night Acacia Tree Safari in Kenya from £1,475pp and Classic Tanzania Safari from £2,225.
Anew nine-night Victoria Falls, Kruger Safari and Cape Town three-in-one leads in from £3,200 and a 13-night East and Southern Africa adventure from £5,520. All prices include flights, as well as other add-ons and essentials.
Somak was founded in 1968 by Suresh Sofat as a charter operator before diversifying into consolidation for British Airways and British Caledonian.
However, everything changed when his son [Ash] came back from a package holiday to Kenya in the early 90s, quit his job in the city and pitched his vision of Somak as a modern tour operator.
“We relaunched in July 1993,” said Sofar. “I think we did 483 passengers in our first year. A few years later, we were sending 40,000 people a year to Kenya. We do about 12,000 a year now but prices are that much higher now, we average around £4,000pp.
“The important this is we have always adapted as the market has changed. We created a niche for ourselves. We’re still an independent, family-run business after all this time. We can make decisions and change things very quickly. It’s refreshing - we can do what we want when we want to do it.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved. Every one of our 50 years has been profitable. Not many companies can say that - not many last 50 years.”