Bharati Wadhwani is the owner of Safar Traveller, a boutique travel company that specialises in Safari’s in Asia and Africa. Now if that isn’t enough to convince you, she’s an avid traveller and a seasoned Safari goer herself, and we could think of no one better experienced to show us the ropes when it comes to wilding it in the deep jungles. As petite as she may be, Bharati is probably braver than any of us. Read on to discover more about her (which includes, we must add: casually sipping on a drink amidst an african bush, next to a pride of lions.)
We caught up with Bharati at her beautiful, African themed home in Delhi, and she was kind enough to answer our Nico Q&A, and give us some great travel tips.
I travel for?
BW: Most people travel for either work or pleasure. For me it’s always both together.
Favourite place you’ve ever travelled, and one you’re dying to visit?
BW: I am yet to find my favourite. Dying to visit Namibia.
What’s the favourite souvenir you’ve brought home from a trip?
BW: A bronze elephant necklace from Nairobi. I love picking up tribal jewellery and accessories as souvenirs whenever I go.
Let us in on Africa’s best-kept secret.
BW: Laikipia (Kenya), Uganda, Mozambique.
If you could live anywhere in the world besides right here, where would it be?
BW: Africa 🙂
Trains, planes or automobiles: favourite form of transport?
BW: A combination of road and air. I try and avoid very long drives on bumpy roads (6+ hours). Flying saves precious time you’d rather spend exploring the place. You also get to see stunning birds eye views. For shorter distances (2-3 hours) I prefer to drive. By road you experience much more and have the option of stopping whenever you see something interesting.
Tips for roaming the world as a traveller and not a tourist?
- Decide on where and the type of holiday you want this to be. Adventure, honeymoon, solo, spa, safari, backpacker, luxury, friends, family.
- Call up a local friend/contact for some non touristy advise. Ask: Best time to go, where and when it’s not too crowded, weather, locations to stay, best hotels, where to explore, eat, shop and extra – special things to do/see. Places to have sundowners with the best views, hole in the wall family run restaurants, places to walk around or not, ways to get around etc. Make your own list of things that sound interesting.
- Booking accommodation. The trick is finding the best hotel, in the best location, within your budget. Don’t try doing too much of your own research. Sometimes the tips you read online may be outdated or misleading. Stay clear of massive hotels with tons of people. Opt for smaller recommended boutique properties in interesting areas, which are located close to places you want to explore.
- Use a combination of personal recommendations + a reliable agent. Specially in places like Africa and India, where very often things can go wrong. So it’s always better to have someone there to take care of the coordinating and damage control.
- Try everything local! Food, drinks, music, fashion, festivals.
- Make friends with locals and other travellers. They are the best people exchange information with.
- Take lots of pictures but save the FB/Instagram uploads for when you get back to camp or home. One misses out on a lot if you’re glued to your phone.
- Make sure to share your list and photographs with your friends and family and keep in touch with the people you’ve met on your trip.
Wildest thing you’ve done/experienced/seen/eaten on a trip?
BW: Wildest thing I’ve done: Gone on a walking safari with an Ostrich as our guide.
Experienced: On a night game drive, we stopped the vehicle next to a massive pride of lions, turned off all lights, listened to the sound of roaring lions under the moonlight with a drink in hand.
Seen: A black mamba at a bar!
A beach, hilltop, or a safari?
BW: A Safari followed by a few days on the beach to unwind.
Always in your carry-on luggage:
BW: Camera, candy, travel coffee cup, water, rose water face spray, lip balm, i Pod, sunblock, sunglasses, hat and book. I love reading stories about the places I’m visiting.