The Oriental and African Travel company
Dive and Safari experts
Who We Are
We are a small company with a specific focus on out of the way destinations, quirky lodges, wildlife, the underwater world and the Orient. The name says it all. We assist you in making your plans for your journey to Africa and the Orient.
We are an independantly owed family run Africa Safari and Dive tour operator. We have a passion for Africa and the Orient. Before starting the African and Oriental Travel company we spent 18 years living in East Africa running a Dive Centre, Beach resort and inbound Tour Operator. We know exactly how the travel world works, and we know where you have to spend money, and where massive savings can be made.
In addition have our own vehicle based in Tanzania. At least twice a year, we fly down to Africa and drive the Landrover to Zambia Kenya, and all over Tanzania, inspecting our suppliers. Good people appear and good suppliers go bad. We need to find out long before you do. We also plan on adding Uganda and Rwanda in 2018.
We only work with the very best in their field. And like all good guides, are on your side; to get you the best value and the most memorable experience. We are not some large corporate entity where staff change every year, we are family owned and operated and do the work ourselves.
Our team consists of a core team of full time professionals, and a series of specialised consultants who know everything about their field.
Why Book With us?
We are an independantly owed family run Africa Safari and Dive tour operator.
We have a passion for Africa and the Orient.
Before starting the African and Oriental Diving company we spent 23 years living in Asia and East Africa running a Dive Centre, Beach resort and inbound Tour Operator.
Our Expertese is second to none
* We are owner managed.
* We have solid British business experience.
* We habe two decades of professional diving experience.
* We have thousands of sea days at the helm on every craft from zodiac's to 150ft Sailing Schooners.
* We have 18 years of succesful resort operation in the most beautiful parts of Africa and Asia.
We really do know what we are talking about- and we are always utterly honest with you about your holiday.
We save you time and money
"Will it cost me more to book with you" is a question we often hear. The answer is unequivoclaly no.
* You are buying our expertese and experience. We find the right safari for you in the right park and the best lodge for your needs and your budget.
* In every booking we have probably saved every client 10-25% by saving them from bad choices.
* The lodges give us a small commission so that you never pay more than their normal price.
* In some cases, there are some tiny dive resorts that we love, that have inconsistent pricing. we have to add a small charge that you will clearly see on your invoice. We are very open about this.
* You are paying for expertese that is backed up by insurance and bonding.
Still not sure- ask us....
If you are unsure about our credentials, use our safari advisor service. Send us your requested itinerary and we will send you our quote and comments.
* We send you to the right place that you want to go to. No matter what your budget,we find that place.
* Only dealing with safe operations that we have physically inspected.
* We will be completely honest and open with you.
* We want to sharing our years of experience and knowledge with you.
* We have the humility to say :"let me find out, as I am not sure".
* We will always defer to someone who has more knowledge than us, even if this means encouraging you to book outside our company with someone who is more expert in that area.
On guided expeditions, we treat you our guests as would an old-fashioned safari guide.
* We are on your side. * We exist to make it happen for you, as best as we possibly can. * If somone lets you down, they are letting us done.: We step in, and we make it right.
Francisca is a Marine anthropologist who spent a year living on the edge of a dried up lake in Namibia studying what fishermen did with themselves when the rains did not come. Her university sent her to Zanzibar to study slightly more active fishermen. After working at the Netherlands South Africa Institute for some years, she moved to Africa and ran a lodge on a small Indian Ocean island. Here she developed a safari consultancy out of nothing and is responsible for organising Kilimanjaro Climbs, Walking Safaris, and so much more. She is an accomplished diver with 900 dives in her logbook, but she enjoys the amateur side of diving and looking at fish rather than training. Francisca is fluent in English Dutch and German. You are more than welcome to write to her in any of those languages. Francisca is a keen photographer and loves birds, she delights in sending people on safaris that involve the small things as well as the large cats.
Raf Set up India's first private dive centre in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. India was somewhat closed to the world in the mid 1990's and so after three years of pioneering he dropped this and drove a landrover across Africa. On his way he found Pemba Island and set up another pioneering dive company and beach lodge. Becoming British Consular correspondent on the Island, (an unpaid "voluntary" role) he found himself at the sharp end of helping tourists who had some misfortune befall them. In some extreme cases (usually motorbike falls) he organised air evacuations and dealt with insurance companies and embassies. This experience has stood him in good stead when advising people of where to go and which company to use. ("Always buy good insurance and always go with a reputable operator"). Alongside this he developed his passion for diving and training. Ending up as a NAUI Instructor Trainer (eqv to PADI course director) and a PADI Dive Instructor. Raf has 2700 dives to his name and has trained many instructors. Raf is our safety officer who assesses dive operations around the globe and leads our escorted dive trips.
Chris is our China and Trans Siberian expert. While we concentate on the East of China which borders Central Asia, Chris is a true expert on all of China and the trans siberian train. With 14 years experience of living in Peking (Beijing) Chris brings with him and intimate knowledge of all aspects of China. He's off on a plane or train twice a year to check on suppliers and hoteliers. Chris is one of our consultants, he runs his own show, but does Turkistan for us. If you want a complete China Itinerary including Shanghai Peking Hong Kong, then contact us and we'll send you direct to him.
Shaukat is based in Tashkent and is our co-ordinator for all of our central Asian itineraies. After conscription into the Soviet Army, and two years glorious service on the outskirts of Moscow, Shaukat knows about most things in life. He got a job in tourism before the breakup of the soviet union, when he set up on his own as a service provider. As a well travelled Uzbek, there is very little that Shaukat does not know about Central Asia. He inspects all of our hotels for us, and knows most of the central asian train timetable off by heart. Uzbekistan is a centuries old nation, with so much to offer; and Shaukat knows it all. He or his team will be at Tashkent Airport at 4am to welcome you with a smile as you get off your flight. When you get to Tashkent, ask him to take you to El Aziz restaurant.
Eddie is our Pemba representative. We send so many people diving in East Africa that we felt the need to have someone on the ground with vehicles who worked for us. He is our trouble shooter and transporter. If you book a dive holiday in Tanzania then the chances are that Eddie or Ali will be at the airport to collect you. Speaking near perfect English and with a passion for Pemba's wildlife and politics, Eddie knows it all. Surprisingly Eddie is the one member of our Tanzanian team who does not scuba dive. He prefers to leave that to others.
PRICE GUARANTEE: We always get you the best deal and the best value. You always have a choice, but sometimes the cheapest option is a false economy. That's where we fit in. We are completely open with our itemised pricing. There is no price difference between going direct.
WHAT WE DO:
* African Wildlife Safaris in the nation of Tanzania. Having spent 14 years of our lives in Tanzania, we believe we know the nation as well as we can. Our directors and crew regularly inspect the game parks, camps, and operations in the northern and southern cuircut of Tanzania. While we offer every corner of Tanzania, we only sell tours by companies that we really know, trust and that we believe in. The safaris that we offer can be carefully tailored for almost any budget.
* Adventure Dive Packages. We started our lives in India running a dive centre. Then we moved to Tanzania and ran a dive lodge and pioneering dive centre. We then migrated from operations to sales. All of our team are experienced scuba divers with a minimum 350 dives. As part of the global dive community we have selected a very small number of special locations. We know the dive guides, we know the lodges, we know the owners, and of course we know the diving. We reccomend these operations wholeheartedly. We reccomend them for different reasons, we'll explain why when you ask us.
Here are a few of our favourites: * YAP, Micronesia, * North Sulawesi, Indonesia, * Raja Ampat, Indonesia, *Pemba, Tanzania * Mafia Island, Tanzania *Zanzibar, Tanzania, *Xcalak, Mexico *Okinawa, Japan, *Yonaguni, Japan.
*Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya. Trekking is a natural add on to our adventure dives. We started our diving in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the mid 1990's and spent all of our off seasons in the high Himalayan ranges. So familiar were we with India and Nepal that we started to get enquiries from our dive clients. In order to serve you better, we sent Raf out to Nepal to trek up to Gokyo to find the best most reliable trekking partner. We found them- and have teamed up with one Nepal's leading agencies to bring to you the wonders of the roof of the world.
*Guided one off expeditions.
In 2012 we guided a group tour in Yap Island, Micronesia and the Southern Red Sea in Egypt. In 2014 we have an exciting series of adventures in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Red Sea and Ryukyu Islands of Japan.
* Personal Travel and Expedition advice. Raf Jah, our managing director has been struggling up mountains and down reefs since 1990. Since 1998 he has organised and conducted numerous expeditions. Both vehicle dependant and unsupported dive expeditions. He's worked out schedules, who to ask, who not to ask. He hates the word bespoke- but this is a service he offers. If you want to go to Mongolia and hire a horse, drive a landrover to Magadan, a truck to Timbukti (not currently reccomended) ride a bicycle to Capa Agulhas, or simply find out the best way to fly to Las Vegas on a Sunday- engage Raf to find the best way to do it. Amongst other things- Raf is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of the British Sub Aqua Club, a PADI Diving Instructor and an established photo journalist.
We invite you to peruse our pages and find the perfect combination for you.