Safaris have come a long way since the days of canvas tents, water flasks and bumpy jeep rides.
For the super rich, safaris now include private-jet hops, chef-cooked meals, two-bedroom tents with shows and toilets, balloon rides and endless champagne.
CNBC’s “Secret Lives of the Super Rich” tagged along with luxury travel pioneer Geoffrey Kent for a portion of his popular “Private Jet Tour of Africa.” The trip includes private-jet hops across seven countries over three weeks. It costs $80,000 per person—and it sold out in just two weeks.
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Of course, $80,000 is a huge price. But Kent, the founder and CEO of travel company Abercrombie & Kent, said he’s done plenty of safari trips for far more than that as the rich devote more of their spending to rare experiences and exotic trips.
“We’ve had many, many million dollar trips,” he said. “Some $2 million, some $2.5 million.”
But the $80,000 trip is sufficiently lavish—even by super-rich standards.
The first stop is South Africa, for a five-star welcome dinner at an aquarium. After a short stay at Cape Grace, one of the top hotels in Africa, it’s off to Namibia. They get a tour of the dunes, champagne delivered by skydivers and an elaborate dinner in the middle of the desert.
The group then goes to Botswana for an elephant tour, then to Zambia for a chopper tour of Victoria Falls.
They then head to the Serengeti in Tanzania to wait for the wildebeest migration into Kenya.
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But as Kent has learned, even the super rich can’t control the weather or the movements of 1.5 million wild animals.
So when it rains and the wildebeest fail to appear en masse, the group heads to the local Four Seasons for a chef-prepared feast—and more champagne.
“It looks like it’s sort of easy,” he said. “But it’s a lot of planning.”
—By CNBC’s Robert Frank