Journeys by Design only sell Africa. Africa’s our sole focus and passion, our area of expertise, and we make no attempt to sell a global product. It is our belief, therefore, that our clients come to us for an in-depth analysis of the continent, of the 18 countries in which we choose to specialise. Given this focus, this level of understanding, we are able to drill down to levels that the competition finds hard to follow, and so offer experiences both unique and extraordinary.
Journeys by Design was founded in 1999 by Will Jones, who was born and raised in 6 different African countries. This is a not a casual and flirting experience of Africa.
A small and highly skilled company, with over 50 years of experience on the ground, Journeys by Design is a luxury specialist tour operator, offering tailor-made, once-in-a-lifetime safaris to a very discerning client base. Committed to the idea of providing a range of extraordinary African experiences, we combine the adventures of frontier travel with the very best of the more traditional safari destinations, the style of each itinerary designed on a client by client basis.
As well, therefore, as concentrating our expertise in just eastern and southern Africa, the areas we know best, we make a point of personally visiting every one of the camps in our portfolio, and take great care who to include, and who not to include.
Over 70% of our business is referred by existing clients, which underlines, we believe, the quality and success of the service we provide.
We pay very personal attention to each itinerary, offering what we call the Complete Travel Solution, a level of service that is all about understanding and providing for a prospective client’s every need. Such a service, we believe, begins with trust, with the forming of relationships. Our clients are people, not numbers. We will go to the most extraordinary of lengths to ensure each and every Journeys by Design traveller is afforded the African experience they deserve and expect.
Underlining the importance we place on forming relationships, we offer private consultations in the client’s home anywhere in the world. This is utterly unique and reflects, we believe, a level of personal service unmatched anywhere in the industry. It allows advanced safari preparation and dialogue. It means we get a much more comprehensive understanding of what the client is looking for, and the client a much better understanding of who we are.
The success of such a service lies, we believe, not only in the high level of repeat clients on our books, but in the fact that many are now our friends, irrespective of the business they once provided Journeys by Design.
Style of African Safari
While Journeys by Design offers a style of travel that is distinctive, adventurous and aimed firmly at meeting and indeed exceeding individual expectations, the experiences on our portfolio can be divided into two main areas of travel: luxury and frontier.
Luxury as a commodity is a much over-used word in the business of travel, and means many things to many people. For us, for Journeys by Design, it means two things. It is, of course, the offer of an extraordinary level of accommodation, service and travel, a quality apparent in all aspects of a given experience, in the design of and materials used for the building of a lodge, in the breadth and depth of its cellar, the style of menu, the simple authenticity of the activities on offer, the care taken in attending to guests’ needs. However, it is also the story of that experience, a narrative that is all about creating the kinds of journeys that may change lives – distinctive, meaningful, out of the ordinary.
Such experiences, by virtue of their rarity, the level of style and comfort on offer, are intensely luxurious and suit, therefore, the most discerning of clients, ones in search of the very best money can buy. In this respect, the Okavango Delta of Botswana, the highlands of Kenya and the parks of South Africa are the perfect adventure luxury destinations.
With Will Jones having spent so much of his time in many of Africa’s more inaccessible wildernesses, Journeys by Design has always striven to be at the forefront of frontier travel. Such travel is always original. It is untried, exciting. It caters to a spirit of adventure that is as much about experiencing a new travelling self as it is areas rarely travelled.
To this end, Ethiopia, Nambia, North Sudan, northern Kenya and Mozambique represent our search for original adventure. We have excellent partners on the ground, the very best by way of pioneering expertise, and it is these contacts, these close working relationships, these often lifelong friendships, that have enabled us to seek out the more unusual corners of these countries, areas that others cannot reach. Small surprise, then, that travellers return with the kinds of stories children live for!
All of Journeys by Design’s itineraries are tailor-made. We do not sell set-departure, group tours. With this in mind, our itinerary designs are about creating extraordinary, one-off experiences. Past examples of these types of remarkable experience include:
- Private invitation to the burial of Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia.
- Private meeting with the President of Ethiopia, Meles Zinawi, for the Young Presidents Organisation.
- Invitation to stay with Dr Richard Leakey at his Turkana Basin Institute.
- A one-of-a-kind world cup itinerary, threading the matches into a journey taking in the very best of wild South Africa.
Some of these experiences are remarkable for their historical provenance, others for the rarity of access granted. All bear testament to our willingness to think out of the box.
Ultimately, it is our little black book of contacts that separates us out from the rest of the crowd - Richard Leakey, for example, or the respected historian, Richard Pankhurst. Such contacts mean we are able to invite the client into a world of first class academics, professionals and policy makers - a small, significant group of men and women whose reputations precede them, and upon whom the future of wild Africa rests.
We personally tailor-make every itinerary. What this in effect means is that we:
- Develop in close consultation with the client a journey that is unique, appropriate and exclusive.
- Have access to a small collection of private properties not otherwise accessible.
- Make use of contacts within the airports that assist with VIP meet and greet, to assist with customs and immigration right off the arm of the aircraft, wing to wing transfers and VIP airport handling and fast track visa services.
- Ensure that all our clients are covered by the Flying Doctors, which, in the unlikely event of an emergency, have systems in place and air ambulances on stand-by 24/7.
- Use only the very finest private guides, pilots and hosts.
Our ethical stance
Journeys by Design are finding that more and more people are looking for responsible travel, a fact that chimes with one of our core tenets: the vital importance of sustainable tourism. In this respect, we maintain a high ethical stance. We design luxury safaris that support conservation and community initiatives. We ensure that clients enjoy the most superb safari experiences, in full knowledge that they are also contributing to wildlife preservation and supporting local communities. We are selling a lifestyle choice, with values – not just a holiday.
In keeping with the idea of giving back, not only are we deeply involved with charitable and community based projects, but also offer bespoke philanthropic opportunities for our clients.
Born and raised in Africa, founder, MD and driving spirit of Journeys by Design, Will Jones represents everything that is distinctive about Journeys by Design. An environmental scientist, a highly respected private guide, previously a lodge manager, also responsible for having set up Bishangari, Ethiopia’s first ever eco lodge, and today considered one of the luxury and frontier travel industry’s leading visionaries, Jones is the living embodiment of what it means to travel Africa, adventurously, meaningfully, in ways that are as sustainable as they are unique.