Our Story

Since launching in 2010 Holiday Architects has set out to really listen to our clients – we get to know you, we get to know your travel needs and we design the perfect holiday to match. By operating in this manner, and avoiding the standard off-the-shelf packages offered by many other travel companies, we’ve become one of the fastest-growing and most-trusted tour operators in the UK. Underpinning all of this is the expertise of our team: each committed to servicing their specialist destination, backed up with a dedicated country website packed full of unique hotels, quirky excursions and engaging holiday suggestions. Every one of our team has visited their destination many times (often even lived there), has many years’ experience in the travel industry and is carefully chosen to fit with our friendly and helpful team culture. This means when discussing your travel plans, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re not only speaking to a genuine expert but a real person who cares about you and your holiday.

We believe we are better than anyone else at listening to your travel aspirations and turning them into perfectly designed holidays, but of course that is not always easy to substantiate, which is why we were extremely proud in 2019 to be named Wanderlust magazine’s ‘Top Tour Operator of the Year’, for the second year running, gaining a 100% satisfaction rating from their readers. Competition at these awards is fierce, so winning brings us a great deal of pleasure and pride as it means we have lots of very happy clients!

Don’t just take our word for it though; you can read more about our clients’ experience of Holiday Architects by visiting our Trustpilot page found here.

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Tailor-Made Travel

Tailor-made travel starts with a blank sheet of paper and a conversation with one of our experts, and finishes with a holiday that’s been designed specifically for you. Nothing is set, nothing is off-the-peg, or off limits. You depart when you want, see what you want, stay where you want (guided by the advice and first-hand knowledge of our specialists during the design process). It used to be that tailor-made travel was a relatively expensive way to go on holiday, but this isn’t the case anymore: and we’ll make sure we stick to whatever budget you give us for the trip.

How We Work

Everything we do is designed specifically for you, and that design process starts with an initial conversation. We like to have that conversation to get to know you and understand the key things you want to get out of the holiday and we find the best way to do that is a friendly chat over the phone (or email if you prefer), where we take the time to really listen to what it is you want from your trip. We’ve travelled to our specialist destination many times, so we’ll also provide plenty of inspiration and ideas that we feel may best suit you. It’s because of our knowledge and experience that we are also able to offer honest advice about a destination, as we’ve most likely stayed in that certain hotel or gone on a particular quirky excursion ourselves; this will ensure you are able to make the right choices for your trip.

Next, your dedicated specialist will carefully design you an itinerary, with a price, and send that to you within 48hrs. This is very much a first draft and we can revise as necessary until we’ve got it exactly right for you. This is where we differ from our competitors as you’re not just going to get a standard itinerary, but something which is designed to your requirements with care. We take huge pride in our clients having the best possible holiday. Upon booking, you can rest easy, as your money is 100% protected either by our ATOL bonding or through our Travel Vault membership. Things don’t end there though, as our dedicated team is here on the phone and on the ground; to provide you with great service and peace of mind throughout your trip, so you can focus on your next discovery.

The Team

Emma first travelled to Africa on an overland safari in 2009, and fell in love with the continent – so much so, she cancelled her return flight and only returned to the UK four years later! From her base in Cape Town she spend those four years leading tours from Cape Town up to Uganda, exploring areas as diverse as the Namibian desert to the plains of the Serengeti. Although she’s been back in the UK for a few years now, she’s returned many times to Africa, visiting Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa: her most recent trip was a couple of weeks taking her new husband and their daughter to revisit some of her favourite haunts in South Africa.

Highlights range from exhilarating game watching in the national parks, trekking through the oldest desert in the world, and shark diving, though she is equally at home sampling high tea in Cape Town or trying the local wines from the Winelands area!

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Kirsty has been travelling to Africa since 1993 when she embarked on an overland trip from Zimbabwe to Kenya.  Since then she has returned on numerous occasions exploring Southern Africa from the Cape to the Skeleton Coast. Fortunate to have many friends in the region and with family now living just outside the Kruger National Park, she has plenty of  reasons to regularly visit this incredible part of the world.  20 years of exploring has not lessened her enthusiasm for Africa’s amazing scenery, wonderful people and fascinating culture. These days she is travelling with her young family but it is just as appealing as ever.

Catherine’s first introduction to Africa was to Zambia, back in 2000 where she fell in love with the country’s beauty, culture and wildlife, resulting in her returning to the continent multiple times, including embarking on a 6 week overland trip from Uganda to Zimbabwe. South Africa has been a frequent destination for Catherine, with her most recent visit in 2017 involving a self-drive adventure from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and a week long Kruger Safari. From city life to safaris and wine tasting to outdoor activities, South Africa is the perfect destination for everyone.

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Robin fell in love with Africa on his first trip with family to Zambia over 15 years ago. Since then he has been back to the continent numerous times; volunteering, holidaying, working, and most recently cycling through West Africa. The child-like excitement of arriving in Africa and heading out on safari has never left Robin, every trip is new, exciting, and never fails to live up to his expectations. South Africa offers so much to explore. The diversity of the Rainbow Nation is simply staggering and there are so many corners of the country that Robin wants to return to, but which one first?

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Tim’s first trip to Africa was back in 2010 and he instantly knew this wasn’t going to be a short relationship. Over the years Tim has explored many different areas with so many highlights it is impossible for him to list favourites without listing them all. Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, The Seychelles and Mozambique are all on the list for Tim although most recent visits include Namibia and two trips to South Africa.

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Behind the scenes, Emma, Charlie and Kirsty, Tim, Robin, and Catherine are (ably?) assisted by the two company founders, Damien and Andrew. Both of them had an expat upbringing in the dim and distant past, so it’s almost inevitable they’ve ended up establishing a travel company. Damien is heavily involved in the marketing side of the business, whilst Andrew takes care of day-to-day things, like making the coffee.

T&C's

Once you pay the deposit for your holiday you’ll be entering into a contract with us, which is governed by our terms & conditions – so it’s particularly important that you read through these before making your booking. Please click the link below for our terms & conditions.

South Africa Holiday Architects T&Cs.

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