About Steppes Discovery

About Us
A few reasons to consider using Steppes Discovery…

The birth of Steppes Discovery
Steppes Discovery was founded in 1997, as a travel company dedicated to supporting nature, wildlife and conservation through responsible wildlife tourism and our aim is simple – to offer you exceptional wildlife holidays that you can’t find anywhere else. As award winning pioneers in responsible travel, we have formed unique partnerships over the years with some of world’s leading conservation organizations and many home-grown initiatives, allowing a few select clients a privileged insight into the natural world not possible through conventional tourism.

With a network of contacts and experts across the globe, our tours give you the chance to explore some of the most exciting destinations on the planet, alongside many of the best specialists in their field. As we take an active and leading role in advocating ways to find better and more sustainable business, environmental and social practices, by joining our tours, you are providing the economic, ethical and environmental incentives to conserve such areas for future generations.

Our Team
Our specialists have a wealth of travel experience under their belts and revisit their own areas of expertise each year to refresh their minds and discover new opportunities. Many have been with us for more than 10 years and have developed a following of clients who trust their judgement and will travel with no one else. We hope you will join those ranks.

They will tell you about those intimate, friendly hotels, introduce you to charismatic guides and our hidden gems – those extra qualities that make your holiday both unique and special.

Guiding Lights
We pride ourselves on the characters that we work with. Yes they are guides, yes they have expertise but the reason that we work with them is because their passion and personality bring destinations to life and leave a lasting impression on you.

Boutique
Where you stay is very much part of the experience. Our first-hand knowledge of the properties we recommend ensures that they have character. The key is for our specialist to find out where you want to stay and what best suits your budget and taste.

Reassurance
With twenty-four years of experience and knowledge we have built up many longstanding relationships with our partners around the world, ensuring they deliver the very best service to you. You will not only be able to contact them throughout your stay abroad but also our office on a dedicated number that is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We go that extra mile to give you added security and peace of mind.

Recognition
Rather than beat our own drum, the fact that 70% of our business is repeat and referral is, for us, the highest endorsement we could have. Plus being twenty-four years in the business confirms our expertise and professionalism.
Personalised touches as above make your holiday with us distinctive and individual.

Financial Protection
Steppes Travel is a fully bonded tour operator (ATOL 6945) that complies with the Civil Aviation Authority bonding.

“Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate.

We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).

In addition all land (accommodation) only bookings are financially protected with payments held in a separate trust account, in accordance with the Package Travel Regulations Act 1992.

A diverse portfolio covering (almost) all your holiday requirements
While we don’t sell mainstream Europe, the USA, Taiwan, South Korea and we don’t ski, we handle pretty much everything else. This includes expeditionary voyages (Arctic, Antarctic, South America, Mediterranean), river cruises (Amazon, Ganges, Irrawaddy, Rhine), tailor made epic journeys (through Sudan and Ethiopia, along the Silk Road or across Russia), cultural tours, safaris, dog sledding, family holidays, school trips, fully staffed private villas and the occasional beach resort. Additionally, we have a wildlife department who work extensively with the world’s leading research centres to provide unprecedented access to species such as gorillas, pandas, elephants, tigers and orangutans.

Tailor Made Travel
Our sister company Steppes Travel can tailor make holidays if you would prefer not to travel as part of a group. They can be designed for one person, a couple, a group of friends through to organising a party for 400. We are not beholden to hotels or airlines and will simply choose the ones which we think are the best and which reflect the way in which you like to travel.

Your holiday is designed around what you want. This allows you to explore your interests, select your style of accommodation and travel at your pace. Your dedicated specialist will provide you with expertise and insight but above all value for money. He or she will be there to answer any questions you might have, ensure you have the very best service and make the planning of your holiday fun. Before you leave, he or she will call to wish you a great trip and also when you return to ensure that everything was how you wanted and expected.

Small group archaeological tours
For those looking for small cultural and archaeological group tours, our sister company The Traveller, uses the talents of recognised writers, historians and experts from the diverse worlds of archaeology and textiles, to make your trip truly inspirational.

The environmental impact of hotels and lodges
While your comfort and satisfaction remain our prime concern, increasingly we are carefully considering which hotels and lodges to use based on their environmental policy. Bland statements advertising the amount of money diverted back into a region are not sufficient and on every trip made by our staff we are looking for evidence of partnerships with the local community, the disposal of rubbish and their impact on the environment. We urge you to do the same.

Air Travel
We are well aware of the controversy and arguments surrounding the environmental impact of flying. But consider this argument. If, at the flick of a switch, we could ground all flights tomorrow, the great game reserves of Africa would probably disappear within 5 years. Tigers, gorillas and orangutans would become extinct and countries such as Nepal, who rely on tourism, would suffer. Long haul flying delivers tourists to destinations who desperately need the money. Instead of banning flying we should recognise the problem and manage the damage more effectively. As a company we do not adhere to the carbon offset schemes that abound, but are more inclined to support charities such as The World Land Trust or Rainforest Concern who empower local populations to buy land that would otherwise go to logging or mining.

We hope we reflect the way you like to travel
Most importantly we remain a private company, not constrained by what or how we sell. This allows us to deliver a highly personal level of service and an itinerary that understands the way you like to travel. Above all, it gives us superb buying skills and agent loyalty often resulting in room upgrades, but more importantly, highly competitive prices for the type of travel we offer.

We very much look forward to your travel enquiries in 2013.

Yours sincerely

Nicholas A G Laing

PS – and yes, we have been lucky enough to receive various awards over the years from the likes of The Guardian, Tatler and Condé Nast Traveller. But being British we don’t shout about it. Maybe we should?