If you are a frequent reader of Endeavour, the name Nomad Tours will be familiar; we have been covering the success of the African tour company for many years. As a company that brings people together to experience the breathtakingly beautiful sights of the African landscape, they remain a leading force for safari tourism across the continent. Following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nomad Tours faced some heart-breaking losses, forcing the company to move forward in a more streamlined way. Now almost three years later, we return to Nomad Tours to remind ourselves why the company is a first choice for customers globally to see the beauty that Africa has to offer.
To those unfamiliar, Nomad Tours is a tourist and travel company specialising in bringing you into the heart and beauty of the African landscape. After a year of travelling across Africa, owner and founder Alex Rutherford noticed a gap in the market between the budget tours and the higher-end packages. It was on this trip that Nomad Tours and its sentiment of “do it better and do it for less” was founded to bring tour packages that put you right in the middle of nature for an affordable price. Spanning 12 countries with 100 tour options, Nomad Tours is the first choice for really seeing Africa in all its glory. We have seen the business grow over the years towards acquiring hotel locations and a large fleet of expedition trucks, however, the sentiment of Nomad stays the same: adventure and travelling where the passion for Africa is never lost.
Nomad Tours dedicates its success to the high-standard tours they deliver, as every single one is filled with magic and a keen love for the African landscape. The tour guides are a key force behind the superior customer service that is delivered, as they aim to give a unique and personal experience of Sub-Saharan Africa. The desire to foster relationships between people is something that goes back to the humble roots of Nomad Tours. Starting largely as a company taking travellers to see the wonders that Africa has to offer on a camping basis; the tours promoted finding new friends and creating new relationships with those you’d be experiencing Africa alongside. Their tour guides take great joy in showing the beauty that Africa has to offer, and consequently, it is this desire to bring people together, whilst delivering informative, high quality and passionate tours which makes Nomad Tours so special.
Furthermore, Nomad Tours is proud to remain wholly independent, with the owner Alex remaining in the managerial position, and with 100% of its staff being African. Therefore, Nomad Tours creates job opportunities within Africa and then reinforces its communities economically through this employment. Across the company, Nomad Tours boasts 150 combined years of experience which comes together to deliver top-quality tour services, therefore, there is no doubt why Nomad Tours already notes 130,000 happy clients over the past 25 years of operation.
After beginning with a single truck and very few employees, the company now has a fleet of around 40 vehicles, 150 staff and roughly 40 scheduled departures a month all over Africa. As of 2023, Nomad Tours celebrates 25 years since their first touring truck, and the continuous effort since then to keep their vehicles updated to ensure the best experience for their customers. In 1997, the first truck featured a rear kitchen, small sliding windows, a roof rack and a roof box, however, the capacity for passengers was limited so a year later they upgraded to a second truck with the ability to carry 27 clients. Unfortunately, this truck was lost to the flash floods of Namibia in 2002, but the company strove forward, and by 1999 they had introduced 20 new trucks all with the ability to carry a much larger number of passengers. By 2000 they had acquired their first truck to travel and tour in East Africa which further extended the business operations of Nomad Tours across the continent.
Over the following years, Nomad Tours developed their touring truck fleet to accommodate the increasing customer base and with that the vehicles which would accommodate both the desire for small and intimate tours that had become increasingly popular, as well as the larger tours they began with. 2019 marked a crucial year for the Nomad Tours truck fleet with the introduction of water purification systems across all vehicles. This came as a successful initiative to reduce the amount of plastic being produced from their tours from guest plastic water bottle waste.
However, following the effects of the global pandemic later that year, Nomad Tours suffered great losses to their fleet resulting in the necessity to sell many vehicles chassis (keeping the customized truck bodies) until travel could resume to a semi-normal capacity along with the rest of the tourism industry a lengthy 18 months later. As we saw when we last spoke to founder and owner Alex, he remained in positive spirits and saw the company’s ability to still retain significant numbers of staff and remained effectively still open online, to ensure refunds or rescheduling of travel plans could be completed, as a testament to the legacy of success they had already built. Nomad retained a valuable connection with its staff, suppliers, and customer base by ensuring their desire to allow people to live out their bucket list travel plans was never lost. It is Nomad Tours’ resilience to the pandemic that reinforces their place as the leader in the African safari tour industry, as throughout every challenge they put their people and their passion for travel into every decision they made.
Overall, Nomad Tours exemplifies a clear desire for allowing people to adventure and experience Africa just as Alex did all those years ago, but in an affordable but quality-driven way. As a company, they are crucially focused on giving back and supporting people, places, and animals. Nomad Tours set up The Nomad African Trust in 2008, which remains focused on supporting and uplifting communities, protecting areas in desperate need of conservation, and promoting breeding programmes to reinstate species to their natural habitats across Africa. Consequently, Nomad Tours is so much more than a company operating in the tourism industry, they are a voice for discovering the world whilst fostering social and environmental change. We look forward to seeing what Nomad Tours gets up to in the future, and to see where their nomadic tendencies take them and the future of African safari.