Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the maximum number of guests on tour?
Many companies advertise a ‘small group’ as 10 -20 guests. Here at Sandrifter, we really believe to enjoy an intimate guided touring experience, a small group should consist of just a few people. That’s why our range of tours are guaranteed with a minimum of two and a maximum of only 4 – 6 guests per vehicle. This ensures a flexible journey that is tailored to your own interests and capabilities. On certain included activities not operated directly by Sandrifter Safaris there may be other guests and expert local guides.
We also offer all our tours as Private Departures. So, if you want the day to yourself and a tour that we tailor to your own interests, abilities and time frame, this is easily arranged.
If you have a group of family and friends larger than four, we also offer a range of options from a 20 seat mini bus, 30 seat 4×4 coach or our unique tag-along option where we supply an additional fully equipped 4WD to be driven by one of your own group.
We travel in convoy and all your group has the benefit of our experienced driver guide and stay in the same stylish accommodation along the way. It’s a great way for a larger group to still experience our intimate style of touring whilst getting a feel for driving a 4×4 on your adventure.
Who will be my guide for our tour?
Sandrifter Safaris is owned and operated by Alice Springs locals. We ensure that you only get exceptional & very experienced Local Driver Guides to accompany your tour.
We really are the best in the business. Other tour agents hire interstate or international staff as needed. It is quite possible you may have the Owner Mark, as your Driver Guide.
For more information on our fantastic guides check out our About Us page.
Is my tour “Fully Inclusive”?
All transport, accommodation, entrance fees, and meals specified on your itinerary are included in your tour price. Occasionally we allow you the flexibility to choose your own meals on tour as many of the ‘group buffets’ included at accommodation venues are not as satisfactory as restaurant options.
We also have optional tours such as scenic flights, Bike Rides, Camel Tours on some departures which can be booked whilst on tour.
All inclusions and optional (with the approximate cost) are available to view on our detailed itineraries.
Who will I be dealing with when I want to organise my tour?
We like to think we offer you very personalised, warm and attentive level of service. We are in Alice Springs and we do suffer internet & power outages from time to time. So please bear with us while we respond to your enquiries.
We Hope to respond within 24 hours of your enquiry.
For questions, itineraries and bookings from the time of your first enquiry until the time you return home you will be dealing with Mark from our office in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
What if I have a disability?
We will always endeavour to offer you a pace you’re comfortable with.
We can organise the correct vehicle, walking frames, wheel chairs anything to make your tour awesome. Please contact us directly and we are more than happy to discuss the options and come up with a feasible & realistic trip that is tailored for your personal abilities and interests.
What type of Vehicle do we have on tour?
Sandrifter Safaris operates a fleet of modern Vehicles & 4WD’s specifically tailored for travelling in the remote and harsh conditions we encounter in in Central Australia and the Top End.
Our fleet consists of 1x Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series, 1 x Toyota Land Cruiser 76 series, 1 x Ford Territory Titanium & 1 X 20 Seat Toyota Coaster.
To ensure our vehicles are as robust and reliable as possible they are fastidiously maintained with regular mechanical servicing and daily checks, fitted with aftermarket accessories such as Bull Bars, Snorkels, 2nd Batteries, Fridges, and more.
Safety and comfort are of paramount importance, so we choose the vehicle for the tour destination.
All vehicles carry UHF Radios, Satellite Phones & 1st Aid Kits and all our vehicles are Air-Conditioned.
On an outback road trip whilst we do cover vast distances. we ensure you travel in safety, style and comfort whilst exploring the spectacular region.
How much Driving is there on tour?
Due to the size of the Northern Australia destinations and the destinations we visit,a large amount of driving can be required on all of our tours.
Our tour itineraries are designed to balance out activities and drive times over the duration of the tour, and we keep driving blocks to a maximum of 2 hours at the time after which we take a break. We make stops regularly to take photographs, view sights of interest, stretch the legs or have a coffee, snack or refreshment.
There will be more driving on some days than others, for example, on some days we might only drive for an hour or two, while other days may require four to six hours of driving over the course of the day. The exact driving implications will depend on the tour destination and length.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
We highly recommend you have appropriate travel & cancellation insurance.
Our tours operate in remote regions and our travel and itineraries are subject to change. We can encounter weather conditions, road closures and other unforeseen events that may impact on our journey.
There is also limited medical assistance in many areas where we operate, and a medical emergency may result in an air evacuation, for which travel insurance may assist.
Please bring a copy of your policy and if you’re travel insurance is covered under your Credit Card then please bring details such as 24 hour Insurance Contact Number and Policy Coverage.
Please note that the emergency Royal Flying Doctor Services (RFDS) are free to Australian citizens however fees apply to International travellers.
We email you a medical form for our records and ask that any medical issues be made aware.
Even the tiniest ailment please as medical response can be few and far between.
What type of accommodation will I be staying in?
We offer you the options of accommodation to suit your budget and tastes whilst travelling with us.
Whilst on tour we stay in stylish outback accommodation, from remote campsites & lodges, to working cattle stations, comfortable motel style rooms and our very favourite – camping in swags out under the stars.
The properties that we have selected have all been personally road-tested by us. We have selected them because they have character & are extremely comfortable.
Where do we camp if we are camping on our tour?
On all our tours, we use a mix of national park campgrounds, station campgrounds and bush camps. We camp in designated camping areas where required, for example in National Parks and Nature Reserves, or on private leases such as cattle stations or indigenous reserves.
When possible, we prefer to bush camp away from other people, noise and light pollution for your million star hotel experience. Particularly when visiting the Simpson and Tanami Deserts.
If you are joining us on an Uluru or Kakadu Tour, all camping will be in designated NP campgrounds as per national park guidelines. I
If you have booked a private tour, we are happy to discuss your camping options and plan around your preferences.
Where do I sleep when we camp and what is a swag?
We provide tents that are easy and quick to set up, and can be used with a fly sheet, or just as a net to allow you to see the night sky. Single travellers will be provided with their own tent. You may choose to sleep in the tent or experience sleeping outside.
Our swags are made from strong canvas, sewn like a large sleeping bag with a comfortable mattress inside providing warmth, comfort and security. You sleep in your sleeping bag inside the swag out under the stars atop of our camp beds, we don’t put you on the ground.
Will there be toilets and showers at camps?
When we camp, some sites use shared toilets sometimes showers. This can be an experience in itself. If no shower is available, we will provide a “bush Shower”. This is a simple warm shower hung from above and a privacy wall.
We will provide adequate toilet stops on the journey but have no control over the state of the loos.
What about drinks?
Sandrifter Safaris provide water, juice and/or cordial while on tour. Tea and “Real Coffee” is available to plunge and enjoy on our rest stops. Please purchase any preferred soft drinks and alcoholic beverages pre departure. We can stop in town before departure.
Alcohol is not available before 1pm in the NT. We can arrange for your favourite alcohol to be pre purchased should we leave before 1pm. Pick up fees will apply.
Due to our travel timing and alcohol restrictions at our destinations, it will most likely not be possible to purchase alcoholic beverages while on tour.
There are limited rubbish disposal facilities in remote locations, therefore please purchase your drinks in cans if possible; they can be crushed up and take up less space than glass bottles. There is no limit to how many drinks you can bring, we will ensure your drinks are kept cool for you to enjoy around the campfire.
Please keep in mind that alcohol should always be consumed in a responsible manner, and the consumption of alcohol can contribute to dehydration.
When is the best time to visit?
The main visiting season is April to October. In Australia’s Red Centre we have 2 seasons – Hot & Cold. Cold Season is from May – August. Overnight temps can get to minus 6 and daytimes as high as 28. From September onwards, it tends to get rather hot as the weather ‘builds up’ and can be very hot, wet & humid especially from mid-October through to March. The rains in the centre depend on cyclones & storm activity up the west coast and across the top end of Australia. When the rains come some roads become inaccessible for a few days.
That’s why our primary touring season commences in March and runs through to November. The shoulder seasons are still great times to travel as there are less people around and we are often in solitude. We do activities early in the morning and choose the rest of the days activities based on the forecast. Parks will close all walks when temperatures are forecast for above 35.
July and August are the busiest months as school holidays take place and the weather in the centre and top end is perfect whilst September the roads are corrugated and torn to bits, a real adventure.
Whenever you choose to travel through this extraordinary wilderness you are ensured of an unforgettable experience.
Is the tour itinerary flexible?
Because our groups are small and intimate, we have the ultimate flexibility to be able to change the order of the itinerary depending on your interests, spend a little longer somewhere or enjoy impromptu experiences. We think our tours give you the best experience by feeling like you are travelling independently, exploring and discovering whilst we take care of all the nitty gritty – it’s the best way to travel!
If you are after even more flexibility then talk to us about a Private Departure which will be tailored to your very own interests, abilities and time frame.
Will I be able to relax and what is a day’s touring like?
We love to feel the isolation when we travel. You will find that due to our small groups and our very careful planning of the tour itinerary there is plenty of time to enjoy the incredible sights of the region.
We incorporate many 2 night stays when possible to allow us plenty of time to explore and also to enjoy some down time – sometimes there is nothing better than to explore at your pace, enjoy a book from our travelling library or just sit and soak in the remote sites. You never know who comes out when nature has got used to you sitting still!
A typical day on tour starts with a delicious healthy breakfast, exploring the surrounding country, learning about the region, geology and culture, walking up an amazing gorge and possibly swimming in a pristine waterhole, throw in a fresh picnic lunch and a chat with a local character and it’s not a bad day. By the way…. that’s before you settle back in your stylish outback accommodation, maybe enjoy a glass of wine with an unforgettable sunset & sit lazily by camp fire. Dining on amazingly good food under the stars.
It’s an unforgettable experience…
What is a “shared Departure” and a “Private Departure”?
We offer the choice of Small Group and Private Touring.
Our Shared Departures are available for all our published tour itineraries (as on our website and in our brochure) and are guaranteed to run with just 2 guests subject to availability.
To make the tour as cost effective as possible once we have a confirmed booking of 2 guests on the Shared Departure, we will offer that tour to up to another 2 guests and we may have a maximum of 4 guests travel together on that tour.
These tours are still very intimate, and you will receive very personalised service from your friendly Driver Guide as well as a degree of flexibility whilst on tour.
Alternatively, we offer the option of a Private Departure and personalised itinerary. This will allow your guests the chance to exclusively design a tour with our on the ground knowledge with private charter our vehicle/s along with your Driver / Guide.
This allows a larger degree of flexibility with tour planning and the itinerary and can be tailored perfectly to suit your personal budgets, interests and abilities.
What do I need to pack and how much luggage space is onboard?
A general idea is comfortable & casual clothing is best, with thongs (flip flops) or similar handy and a decent pair of walking shoes essential. During the day it’s usually very pleasant and shorts or light comfy trousers are the way to go. It can get quite cool in the evenings, especially in the desert environments from June through August so a set of warm clothes are highly recommended.
You only need personal medication and toiletries.
We do have a limit on luggage as we carry all luggage inside the vehicle. We can only carry soft sided bags (duffle bags are best and definitely not Samsonite type hard cases) with a maximum of 12kgs per bag. If you’re travelling with a large degree of suitcases, we can offer you a stop n drop.
This is we stop by our secure premises to re pack what you need into a smaller soft sided bag provided by Sandrifter. Please note this is only available on Alice – Alice tours. In additional personal small day backpack and camera bag is fine.
We send comprehensive Trip Notes with suggested packing details to you on receipt of your full payment.
I have a dietary requirement. Can you cater for me?
We can cater to most special requests such as a vegetarian menu, food intolerances, special diet dishes, etc.
However we must be notified in advance of any special dietary requests as we often operate in remote regions where our suppliers have limited availability if not pre advised.
Please contact us if you have any questions on dietary requirements.