Timbuktu

An online trip designer to plan your own adventure ✈️

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Timbuktu is an Africa travel company that is revolutionizing the way travellers plan their safaris. How? By handing over complete control to the customer, empowering travellers to design their own trips in Africa, their way.

Reviews

  • Pros: 

    Simple, easy to use, amazing variety of choice, unlike any other African travel company I've come across before.

    Cons: 

    Can't think of any... but wish they didn't just do Africa!

    I have now designed three trips in Africa using Timbuktu and I couldn't rate more highly the experience I had using their site, and the follow on client service, on each occasion.

    It is amazing to have that much control over your travel in a region that is traditionally only accessed by using expensive agents. It feels modern and great value for money - they are definitely opening up safari travel to a younger generation. The site has so many options to choose from but has tools that really help with the planning such as recommended routes and top lodge and activity suggestions, which make it not at all overwhelming and just really fun to play around and explore all of the different options. To then be able to speak to a really knowledgeable and efficient safari expert and have them review your trip is very useful. They took care of all the little details and left the fun stuff to us!

    Our trips were to Kenya, Namibia and South Africa and were all adventures of a lifetime! There is so much to explore on the continent and I genuinely can't wait to get planning my next trip.

    Zoe Wakefield has used this product for one year.
  • Thomas Harries
    Thomas HarriesFounder and designer
    Pros: 

    Great, clean design. Super simple to create amazing trip itineraries

    Cons: 

    Most of the safaris I want to go on are $$$ :(

    The inspire me tool is awesome for daydreaming of trips to the bush

    Thomas Harries has used this product for one week.

Discussion

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Alistair Thornton
Alistair Thornton@alistair_thornton
Hey team Timbuktu - Just curious about the name. How did you guys come up with it and what story does it tell about your awesome product?
Johnny Prince
Johnny PrinceMaker@johnny_prince · Co-founder & CEO, Timbuktu
@alistair_thornton thanks for getting in touch. There's an old saying ‘From here to Timbuktu’ which is commonly used to describe some remote, hard-to-reach, mythical place. Our core mission is to empower curious travellers to experience far-flung corners of Africa, so we felt there was a good fit with the name Timbuktu. Sadly we don't offer trips to Timbuktu yet, but that's in the making!
Johnny Prince
Johnny PrinceMaker@johnny_prince · Co-founder & CEO, Timbuktu
Hello PH, Today we’re launching Timbuktu to the world. We’re revolutionizing the way travelers plan their safaris. How? By handing over complete control to the customer, empowering travelers to design their own trips in Africa, their way. For years, travelling to Africa has been complex and overwhelming to research and more than a little tricky to book independently. In fact, the only viable way to travel to Africa’s wild places has been with the help of a traditional agent. At Timbuktu we’re on a mission to change all that and instead want to empower you, our curious travelers, to easily design your own trip, your way. So how does Timbuktu work? Our site allows you to design and customise your own trips from a selection of curated routes across Africa and hundreds of handpicked lodges. Once complete, your individually-designed trip is then sent to our team of travel experts who, using their expertise and knowledge, will iron out the creases and book all your arrangements. We believe that planning a trip to Africa is easy, fun and exhilarating. The process should be simple and you should be involved from the beginning. So really, all that’s left to do is start designing your safari! Have look at our routes to get you started or if you’re already an Africa guru, start creating a trip from scratch. Your dream safari really is only a few clicks away… So please check us out, start exploring Africa and I’m happy to answer any questions. Happy travelling! Johnny CEO & co-founder, Timbuktu P.S. We’re hiring, check out our careers page
Vince Dickson
Vince Dickson@vince_dickson
@johnny_prince blown away by the website and the amount of information and knowledge you guys provide. I feel like the African travel space has needed something like this for a long time! One question I have is how are you able to provide the same personal service as a standard travel agent if everything is done online?
Johnny Prince
Johnny PrinceMaker@johnny_prince · Co-founder & CEO, Timbuktu
@vince_dickson I'm so pleased you've enjoyed the experience on Timbuktu. We are very focused on providing the best service possible for our guests. Although we use technology to give people the power to design their own trip, saving them time and money, our travel experts are on hand 24/7 to take care of all the details and help our guests refine their trip until it’s absolutely perfect. Thanks! Johnny
Alasdair McCall
Alasdair McCall@ajmccall · iOS Dev and Product Nerd
Guys, I love this website. Seen it evolve through the years and it's looking ACE 👌 I was wondering, do you envision it always being high end safaris and get aways, or is this a stepping stone to something like !kayak
Johnny Prince
Johnny PrinceMaker@johnny_prince · Co-founder & CEO, Timbuktu
@ajmccall thanks so much for your kind words. Our short term vision is focused on Africa travel, changing how safaris are discovered and booked, allowing people to design their own trips. Long term, our mission is to empower travellers to experience the far-flung corners of the world. Whether that be trips to the remote corners of Patagonia or island hopping in Southeast Asia. In the same way that Kayak has made booking flights so easy, we’re wanting to make travel to remote places easy and accessible. Thanks again so much for your support! Johnny
Ian Petzer
Ian PetzerMaker@ianpetzer · Co-Founder and CTO - timbuktutravel.com
@ajmccall Thanks for the awesome feedback! Like Johnny said.. We're starting off with african safaris as a niche but expanding into other remote locations soon!
Edward Barrow
Edward Barrow@edward_barrow
This looks like an awesome platform and I'm planning a safari right now in South Africa as a matter of interest. Just curious how your technology caters for pricing?
Johnny Prince
Johnny PrinceMaker@johnny_prince · Co-founder & CEO, Timbuktu
@edward_barrow glad you're enjoying Timbuktu and that's exciting you're planning a trip to South Africa! We've developed an algorithm that gives a price estimate for your entire trip based on your dates of travel, including flights within Africa, transfers and your accommodation. We're trying to be as transparent as possible, allowing you to get a very clear indication of cost and allow you to make an informed choice about where to travel and where to stay. Let us know if you need any help or advice with your trip! Johnny
Ian Petzer
Ian PetzerMaker@ianpetzer · Co-Founder and CTO - timbuktutravel.com
Hi PH, I'm the tech co-founder for Timbuktu and I thought I would give some details on the tech stack behind Timbuktu in case any of you are interested. The front-end is built in ember.js which has been really awesome for us as we have been able to keep abreast of developments in the software world as ember has been upgraded over the years while still being able to rely on essentially the same core architecture. On the server side we use node.js to actually serve up the app with an api built using Ruby on Rails. All the data is safely stored in a Postgres database. Basically as a team we value convention of configuration and frameworks like emberjs and Rails that have enabled us to be productive even though we're a small team by standing on the shoulders of giants! ... aka the framework contrbutors