about Biggestleaf Travel

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GUIDING PRINCIPALS

Our core values that guide how we do business

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CONSERVATION

Protecting Africa’s incredible wildlife for generations to come

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PHILANTHROPY

Improving the lives of communities through sustainable interventions

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CLIENT REVIEWS

Our Trustpilot reviews are 100% independent

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OUR GUIDING PRINCIPALS

Biggestleaf Travel was founded in 2009 by Robert Bernatzeder with only a basement office, a single laptop and a big dream to start with. The beginning of this journey combined a passion for travel and core business principles that are still true today. These guiding principles are:

A total focus on people to ensure a successful business

As the business has grown, the key to unlocking its potential has been an unwavering focus on the people and culture. The importance of investing in our staff and their environment is crucial. Robert also firmly believes in building a sustainable business that delivers on its promises to clients and suppliers.

Financial structures are a key component

Having solid financial structures in place is a key component of our success. Clients return because we honour cancellation policies and have a 100% refund rate. Suppliers are also important and paying them on time was a rule that was implemented right from the start. We don’t quibble when it comes to your money as we believe in the principle that a client’s deposit is still the client’s money, up until cancellation policies or actual travel has dictated otherwise.

In it for the long-haul

Biggestleaf Travel has grown every year in the travel industry, not only financially but also in knowledge and experience that results in an improved experience for all stakeholders. This accumulation of years of experience allowed us to work through the pandemic and get through that difficult time. It made us even stronger as a team, even more passionate about travel and rededicated us to ensuring we give our best service to our clients.

Complete transparency

Our Trustpilot reviews are 100% independent – read them here to see what our clients have to say about our service. Implementing independent reviews was an important step to build trust with our clients, especially in the age of digitisation. As a team, we strive to be better today than yesterday and we set high standards for ourselves. We also know that we can’t always get it right: sometimes it is more important to own up to a difficult situation than to believe you will never make a mistake.

 Still owner-managed

Robert Bernatzeder, who was born and raised in South Africa and has strong roots in Germany and Namibia, is personally involved and focuses on playing a key support role to his staff on a daily basis. Roanna Bernatzeder, who hails from Zambia originally, studied Business Science (Honours) and uses her strong financial background to ensure that all Biggestleaf Travel’s ventures have a firm financial grounding.

Knowledge is everythinG

Not only are we based in Africa but our team has lived in or visited at least 14 different African countries. We travel extensively, attend regular supplier training and constantly upskill ourselves to give you the best possible advice. We strive to grow our first-hand experience of places we sell to ensure we give you the right advise and the best possible service.

Insurance, insurance, insurance

As a travel company, we can only get insurance to cover certain circumstances. We advise all our clients to get comprehensive travel and medical insurance of their own. We are comprehensively insured with SATIB Insurance, an international brokerage founded in 1990 that specialises in the travel industry. Our insurance covers the following:

• Professional indemnity insurance covers any omissions or errors in bookings so you don’t lose your holiday. So far, we are claim-free.

• SATIB 24 Crisis Call provides insurance for all our clients in case of emergency, and for evacuation after an accident.

• Passenger liability covers any clients using our specialist transfer division.

• SATSA Bonding, which means we get audited by SATSA (Southern Africa Tourism Services Association) and qualify for their financial assistance insurance.

CONSERVATION

Modern conservation encompasses everything from preserving wildlife and saving habitats to helping communities and embracing as many true green technologies as possible. This is why we include lodges’ conservation and charity work in our write-ups about them. Like so many of our clients, we want to support those camps that make an effort to improve people’s lives and conserve all that is special to Africa.

Our own conservation work includes co-producing Eye Of The Pangolin, a fascinating documentary that looks at one of safari’s most sought-after but least-seen animals. At the time Biggestleaf Travel seed funded the initial trailer to get the project started. The Eye of the Pangolin was always indented to get more people aware of this amazing creature because we can only conserve something that we know about.

Although pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animal to Asian markets and under huge threat of extinction, Eye Of The Pangolin is essentially a love letter to this shy, gentle creature that may disappear before we ever really get to know it. There is also a second video and potential third video in the making and Biggestleaf Travel is still very much in communication with the progress of those documentaries.

WATCH THE EYE OF THE PANGOLIN

PHILANTHROPY

Robert is passionate about business and supporting young entrepreneurs. Having built several companies over the years, he offers valuable support to young South African innovators, entrepreneurs and game changers who share our passion, ambition and integrity. He has helped several companies and community projects in Langa and Khayelitsha, two large townships in Cape Town, help them reach bigger audiences and grow their work.

WATCH MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’VE DONE