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5 Bad Writing Habits You Need to Cut From Your Safari Descriptions

Good writing matters. Good safari tour copywriting will capture your reader’s attention and encourage them to make an enquiry. Bad copywriting will make readers quickly move on to your competitors.

Each safari description should inform, excite and build trust so that potential clients are convinced to make a booking with you.

Bad writing habits can creep into your safari and tour descriptions so, no matter how good your actual safaris are, you won’t get the bookings.

Are you guilty of these copywriting sins?

1. Overuse of Exclamation Points!!!

Too often exclamation points are overused, reducing the effectiveness of your writing. This is particularly common in social media posts but is also found in safari itineraries and descriptions.

Exclamation points are used to express excitement or surprise. Rather than expressing excitement or surprise yourself, instil it in your readers with your words. Craft copy that transports your readers to your destination where they can visualise themselves on safari.

Generally, exclamation points should be avoided but, if you absolutely must use an exclamation point, limit yourself to only one per piece of writing.

And, unless you want to sound like a giggly teenager, never, ever use more than one in the same sentence.

2. The Loooong Sentence

A purposely small number of explorers with a passion for nature who are eager to explore the animal Kingdom who will be lead on a voyage of discovery of the secrets of the African Bush: Learn to follow marks, foot prints or broken twigs, the remains of banquets of mighty predators and observe the extraordinary life of insects and small mammals which are usually difficult to spot during a normal safari in a vehicle.

Now take a breath.

Shorter sentences are easier to read. Long sentences tire and puzzle your readers.

Keep your sentences concise. If your sentences are too long, break them into two or more sentences where possible.

3. The Even Looooooonger Paragraph

People don’t read on the web, they skim. People scan your webpage, reading headings, picking out key phrases then zeroing in on what is of interest.

People find long paragraphs too hard to read and will often skip them entirely.

Welcome to the Masai Mara of Kenya (also spelled “Maasai Mara”), recently designated as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The (lodge name) is situated directly on the annual wildebeest “Great Migration” route, near the two world famous wildebeest migration Mara River crossing points and near Leopard Gorge, all made internationally known by the BBC’s Big Cat Diary television program. Our tented lodge and camp is located on the popular Hippo Bend Lagoon of the Mara River, amongst several elephant, buffalo and giraffe herds, and with close proximity to several lion prides, including the Maternity, Musiara Marsh, Aitong, and River prides. Given the position of our camp in the richest game section of the Masai Mara, the Mara North Conservancy (winner of best wildlife conservancy in Kenya 2011 by EcoTourism Kenya), our camp guests are in the best location to most readily discover theBig Five mammals. Thousands of wildlife documentaries and countless millions of photographs stand testament to this timeless corner of the world.

Did you read the above paragraph? Me either.

You write to be read so break up up your paragraphs into easily digestible chunks. Convey one idea per paragraph. When you’ve conveyed that idea, press return and start on the next.

4. Buzzwords

Any words that are overused become tired and uninteresting. Any traveller researching their next holiday will see these phrases time and time again and tune them out

  • Hidden gem: Is it really hidden? Does this phrase really describe the property?
  • The real Africa: What does this even mean?
  • The warm heart of Africa or the pearl of Africa: An example of country-specific clichés that appear on almost every safari operators’ websites.
  • Passion: Passion is a good thing but we know it’s your business so passionate is probably an overstatement.
  • Welcome: Not really a buzzword but use your heading or opening sentence to grab their attention and convey the essence of your safaris.

Create fresh copy that makes you stand out from your competitors, not blend in.

5. Unnecessary Capitalisation

Safari descriptions often include excess capitalisation. For example:

Experience the thrill of tracking Africa’s Big Five, namely Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Lion and Leopard through the African bush on dawn and dusk game drives in open Safari Vehicles exploring the magnificent Kruger National Park.

Some simple guidelines:

  • Animals are not capitalised unless the name includes a proper name e.g. lion, Pel’s fishing owl.
  • Safari is not capitalised.
  • The name of a lodge or camp is capitalised but not when referred to in a sentence e.g. “The lodge is located in the Kafue National Park…”.
  • The names of parks and reserves should be capitalised but not the words park or reserve on its own. So, ‘Kruger National Park’ is correct but “…game drives through the Park…” is not.

Edit Your Copy Before You Publish

One of the most important parts of any writing is the editing stage.

Before you publish your next piece of writing proofread it. Give it to someone else to proofread. After you’ve stared at the copy for a while it’s easy to miss a mistake so read carefully. Then correct any errors and edit any awkward phrases.

The more you write, the easier it becomes so get to it.

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