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Frequently Asked Questions ...

Are Speyside Wildlife holidays ideal for beginners?
Yes, quite a lot of them are and we pride ourselves on all the help (and sense of fun) that our guides will give you if the world of wildlife watching is new to you.

Will I end up rushing around 'twitching'?
Not with Speyside Wildlife!  Our guides are some of the keenest wildlife enthusiasts around but above all else want you to have a real holiday.  There are always lots of special birds, mammals and more to see (and we know just where to find the very best of them), but chasing big lists or dashing around is generally not our style.

Do Speyside Wildlife look at all sorts of wildlife?
We're curious about all that we see though birds and mammals are our main focus and area of expertise.  Many of our guides are highly knowledgeable on a whole range of subjects and we'll show you birds, land mammals and whales with reptiles, amphibians, plants, invertebrates and more when we can.  If you want to identify slugs we can often do that too!

So just how fit will I need to be?
Super fit!  No, only joking - this will be a holiday, not an outdoor survival school and there'll be no route marches or dawn-to-dusk endurance. Having said that, we do offer optional pre-breakfast excursions and night-time wildlife watching on many of our holidays - it's an exciting time to be out and about - and at other times may walk a few miles on tracks and paths.  The anticipated amount of walking is detailed under each holiday and naturally some tours are more sedentary than others.   Just call the Speyside Wildlife if you're at all uncertain or want to ask questions.

What age group will my fellow guests be?
Speyside Wildlife guests really do span a very wide age range so it's hard to generalise - no two groups are quite alike in that respect, but all tend to mix well and are there to enjoy themselves.  We occasionally find that our more mammal orientated holidays attract a younger audience with a few families joining us, and a few more senior guests joining us on some others.

Will I be part of a large noisy group?
Well we hope not!  We're here to watch wildlife - that will involve some luck, patience, and importantly a quiet approach - but we also always plan to have a lot of fun and make the holiday a great social occasion amongst a group of like-minded people.  Speyside Wildlife groups are usually of no more than 12 (13 when the last place on a tour is requested by a couple), with 2 leaders once the group size is over 8, so we pride ourselves on our high level of personal attention.

I'm single - are you sure this is suitable for me?
We get a lot of single people of all ages (and both sexes) who like to holiday with us because of the extra security, ease, companionship and - above all - fun, of travelling as part of one of our groups.  You'll have space to gaze in silent wonder if that's what you seek, or be urged not to miss something special by our guides at other times. Whatever the case, the most enduring wildlife encounters and holiday memories are always easier to celebrate together.

What if I want to take a day off during the holiday?
That's usually not a problem.  We're often at one base for the duration of the holiday allowing a lot of flexibility if you want to take time out or explore on your own. Plus we may be able to help you with transport or drop you somewhere else you might want to visit whilst you're with us - just ask.

What is there to do in the evenings?
Well, relax and unwind for a start.  We can't promise nightclubs and cabaret on a Speyside Wildlife holiday (you may not be disappointed to learn that you might in fact have the chance to be looking at owls or crepuscular animals instead!), but there'll often be a quiet bar, wide-open skies and an escape from the hurly burly of modern life.  Speyside Wildlife has developed something of a reputation for finding terrific small hotels of character, away from the run-of-the-mill tourist fare, and want to share them with you.

Am I going to need a lot of spending money?
Probably not, but it all depends on whether your family and friends are hoping for lots of holiday presents!  Otherwise you'll probably only need cash for drinks, personal items and souvenirs.  Nearly all other costs, entrance fees, transfers etc are covered by us.

How about smoking?
Speyside Wildlife operates a NO SMOKING policy in the company of other members of the group, accommodation and vehicles.

Does Speyside Wildlife cater for special diets?
Wherever we can, we do.  At our base in Speyside's Glen Feshie just tell us on your booking form about what you can't eat and we'll pull out all the stops to make your meals not only delicious but also tailored to your particular needs.  We can often arrange the same elsewhere, though some countries and remote rural areas can sometimes struggle to meet everyone's dietary requirements.  If you feel that your eating needs might be special then just give us a call and fair warning, so that we can do our best to discuss your needs with the hotels and organise things where we can.

Do I need to pack a towel?
No.  Well not apart from on a couple of our boat-based holidays. Your Speyside Wildlife pre-tour info pack will tell you all you need to know.

Are there tea and coffee making facilities?
Some places have them and some places don't.  In some countries it's not always common to find facilities in the rooms, but your Speyside Wildlife pre-tour info pack will tell you exactly what to expect.

Should I take a hairdryer?
We have hairdryers at the Steading, but it’s not usual to find them provided in many overseas locations, so if you can’t live without one, make sure you pack it, together with an appropriate adaptor if you're joining one of our overseas trips.

Are there clothes washing and drying facilities?
At the Steading we have ample room to dry out coats and boots, but this may not be the case everywhere. Washing facilities may be available in larger hotels on some of our holidays. Again the pre-tour information will let you know where this is available.

Does Speyside Wildlife accept credit cards?
Yes we do!  For no extra charge you can use PayPal to pay by credit or debit card online or over the phone. A verification process needs to be completed once accumulated payments to PayPal exceed £1000.

Is my booking secure?
All our flight-inclusive holidays are financially protected by the ATOL scheme and guests booking a non-flight based holiday with Speyside Wildlife are fully protected against the loss of all monies paid to us in advance (and repatriation if applicable) in the event of our insolvency, by way of a Trust Account, administered by Masson Cairns & Co, Solicitors, Grantown on Spey. Full details of your financial protection can be seen in our Terms and Conditions.

Can I fly from an airport other than the one listed for the holiday?
Sometimes.  We can often arrange add-on flights from your nearest regional airport to connect to London, or on some holidays fly you direct from that airport. We're often asked why we fly from the London area so much. The explanation is that the airline will sell us a less expensive group fare if we all fly together.  We can then pass on to you the most competitive price for the holiday that we can, but be assured that we do our very best to arrange the most convenient airports, flights and times.

How about an ex-flight cost or can I use my air miles?
We can usually give you an ex-flight price for your holiday to enable you to use your air miles - just ask about the possibility for any particular tour.

Where do we meet the guides?
It's all designed to be hassle-free for you.  Your guides will be waiting at a designated point at the airport or railway station in their Speyside Wildlife t-shirts - and at airports you'll have a map of where to meet them along with their photo.  If we're flying they will have your tickets and they will guide you through all the airport procedures and make sure we all get to our plane. If we're meeting you at the station then our vehicles will be waiting to whisk you away.