(NAPSI) - Let’s face it, you can have a  truly great safari experience no matter where in Africa  you go. But in many ways, who you  go with is more important than where you go. For me, whether it’s Kenya, Tanzania,   South Africa, Botswana, side trips to Zanzibar  or Victoria Falls, or gorilla tracking excursions to Rwanda, my  choice of tour operator is always the same Micato  Safaris.

When you are excellent at something for a long time, people tend to  notice, and that is the case with Micato. It doesn’t  surprise me that Travel+Leisure just named Micato the “World’s Best Safari Outfitter”—again.  It was no fluke, since they won the same award last year—and the year  before. In fact, it’s the ninth time in the past decade the magazine  has given Micato that distinction.

Travel+Leisure is not  alone. Micato has been called the best by National  Geographic Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler, Virtuoso (an exclusive  consortium of the nation’s best travel agents) and many others. But  while these accolades reflect well on the amazing job Micato  does, these awards are not why I called them for my trip.

Micato’s insider clout makes things happen

I called Micato because I have traveled with  them before. I’ve written previously about how enamored I am with  Butterfield & Robinson, the world-class bicycle tour operator. Well, Micato is the equivalent for safaris, and both companies  succeed over and over again by emphasizing the same things: excellence of  guides, local employees, offices and equipment; utilizing the very best  accommodations and cuisine; and decades of firsthand knowledge and insider  clout to make things happen that others simply can’t.

Micato Africa was started by Felix and Jane  Pinto in 1966. They are both Kenyans with long personal connections to their  homeland. Every Micato trip to East   Africa includes a meal at their private home—Lavington. On my first visit to Kenya, I was  lucky enough to meet both of them.

In addition to personal attention from the Pinto family, there are other  special Micato-only touches. Guests routinely meet Maasai elders and enjoy other “invitation only”   experiences such as meeting with paleontologist Louise Leakey, granddaughter  of the world’s most famous paleontologists, Louis and Mary Leakey.

Personalized service, every step of  the way

Many tour operators, especially safari companies, are essentially booking  agents, turning over actual operations to local companies that handle the  ground transportation and guiding. Not Micato,  which has its own fleet of first-rate safari vehicles. But the company’s  biggest asset is a cadre of highly trained, multilingual, expert safari  guides, drivers, tour leaders, and trackers. From the moment you get off the  plane until the moment you leave, your trip is personally supervised.

For every safari they sell, Micato sends a child to school

Micato packs appeal for another reason, too. In  an age when hotels and other travel entities are suddenly trying to cast a  socially responsible image, the company has been a leader in philanthropic  travel long before it became a fashionable marketing tool. Micato has been doing philanthropic work for 25 years  through its charity arm, AmericaShare, whose  programs provide educational support and community outreach to impoverished  Kenyan families.

Micato also has a One for One Commitment: For  every single safari they sell, Micato pays the  expenses and fees to send an African child to school. Their philanthropy  earned them Condé Nast Traveler’s World Savers Award in 2010,  which Micato just won again for 2012, in two  different categories: Education and “Doing It All.”

Scheduled and customized  itineraries, all departures guaranteed

Micato has a unique product called the “Bespoke  Collection,” accommodations consisting of private ranches, family  homesteads, and country estates throughout Kenya  and Tanzania,  many with-in private game reserves, to which Micato  guests have exclusive access. Itineraries custom-built around these  accommodations include anniversary, wedding, celebratory, honeymoon and  graduation-themed trips, itineraries using private planes or jets, and unique  safaris by horseback, camel or on foot.

For its scheduled group trips, Micato has an  unusual guaranteed departure rule—sign up for a published trip and you  are going, even if no one else does. Last year I tried to go on a specialized  European trip with a different high-end tour operator only to have it  canceled because they said not enough people signed up. That won’t  happen with Micato.

Major inclusions, plus no tipping  necessary

Unlike some other tour operators, Micato adds no  surcharges or supplemental fees to their published or quoted prices, and  includes many things in their rate that other companies will nickel and dime  you for: airport transfers, park entrance fees, and all bottled water and  soft drinks. And Micato has a “no tipping  necessary—ever” policy. All gratuities are included, from porters  to waiters to safari directors, drivers and guides.

There are a lot of different reasons to love Micato  Safaris, but for me at the end of the day it comes down to confidence. Just  as you might seek out the best possible surgeon for an operation or the best  architect to design your home, there is peace of mind that comes from knowing  you are in the best hands and have a true expert in your corner.

To find out how to book your own incredible safari, log on to www.micato.com or call 1-800-MICATO-1.