Thinking of going on safari…let us give you some tips and advice
Safari tips and advice
Going on safari or a holiday to Africa has to be one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences you can do in your life. There is something about being in the African bush on safari that makes you feel alive by bringing all your senses together. A safari holiday should be on everyone’s wish list. I have seen people that have never left a city like New York go on safari and be brought to tears by the overall experience – it literary changes your life!
Seeing Africa’s wild animals roaming free, the big open skies by day and star-filled nights, the friendliness and hospitality of the people, the smells, sounds and sights all form part of the overall experience. A safari is something you often can’t explain to someone in pictures or words, it is one of those things that just has to be experienced firsthand to understand why people love it so much. They say once you go, be prepared to want to go back for more…..
Where to go…..
Africa is so vast and the choice of places to see wildlife varies considerably – the finest and most iconic places are: Botswana – The Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Chobe National Park; Tanzania – Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater; Kenya – Maasai Mara, Laikipia, Amboseli; Zimbabwe – Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park; Namibia; Etosha National Park; Zambia; Kafue National Park, Luangwa Valley, Lower Zambezi National Park; and South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Madikwe. But there are so many other areas that will also leave you with a truly amazing experience! And of course Africa is not only about wildlife! There is so much to experience – culture, communities, cuisine, activities, conservation, natural wonders, photography, birding, sport – the list goes on.
Accommodation and mode travel……
Along with these great destinations you can get a wide range of options on accommodation and travel. From small group tours, privately guided trips, self-drive, camping or fully independently-arranged travel in camps and lodges are all available.
Ask yourself….do you mind being with other travellers in the same vehicle and camp each day, or would you perhaps enjoy more of a private experience? Do you want to be a part of a serviced mobile camping safari, or maybe you prefer 3 -5 star permanent camps or lodges? Lodges in a remote areas that have small numbers of guests give a more exclusive and personal experience – or perhaps you don’t mind the larger properties that are a lower premium? Ideally want to stay 2-3 nights at each camp/area and stay at 2-3 different camps to give you a range of areas and experiences offering the greatest diversity.
When to go……
The winter months going into summer are often the best for most of the above mentioned areas (May – October). This is due to the bush being dryer and not as thick with foliage allowing for better opportunities to see game. However some areas offer exceptional game viewing in their summer months and often come at a lower rate as it is out of peak season. Don’t rule out the summer months and be scared of rain as you can get some great deals and still have an incredible experience in the summer months – not to mention witnessing beautiful stormy skies and intense colours in landscape. There are also variations of seasons depending on the destination and what activities you are wanting to do.
Health and safety……
African safari destinations are safe – and your safety is priority. Many of the areas are remote and often removed from the places that bring bad publicity. These are the benefits of using a reputable and knowledgeable safari agent – we will ensure that you are looked after all of the way. Food in the majority of lodges is of top quality and often exceeds expectations – it can be the highlight of some clients safari! If you have special medication, carry this with you in your carry on luggage and ensure you have enough for your trip. Carry extra things like eye drops, sunscreen, wet wipes. Malaria can be a concern when you stay in densely populated areas and often the lodges that are remote have a lower risk of malaria, however it is still recommended to take all the necessary precautions. Spray insect repellent at night (often provided for you), sleep under mosquito net and cover up at dusk, and speak to your travel doctor about recommended prophylactics.
Covid-19 protocols are in place in all safari camps, lodges, hotels, aircraft, safari vehicles and luxury trains. Social distancing, sanitising and general hygeine procedures are taking place to keep you as safe and healthy as possible.
Clothing and luggage……
Wear neutral coloured clothing that is light weight, comfortable and easy to travel with above style. Camouflage clothing is not recommended and in some countries is actually illegal. Stay away from bright coloured clothes and whites. Dinner is often casual dress and what you are most comfortable in. The majority of lodges offer same day laundry service so only take clothes for few days’ supply. Take a pair of closed walking shoes (runners are fine), sandals for around camp and something warm. Soft duffle style bags are best for most modes of travel in Africa – rigid suitcases don’t work on safari as they don’t fit into aircraft luggage pods or safari vehicles
Who to go with…..
When selecting your safari your first step must be to carefully select who to use to plan your trip for you. Whilst you can sometimes find good deals through website driven companies, some aren’t always reliable and when things get tough they may leave you in the lurch. Ideally you want to be able to talk to someone to explain what you want from your safari who then designs your ‘’once in a lifetime’’ trip. An African safari specialist such as ourselves can help you every step of the way – Africa is all we do and we have an immense amount of experience and knowledge to allow you to get the most out of your trip. Africa has many unique destinations and you want to be able to have the support and knowledge – along with back-up should something unforeseen happen – to make it a truly memorable holiday.
- Take a journal – no two days are the same and there will be a lot of great memories, stories, names and notes you will want to keep.
- Take a good camera with you and binoculars are essential.
- Make sure you have travel insurance that covers evacuation as well as medical and cancellation cover
- Most places charge in US$ and staff gratuities are often best paid in US$. The operators will give you their recommendation for tipping guides and camp staff. Most camps and lodges accept credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard, but expect a surcharge of up to five per cent in some places
- Respect wildlife even if they seem comfortable with you they are still wild animals
- Always listen to your guide, they do know what’s best for the environment and most importantly your safety.
A safari holiday may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are thinking of it and want to do something that is different and full of wonder, then why not a safari? There is something on offer for everyone wanting to visit Africa.
Contact us for recommendations, advice and safari planning on firstname.lastname@example.org