12 Tips How to Plan the Perfect African Safari
A safari can be a dream come true where you get to see incredible locations and see exotic animals up cose. But before booking a trip its important you don’t make some basic mistakes.
There are lots of things you should know before going on an African safari and by dedicated time to planning, you can avoid the most common issues.
Read our useful first time safari tips and suggestions which will help you stay safe and enjoy an incredible safari holiday.
1. Research Well In-Advance
You should do some thorough proper research before booking a safari tour. There are many reviews for operators and trips on our website and also websites like Tripadvisor that will provide you with feedback and ratings from previous travellers.
Always be sure of the trustworthiness of the company with whom you are thinking about booking your safari with, and reviews can be a good way to judge this.
2. Travel Insurance
Buy travel insurance before departing. Some companies require travel insurance as a requirement to join any trip. This will provide you with comfort and peace of mind once in the bush just incase anything happens.
2. Choose Your Destination Carefully
Deciding where to go can be tough as there are so many amazing places you can book a safari. Although there are African tours throughout the continent top recommended destinations for first time safari trips include South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. All these countries have exceptional national parks, wildlife and accommodation.
3. Check Your Budget
When you are researching safari operators, you will find these trips generally are not cheap. A safari is a once in a lifetime experience, you can make it extra special by trying to save as much money as possible to give you a better level of comfort.
There are though safaris for all budgets and generally group short trips are cheaper than private longer experiences. Try not to not fall for some cheap offers that are displayed by some safari tour operators and be sure to check everything what is included.
You might also want to book last minute to secure the best deal possible.
4. Choice Of Transport
You should your company and check what vehicles they use. A bad choice of company and transport can ruin your entire safari experience. If you are planning to be away for a while it is important to get something which is comfortable and spacious.
Some vehicles are also air conditioned which can make trips more comfortable. Sometimes you may prefer the open vehicles which are customized only for the safari travel.
While choosing the vehicle, you must keep in mind two factors- the comfort level and the proper arrangement to ensure great view of the wildlife.
Tenting safaris are an amazing way to experience life in the bush but if you are a light sleeper, then tented safaris might want to be avoided. Some operators offer cabins and resort accommodation which can be much more comfortable. You can also find some incredible places to stay if you have the budget, some luxury safari lodges in South Africa are out of this world.
You should check the schedule for your tour before departing just so you have an idea of where you will be going and doing. This is exciting and can help you get prepared. Be sure to wake up early as this is one of the best times to see wild animals in their natural habitat during the early morning or the late afternoon as they perform most of their daily dramas during these times.
7. Group Tours
If you are going to be traveling in a group, you may encounter many different people from all over the world. You will be travelling close to therefore, it is always better to maintain a friendly and helpful attitude. Everyone will be there to enjoy the experience.
8. Consider Going Independent
To drive or not to drive is completely your personal preference. If you are driving, then you may miss out many wildlife viewing opportunities as you need to focus on the road. Besides, if you take a guide, he can share you with his experience and can make you aware of the habits of the animals. This will not be possible if you are driving on your own.
9. Take Care
Never forget to listen to instructions and take care of yourself during your trip. Sometimes the conditions for both travelling and living can be rustic so beaware of this before departing. Remember to take medication for example diarrhea prevention tablets or eye drops. You should also take extra caution at night as this is when most wildlife attacks happen.
10. Pack Sensibly
Do you really to take all the things in your bag or suitcase? Check the weather before departing, most African safari destinations are hot so packing light clothing is recommended. You will also require a pair of a good quality walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, sun glasses, insect repellant and other essentials.
11. Cherish Every Moment
During the safari travel try to enjoy the experience as much as possible and take lot of pictures. You can request the guide or the driver to turn off the vehicle in most locations. If you are carrying a camera, remember to have batteries charged and also a long lens is worthwhile buying. Watching wildlife up close can be very exciting.
12. Combine Experiences
Why not also combine your trip and do something else at the same time. A lot of travel operators also offer rewarding experiences like visiting wildlife sanctuaries or the chance to join a rewarding volunteer program in Africa where you can work with communities or help wildlife. Imagine instead of taking photos of animals you can get close to volunteer with elephants, lions or rhinos!
This is perfect if you are looking to do more than sightseeing, or if you like the idea of a Africa gap year.
Hopefully the above mentioned safari tips will help you enjoy the most amazing experience of your life.