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AFRICAN SAFARI – BEFORE YOU BOOK

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

An African safari is top of many people’s Bucket List. But before you book, there are several things that you should consider as part of the planning process.



Destination

Kenya and Tanzania are ideal destinations for a first-time safari with a high probability of viewing the Big Five. I spotted all of them on my 3-park safari to Tanzania. There’s a wide range of accommodation and numerous National Parks and Private Reserves to choose from. South Africa is the most developed safari destination – it’s worth considering staying on a private reserve here, to get away from the crowds. Namibia is another destination to consider if you’re looking for wildlife plus spectacular scenery – the sand dunes at Sossusvlei are world-famous and there’s also the other-worldly scenery of Damaraland. This is also one of the best places to view rhinoceros. I absolutely loved my trip here – it was utterly magical! Botswana has a great deal to offer the visitor – with a range of different scenery including the fabulous Okavango Delta. The Government here has restricted the number of lodges and camps to keep this destination quite exclusive – so it’s a more expensive option. If you’re hoping to spot primates like gorillas and chimpanzees, then Uganda or Rwanda would be your best bet – but prices are quite high for safari trips here. And then there’s Zimbabwe and Zambia, where you can combine your safari with a stay at the spectacular Victoria Falls.


Camp Location

You’ll be getting up very early for your first game viewing of the day – that’s when game viewing is at its best. So it’s important to consider how far away your lodge/camp is from the entrance to the National Park. You could be driving an extra hour each morning! And that’s also why it’s worth considering staying on a Private Reserve, because you’ll be much closer to the action.


Type of Camp

There's a truly huge range of types of lodge/camp for your safari holiday. There’s everything from deluxe lodges with every comfort (some in tree-tops) to mobile camps where the emphasis is on an authentic safari experience, and you can have the magic of waking to the sunrise in your tent. Of course, the more luxurious the experience, the higher the price. So, it’s worth considering which amenities are non-negotiable and which are simply nice-to-have.


Time of year

Africa is a huge continent, and the climate is different for each country. But generally speaking, you’ll have the best opportunities for game viewing in the dry season, when animals have to leave the bush to seek out waterholes. But this will coincide with peak prices. For example, July and August witness the Great Migration in Kenya with thousands of wildebeest travelling into Tanzania. And with prey abundant, you’ll see the lion at their laziest and many species of huge vultures above. It’s worth considering travelling in shoulder season, when prices will be cheaper and wildlife viewing will still be plentiful.



Game Viewing

You’ll be spending quite a lot of time in a jeep searching for wildlife. And you’ll be sharing this experience with other people. So, it’s worth making sure that you know as much as you can about the vehicle you’ll be travelling in. The best option is a 6-person jeep as everyone has a window seat, and there won’t be jostling for position when lions come into view. A jeep with an open top is also preferable, so you can stand (at a safe distance!) and take photos to your heart’s content.


Budget

A 5/6 night safari in Kenya or Tanzania in a decent standard of accommodation starts at around £3000 per person. But you could easily spend £5000+ per person for a longer/more complex trip where you’re flying to different camps by light aircraft.


Safari+

After spending so much time on the move, you might like to spend a few days in one place. And there are many different options to consider. Add to your Kenyan safari with time at the beach in Mombasa. Spend a few days in Mauritius or the Seychelles after South Africa. Fly to the beautiful island of Zanzibar after your Tanzanian safari. And if you’ve chosen Zambia, Zimbabwe or Botswana as your safari destination, you can complete your trip with a few days at Victoria Falls.


Get in touch

I have numerous suppliers who specialise in safari holidays – offering trips from escorted tours to bells & whistles fly-in luxury trips. The trick is in selecting the right supplier for your brief. Let’s chat about what you’re hoping for from your holiday of a lifetime.


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