For most tourists planning an African safari, just staring at the map of Africa can be quite daunting. Perhaps that’s why President Trump created a non-existent country, Nambia in a speech directed to African leaders. It was sad, but not surprising.
Africa has 54 independent countries, all with difficult names and capital cities that take forever to pronounce. These countries may have certain similarities like hospitality, a sense of community, great food and a rich history but their diversity is mind-blowing.
For instance, Senegalese jollof rice is different from Ghana’s and Nigeria’s and this premise has sustained the long-standing jollof war.
It snows in South Africa and yet its neighbor Botswana experiences sunny weather which is only interrupted by short rains. No chills there. So as you plan your African safari, decide what you want to achieve while there.
Do you prefer to shop for rugs and go camel trekking in Morocco?
Would you like to Snorkel in Diani? Witness the Great Mara Migration? (By the way ticket sales to the front row seat of this event can be found here. You’re welcome)
Each country on this continent has a unique combo of fun activities which will help you plan your itinerary.
Remember, an African Safari is not a trip to the zoo, you will visit the Big 5 in their natural habitats. It will be physically straining because let’s face it, one game drive is never enough but it will be thoroughly rewarding.
When planning the trip of a lifetime, put a few things in mind:
Create an African Safari to do list
This is the first step to planning a memorable African safari. Some activities may be found in one country and lack in others. The Great Wildebeest Migration only happens at the Serengeti in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya.
You will not do any gorilla trekking in Kenya but a trip to Rwanda will offer you that and more, even though Kenya is home to abundant game, birds, marine life, historical attractions and cultural interactions with the Masai and Samburu.
It is also important to plan the number of days that you would like to spend on this safari so that you can come up with an accurate budget.
Flights are the most expensive part of an African Safari.
Choose your African Safari squad
Safari adventures can’t possibly be enjoyed alone so find a group of people who share your travel interests and bring them to Africa’s tropical savanna.
You could bring your friends, family, and kids and remember to make your booking as early as possible. Rooms tend to run out especially during high peak seasons.
If you’re bringing children with you, inquire about private activities where your family can have their own guide. That way your kids’ experience will be paced and they won’t feel left out.
Create an African Safari budget
If you have a small budget, choose a self-drive or overland safari where you traverse the African bush in a 4×4 and camp in tents. This will give you the ultimate African Safari experience complete with animal calls.
An all-inclusive package, though comfier will be expensive but you get to relax in luxurious rooms and only view the animals during morning and evening game drives. You could also travel during low season when prices at most safari lodges are 40% cheaper.
Vacay Holiday Deals can customize your package depending on how much you are willing to spend.
Choose the right travel agent
You want a travel agent who has first-hand knowledge of tours in Africa. A good travel agent will help you with your to-do list and create the perfect itinerary for you. They might also give you suggestions on some of the best safari spots that you may not know about.
Always confirm what is included in the price when consulting with them. Internal flights and transfers, meals, drinks, and activities may cost extra.
Choose the right safari
This is heavily dependent on budget and there is a variety to choose from:
- Driving safari: You and other guests will be driven by your private guide from one reserve to another.
- Flying safari: You and other guests will be flown from one park to another. You will be picked up at the airstrip when you arrive and taken to your lodge. Guided group flying safaris are common in Kenya, Zambia, and Namibia. This 5-day flying safari combines a trip to Ashnil Samburu Camp and Ashnil Masai Mara Camp.
- Luxury safari: This is usually all-inclusive. Prices cover meals, tours, drinks, air-conditioned suites and stylish tents as well as first-rate service. You will have comfort and luxury in the wild.
- Overland safaris: These are the cheapest. You will travel in a group and enjoy campsite accommodations.
- Self-drive safaris: You take your vehicle on a wild ride. You can opt out of a professional guide although you might miss out on wildlife. If you absolutely prefer to tour without a guide, read as much as possible on the destination. Figure out where you can refuel because some villages shown on the map may be missing service stations.
Create a self-care plan
Safaris drain you of salts and fluids due to the hot sun and harsh winds, so stay hydrated by taking more water and fluids that contain sugars and electrolytes.
Remember to shake out your shoes before putting them on, you might find bugs or worse, in there. Carry wet wipes to freshen up from safari dust and take your vaccines several weeks prior so that you don’t get sick.
Lastly, binoculars and a camera will enhance your game viewing experience so don’t forget to pack them in.
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