An African Safari is a trip of a lifetime. It is mysterious, educational, and adventurous. You will come home with many photos and even more memories!
Planning a safari can be a daunting task as there are so many options to consider. It is important to include a variety of experiences to make it a well-rounded journey. How would you plan a safari and what would the trip look like?
Where should I go?
East Africa and Southern Africa are somewhat different in terms of infrastructure, eco-systems, terrain, cultures and people and animal experiences.
East Africa, to include Kenya and Tanzania, is one option. This is most famous for the opportunity to see the Great Migration.
Another option is Southern Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. This offers a well-rounded safari experience, plus the opportunity to visit cosmopolitan cities like Capetown.
If you are looking for something more adventurous, you could visit the East African countries of Uganda or Rwanda for gorilla trekking.
When should I go?
East Africa is near the equator and the weather is warm and pleasant year round. The best time to go is dependent on the animal migration patterns.
Southern Africa is in the southern hemisphere so their winter is our summer. However, even in their winter (June-August), temperatures are never too low and it warms up during the middle of the day.
The best time to plan an African safari is 6-12 months in advance.
What will I see?
Most people travel to see the Big Five, the Holy Grail of a safari trip: Buffalo, Lion, Elephant, Leopard and Rhino. However, you might want to mix a Big Five safari with another destination to see other types of animals, like whales and meerkats, or other eco-systems, like great desert sand dunes, and an inland delta.
What is a safari like?
There are a variety of accommodations to choose from. There are camps that have luxury, permanent tents, and other camps that offer more traditional lodge-type rooms. You should mix it up to take advantage of the different experiences.
While on safari, you will generally go on a game drive twice a day: early morning and late afternoon. This is when the animals are most active, hunting for food and water. The middle of the day, generally very warm, is when both the animals and the guests relax in the shade.
Though remote, a safari experience does not have to take you out of your comfort zone. Many lodges offer 5* service and gourmet food. Most camps and lodges can accommodate dietary needs.
You may leave Africa, but Africa never leaves you.