Long before the Lion King, many have had a fascination with Africa. From its desert plains and life-filled watering holes, to spotting the Big Five and meeting local tribes, there’s a number of awe-inspiring experiences to have on an African safari.
With so many elements to consider when planning such a trip, South African born personal travel manager and Africa travel specialist, Lesley Cavill, has done all the hard work for you. Here are her expert tips to help you plan your next African adventure.
Know Before You Go
First things first, decide on a realistic budget. There’s nothing more disappointing than planning your dream holiday to then realise that you can’t afford it. With your budget in mind, consider the length of your trip taking into account the additional time likely to be spent on the road.
Most East African safaris are vehicle based, spending hours at a time driving off-track. These safaris give travellers longer and more extensive viewings of the wildlife. Alternatively, if you’re looking to combine relaxation with an adventure in the wild, game drives that last between three and five hours are the way to go and are more common in Southern Africa.
Another element to consider is the number of people you wish to travel with. Safari group sizes can vary, with smaller more private groups usually more expensive, however there are a number of options to choose from that can cater for different needs and comfort levels.
Where To Stay?
Your accommodation arrangements can significantly impact your overall safari experience. From roughing it in nature, to spending your evenings curled up in a high-end hotel, there are many different options to choose from.
Camping is perfect for those seeking a very nature-centric experience. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves, as you will be required to pitch your own tent and help with campsite chores. It’s also very easy to relocate and follow animals during their migration – a major benefit that comes with camping with portable gear.
For people who want to see nature by day, and experience the comfort of a hotel by night, lodging is the way to go. Lodges vary from small five star boutique properties to large hotels that can cater up to 200 guests at one time. These are usually located within or near national parks and game reserves, and include service facilities, private bedrooms and sometimes even a pool. However, these creature comforts often mean the lodgings are located some distance from African wildlife.
Finally, you can ‘glamp’ – glamorous or luxury camping, is the happy medium between roughing it and luxury living. Permanent tented camps come complete with private rooms and bathrooms, and easy access to nature. These trips are usually for 10-12 guests, making for an intimate experience.
While you’re in the area
There is more to this continent than its incredible wildlife. Before or after your African safari, consider visiting one of the many incredible beaches along Zanzibar or the oasis that it Mauritius. Take in the spectacular views of Victoria Falls that borders Zimbabwe and Zambia, or visit the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town in South Africa, which boasts an amazing food and wine scene, mountainous landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
About the author: Lesley Cavill joined the travel industry in 1998, and has been travelling the world ever since. Having grown up in South Africa, she specialises in this destination. Having a young family herself, Lesley also loves to help other families with their travel plans and gets great pleasure in opening up the world to others.