Now is the time to start planning your once-lifetime safari adventure! Africa has so much to offer and it can be a little bit overwhelming as to when to go, where to go, what to see and how to make the most of your time and $$$.
I am here to help you every step of the way! I’ll make sure to creat the perfect itinerary to suit you and only you!
So before you pack your bags, here are some things to consider.
Where in Africa do you want to go on safari?
Bearing in mind that Africa is a very large continent with over 50 countries to consider. Generally, safaris take place either in Southern Africa – the most popular ones to visit are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and then East Africa which includes Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. Of course, let’s not forget Morocco and Egypt.
For first-timers to Africa, I always suggest Southern Africa for a number of reasons, great to see the big 5 animals in South Africa, good value for money, and logistically it is easy to get between countries, making for a perfect itinerary that includes Cape Town, safari, Victoria Falls and Botswana – however, the list is endless. For those who love being independent then a self drive in Namibia is highly recommended.
East Africa is perfect for those who have travelled to Africa before and want to experience the authentic tented camps, chase the migration in Kenya and Tanzania, love big open areas and can get off the beaten track! Not to mention the thrill of trekking through the jungles to see gorillas.
Which country should you choose for your first wildlife safari?
I think it also depends on how much time you have and your budget. South Africa does offer good value for money and will tick off the Big 5 animal list. If you have time and money, then do spend time in one or two countries. I like to make sure that you are not rushing between countries.
How long do you plan to be on safari?
At least 10-14 days is a good number of days to explore various parts of the country or countries. It is all about getting the balance right! Having said that, I have planned itineraries for some clients for up to six weeks on safari. I will always recommend you stay at least three nights in each camp, so you are making the most of all activities on offer.
Do you have a list of ‘must see’ animals whilst on safari?
If you do have a list, please let me know as sometimes that will determine which country you will need to visit. If rhinos are on your list then South Africa is your best option. Rhinos can be found in small numbers in Kenya and Tanzania in certain areas.
What type of accommodation do you prefer?
No matter where you go in Africa there will always be a choice of accommodation from budget-friendly, mid-range to luxurious lodges. One of my questions to you will be what is your budget for your safari? Again, South Africa is good value for money due to the favorable exchange rate – but there are some outstanding camps that are affordable in East Africa and other parts of Southern Africa.
What type of experiences are you looking for?
What do you need to pack?
Bearing in mind if you are travelling to places like Botswana and East Africa, you will have luggage restrictions on light aircraft of between 15kg-20kgs in soft-sided bags (duffel bags). Laundry is always on offer at most camps so there is no need to over pack.
If travelling in the winter months – the key is to dress in layers, make sure you pack a warm fleecy jumper, scarf, beanie and gloves.
Always pack neutral colours, white, grey, khaki – be careful not to wear black or dark blue in areas where there is Tsetse flies – they are attracted to these colours. No bright, bold colours – you need to blend in.
Good, comfortable walking shoes as well as a pair of thongs. Don’t forget to pack your swimmers, it the warmer months you will have time to cool off in the swimming pool.
When is the best time to go on safari?
I think you can travel to Africa any month of the year and have a wonderful experience. The “best time” is the winter months – June to the beginning of October, the bush will be dry and less bushy, easy to spot wildlife. Animals tend to hide in warmer weather.
Having said that if you travel in the “green season” – summer months of February through to May – you will have less travellers, good value for money, green, thicker bush, late afternoon thunderstorms which is fantastic for photography. In places like Tanzania, you will witness the calving season of the wildebeest – and the predators are close by!
If witnessing the annual migration crossing from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara then you need to travel July to September.
Some camps will also close during the rainy season – for East Africa that is generally April / May.
Some camps in Zambia also close from October to May each year.
The best mode of transport for you whilst on safari?
If you are travelling to Kenya and Tanzania then generally safaris are done with your own private vehicle and guide, it is honestly is the best way to safari!
In Southern Africa – all transfers to and from camps will be done as a private transfers. Once in camp, game-viewing activities are done in a group setting with up to 7 or 8 guests per vehicle.
What can you expect as a typical day on safari?
It will always be an early morning start around 5am – 6am, depending on the season. A quick coffee or tea, and a quick snack will be on offer before heading out on your first game drive for the day. Dress in layers, as soon as the sun rises, so will the temperatures.
You will stop for a coffee and rusk around 9am, stretch your legs and then back onto the vehicle for more game viewing.
Head back to camp for brunch and some relaxation either in the main camp area or your room. Keep an eye out for wildlife, passing by!
Depending on the camp, there could be a short walking safari on offer – highly recommend you do at least on of these walks!
Then join your guide and other travellers for a delicious high tea in the main area, around 3pm before heading out on your afternoon game drive.
Stopping somewhere scenic for sundowners – its generally a good Gin and Tonic, delicious nibblies and watching the sunset over Africa – it doesn’t get better.
Back to camp, for a delicious dinner and time to spend chatting with guests around the fire, talking about all things wild!
Some camps will also offer night game drives, again definitely worth heading out at night to spot the nocturnal wildlife.
I look forward to chatting with you about your safari trip.