South Africa has established itself as the continent’s premiere travel destination, thanks to the flourishing African safaris. The preparation and planning for the actual trip can be almost as exciting as the safari itself! Here’s the ultimate guide for planning your “dream trip to Africa.”
Be on your toes. Expect dawn wake up calls, scheduled mealtimes and a ban on solitary walks. These activities make the African safari more of a boot camp rather than something from the movie Out of Africa. Yet the day has been scheduled ahead of time in order to maximize game-viewing success of the animals, as well as the guests’ security. African safaris are more structured than other holidays, and you certainly can’t arrange the whole day according to your whims.
Consider the weather and season of the country where you’re going. The dry seasons are more favorable for animal viewing. Dry weather offers more reliable road conditions and visibility. Dry weather also forces the animals to congregate within a group and look for limited water sources, and the sparser foliage makes the animals easier to find. While dry weather is the perfect time for viewing conditions, bear in mind that all the properties enjoy their highest peak and occupancy, and nature reserves and parks endure more traffic. You should book ahead of time, particularly for travel from June through October.
Prepare for a budget. Consider the level of luxury you’d like to enjoy during the trip. Safari camps are all-inclusive, which means that the cost of the accommodations, meals, guides, game activities, and park entry fees are included. The level of accommodations on a safari is also an important factor to consider. The degree of luxury you want is reflected of course in the price. High-end safaris will transport you by a small plane, you are always with a tour guide, and live in posh lodges. Mid-range safaris will offer you to be transported by minivan, not by plane; and you may be transferred from place to place without a guide. You may stay at larger lodges, with more fellow guests and less personal service. Budget safaris are further stripped down. Transport is a bus, minivan, or open truck. Some budget safaris use permanent campsites with tents and showers already in place.
So what are you waiting for? 🙂 Plan your African Safari Folly soon!