A safari is a life-changing experience.
Many travellers dream of being immersed in wildlife, humbled by landscapes and overjoyed by unexpected natural beauty. This is the essence of what a safari is all about and why we wanted to share our top tips for the perfect safari in this blog!
Planning a safari can be very exciting. It’s likely that each person who goes on a safari has thought about it for quite some time, setting expectations high. Working with a travel specialist can ensure that you experience a safari that is right for you. Each journey, location, time of year, company and driver is different and planning for each one of these elements is important.
Aside from working with a travel expert, our team has listed our top 5 tips for planning a perfect safari below.
Tips for planning a safari
Packing for a safari is slightly different from other kinds of travel. You will want to think of comfort, practicality and the versatility of everything you bring. Most accommodation (depending on the type of safari you choose) will have the essential amenities when it comes to lodging, so there is no need to pack pillows, air mattresses etc. unless specified.
You will want to pack breathable clothing, personal comforts, durable closed-toe shoes (preferably ones that you have already broken in) and travel essentials. Check out our Safari Packing list for more tips.
Protection from the elements
Travelling on a safari, you are exposed to just about every one of the earth’s elements. Preparing for them ahead of time will allow you to enjoy the experience in comfort. Bring long-sleeved pants and tops, bug spray, sunglasses for the sun and dust, sunscreen, a hat, long socks and, to many travellers’ surprise—some kind of warm clothing. Evenings/early mornings can get chilly in the jeeps, and you don’t want to be focusing on the temperature outside when you can be spotting lions, giraffes and elephants.
Invest in equipment
Investing in the right equipment can go a long way if you are hoping to capture quality photographs of your time on a safari. First and foremost, you will want to keep your camera safe from the elements listed above. Therefore, we suggest some sort of protective case, depending on your camera these will range in price but basically, you just want to keep the camera safe from dust, moisture, etc.
Second, we suggest a big optical zoom lens. Animals can be far away from away, and you can avoid blurry zoomed photos by simply adding an optical zoom lens to your camera. Shop around to discover the options for your camera make/model.
Know the rules
Research common best practices before departing on your safari. Respecting wildlife is a big part of conserving the environment. Each company has slightly different rules when it comes to interacting with the animals and the land. Be sure to ask lots of questions and have your travel specialist gather detailed information, such as hands out of the vehicle, appropriate noise levels, and standing up in the jeep. Keep in mind that you are in the animal’s domain when travelling through these areas, so you need to be as respectful as possible to mitigate any kind of interruptions.
As previously mentioned, expectations are usually high when travelling on a safari. While that is very exciting, you do need to keep in mind that all safari adventures are aimed to experience animals in their natural habitat. Therefore, sightings are not guaranteed.
Be prepared to bring your patience with you as you wait in prime locations for animals to pass by. It’s also crucial to understand the animal’s behaviour. Early mornings (at dawn) and at sunset are peak times for animals to come out of sleeping/seeking shade and make an appearance. It’s important that travellers understand and plan for early morning starts, with a typical lull in the middle of the day.
Before departing, you will also want to manage expectations around the time of year that you travel. If you are hoping to see specific events such as the great migration, be sure you are arriving at the correct time of year to spot the event in action.
What does your ideal safari look like?
Each person has a different ideal when it comes to safari travel. What kinds of animals do you hope to see? Do you hope to spot some newborn animals? Or, is landscape and scenery more important to you?
These are all things to take into consideration when planning your adventure. Contact one of our experienced travel specialists to gain insight and start planning your life-changing adventure today!