Planning an African Safari Tour

Planning a safari to Africa

A safari is a true adventure and therefore proper planning a safari to Africa is required. It is a journey crafted in the tradition of wealthy 13th-century traders. They first hunted the plains of Africa for wild game trophies to hang on their walls. Today, travelers hunt for photo opportunities instead of occasions to kill. However they encounter the same scenes that have fascinated explorers throughout history. These include but are not limited to:

  • Thousands of Wildebeests and zebras migrating across emerald grasslands
  • Flocks of florescent flamingos creating a field of color across a shining lake
  • Lions feasting on a hard-earned kill

Many travelers trek to Africa in search of the “big five”. The big five are buffalo, lions, leopards, elephants and rhinoceroses. The chance to get close to these animals in their natural habitats is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is however important to note that your trip to Africa is anything but a trip to the zoo. African safari tours can be physically taxing and strenuous. You may not see all the animals you expected while on a wildlife safari to Africa. With proper planning a safari to Africa you will be able to see the difference in success.

Most safari destinations are in developing sub-Saharan nations. Safari travelers must therefore take certain safety and health precautions. If you’re planning a safari to Africa or just dreaming about it, you ought to be as prepared as possible. It is important to get some good guidebooks or talk to friends who’ve been to Africa. The 3 important things when planning a safari to Africa is to

  1. Research
  2. Research
  3. Research

In this article, we’ve outlined some important safari basics. This is from choosing a destination to getting vaccinated. This is to help you start successful planning a safari to Africa.

Factors to Consider When Planning a Safari To Africa

Types of Safaris

Many a times, safaris are a costly kind of vacation. To ensure you choose the right type of safari planning a safari to Africa is important. Just like any other type of travel, you can tailor your African safari to suit your personal budget. The factors that will impact on the cost of your safari include

  1. Length of your safari will affect its cost

You may want to cut your trip short to save cash. It is however important to note that the longer you stay, the less you pay on a per-night basis.

  1. Accommodation type

 If you’re looking for luxury accommodation on your safari, prepare to pay more. Budget-minded adventurers should seek self-drive or overland safaris. This is quite opposite to all-inclusive package tours to Africa. The downside would be being prepared to camp in tents or navigate a 4×4 through the African bush.

  1. Group Size

If you’re traveling alone, you will probably have to pay a single supplement. Most African safari tour package pricing is based on double occupancy. The larger the group the cheaper the travel

Luxury Safaris

A luxury safari typically costs thousands of dollars per person. It comes with all-inclusive prices covering tours, food, drinks and excursions. Fully catered luxury packages offer travelers the comforts of home in wild Africa. Accommodations range from air-conditioned suites to stylish. The Ultra-luxurious safari lodges can cost more than $1,000 a night.

Overland or Mobile Safaris

Overland also known as mobile safaris are generally the cheapest type of organized tour safari. An overland safari will involve campsite accommodations. You will most likely travel in a group with other travelers. Overland safaris are usually participatory as you may be expected to pitch. You may help in with chores such as cooking meals or setting up camp.

Self-Drive

This type of safari is for the adventurous sort. It involves:

  • Picking a public game park
  • Renting a car
  • Touring the African bush on your own

Self-drive safaris are only possible in public parks that usually have paved roads and signs. Here you need not worry about getting lost in the plains of Africa. You will not become lunch or dinner for a hungry lion. If you are looking for the cheapest African safari tour, then self-drive is your best bet. When planning a safari to Africa on self drive, you can pay a la carte for meals, tours and accommodations. This will enable you to opt for the most inexpensive lodging you can find. You may tour the bush on your own instead of hiring a guide. One potential drawback of a self-drive safari is missing out on wildlife. Without a knowledgeable local guide, you may miss some wildlife. To remedy this problem when planning a safari to Africa research on information. Read guidebooks on spotting wildlife in your destination. You may bring a field guide or stop and ask other travelers where they’ve seen the best game. This is easier to do in the popular public parks.

Where to Go on Safari in Africa

When planning a safari to Africa, you should know that each country offers a different safari experience. It is therefore impossible to capture the spirit and culture of an entire country in one paragraph. However, below is a brief overview of some popular African safari destinations. This will help you answer that critical question about where to go on safari in Africa. The best and most popular areas in Africa for safaris are East and Southern Africa. Here you will be offered vast plains and roaming packs of extraordinary beasts.

Planning a Safari to Africa: Going East Africa

Kenya

Kenya’s most abundant wildlife can be found in the Masai Mara National Reserve. This is a part of the vast Greater Serengeti Mara ecosystem. Here massive herds of animals make an annual migration across the plains. But beyond Masai Mara and the Serengeti lie plenty of other quality parks with abundances of wildlife. They include the soda lakes of the Great Rift Valley like Lake Bogoria, Lake Turkana and Lake Baringo. In Lakes Bogoria and Elementaita there are thousands of colorful flamingos reside. Kenya is one of the more popular safari destinations. However, the country has seen its share of terrorism, violence and kidnappings over the past several years. This was particularly in the Lamu district and the Northeastern Province as late as 2013. The situation seems to be contained as there has been no attack in 2014. Be sure to check State Department travel advisories before planning a trip to Kenya or other developing country.

Tanzania

Like Kenya, Tanzania houses part of the Serengeti National Park. This is among the best park in which to see great herds of wildlife in Africa. Other noteworthy sites include Mount Kilimanjaro and marine parks off the coast. There is also the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, site of the Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge. The latter is also known as the Cradle of Mankind. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest volcanic craters on earth. Over 30,000 animals live within the crater. Ngorongoro Crater has the densest lion population in the world.

Uganda

The most famous African safari destinations in Uganda are the country’s many primate reserves. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale Forest and Ngamba Island are the places. They offer visitors the opportunity to get a close look at gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates. Kibale Forest has the highest recorded number of primates in sub-Saharan Africa. Travelers can also see crocodiles, hippos and exotic birds, and witness the thundering water Falls. This is at Murchison Falls National Park on the Nile River.

Planning a Safari to Africa: Going Southern Africa

Botswana

This is probably the most expensive destination in Africa. This is due to the government’s push for high-end tourism. Botswana has smaller crowds than most other safari destinations. This is a common locale for luxury African safari packages. You will see wildlife in game reserves such as Chobe National Park, famous for an abundance of elephants. Moremi Wildlife Reserve offers plenty of the famous “big five.” You can also visit the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Look for crocodiles, buffalo, zebras, hippos and many other animals. This is in the delta’s tangled waterways and islands.

Namibia

Namibia is under the radar for many African safari travelers. However it is important to note that in Namibia expect less upscale game parks. It is dotted with incredible natural wonders from the Fish River Canyon to the Namib Desert. You’ll find more than 100 species of mammals in Etosha National Park. These includes endangered animals like the black rhinoceros. Desert elephants and zebra roam the arid landscapes of Skeleton Coast National Park in Nambia. This is the driest place in Africa.

South Africa

South Africa is a particularly popular destination for safari travelers. Here expect a well-organized and modern tourist infrastructure. There are plenty of other travelers in the high season. The best-known park is Kruger National Park. This is home to an impressive variety of African animals. The park is situated in the largest conservation area in the world. You can go to a private game lodge if you want a less traveled safari and ready to pay. These high end African safari accommodations can run well over $500 per night.

When to Go on Africa Safari Tour

When planning a safari to Africa, time is of importance. This is brought out by the question when is the best time to go for a safari in Africa? This is because Africa is an immense continent with safari opportunities available across thousands of miles. The best time to go to Africa for Safari therefore depends on your specific destination. Overall, when planning a safari to Africa it’s best to travel in the dry season, which corresponds with the region’s winter. It is however the most expensive time to go on safari to Africa. Most safari destinations are in the Southern Hemisphere. Therefore their seasons run opposite of North America. Winter is from June to September and summer is from December to March. You’ll also want to consider the migration patterns of animals such as the Great Migration through Tanzania and Kenya. Annual patterns of animal migration often vary, so it’s a good to research animal migration predictions. This should be for the season during which you plan to travel.

African Safari Requirements

Visas

Planning a safari to Africa? Of course, you’ll need a passport to travel to Africa. For some other countries, like Kenya or Tanzania, you will need a visa too. Visit the State Department website for more information on visa requirements. Apply for a visa at least two months before your departure date. If on a last minute safari to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, you can get the visa on arrival.

Vaccines

If you are planning a safari to Africa don’t forget to find a doctor. Look for one who specializes in travel health care and tell him or her about your African travel plans. You’ll need to get certain immunizations before heading to Africa. Malaria is common there, but there is no vaccine for the disease. You can protect yourself from malaria by taking an anti-malaria treatment or avoiding mosquitoes. Make use a mosquito-repellent spray and mosquito nets. You will need a yellow fever vaccination for travel to East and Southern Africa. Other vaccinations you may need include hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website for destination-specific health information. Keep in mind that many vaccinations take several weeks to provide full protection. Don’t put off your shots till the last minute.

Staying Safe

You may imagine that hungry crocodiles or packs of ravenous lions are the biggest dangers on safari. The truth is that humans rarely get attacked by wild animals. Most routinely fall victim to safari scams, dehydration and illness, or crime while traveling to Africa. It is very important to take note of this when planning a safari to Africa.

Scams

When selecting a package, beware of safari scams. Research is the basic part of planning a safari to Africa. You will have to research on your prospective safari package provider. Keep watching out for the things that sound too good to be true. Look at things like $50-per-night safari in luxury bungalows that should raise an alarm. Finally, always be aware of your package provider’s cancellation policy or lack thereof.

Staying Healthy

Safaris can be physically strenuous and mentally taxing. This is more true if in your planning a safari to Africa, you did shoddy work. Travelers to Africa are at risk for dehydration while on safari. Your body may not be accustomed to the hot sun and dry air of the bush. You may not even realize that you’re becoming dehydrated. When planning a safari to Africa, plan to drink lots of water.

Politics and Crime

Political unrest is an unfortunate fact of life for many African nations. It is important to consider such situation when planning a safari to Africa. Crime and violence plague many African cities. Even if you’re safe on a remote safari in the bush, you may run into problems on either end of your trip. It is important when planning a safari to Africa t consider this. When traveling to populated areas, familiarize yourself with local customs. Take measures to keep your money and valuables safe. And always check State Department advisories before you start planning a safari to Africa.

Insurance

African safari goes to remote location in Africa. You will probably be spending a significant amount of money on a safari. It is important when planning a safari to Africa to consider travel insurance. It is virtually a necessity on an African safari. Be sure to look for emergency medical coverage and financial protection when booking your policy.

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