An African safari is like no other trip you will go on, and we dare you to return unaffected by the beauty, adventure and overall feeling of joy it will bring. Whether you are looking for a family vacation that satisfies kids and parents alike, a romantic holiday for two, or an escape from the daily grind of every day life, this is your trip!
The intoxicating mix of the animals, the food, the scenery, and the people cannot be beaten. There is one problem though: when planning a trip to Africa, the choice is limitless and it is so important to pick the right safari for you. It is a big investment and worth every penny – as long as you get it right. You cannot depend solely on tripadvisor.com as each reviewer comes from a vastly different perspective. For example, one of the lodges at the top of tripadvisor.com reads: “amazing” and “out of this world”, however when read more closely it is written by a first time safari goer who doesn’t know what the “out of the world” experience truly is! It’s also hard to rely solely on your travel agent either – have they ever even been there? Here are our top tips for finding the safari that matches you! (All photos GCR)
- Ask a lot of questions. In particular, always check if it is a private game park (you want a private game reserve so that you can drive off-road and after dark)
- Are there any fences on the property? You do not want fences, animals need to come and go freely!
- Do you get a guide as well as a spotter? The old school way is with both, then there is double the eye-spotting potential.
- Check the guide’s standard and reputation. There is a guide star rating system. Guides can make or break the trip.
- Check the size of the private concession and how many bordering properties there are.
- If you are a family group, try and secure a vehicle just for your family. That way you don’t have to share, and you can have more say over what you would like to do and see!
- We love tented accommodations. They can feel more authentic and adventurous, but don’t limit yourself! There are also some amazing, authentic-feeling lodges too.
- Check which season you want to go in; dry or wet. Animal sightings vary depending on this. Some prefer the dry season but remember that this is also peak time, with more people and more expense.
- Check what the area known for. If it’s elephants and not much else, then heads up, you can do better!
- Read between the lines when deciding on which Safari to chose, particularly when using tripadvisor.com (or similar) and your travel agent
- Book with agents that know their stuff like www.mikatosafaris.com. For the best deals head straight to www.agoda.com.
And don’t forget to bring the Safari Essentials!
Better still, opt in below to see more of GCR’s tips and recommendations like The Safari Short List, The best Safari Lodge in South Africa and the short list of reviews for Botswana and Kenya.