Choosing your safari
Where to go?
A safari is an incredible experience. Most people remember childhood story books featuring a 'classic' safari picture - so a wide open grassy savannah, dotted with zebra, giraffe, lions and elephants. To actually be able to bring this to life is something truly special, and a good safari will give you memories that will last a lifetime. Nothing can beat seeing a lion for the first time walking through the African bush, or spotting a leopard up a tree, or seeing a herd of elephant drinking at a waterhole.'m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
Choosing a safari, however, can be a mind-scrambling affair, with a jeep-load of options available across a wealth of wildlife destinations. Africa holds a world of safari possibilities, from never-ending savannah plains to sun-scorched deserts and zig-zagging deltas, so selecting the perfect one for you can be tricky terrain. We’ve been through it ourselves, so we know exactly how much head-scratching it can involve!
The great news is that there’s a safari in Africa for everyone, no matter how deep your pockets or how tight your timeframe. Whether you’re after a week of watching elephants splash around a waterhole, or ticking off sightings of Africa’s famous Big Five, or even walking between safari camps and sleeping out under the African skies, you’ll find a safari that gets your pulse racing and your spirits soaring. That’s the magic of Africa.
For many people, an African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, making it all the more important to get it, à la Goldilocks, just right. If you’re taking your first steps towards booking your safari, you’ll need to know the differences between destinations and the various styles of safari, and also where you stand the best chance of seeing the particular animal that sums up what a safari means to you.
So here’s a handy guide to set you off on the right foot. Hopefully, this will inch you a little closer towards the African safari that you’ve always imagined. For first-timers on safari, this could all sound a bit over-whelming, but that is why our experienced consultants are on hand to help and advise on the best safari for you. Either contact us via this website, or give us a call on +44 (0) 1932 428380 to discuss your safari holiday requirements in more detail.
Big Five fist timers
Undoubtedly, the classic ‘Big Five’ of the African bush - lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo - are high on most people’s bucket list of animals to see on their first safari.
South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania are the most popular destinations for Big Five first timers. These safari hot-spots guarantee a safari that will stick with you forever. They are lands of roaming wildlife, swaying long grass where lion prowl and leopard hunt, and natural waterholes where elephant, zebra and giraffe gather at dusk at dawn.
Setting off in an open-topped jeep at sunrise and sunset, a safari here will bring you close-up encounters with the Big Five and a newfound respect for the humbling hugeness of Africa.
If you want to add even more of a ‘wow factor’ to your wildlife experience, you can head to Kenya or Tanzania during the annual Great Migration, when 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 gazelles hurtle across the plains towards greener grazing land.
Off the beaten track and far from the crowds
If you want to steer away from the crowds, then possibly the Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater or even the Serengeti would not be right for you, as these, whilst iconic safari destinations, do get VERY busy and you can have up to 30+ vehicles at an individual animal sighting.
The majority of the private reserves in South Africa have a strict ruling that only 2-3 vehicles are allowed at a sighting at any one time, which does obviously improve the quality of the wildlife viewing and makes it feel less intrusive for the animal too.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of Africa’s most exclusive safari destinations. Many lodges and camps are only accessible by light aircraft, and whether you are tracking wild dog on an open 4x4 game viewing vehicle, or exploring the waterways in a dug out canoe, you're unlikely to see many other visitors.
Zambia is still an undiscovered safari gem, despite the prolific game found here.
Finally, Tanzania’s Southern Safari Circuit is less visited than its more popular Northern Circuit cousin, so you can include a stunningly remote safari in Selous and Ruaha, or take in the isolated Katavi National Park.
Balancing bush with beach
When planning an African safari, it’s all too easy to get overexcited about the animals and forget about what you actually NEED from your holiday. If you’ve been working hard in the run up to your trip, it’s really important to elbow some well-earned rest and relaxation into your plans.
A safari is simply sensational, and we have no doubt that it will become a life experience that you’ll treasure forever, but after a few days you’ll be ready for a lie-in and a change of pace. Game drives set off before first light each morning, so following a string of spectacular sunrises on safari, tiredness can take begin to take its toll.
The brilliant thing is that Africa is fringed by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so combining a safari with a few days stretched out the sunshine is a cinch.
Blending a few days of safari in the African bush with some dedicated ‘bliss out’ time on the beach perfectly balances rip-roaring excitement with rest.
Throw in a few sunset cocktails overlooking the Indian or Atlantic Ocean and you have the recipe for the holiday of a lifetime!
If you’re all about independence, a self-drive safari might be right up your street, giving you the chance to scour the bushland for wildlife on your own four wheels.
Several National Parks, including Kruger and Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa, or Etosha in northern Namibia, offer visitors the chance to drive themselves through their network of roads, discovering the animals along the way.
It’s a wonderful experience, and there’s nothing like watching a herd of elephants cross the road just in front of you while you’re behind the wheel.
A self-drive safari is also the perfect option for the safari goer who is on a tight budget.