How to plan a safari
There is so much that goes into planning a safari, it is often daunting even trying to work out where to start. Going on safari is an expensive holiday and getting right takes more than a little research. Below we have tried to give you a helping hand with where to start by outlining some of the key considerations to take into account when looking to travel to Africa. We love being independent, it means that we can give impartial advice and really make sure our clients get the best possible holiday, we also understand that many people will want to have some involvement in the planning stage of their trip so this article aims to give a little insight into some of what is going through our minds when we are making suggestions.
There are lots of possible destinations to think about, all offering something different and amazing, choosing the right one can be daunting but is important. Consult people that have been, that know and can offer impartial advice. Is your focus to see as much wildlife as possible? Do you want to get up close to big cats? Or are you looking to get away from people and experience Africa on foot? Are you looking for the ultimate in luxury or the most authentic safari that can be found?
All of these questions will have a bearing on what destination is best for you, whether it is the most famous of national parks, the Masaai Mara and the Serengeti or if somewhere more obscure and remote such as Katavi National Park in Tanzania.
You will need to decide how long you want to be away for in order to start constructing the perfect itinerary, are you restricted by your annual leave, do you want this trip to be a long or a short holiday? Are you looking for a long safari focused itinerary or a safari and beach combination. To work this out you will need to ask yourself what you most want to get from your holiday.
We obviously love safari itineraries of 7-10+ nights and we honestly believe that it is important to give yourself time to fully immerse yourself in your experience and your surroundings but it is possible to combine a short safari and a beach stay if you are limited on time.
If you have not been on safari stay tuned for our blog on first time safaris. If you have been a number of times before, consulting someone that knows a variety of areas can help create a shortlist of places that you will enjoy exploring. Either way, we strongly suggest using a fantastic company like ourselves to help put your safari together, impartial advice and stress free planning all wrapped up with one bonded tour operator there to help every step of the way.
When to travel:
This is not as simple as some may infer, the wet season (or green season as it is known in Africa) can provide a really rewarding experience and might be perfect for what you are looking to get from your trip, also offering outstanding value for money. Likewise the dry season may produce the wildlife sightings that you are looking and the chance to walk in some of the more remote areas of Africa. We love the shoulder season, after the rains as the land starts to dry out, you can still walk in some areas and the quality of light is perfect for photography with some lingering greenery to add an extra dimension for photography.
It is possible to talk about weather conditions and the impact that these have on an itinerary all day and it is definitely a major consideration, the best thing is to talk to people that have visited at different times of year as you could spend days reading rainfall graphs and articles on travel times and still end up none the wiser.
Style of accommodation:
From luxury safari ‘villas’ to the most remote tented camps there is a variety of accommodation in Africa unlike any other destination that we can think of, choosing what is right for you might be a very easy decision for some but for others it may be a difficult conundrum.
Tented camps and bushcamps are popular with those looking to be in the wilderness but this category in itself has a myriad of different styles and levels of luxury. It may be that you are looking to be in the perfect spot for the migration in the Serengeti, Tanzania, making a mobile tented camp a great option, or you may be looking to explore the most remote parts of the South Luangwa, to get out and some walking and therefore the amazing natural bushcamps of Zambia are an ideal choice.
If you are looking for a bit of luxury then the are some great crossover lodge/tented properties all over Africa that offer an fantastic standard of accommodation combined with great guiding, hosting and cuisine. These gems can be found all over Africa and are great for those looking for a classic safari with a touch of classic safari style mixed with modern creature comforts.
Safari is not a cheap holiday and working out how to match your goals and how much you want to spend is imperative, regardless of your budget. There are ways to make most things happen in Africa, and it this is the final piece of the puzzle in order to work out how to combine all of the above to make the perfect holiday for you.
If you are looking to plan a safari and would like some more advice on planning a safari then get in touch with us and we will help to walk you through all of the above and more. The Safari Specialists will always work out the same price or cheaper than booking everything independently and you get the benefit of impartial advice, personal service and a one stop, fully bonded UK based company.