Highlights: Kruger National Park in the northeast, flanked by the private lodges and conservancies of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve ; the vineyards and restaurants of the Cape Winelands region; Cape Town and Johannesburghistorical and cultural centers.
Related: 10 Amazing Affordable Safaris. But intimate retreats are now enticing travelers to make cultural side trips to lesser-known areas of the country. Rates are per person, based on double occupancy.
Safety Note: Travelers should be cautious in Johannesburg, especially around the city center. Your hotel can advise you on the best way to get around. The country, however, is shifting away from ultra-luxe lodges and back toward active itineraries and comfortably rustic properties. Alternatively, Ride Botswana with David Foot Safaris now operates a horseback safari across the pans.
The challenge has always been how to navigate the great distances between attractions and camps.
How to Plan Your Safari
At the same time, operators are now offering more affordable group tours. Long in the shadow of neighboring Zimbabwe, Zambia has now established itself as the ultimate adventure destination, famous for its walking safaris and canoe trips—and complemented by a slate of stylish yet affordable bush lodges and river camps. The seven refurbished camps of the Bushcamp Companyin the south of the park, are chic and intimate, and can be visited on an exclusive camp-to-camp walk.
Activities include game drives, river safaris, and fishing excursions. Explore Inc. As with the Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti has been plagued with mass tourism and overcrowding. Last June luxe lodging company Singita Grumeti Reserves unveiled its first mobile safaris in its ,acre concession near the Serengeti.
Eco-camping outfitter Wayo Africa visits remote Lake Eyasia salt lake south of the park. Traditionally the most romantic of safari destinations, Kenya lost much of its luster over the past three decades because of congestion in its parks and rampant political corruption. The seven-tent Mara Plains Camp operates game-viewing trips in a conservancy run in partnership with the Masai. Segera Retreatmeanwhile, is set to open eight solar-powered villas on a reclaimed Laikipia cattle ranch in July.
Family-owned properties are also playing up the personalities of their owners.Are you planning a safari? Step 2: Go buy a bottle of wine. Scratch that, grab several and go into information overload. Yeah, I suppose you are right. Even the best bottle of wine is only going to get you so far in your African Safari planning. Planning our African trip was one of the most overwhelming trip planning processes I have gone through.
Ok, yes, I probably should have started with something smaller than an entire continent for my search purposes, but I had no idea what was in which country, which reserves or national parks had better game viewings or even the reality of transportation in some of the locations.
I personally spent MONTHS making list after list of each individual country and each time I did, I got more and more confused, overwhelmed and stressed with all the options. So, here are my 5 detailed tips on how to plan an African Safari. I could not believe the wide array of safari options. It ranged from top-notch luxury to DIY. Before even picking a location, I needed to know what kind of money we were all willing to spend overall.
Oh, you thought that was for the trip? Many have personal plunge pools, butlers and giant jacuzzis which are prepped and steaming for you as you come in from a drive. However, if you have that kind of money, you might as well just go through an agency and have them plan the whole trip for you to save you the time and hassle…. You would be surprised with how many people want pampering on their wildlife adventure. The reality is, for most people, this is a once in a life-time trip so they are going to do it up right!
Is that still a saying?? These trips can still be pricey for some but if you do enough digging, you can find one that works well for you and is still completely reasonably priced for what you get. Many of these types of lodges offer you selections on your package, which can make your trip cheaper as well. Knowing what you are willing to pay will make it much easier to quickly see the pros and cons of each option so that you can personally design the safari to meet your financial needs.
The DIY option has plenty of positives, one being that you can do an African safari on a budget. However, we personally found that this was probably suited more for people who had already been on a safari or even had just been to Africa in general rather than first-timers, like us. If you have already done an African Safari, then you may not mind not hearing interesting tid-bits and facts about the animals you are seeing by a trained guide.
You may also be more aware of how to drive when around wild animals or know where to look for certain species compared to us Safari Virgins. But we had no clue. There are often camping sites or cabins right off the reserves to stay in and shops nearby for food, making the DIY option easy for people wanting to design their own adventure and keep costs down as well.
Now that you know your budget, this will also help you to narrow down a location or country. Flying to places in Africa can be hard. You can expect several layovers and stops just to get to your final destination. If your budget is limitless, you may be more willing to pay for better routes to get you to your desired location.
Even if not travel hacking, do a quick check on google flights to a few different big cities in Africa Nairobi, Capetown, etc and see if some are much longer than others due to long layovers or if any seem to be lower priced in comparison.
Another reason why taking flights into consideration is just for infrastructure alone. However, some could argue that places like Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia could have better safaris, but to fly into those countries might be more expensive, longer flights, more layovers, etc simply because of the local infrastructure.
Just like figuring out what kind of safari you may want to go on, picking a country in Africa is difficult as well. They all boast the best game viewing which is why you are probably going in the first place. A few things we learned in both the research process as well as in talking with locals while in Africa were:. On the other hand, some people prefer not to be in the blazing, sweltering sun. Therefore, know when rainy season, summer, high tourist seasons etc are so that you can choose a different country if need be.
Unless you are going specifically for something like The Great Migration, you can get a lot of the same game viewing in most places.Africa is a vast continent, and the possibilities for exploring it are endless. From gorilla-trekking expeditions in Uganda to Big Five game drives in Tanzaniasafari experiences are equally diverse. There are many steps to consider when planning your African safari - including deciding what you want to see, how you'd like to travel and how much you're willing to spend.
In this article, we take a look at a few of the different safari options on offer, so that you can decide which one best suits your personal preferences.
The first step to finding the perfect safari vacation is to think carefully about what you want to see. This will dictate when you travel, and also where you travel - after all, you're unlikely to see elephant and rhino if you opt for a camel safari in the Sahara Desert. Similarly, some animals prefer a very specialized type of habitat and can only be found in a handful of different countries. For many first-time safari-goers, ticking off the Big Five is a priority.
This term refers to the most iconic large mammals of Southern and East Africa - including lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant. Only a few game reserves have sufficient space and the right mix of habitats for all five species to co-exist in harmony. If watching predators in action is at the top of your bucket list try Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parkwhich spans the border between South Africa and Botswana.
East Africa's annual Great Migration is another good bet, as the vast herds of migrating wildebeest and zebra inevitably attract a pantheon of hungry lions, leopards, cheetah, and hyena. Namibia's Etosha National Park is one of the best places in the world to spot the critically endangered black rhino; while Botswana's Chobe National Park and Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park are famous for their enormous elephant herds.
The most traditional mode of safari transport is, of course, an open-sided 4x4 Jeep. However, if you're looking for a more unique way of getting around, this may become a factor in choosing your destination. Walking safaris are a wonderful way of experiencing the wilderness up close, giving you the chance to truly immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of the African bush.
Water safaris usually conducted in a small boat or sometimes even a canoe are another memorable option and can be an especially good choice for those with an interest in birds.
During the dry season, birds and animals of all descriptions flock to the nearest water source, giving you ringside seats to the action. The Okavango Delta also in Botswana offers opportunities for dugout canoe safaris, while Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe specializes in houseboat safaris. Some game reserves also give you the chance to explore on horseback, or even on the back of an elephant.Planning an African safari can be a daunting task.
There are a number of key points to consider in order to plan your safari. You should determine where to go, how long, what to pack, and the budget for your safari. Today, we are going to tell you where to start and how to plan the perfect African safari. There are two main regions that hold the best wildlife — East Africa or Southern Africa. Each region is distinct, but they generally have the same key animals you are probably hoping to see on safari.
Tanzania, and more notably the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, has the largest draw for tourists and is world renowned for its game-filled plains of grass in the Serengeti. Many people will start at Kruger National Park, which is only a four-hour drive from Johannesburg.
From there tourist can also take regional flights to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, or Zimbabwe; however, all of the countries have international airports, but may be more expensive than flying into South Africa. Alternatively, you can always rent a car and drive around Southern Africa. After you decide where to go for your safari in Africa you should consider visa requirements for the destination.
Zambia and Zimbabwe both require a visa for entry, but this can be done on arrival at the airport or land border. American visitors traveling to Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda can acquire the East African Tourist Visa which is good for 90 days between all three countries.
However, once you leave those countries the visa expires and is voided. You can apply for this visa online at least three days in advance of your arrival. If you are just traveling to one of those countries you can obtain your visa on arrival at the airport or by land. Tanzania travelers must also have a visawhich can be obtained on arrival for most nationalities. We always to check visas requirements beforehand as they vary according to nationality.
Time of year is key for travel in Africa. There are two main seasons that will affect your safari planning — dry and rainy. During the dry season rainfall is rare. The air is dry and temperatures vary widely between hot and cold. Vegetation is sparse and animals have to fight for survival. With limited water animals concentrate around riverbeds, lakes, and man-made watering holes giving you more of a chance to spot game.
During this season it is easier to spot wildlife with less foliage on the trees and bushes. The rainy season, on the other hand, will be cooler and the landscape is green and lush. The rainy season is usually the off-season or shoulder season for safaris. Many lodges in ZimbabweTanzania, Zambia, and Kenya shut down because their locations are virtually inaccessible. However, if you time it right with the shoulder season you can find fewer crowds and lower prices.
We have been on safaris during all times of year and always have an extraordinary time. You can never count on anything concrete while on safari — this is the wild after all!
However, we have never once been asked for proof of Yellow Fever. We recommend checking the CDC website for the best information.Gearing up for an African safari requires more planning than most trips.
Strategies around everything from clothing and photography, to safety and basic comforts are key — not to mention savvy luggage-packing to suit small airplanes and bumpy jeeps. But with the right basic planning, a safari will not only feel comfortable, it can be the ultimate adventure. Check out these seven essentials for planning your dream safari in Africa. Since an African safari is likely a bucket-list sort of trip for many travelers, planning well in advance is essential.
To determine which is right for you, consider things like: which airports and airlines you prefer; what vaccines and visas are necessary for that nation; what animals dwell there; what currency and languages are most common; and what types of accommodations are offered.
Once you narrow down the right destination, consider when to go. Prime animal viewing occurs during the dry winter months usually June-Augustwhen animals are forced to congregate around water sources. During the wet season, the bush is greener and wildlife is usually more dispersed around each reserve, but you'll likely find better rates and fewer tourists.
Just be sure that no matter when you go, stay flexible. Versatility and utility are the name of the clothing game. Above all, pack and wear layers, because you may be chilly for sunrise or sunset game drives, and baking in the midday sun. Fortunately, the safari look is always on trend in Africa. For the safari itself, wear earth-toned colors like tan or natural green to serve as camouflage when spotting wildlife and to keep cool when the African sun heats up.
Most pros believe that white and brighter pastel colors are the worst for safari, so leave the hot pinks at home. Cotton is comfortable, but you may find greater value in fabrics that are insect-resistant, offer SPF sun protection, and wick away moisture to feel cooler in the sun or warmer at night.
You'll want sunglasses, a full-brimmed hat with a chin strap, and boots or thick rubber-soled shoes that are comfortable enough for short or long hikes. Wise travelers also know the value of a good buff a stretchy tube of thin fabricwhich can be worn as a scarf, headband, or face cover on dusty roads.
Pay close attention to your travel toiletries. Many basic products may be hard to find in African stores, so pack favorite items that will cover your entire trip duration including shampoo, lotion, soap, tampons, and toothpaste. But you can easily avoid single-use plastic bottles if you bring your own reusable bottle, and refill with store-bought or hotel-refilled jugs of spring or purified water.Creating your own itinerary, picking and choosing the aspects of a safari that are important to you, and deciding just how autonomous you want your explorations to be, open up a world of possibilities for an African safari.
We understand that planning an entire trip from start to finish may be a daunting prospect for a first-time or even seasoned safari-goer. So here are a few tips to put in your khaki pocket, so you can plan your safari with confidence. First-timers hoping to find a more established setup may want to consider safari heavyweights South Africa and Kenya.
For a more under-the-radar destination, consider Namibia or South Tanzania. Despite storied pasts, they are becoming prime destinations for intrepid explorers with treks to spot gorillas, chimpanzees and other great apes. Choosing the right time to go on a safari can make or break your trip. The dry season around May-August has excellent conditions for spotting animals, primarily because of the lack of vegetation.
Visiting during the wet season usually October-Februarythough it could mean cheaper flights, can really hamper visibility. Another thing to consider is, of course, the price. This usually offers the best combination of savings, without compromising on animal sightings.
For more detailed weather patterns by destination, check out our calendar below. How you safari, and how freely you do it, is really up to you. For first-timers and families, organized tours are a good way to explore in a secure environment. If you want to push your limits a little more, try a tour with a private guide or go on self-guided driving tours in parks like Etosha in Namibia. Even though you may want to jam your suitcase with items for every possible situation, resist the urge.
First, consider the applicable luggage restrictions and fees for your flight.
Opting for a hiker-style backpack or soft, light suitcase is a good option for those making longer transit journeys. Then, figure out what to bring. Spending the trip in a jeep safari? You can probably opt for lightweight trainers and ditch the heavy hiking boots.Tanzania Safari Tips - How To Have An Incredible Safari In Tanzania!
Staying in glampsites or a resort? In our experience, these items are needed but not always thought aboutso consider taking them along:. The first way to know that your trip will be guilt-free is to book your accommodation and safari tour through an ethical provider. Look to companies such as responsibletravel.
On the flip side, if the provider is offering trips that include encounters that could be damaging to animals or the environment, such as riding on elephants, take this is a good indicator to walk away.
But to get there, you need to plan it properly. You need to plan it with the experts — right from the outset. The process? You contact us to create your own bespoke safari. Not something off the shelf. Something as individual as you and what you will experience. By talking, we can get a better understanding of you so we can create the right sort of trip.
Africa is a large continent. In a snapshot:. Tanzania: famous parks including the Ngorongoro Crater and the wide open plains of the Serengeti from where to witness the great wildebeest migration.
A Tanzania safari is easily combinable with beach time in Zanzibar. See More on Tanzania. Kenya: home of safari with popular Maasai Mara and beautiful Amboseli in shadow of mount Kilimanjaro and remote northern parks.
Beware of mass tourism. Good links to Kenya Coast and Zanzibar. See More on Kenya. Botswana: famed for Okavango Delta streaming with wildlife and luxury camp options. Very combinable with South Africa. See more on Botswana.
How to Plan a Safari in Africa • A Step by Step Guide
South Africa: Kruger National Park and many concessions in more controlled safari environment. Add Capetown and Winelands for an amazing single country holiday. Or take short flight to Mauritius for a beach fix. Zambia: Victoria Falls and safari in pristine wilderness. Great for walking safaris. See more on Zambia. There are direct flights to Nairobi and Johannesburg from most European hubs. Here you can connect very easily to your preferred destination.
There are also several options via Dubai and Oman with excellent connections. We can organise flights for you or you may prefer to do this direct. Tented camp or fixed structure? We recommend tented simply because this will give you a more genuine safari experience. Most camps have power and fresh water with a proper loo and shower facilities en suite.