While there are some things you really do need to take seriously when planning your safari (more about those in another blog!), there are other things that people tend to worry about much more than necessary. Here are my Top 5 tips to take the stress out of planning your African safari.
When you book your African safari with us we’ll take care of you from your arrival to your departure. You’ll be met at the airport, and looked after while you’re out on safari. We’ll make sure you get on the right bush plane, and track down things you left at your last camp. We’ll deal with the challenges an African safari can bring, so you don’t have to! If something’s not quite right, let us know and we’ll sort it out. We’ll hold your hand just as much or as little as you like. We and our hand-picked partners are always there for you, that’s the difference to booking independently.
2. The Weather
Africa generally has two seasons: the rainy summer season (November – May), and the dry winter season (June – October). However, climate change has seen these patterns becoming more unpredictable and extreme. It will probably be colder than you think and I can’t guarantee it won’t rain – whatever time of year you visit! Of course, you do need to note what the conditions are likely to be when you’re planning where and when to go. Many camps and lodges close at the height of the rainy season in April and May as access becomes difficult if not impossible, so that is a consideration if you have a particular camp or destination in mind for your African safari. However, even in the rainy season, often called the Green or Emerald Season, it will seldom rain all day. Short, heavy downpours clear the dust from the air and provide awesome photo opportunities! And, of course, travelling in the off-season also means less crowds, better prices and lots of baby animals… It’s the insider secret of seasoned safari addicts.
3. What to Wear on your African safari
No, you don’t need to buy expensive outdoor clothes for your safari. You very likely already own most of what you’ll need. You do need to bring a warm jacket and a hat for early morning game drives in an open safari vehicle, some long trousers for the evenings, and don’t forget your swim suit. Neutral coloured, comfortable clothes are recommended for safari activities, which will be hot and dusty. I know, they’re not your colours! Buy a couple of cheap t-shirts or shirts and give them to your camp manager or a staff member at the end of your safari. And please remember – white is not a neutral colour. `om alerting animals to your presence so they disappear before you can get close, it is the most unpractical colour for an African safari. While most camps provide a laundry service water is a very limited resource, so colours that don’t need frequent washing are essential.
4. Creature Comforts
Facilities on a mobile walking safari, or a participation safari where you erect your own tent, help with camp duties, have a long-drop toilet and no running water could possibly be termed ‘rustic’. But many camps these days, and certainly the ones we prefer at African Encounters, are of a very high standard in terms of comfort and amenities. You’ll have a comfortable bed, you’ll have a flushing toilet, you’ll have a hot shower, you’ll have a cold beer, and there will probably be WiFi somewhere in the camp. The standard of food served out of a tiny kitchen miles and miles from anywhere is exceptional (and we often take a peek behind the scenes…)
There is a perception that there are bugs everywhere on safari. Unless it’s early in the rainy season and you sit under a light bulb at night, most guests are genuinely surprised how few insects they see. While I recommend using insect repellant and covering up bare skin in the evenings, there is no need to cover every inch of your body in protective clothing during the daytime.
If the idea of giving back to conservation and communities while experiencing the best of Africa on your dream safari appeals to you, visit our website for safari inspiration. Our 2021 safaris are being added now. Contact us for detailed itineraries!
African Encounters is your Africa specialist – our focus is solely on Africa, not the whole world. Talk to us now about your African safari!