Planning any kind of vacation requires a lot of research and preparation as that is the only way to ensure that you have a great holiday. And if the vacation that you have chosen happens to be an African Safari, then it is practically impossible to have an unforgettable experience without prior planning.
Since an African Safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, it is essential that tourists plan their African safari right down to the last detail. After all, you do not want to end up in the African jungles without knowing what to do! Hence, here is a complete guide to planning an African safari, the memories of which will be etched in your mind forever!
How to Plan an African Safari
When planning an African safari, there are many factors that require careful consideration. These are:
1. Activities you want to include in the safari: The biggest attraction of an African safari is undoubtedly the wildlife. Game watching is one activity that is part of any type of African safari. However, there are plenty of other activities that can be included in the safari. You can choose to go Gorilla tracking or you can hike to the peak of Table Mountain. Indulging in adventure sports such as bungee jumping is also possible when you are on an African safari. Hence, deciding what all you want to do while on safari is one of the first things that you need to do in order to plan a great safari.
2. Places you want to visit: The first time you research locations for an African safari you will be astounded at the plethora of options available to you. Whether it is a photo safari in Kenya, the wilds of Tanzania, or the splendid Serengeti – each and every place has its own beauty and adventure. Therefore, it is essential that you go through these locations and choose which ones you simply cannot miss. Yes, you will be tempted to go to each and every place in Africa, but since that is not practical, you have to plan wisely.
3. Duration of the safari: Another important consideration when you are planning an African safari is the length of your stay. This will mostly be determined by how long you can take time off from your work and other personal commitments. However, you need to be sure that you have planned for enough days so as to visit all the places on your must-go-to list. If the budget is an issue for a longer stay, you may want to look at cheaper safari options or you may even think about cutting down on a few activities that are not absolutely essential for you.
4. Timing of your African safari: Deciding when to go on your safari adventure is a crucial decision. There may be certain activities that are possible only during some months in the year. Hence, when you go on the safari will be determined to a large extent by the activities you have shortlisted. However, if your chosen activities are available all year round, you may want to go on the safari during the off-peak months so that your costs can be lowered and you do not have to contend with the hordes of tourists during peak season.
5. Using a tour operator: While it is very easy to plan a holiday through the internet as you can conveniently book your air tickets, hotels etc; you should use the services of a tour operator when planning an African safari. The main reason behind this is the fact that Africa is a huge continent and most of the regions are largely unexplored. Hence, a tour operator will be able to offer you experienced advice, which can go a long way towards making your safari extraordinary.
6. Keep an eye on the costs: When you are planning your African safari with a travel agent, ask them what your trip cost includes. Make sure you get a break up of all items such as cost of the tickets, hotel rates, charges for the actual safari, meal charges, as well as costs of all the activities that you wish to indulge in. Many an African safari has got ruined because the tourists thought they had an all-inclusive package, only to find out that they had to pay separately for most of their activities and adventures.
7. Important documents: When planning an African safari, tourists need to ensure that they have all the valid documentation and papers that are required. This includes the passport, visa (if required), credit card for expenses, or travelers’ checks. Make sure all your papers are in order well before your safari date.
8. Packing for the safari: Another important aspect of planning an African safari is what to take with you. Make sure you carry clothes in neutral colors such as white, brown or khaki and not loud colors such as red, pink or greens. Comfortable walking shoes are a must on safari, without which you may miss out on a lot of adventures. Your clothes should be full sleeved if possible so as to protect you from the sun as well as insect bites. Do make sure to pack some mosquito repellant as mosquitoes can be quite a nuisance during an African safari. Other essential items for an African safari include sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, binoculars, anti diarrhea medicine, cap, water disinfecting tablets, and any prescription medicines that you take regularly.
9. Health precautions: Depending on which country you stay in, you may have to take some vaccinations before you embark on an African safari. If you do need to take any vaccinations, plan to get them well in time for the safari. Malaria is quite a problem in many areas in Africa. Thus, you may want to talk to your doctor for any anti-malaria medicines or for tips to protect yourself from this disease.
By using this guide to plan your African safari, you can be 100% sure that you will have a trip of a lifetime!