If you can’t satisfy your inner traveler with all-inclusive hotels, private resorts, and overcrowded tourist destinations, it’s time to go to Africa! It is nothing like California, Paris, or Barcelona. African countries can show you life from another angle and leave you speechless. This vast continent is filled with natural wonders, rich culture, and history. Also, you will be able to see wildlife up-close. If you consider going on safari in Africa for the first time, that’s what you need to know:
The best time to visit
Before going on safari, you should take into account the fact that seasons in the South and Eastern Africa differ. At this point, there are 157 safari parks around Africa.
Here is the list of the safest places to safari in Africa:
These days, Tanzania is one of the most popular destinations for tourists due to the largest diversity of wild animals on the whole continent.
According to experts at Kandoo Adventures, the best time to visit Tanzanian safari is during a dry season – it starts in the middle of July. Avoid traveling to Tanzania in the springtime. Otherwise, you will spend your vacation in the hotel room. Spring in Tanzania is a rainy season – during that time, all roads get washed out, and wild animals hide in the shelters.
It is getting pretty hot during the winter months in Tanzania – daytime temperature raises up to 40 °C (104 °F). As you can understand, staying outside for longer than an hour can be pretty difficult.
It is recommended to go to Kenyan safari during the summer months. Maasai Mara National Reserve is considered one of the most popular destinations to see wildlife in Kenya. Also, you can go to multiple national parks during the dry season that starts at the beginning of January.
In Zambia, you can see a small version of the Great Migration in the middle of November. To enjoy your holidays, go to Zambia during the dry season that starts at the beginning of autumn.
Botswana is relatively safe for tourists to visit. Keep in mind that you might need to charter a plane in order to go on Botswanian safari since there are no accessible roads. If you want to save a few bucks during your vacation, go on safari at the beginning of May- the prices are usually lower at that time.
Things to take with you
In order to avoid an uncomfortable situation on an African safari, you should pack light.
Make sure you wear comfortable, breathable shoes and clothes. It can get pretty cold in the evening, that’s why you should dress in layers. Do not dress in camouflage clothing since military uniforms are forbidden in some African countries.
It is recommended to take mosquito repellant, sunscreen and first aid kit with you. Safari guides are obligated to have basic medication in their cars. On the other hand, they might not have something specific that you or your loved ones will need.
Also, consider packing a few snacks and bottled water with you since the safari trip can take up to six hours. Some tour guides provide tourists with lunch on the way. However, you shouldn’t rely on it.
Safari is a once in a lifetime experience, so taking a professional camera is a must. Feel free to ask your guide to stop so that you can take a photo. Just in case, take some extra batteries, tripod, and memory cards.
Rules to follow
Safari is not a local zoo; you should follow specific rules to avoid getting into trouble.
The first and most important rule during the safari is to listen to your tour guide. All guides have years of professional experience; they know what can be hiding in the bushes, and when you should be quiet. Listen to their recommendations – all they want is to keep you safe.
Never leave the vehicle unless your guide allows you to. You’d be surprised to learn that peaceful and sleepy rhinos and elephants can also attack people who try to approach them and take a photo.
Also, don’t blame your guide in case you don’t see all the animals. Once again, it is not a zoo, so a guide isn’t able to predict where lions and leopards might be hiding.
Before the safari starts, mute your phone and keep your voice down. All wild animals have an excellent hearing – your excitement or mobile notification might scare them away. Also, avoid screaming to animals in order to draw their attention – it can only provoke them and make them aggressive.
A few months before going to Africa, take a right medical precaution in order to stay healthy. Make an appointment with your doctor as early as possible and learn what vaccines you will need to make.
The bottom line
An African safari is an unforgettable experience that a traveler can have. To make sure it’s safe and pleasant, plan every little detail and learn more about safari etiquette.
It’s necessary to follow your guide’s recommendations and have a first aid kit with you. Learn about your safari destination and stay excited – it’s time to feed your wanderlust!
Maya Kinsley is a multilingual content writer based in London. She can speak English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Spanish. After completing her Bachelor degree in Literature in 2014, Maya has been volunteering at the summer high school program in Peru. At that time, she has started running her expat blog. Her website is aimed to help immigrants cope with stress and loneliness.