Imagine yourself in the heart of the Kenyan bush. You have just been woken up by your family at daybreak because it’s time to head out. You are surrounded by deadly animals, but thankfully your group’s tents have been watched overnight by professionally trained guards. Lions, snakes and elephants are not exactly keen on having strange creatures disturb their natural environment, so every safety precaution must be studied and rigidly followed. But the benefits outweigh the risks! African Safaris provide immerse you and provide you a fantastic insight into the dynamics of life in the wild. With over 750 species of animals, Africa has always attracted tourists simply for this reason.
When it comes adrenaline-riddled holidays, African Safaris are my favourite. The rush of being in front of a potentially lethal animal and the beauty of the natural landscape in general really make for an amazing experience. If you are contemplating a refreshingly new holiday experience, I highly recommend it. If this is the case, let me give you a brief guide on how to prepare for your trip. Here are the basic things you need to consider:
- Where to go
- What safari company to pick
- What to take
- What flight
Where to go
East and Southern Africa generally speaking are the two regions with the best infrastructure to support the safari experience. The most popular countries are Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Although infrastructure implies that you will be safer, it also means that the bush has been more influenced by human presence and interference than other pristine areas. Safaris in these countries usually take place in natural reserves, where everything is thoroughly prepared, and every factor is taken into account for visitors’ safety. These countries are also relatively stable in terms of local politics and economics. This can’t really be said about many of their neighbours as the African continent has been cursed by political turmoil and wars in the last century.
If you’re looking for a more pristine natural environment, I’d recommend Zimbabwe or Uganda. However, choosing a country also depends on what species of animals you actually want to see. For instance, if you are keen on seeing the bird migration to the Serengeti ecosystem from the Masai Mara in Kenya, you should head to East Africa. If elephants are what you’re looking for then I would advise you to go no further than Southern Africa, which is home to over 75 percent of the species on the entire continent.
Another great attraction in Kenya is Mount Kilimanjaro, which is Africa’s tallest peak. This last point illustrates another factor that can tip the scale and make you choose a country as you might consider non-safari related aspects. South Africa is arguably Africa’s most developed state, so if you want, you could even by staying in luxury tents. This option is less available in Eastern Africa.
What safari company to pick
The Safari company you pick will depend on similar factors to those I’ve listed above. The names of the tour guides are the same as the park or reserve you look at. For instance, among others, in Kenya you have:
- Amboseli National park
- Masaj Mara
What animals inhabit the park, the ecosystem that exists there and the infrastructure available are the crucial factors you should be aware of before choosing one.
What to take
Before heading out, you should book an appointment with your general practitioner to ask what the required vaccines are to travel to the country you have chosen. Here is a list of basic things to bring along on a Safari holiday:
- Light and dull-coloured clothing, as bright colours can attract animals.
- Warm clothing for the cool nights.
- Walking boots.
- Sun lotion and mosquito repellent.
- Binoculars and camera (with spare batteries.)
- First aid kit.
- Waterproof jacket
- Swimsuit for the hotel.
- Informative books on safaris and African animals
- Sun glasses
- Cleansing towels
- Bottle for drinking water
- Cushion or pillow
- Toys to entertain children
- Toilet paper and plastic bags
There are a lot of cheap holidays and the best deals found on the internet, so I highly recommend looking for flights there. You should generally seek to fly out to an airport that is relatively close to where the reserve or park is.