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So Many Safaris, So Little Time – A Simple Safari Planner

Safari Planning - Malachite Kingfisher African safari and wild dog Cheetah seen on a Botswana safari Zebras seen on African safaris

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So Many Safaris, So Little Time – A Simple Safari Planner
With a continent so vast and geographically varied as Africa, you might be overwhelmed to realize how many different game parks, safari camps, and tour operators there are if you are researching safari information. In fact, Africa offers hundreds of various types of safaris to accommodate all budgets, activity preferences and ages. Planning your safari and making all the necessary arrangements requires careful consideration and communication with your travel company. This article discusses some helpful topics that you should consider before making a final decision about where, when and what you should do when you go on safari.

What Are Your Interests?
Assessing your interests is the best way to determine what type of safari experience will be most satisfying for you.  For example, do you want to see lions? Or are you interested in trekking to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda? Would you like your adventure to primarily involve hiking and walking or would you prefer to take in the sights from a vehicle? If you prefer to travel by vehicle, there are many kinds of safari vehicles to consider including closed-roof mini-vans (or comb’s) to open-air 4WD Land Rovers.

In addition, you should consider how much of the local culture you are interested in experiencing. Are you interested in water activities like canoeing down the Zambezi River or game viewing by canoe (mokoro) in the Okavango Delta? Have you always wanted to experience first-hand the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, see the Victoria Falls, fly or balloon over the Masai Mara, or climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Since every safari has unique features, you’ll want to pinpoint the locations that provide all or most of the things you want to experience, depending on where your interests lie.

When Would You Like to Travel?
Different seasons offer different activities and experiences on safari, but regardless of which season you choose to visit Africa, you will want to ensure that you plan your trip well in advance. Early booking will increase your chances of reserving the specific safari camps you would like to visit, as well as air tickets to Africa. A couple of important points to make note of in terms of Africa’s seasonal climate follow:

• The southern hemisphere winter runs from around May to early August.  For those who dislike the hot weather, this is perhaps the best time to visit southern Africa.

• Game movements are generally determined by the availability of fresh grazing and browsing sources.  Rains will generally disperse browsers and the attendant predators, whereas, dry seasons inevitably lead to larger concentrations around remaining water sources.  

What Is Your Budget?
Be sure to make a realistic assessment of your budget relative to the actual costs of the trip. The total cost of a safari is based upon a wide variety of factors, including length of time spent in the bush, the quality of your accommodations, the remoteness of your camp, the quality and type of vehicle you select, the level of experience of your guide, and extra costs.

A lower cost safari could take you to the best places, but expenses like game park fees, meals, bottled water, alcohol, airport transfers, and so forth can all be extra. Be aware that these costs can add substantially to your costs when you are considering whether or not to take an all-inclusive tour.

What Type of Accommodation Do You Prefer?
When considering what type of accommodations you want for your safari, remember that luxury in Africa doesn’t always equate to luxury in a 5-star hotel.
However, a luxury safari typically includes superb food and wine, small, exclusive safari camps established in the most desirable game viewing, fewer guests to a safari vehicle, knowledgeable guides and a high ration of camp staff to guests.

Alternatively, “roughing it” generally indicates a participation safari which means doing your own cooking with modest food, limited fresh water supply, camp areas that are sometimes crowded with tourists, less knowledgeable guides, and paying for park fees and other extra costs along the way.

Eyes on Africa, an African safari company, boasts an extremely knowledgeable team of staff members, who are passionate about every aspect of travel to Africa, including its wildlife and safari destinations. When you're ready to plan your African safari, a holiday in Africa, or if you just have questions, please feel free to contact us toll free at 800-457-9575 or visit our web site at http://www.eyesonafrica.net/contactus.htm and complete an information request form.

Eyes on Africa was selected most knowledgeable Regional Expert for Southern Africa / Safaris by National Geographic Traveler Magazine, 20th Anniversary Special Issue, October 2004.
Eyes on Africa was selected most knowledgeable
Regional Expert for Southern Africa / Safaris by
National Geographic Traveler Magazine,
20th Anniversary Special Issue.

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