A safari holiday represents an exotic and adventurous trip away and for many people their safari holiday will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. That’s why planning a safari matters. Get it wrong and you’ll miss out. There are a few key things to consider before you book the safari of your dreams.
Types of Safari
It should be noted that safari holidays aren’t all the same. A safari trip can come in a few varieties, depending on the occasion, how you want to travel and what you want to see. Fans of adventure holidays who like to take part in sports will no doubt enjoy a canoe safari, which simply involves getting into a canoe and, led by a trained guide, paddling past lush landscapes that are rich in flora and fauna. These trips are run at places like the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe.
Some adventure holidays include safaris involving a Jeep tour of a particular area and for many this is perfectly fine. For those who like to get a bit more involved, a walking safari is often worthwhile. On this kind of safari, small groups are led around wilderness areas in countries such as Kenya and are shown the lay of the land by professional guides. Similar in spirit are mobile safaris, which give trip goers freedom by enabling them to call the shots, within reason and direct a privately hired safari vehicle themselves. Finally, some safaris concentrate on a theme, such as exploring areas where certain wild animals are found.
Where To Go
Once you know how you want to do the safari, your next step is to work out where you want to head, which may well be influenced by the kind of safari you’re planning. The majority of safaris take place in Africa and with good reason: Africa boasts plenty of exotic creatures and huge areas of wilderness to explore. South Africa is a good place to start if you’re looking forward to seeing beasts such as lions and elephants and offers urban environments such as Cape Town as a side attraction. Kenya is a cliché safari destination but also a quality one, especially if you catch animal migration season, which takes place between August and November annually.
Namibia, meanwhile, boasts the Namib desert, where some truly spectacular landscapes are there for the viewing. Namibia is one of the less ventured to safari locations, which may be an appealing factor for some. Activity fans are more likely to be pulled to Tanzania, where areas of wilderness such as the Serengeti National Park and daunting destinations including Mount Kilimanjaro combine to offer animal spotting in challenging terrain.
Times of Year
Just as important in planning a trip is knowing when to go. Your choice of trip times may well be limited to being able to get time off work, for example, but if you have a degree of choice, there are a few things to consider.
If you’re off to Kenya, you may want to catch sight of birds, in which case head there in either October or November. Between June and October the watering holes of Tanzania tend to be at their busiest; this is the case between May and November in Botswana. Consider wet seasons too; for instance, in Rwanda you’ll encounter wet seasons between January and March and September and October each year, which may or may not matter to you.
James Fleet writes regularly on safari holidays for a range of travel websites and blogs. James has embarked on a number of holidays in his lifetime but has returned to Kenya for its safaris again and again.