(Photo: 6 Tips for Planning the Perfect African Safari Trip)
For the perfect safari trip, plan in advance, pack the right clothes, gear, essentials, get travel insurance, and decide between a group or private safari.
Africa has the most amazing wildlife and the most iconic safaris. These safaris allow you to come in face-to-face contact with the most enchanting animals.
However, planning an African safari requires more preparation than your average trip. You need to pack the right clothes, devices, basic comfort items, and ensure a few other travel considerations to make your trip to the safari an ultimate adventure.
Here are a few essential things you need to consider.
1. Choose Your Destination in Advance
African safaris are very popular tourist destinations and just like you, thousands of other people are planning to visit. This is why you have to plan ahead so your trip can go smoothly.
There are several popular safaris in South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. When choosing your preferred place, you have to decide which time of the year you want to make the trip. For instance, the best time for animal viewing is during June-August. Safaris are usually packed during this time.
In the wet seasons, the greenery is lush and you will find better rates because there will be fewer tourists. Wherever you go, be sure to plan a flexible trip. It is best to take things slow there and enjoy your time. If you are planning to visit multiple places, it is best to use a travel map with pins.
Next, you have to check the vaccine and visa requirements
Countries that require a visa
Even if you are an American citizen, you will need a visa for these countries:
Countries that do not require a visa
If you are an American citizen, you will not need a visa for these countries:
The visa requirements may change. So, it is best to check their official websites before planning a trip.
2. Decide Between a Private or Group Safari
You can either enjoy a group or a private safari experience. There is no definite good or bad but there are some tradeoffs.
Private safari experience
Private safaris mean you are the captain of your own ship. You can decide where you want to go when you want to go and decide which activities you want to participate in with your tour operator. If you want to spend a little extra time watching hippos, you can do that without any rush.
However, there is a catch. Private safari experiences are more expensive because you will have private vehicles, private guides, and a flexible routine. All this flexibility and privacy will cost you extra.
Group safari experience
In group safaris, you will meet a lot of new people. The trip can be very fun if you find people with similar interests. You can share your experience and become friends with like-minded people. Group experiences are also easy on the wallet.
However, like private safaris, you cannot customize your trips. You will have to follow a fixed schedule and you will not be able to spend extra time on activities you personally enjoyed since you will have to stick to the schedule.
There is also a chance that you will be grouped with people you do not like. That can be very annoying since you will have to spend the entire trip with them.
3. Get Travel Insurance
A lot of safari tours require you to have travel insurance. So it is best to get one beforehand. When getting travel insurance, make sure it provides the following benefits:
Land and air ambulance coverage
Activity coverages such as bungee jumping, scuba-diving, trekking, and balloon trips
Trip cancellation coverage
Coverage for medical expenses
Getting travel insurance can be expensive but it is much safer to travel while insured.
4. Pack the Right Clothes
The weather can be harsh no matter what the season. You will feel baked during mid-day and chilly during the sunset or sunrise drives.
It is best to pack different types of clothes. For the safari ride, pack earth-colored clothes that have a natural green or a tan shade. Bright colors are a big no for safaris so leave them at home.
You will want to pack cotton clothes because of their comfort. But also make sure you have fabrics that offer insect resistance, absorb moisture, and provide SPF sun protection.
5. Bring Your Gear
You have to bring an electrical outlet adapter no matter where you go. You can find them in every local shop or order them from online stores. Make sure it has multiple USB plugs. Buy multiple USB battery packs as well. This will help you recharge your phone whenever you want.
You should also make sure to carry a lightweight flashlight just for emergency purposes. You will need a high-quality camera because safaris are amazing places for the most beautiful pictures. If you have experience in photography, grab a zoom lens as well.
Invest in a camera that can capture long-distance photos and a tripod. This will help you take great photos of zebras, lions, elephants, and rhinos up close.
Also, take some stuff to keep your cameras and devices safe. Pack some plastic grocery bags or shower caps to cover your lenses from dust and rain.
6. Pack the Essentials
Do not get us wrong; the above-mentioned things are also important but there are some other essentials that can make or break your entire safari experience.
For instance, you must always pack a full-brimmed sun hat to keep your head safe from the sun, thick rubber-soled boots for long hikes, and light, breathable fabric such as a headband or scarf to cover your face in dusty terrain.
Do not forget your toiletries because sometimes basic products can be hard to find. So be sure to pack your lotions, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, and tampons.
Sunscreens are a must but do not use ones with fragrances since insects and mosquitoes will be attracted to them.
You will find bottled water everywhere but you can also use your own reusable bottle to avoid single-use plastics. You can refill them at hotels with purified or store-bought water.
Try to enjoy your trip to the fullest and witness enchanting wildlife. If you properly plan, you too can make the best out of your safari trip and make it a lifetime experience.
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