Safari 101: How To Plan A World-Class African Safari (Without Going Broke)
by Jason Moore
Have you ever dreamt of experiencing a one-of-a-kind African Safari adventure?
Today I am joined by my friend Scott Brills, a long-time nomad and co-founder of Pamoja Safaris , to discuss all the details surrounding how to plan an African Safari.
Whether you’ve been on a Safari before or only dreamt of it, you are not going to want to miss this episode. Scott provides insider advice on what to expect when booking a Safari, when and where to go, and the key elements of having a great Safari experience. He also shares some of his most transformative travel experiences and the evolution of his life digital nomad since 2002.
What element of a Safari is the most important to you? I’d love to hear what you think and hope you will share them by sending me an audio message.
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Tune In To Learn:
- The steps Scott took to turn his side hustle into a full-time business
- Why traveling as a young person is a gateway to living a life of travel
- How Scott managed to build his life around travel
- Why traveling to China as a teen had a major impact on Scott’s picky eating habits
- What it was like to be a digital nomad in the early 2000s
- The importance of finding a community that gets you
- Tips for embracing a lifestyle that deviates from the norm
- How to overcome roadblocks when leading a travel-oriented life
- The magical moment that Scott met his business partner Josh
- Why it’s important to seize the moment when you find your calling
- The best destinations in Africa to have one-of-a-kind wildlife and cultural experiences
- Top ingredients to creating an epic African Safari experience
- How to find and book a fairly priced, authentic, and trustworthy African Safari
- And so much more
- Join Zero To Travel Premium Passport
- Learn more about Pamoja Safaris
- Check out Scott Brills’ website
- Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter
- Discovering Meaningful Work Through Travel
- Adventure and Conservation: A 6000 km Tuk Tuk Journey Through Africa
- Finding Meaning Through Travel w/ Dr. Christopher Daniels
Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash
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The Practical A-Z Guide to Going on Safari
“ You Are About to Fall in Love… with Africa and the Call of the Wild… Here’s the Last Safari Guide You’ll Ever Need!”
“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa — for he has so much to look forward to.” (Richard Mullin)
Table of Contents
What is Safari?
The practical guide to going on safari, a = accessories, b = binoculars, b = baboon protection, b = big five, c = clothing, d = debit and credit cards, e = electricity plug converters, e = emergency toilet paper, g = great wildebeest migration, h = handwash, i = insect repellent, i = insurance certificate, k = kilimanjaro, l = leave the fashion at home, l = luggage, m = malaria medication, n = neutral colours, o = ornithology, p = patience, p = packing light, p = passport, p = photography, q = quenching your thirst, r = random safari activities, r = respect the environment, s = sun protection, t = tipping, u = u.s. dollars in cash, v = vaccinations, v = visas for travel, w = walking safaris, w = wifi (or lack of), x = x-rated wildlife situations, y = yellow fever certificate, z = zzzz….
From the wildebeest covered plains of Tanzania to the elephant filled forests of Botswana, safari is the world’s great escape into untouched wilderness. It’s an immersion in the wild, one that takes you away from urbanscapes and into a realm where people are merely visitors.
Africa offers one of the world’s final remaining untouched natural landscapes, offering huge areas that have forever been the haven of wild mammals.
Going on a safari offers an immersion into this world.
It’s far more than sightseeing.
On an African safari you feel as if you are part of the landscape .
You open your senses to nature in all its drama and charm.
It’s something that I first experienced when I was just a child.
And it’s something that’s never left me.
Because once you’ve been on safari, you’ll want to go again and again .
Understanding safari further can be done through exploring the origins of the term. In Swahili, safari means “long journey” , a reflection of how the experience isn’t just about seeing a few animals.
Safari is nothing like a zoo. The animals aren’t in cages. These are wild fenceless landscapes where anything can happen. It’s unpredictable and it’s always intimate . Wild scenes play out just meters from your eyes, like lions taking down zebra or rhinos roaming around waterholes.
A safari isn’t about arriving with a tick-list or saying that you saw a few wild animals. It’s about going on a journey through Africa and discovering nature’s unmistakable rhythm.
But with safari there are always so many questions. From the basic concerns about safety – what happens if a hyena comes into the camp? – to practical details like what to pack , what accessories are needed , how to stay healthy , and even how to say hello .
This practical A-Z guide is designed to answer all these questions, covering everything you need to know for a safari journey. It’s based on the years of experience I have of going on safari and over 23 years of living in Africa.
With this guide I hope you will be fully prepared for landing in Africa and going off on your own safari adventure .
“If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.” (Karen Blixen)
Easy Peasy from A-Z
As the title suggests, this practical guide is an easy A – Z run through of everything you’re going to need on an African safari.
With this you should be fully prepared for anything the landscape or wildlife can throw at you, including the thieving baboons.
And who better to introduce it all than a majestic leopard photographed in Namibia’s Etosha National Park .
Small things that make a big difference
Pack for any trip and it’s easy to get preoccupied with the big things, like bags, shoes and sleeping bags.
But for a successful African safari, it’s usually the little things that really make a difference .
Here’s a few items that you shouldn’t leave home without:
- Swiss army knife or other penknife. This really comes in handy when you’re in the bush, from uncorking a bottle of wine to cutting up rope to tie down your tent. Or perhaps there’s a roadside stall selling huge ripe mangoes.
Maybe a sundowner bottle of beer needs opening when you’re gazing over the waterhole. In rural African landscapes, where there’s little around, a penknife is an essential item.
- Money belt . There’s various popular sayings in Africa that run along the lines of “once the fruit is ripe, you need to eat it.” In another language it means “if there’s an opportunity, you have to take it.” These metaphors can be applied to your travels in Africa.
It’s very unlikely you’ll get robbed, as long as you don’t present an opportunity. A hidden money belt keeps your cash and travel documents safely stowed away , so nobody is eyeing up the wallet that bulges out of your back pocket, or a handbag filled with all your valuables.
There are many models of money belt, like Travelwey, Landing Gear, Eagle Creek, or my personal favourite, the Pacsafe RFIDsafe 100 . It’s compact enough to hide under your clothing and has two zippered compartments.
- Combination lock or padlock. Suitcases usually have their own locks but you may need a combination lock for a duffel bag or backpack. A three-dial combination lock should be fine; it’s more of a deterrent than anything else.
Increasingly common is Pacsafe wire meshing that can be fitted around backpacks and duffel bags so nobody can get inside. This is very useful when you’re taking buses or local transport, especially overnight.
“Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.” (W.C. Fields)
A major priority on a safari packing list
On an African safari you’ll be looking out for the big things and the small things , from herds of 50 elephants to tiny exotic birds that flutter around Acacia trees.
In most national parks, your safari vehicle isn’t allowed to travel off the trail, which can lead to frustration when the action is taking place far away.
Binoculars always come in handy, whether it’s scanning the trees for a leopard, getting a close-up of a kill, scanning the savannah for your next move, or admiring the intricate feathers of a tropical bird.
Here are ten things to consider when buying your safari binoculars :
1. Brand . There’s a huge amount of choice out there. I trust and recommend Zeiss , Canon , Bushnell , Pentax , Swarovski , Steiner , Leiva , Tento and Fujinon .
2. Cost . A reasonable pair of binoculars can be found for US$100. Anything else isn’t really worth it. Expect $200-300 for a good pair that’s guaranteed to last. The Pentax Papilio and Nikon Monarch are good entry binoculars. You can also find cheap second-hand pairs online.
3. Eye Relief . Eye relief refers to the optimal distance between your eyes and the binocular’s eyepiece. If you wear glasses, look for an eye relief of at least 15mm .
4. Field of View (FOV) . This is the width of the view at a particular distance. In general, the greater the magnification, the narrower the field of view. For an African safari, choose a pair with a field of view of at least 330ft at 1000 yards .
5. Magnification Power . Binoculars are fitted with a series of numbers, like 8 x 42 or 10 x 50. The first number represents the magnification . A figure of 10 means the image is ten times bigger than seen with the naked eye. For tracking fast moving objects like birds or running mammals, don’t consider magnification greater than 8x . 10x or greater is better for general animal spotting and when you need to scan the horizon .
6. Lens Size/Aperture . The second number represents the diameter of the lens ; the larger the number, the bigger the lens and the more light the binoculars can take in. This is important in fading light and for making the scenes more colourful. For optimal results, consider fully multi-coated lenses .
7. Shock Resistance . It can be bumpy in a safari truck so you’ll want protective rubber or synthetic housing that prevents scratches on your binoculars.
8. Waterproofing . Waterproofing isn’t just about protection from dropping the binoculars in a hippo-filled lake. It protects them against moisture , humidity , and the swirling dust that inhabits many safari landscapes.
9. Weight and Size . There’s a trade off here. Compact binoculars are lighter and easily transported, so great for birdwatching . But larger binoculars offer greater magnification , precision and image detail .
10. My Personal Recommendation . I’ve had my Russian Tento army-type binoculars for over 15 years and they’ve probably been the best ever safari buy (thanks dad).
Some personal favourites to get you excited
I’m not suggesting filling your bag with a lot of hardback illustrated books, but there’s some amazing literature that will really inspire you to visit Africa . Plus, a couple of field guides are an excellent accompaniment to a safari.
With those in your backpack, it’s easy to recognise animal behaviour and exactly what you’ve just seen. The following are some of my personal favourites :
- Africa , by Michael Poliza – A photography masterpiece with sublime illustrations and jaw-dropping images. One glance and you’ll fall in love with Africa.
- Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain , by Mitsuaki Iwago – I got this book from my parents when I was only a child. It made me immediately fall in love with Africa’s extraordinary wildlife. Mitsuaki is a real artist with his camera.
- Birds of East Africa , by J.G. Williams and Norman Arlott – An indispensable guide with 1283 species and 650 colour illustrations.
- Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa , by Norman Arlott , Phil Hockey , Ian Sinclair , and Peter Hayman – Recently updated, this is the most comprehensive guide on its subject.
- The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Animals , by Richard D. Estes – This book is like having a personal guide with you on safari, as it’s full of information about behaviour displays, vegetation zones, and what to look out for when you spot all the big mammals.
- Signs of the Wild , by Clive Walker – This is my bible for Southern Africa safari. It contains detailed information on the spoor and signs of all Southern African mammals, plus stunning illustrations, distribution maps, and an environmental glossary.
- Larger Animals of East Africa , by David Hosking and Martin B. Withers – It was one of the first safari guides I ever bought. It’s got great illustrations and is very easy to use. Perfect for a first-time safari.
- Lonely Planet – There’s both an East Africa and Southern Africa multi-country guide by the LP. If you like the Lonely Planet style then these are good travel companions. I wouldn’t recommend their Africa guidebook as it squeezes over 50 countries into 1000 pages, so there’s very little detail.
- Bradt – Bradt’s various country guides are more in-depth and authoritative than the LP and it was Bradt that published the first ever guidebooks to various African countries. The major downside is that there’s no up-to-date regional guide, so you’ll need to buy a separate guidebook for every country.
- Don’t Look Behind You! A Safari Guide’s Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos , by Peter Allison – The title says it all and you really feel like you’re on an Africa adventure with the narrator.
- Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide , by Peter Allison – Read this and you’re certain to put African safari at number one on your travel wish-list.
- Out of Africa , by Karen Blixen – A biography of living in Kenya and developing conservation.
- Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds , by Joy Adamson – The original and still the best book on the complexities of wild versus tame.
General African Literature
- Things Fall Apart , by Chinua Achebe – A harrowing tale of what happened when white colonization entered West Africa.
- The Whale Caller , by Zakes Mda – A surreal novel about a South African whale caller who falls in love with a migrating whale.
- The Shadow of the Sun , by Ryszard Kapuscinski – 40 years of stories from a Polish journalist who lived all across the continent. Beautifully written and focuses more on the positives than many other journalist biographies.
- Half of a Yellow Sun , by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – A stunning story of love, tradition, modernity, and civil war.
“I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” (Ernest Hemingway)
Protection for when animal meets man
Baboons are amusing. They run around in troops, jump through trees, ball and shout, and generally make an entertaining safari highlight. But they’re cheeky and impudent thieves , always ready to jump at an opportunity to run off with your food.
So you always need to be vigilant and bring your mental baboon protection. Baboons have a habit of hanging around any place where there’s people and food, notably the entrance gates to national parks and public campsites.
Their tactics involve jumping through any open windows , shouting , and running away with your packed lunch box. And they don’t just steal bananas and stale bread.
Baboons are experts at rummaging through your belongings and stealing the items of culinary luxury you brought for the safari.
So how do you protect yourself from baboons?
Firstly, always keep the windows to the safari truck closed when you’re parked, even if you’re inside (it’s pretty scary when a baboon jumps through the open window and you’re still inside the vehicle).
Secondly, don’t walk and visibly carry any food whenever baboons are around.
And finally, but most important, stand your ground if a baboon snarls at you – they just want to scare you away so they can thieve your goodies!
* Tales From an African Safari Guide
On one of my first ever jobs I was waiting at the entrance gate to Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. There were baboons everywhere and I told everyone explicitly to keep the windows closed and not walk around with food.
One of them opened the window to take some close-ups of the baboons as they climbed over the vehicles. I was buying the entrance tickets when suddenly, a piercing scream came from the car park.
A young baboon had jumped through the open window and the commotion alerted three much larger members of the troop. There were now four baboons in the vehicle! I had to run out with a stick, open the door and scare them away. All on my third ever safari as a guide!
I went to inspect the damage. The baboons had ignored the sandwiches and fruit. Instead they’d stolen my two tubes of Pringles , the only vegetarian packed lunch, and half a kilo of gourmet Dutch cheese – essentially the only items I couldn’t replace.
Going beyond the safari favourites
Okay, so you can’t pack them, but knowing the big five is the starting point for your exploration of the wildlife in Africa . The big five is a big buzzword in the safari industry, yet it’s got a menacing history. It’s actually a hunting term .
These five animals were famous because they were the hardest to hunt , as it was only these five that would attack back when they were getting hunted. Fast-forward 100 years and it’s these big five animals that are revered as the premier sights on an African safari.
The big five are lion , leopard , elephant , rhino , and buffalo . And I’d like to see anyone who could squeeze any of these into a backpack.
Of course, seeking out these majestic animals is going to be at the heart of your safari experience. But don’t get too preoccupied. There’s far more to safari than just five animals . Some national parks have over 100 different mammals while others have herds of zebra or wildebeest that number over 100 000.
A safari offers a complete immersion in the wild and you’ll be surrounded by nature’s weird and wonderful, so don’t think it wasn’t a success because one of the famous big five didn’t get a tick on the list.
* Tales From My African Safaris
The first animal I ever encountered in the wild was a black rhino in Nairobi National Park. Everyone had said not to expect too much, so I hadn’t even thought about any of the big five. It crossed the road right beneath our eyes – not a bad safari start don’t you think? Perhaps you can see why I was hooked from the first moment!
Get dressed for safari success
The African savannah can be dusty , windy , scorching hot , surprisingly cold , and when it rains it “really” rains . Two adjacent national parks can have very different climates and conditions.
So what do you pack?
Before considering the packing list, let’s first consider the basics of safari. The climate can be harsh and unpredictable, the landscape is rough and rugged, while the adventure takes you to remote wilderness that’s hundreds of miles from any paved road.
So to get dressed for safari success, think first about practicality and comfort . You’re not going to be impressing giraffe on a nightclub dance floor or showing off a designer swimsuit to a wading hippo. So never bring your best clothes .
Instead, whatever you bring needs to reflect the challenging conditions of a safari. Here’s a rundown of a comprehensive safari wardrobe , all of which is recommended in neutral colours (see N for why!):
- A couple of lightweight jerseys and a warm lightweight fleece – Early mornings and late evenings can be chilly, especially when you’re in an open safari vehicle.
- Short and long-sleeved button shirts – I normally pack two of each. The long sleeves are important against the sun and insects.
- T-shirts – Pack a few so you always have clean options in the evening.
- Shorts – Two or three pairs are enough as long as they are durable.
- Durable long trousers – These are especially important if you’re going to be walking through the bush.
- Zip-off safari trousers – Yes, I know they’re not fashionable but they save luggage space and are highly practical.
- Jeans – Although they are bulky and heavy, I like to bring a pair which I can change into during the evenings.
- Underwear – I’m not going to make any suggestions here!
- Poncho – They’re lighter and more practical than a raincoat and can serve both as a rain cover for you and your belongings. It’s also an effective windbreaker.
- Swimsuit – If a camp or lodge has a pool then it’s usually got an incredible view. Just don’t go swimming when local wildlife is taking a drink!
- Sarong / kikoy / Maasai shuka – An excellent accessory that can be used as a blanket, sun protection, or to keep you warm against the wind.
- Thermal long johns , gloves , scarf , beanie – Required in winter when you’re on safari in Southern Africa.
- A multi-pocket gilet – This is especially useful for photographers.
- Shoes – See S for what you’ll need.
- Socks – Thick comfortable ones to wear underneath your shoes.
Now, you might be thinking – especially if you are female – that all this makes for a drab and conservative wardrobe. So let’s accessorise. Two or three lightweight coloured scarves or wraps are a great way to add some glamour to a safari outfit. Combining this with some vibrant local jewellery or bead necklaces works really well.
For guys , a colourful evening shirt helps inject some vibrancy into the outfit. When packing your wardrobe consider that you will need different clothes for the actual safari activities and for the evenings . After a long day in the bush you’ll want to shower and change into clean fresh clothes for the evenings.
Yes, they do work
Many people think that Africa is a backwards completely undeveloped continent where the locals are still trading with kola nuts or seashells. The world’s media doesn’t tend to document the progress that Africa has made.
Banks and ATMs can be found across the continent , especially at major airports and in big cities. Not all of these will take foreign cards, but there’s at least one bank in every country that will accept plastic.
Visa is the most readily accepted. Mastercard also works in a smaller percentage of banks. It’s difficult to find ATMs that will take American Express or Maestro , especially when you’re in East Africa .
Whenever I withdraw the equivalent of $200 I feel like a rich man. I’m not being bigheaded here. The highest denomination note is often worth less than $5 . So the ATM has to dispense a lot of notes and my wallet is almost bulging out of my pocket.
It’s also hard to completely rely on ATMs, because the traveller’s nightmare dictates that the bank machines will only stop working when you’ve completely run out of money. So remember to also see U = US dollars .
Because you’ll need to recharge the camera
The first time I visited South Africa I almost threw my plug adapter away. It was one of those international adapters that supposedly work in every country. Except, they don’t work in South Africa. Or Namibia. Or Botswana. Or Swaziland. Or Lesotho. Wow, the list goes on.
In Southern Africa they have these strange bulky three-pin sockets that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. So the typical international plug adapter is completely redundant. Fortunately, you can buy an adapter at the airport when you arrive.
It’s good to buy one as soon as you arrive , because plug adapters aren’t the easiest things to find when you’re camping in the bush and elephants are calling from the forest.
In Southern Africa, many places already have European two-pin adapters that are fitted into the wall. You can never guarantee this. Although you can probably guarantee the camera battery going dead at the only place without a two-pin adapter.
Many safari vehicles are fitted with USB chargers and some also have standard plug sockets. These are great for recharging on the go, especially if you have two camera batteries or need to charge up a GoPro or video camera.
The majority of East Africa uses British-style square three-pin electricity sockets . So an adapter that works in the UK will work fine in Kenya, Tanzania, or Uganda.
You never know when…
Some people picture an African safari and imagine going to the toilet in the forest and wiping with their hand. Well, going to the toilet in the trees is going to be dangerous when there’s elephant herds roaming around. There are toilets, a mix of the seated and squat varieties.
But there isn’t always toilet paper , especially at remote toilets in national parks. Now, the important thing about emergency toilet paper is keeping it in an accessible place . When you need to go you don’t want to rummage to the bottom of your backpack. Or start cursing because your toilet paper hiding place was too effective.
I like to keep a couple of sheets in my back pocket, just in case. Or sometimes I put half a roll in the side pocket of my daypack. And here’s the most important rule of emergency toilet paper: replace what you’ve used . Nobody wants to turn to discarded plane tickets or insurance certificates when they’re on the toilet. 😉
I always like to tell my guests about the different styles of toilet they can encounter, like composting toilets, squat toilets, the hole in the ground, and the at-one-with-nature. One morning I was watching out for animals when a guest wanted to find a discreet place to do what he needed to do – being male makes these things much easier.
It was the heart of the dry season and the urine created a little puddle on the savannah. Within two minutes there was a Beisa oryx slurping it all up. Everyone was baffled. But I was unsurprised because nothing is wasted in the bush and a tourist’s urine is an excellent source of salt.
Bring a few luxury items for your safari
Safaris range from the cheap and cheerful to the ultra luxurious. Unfortunately, there’s not many of us who can afford the high-end safaris and staying in $1000-a-night camps . These luxury safaris come with gourmet meals and snacks, so there’s no need to pack any extra food for your safari.
However, taking a cheaper safari often means sacrificing good food for getting a better price. The menu might be five days of pasta and sauce, or a week of the same basic staples that can be cooked on the fire. There’s nothing wrong with this food, but I find that it can get a little monotonous.
So it’s good to pack a few luxury items for a sweet or savoury snack in the bush. There’s a few things you’ll struggle to find in local African supermarkets, especially nice chocolate or cheese . You might also want to stock up on some chips or nuts .
Bringing a few luxury items means poor quality food isn’t a problem – just don’t leave it within reach of any monkeys …
“Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise, a hunter’s Valhalla, an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one.” (Beryl Markham)
Where and when to catch nature’s greatest show
An African safari always delivers immersive highlights of wild drama and staggering impressions of scale. Nowhere is this better illustrated than the great wildebeest migration , the largest gathering of wild mammals anywhere on the planet .
It’s an annual phenomenon that’s appeared on many wildlife documentaries, concerning 2 million animals migrating around the grass plains of the Serengeti ecosystem. There’s wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle, all of them chaperoned by a hungry collection of predators.
The scale is mind-boggling. In one panorama there’s hundreds of thousands of animals, all slowly grazing and moving across the landscape. Get closer and you can take in all the little details, like zebra resting on each other’s backs, wildebeest mock charging to demonstrate their virility, or cheetah stalking a baby gazelle.
Nature’s greatest show roams between two adjacent and fenceless parks: Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara . Witnessing it is about being in the right place at the right time.
From late-December to March , the wildebeest calve on the nutrient-rich grass of southeastern Serengeti. With so many young calves around, this is the prime time to spot the big cats hunting. There’s cheetah , leopard, lions, hyenas , vultures, and a few diminutive hunters you might not have heard of before.
From March to June the herds start migrating north across the Serengeti. They move off in five to seven waves, each big group taking a slightly different route across the flourishing grass. These months are best for seeing the herds on the move, although note that April and May is also the rainy season in the Serengeti.
Sometime in July , the herds start to congregate besides the Mara River. They can wait for days before one wildebeest builds the courage to cross the river and 100 000 follow. It’s a precarious crossing as crocodiles wait in the water and the currents are too strong for the older weaker wildebeest.
And when they arrive on the other side? Lion prides and other cats are licking their lips in anticipation. July and early-August is best to see this dramatic river crossing from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara. Then from August onwards , you’ll need to be in Kenya’s Maasai Mara to see the big herds.
By now, they’re all grazing and getting fat on the fresh grass, before the females lead the charge back south to the calving grounds, where the cycle repeats itself for another year.
The sun doesn’t take prisoners
While it might look pretty when it dips behind the horizon and paints the sky all shades of orange, the African sun is intense and pretty dangerous. Rather than malaria, it’s the African sun that’s most likely to have you feeling ill on an African safari.
Safari isn’t a place for four hours of sun bathing next to the pool. Spend two hours with your head in the sun and it will be spinning. So a good wide-brimmed hat is one of the most important things on the packing list.
It needs to be wide enough to keep the sun off your face and the back of your neck , especially if you intend to go on a walking safari. While they might not look particularly fashionable, there’s a reason that so many people wear identical looking safari hats.
But don’t worry too much if you can’t find one at home. Almost all African airports sell typical wide-brimmed safari hats so you can pick one up when you arrive.
While the typical safari hat isn’t particularly fashionable or alluring, there’s plenty of alternative options that can add some jazz to your safari outfit.
For girls , floppy straw sun-hats are lightweight and provide excellent shade cover.
For guys , Panama hats or sturdy real leather cowboy hats are a little more chic than the standard fare sold at the airports.
The anti-bacterial kind
Just imagine: you’re driving through the savannah and the wind is sending dust everywhere, covering everything in a thin veil of brown. There’s no waterhole for miles and there’s a brown layer of sweat on everyone’s face. And now it’s lunchtime, and your dusty fingers are about to wrap themselves around a sandwich.
A small tube of anti-bacterial handwash is an essential little addition to a safari daypack. A quick squirt from the tube and you’re ready to enjoy your lunch, rather than worrying about how many strange germs and dust particles are accompanying the meal.
An absolutely essential item on the packing list
Insects are tricky. They can turn any safari into an itchy nightmare as they ravish your ankles and feast on the skin around your legs. So insect repellent is perhaps the most important item on your packing list . You’ll need to apply it every late-afternoon , in preparation for when the mosquitoes hover around at dusk.
You’ll also need it on in the early-morning , especially for an early game drive. And it’s not just mosquitoes . Protection against things like tsetse flies also makes insect repellent absolutely essential.
So what is a good mosquito repellent? Ideally, look for a product that contains at least 20% DEET , the active ingredient in the repellent. Some brands have insect repellents with 50% or even 80% DEET. However, some people don’t like DEET as it’s a chemically manufactured substance.
There are various natural alternatives. Citriodol is produced from eucalyptus oil. Citronella is excellent although it’s hard to find repellents that use it. Picaridin is very pleasant, relatively odourless, and has a gentle clean feel.
DEET is still the most effective in keeping the insects away, but these natural remedies just feel nicer on the skin.
A recent addition to the market are insect repelling wristbands , available with both DEET and natural repellents. Wear them on your ankles and wrists and they can be extremely effective. Just remember to remove them when you’re in the shower, otherwise you’ll wash away all of the repellent.
Insect repellents come in various sizes and styles, like gels, sprays, creams, or roll-ons. Personally I feel that too much is lost with the sprays, as half the bottle misses your skin when you spray it on.
I like to carry a small pocket-sized bottle of repellent cream with me, because there’s always one day when you forget to put on your repellent and the insects start biting.
“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” (Betty Reece)
Ensure immediate attention in an emergency
Hospitals in developing countries work a little differently from those at home. The first question they ask when you arrive is not “what happened,” but “who is going to pay?” Medical treatment isn’t free and the hospital will want some proof that the costs can be covered.
You will probably be able to cover the costs. But what if you don’t have cash, they don’t accept Visa, and the nearest ATM is 150 km away? In an emergency it’s important to get immediate treatment.
Carrying a copy of your insurance certificate helps ensure that the doctors will treat you straight away. It helps to have the insurance company’s emergency phone number on the document so that they can make immediate contact if anything needs to be clarified.
Some elementary Swahili for visiting East Africa
Africa has over 1000 languages and 3000 tribes , so it’s not always easy to communicate in a local dialect. Swahili is the main language of East Africa and while it won’t be everyone’s first language, it’s a language that almost everyone can speak in the region.
Learning a few simple words is an easy way to endear yourself to the locals. It’s a real show of respect if you attempt to use a few words. The great thing about learning Swahili is that you speak it pretty much as it is written, so there’s no funny phonetics like many other languages.
Thank you = Asante
Hello, how are you = Jambo
Reply to Jambo = Sijambo
Hello, how are you (informal) = Mambo
Reply to Mambo = Poa
How are you (general) = Habari
Reply to Habari = Nzuri
Welcome = Karibu / Karibuni (to welcome more than one person)
Have a good journey = Safari njema
Where’s the toilet? = Choo kiko wapi?
Go away! = Nenda zako!
No worries = Hakuna shida (although Hakuna matata is also correct!)
Lion = Simba
Buffalo = Nyati
Elephant = Ndovu / Tembo
Leopard = Chui
Rhino = Kifaru
Cheetah = Duma
Hyena = Fisi
Crocodile = Mamba
Hippo = Kiboko
Snake = Nyoka
Giraffe = Twiga
Warthog = Ngiri
Zebra = Punda milia
Baboon = Nyani
Wildebeest = Nyumbu
I was staying at a lodge by the river in Ruaha National Park and it wasn’t fenced off. So wild animals were roaming around. It was almost dark and my mother and sisters walked from the chalet to the restaurant. Maasai warriors usually accompany guests but for some reason they weren’t there.
On the way they bumped into a lone buffalo bull , and solitary buffalos are known for their aggressive behaviour. I’m not sure if my mother had time to shout “nenda zako” (go away), but luckily one of the staff members arrived and scared the buffalo away with some stones. They certainly got a huge fright!
Scaling Africa’s highest mountain!
Kilimanjaro is a majestic symbol of Africa, an old volcano that towers some 5895 meters above the plains of Northern Tanzania. Mounting to the snow-dappled summit is one of the continent’s great travel challenges and experiences. But it’s not easy.
Climbing to the peak takes at least five days , although realistically you should count on six or seven days. Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is only possible on an organised tour and the majority of these leave from the Northern Tanzanian town of Moshi . Porters carry your bags and all your food, so you only need to carry a daypack.
There’s now six different routes to the top but 90% of climbers take either the Marangu (Coca-Cola) or Machame (whisky).
Marangu takes six days and is the only route that offers accommodation in mountain huts. It’s not the most scenic as it ascends and descends on the same trail. You can also do it in five days, but this seriously increases the risk of altitude sickness.
Machame takes six or seven days and is far more scenic , with a different loop up and down the mountain always bringing sublime panoramas. It’s widely considered a more difficult climb but is extremely scenic, with accommodation at public campsites.
For something a little different, consider the Lemosho route , a seven-day camping trail that starts from the West then descends to the South.
Expect to pay a minimum of $250 per day for a climb, with something around $350 per day being more realistic .
On the Africa Freak website you can find articles on what to pack for a climb, an unbiased guide to all the different routes , and an interview with someone who has climbed Kilimanjaro .
Wildlife doesn’t care about trends or labels
I’ve seen some crazily dressed safari-goers over the years and many people who seem to be competing for wearing the most impractical safari gear in history. There’s been haute couture animal prints hot off the Milan catwalk, Prada stilettos getting stuck between the slats of wooden decks, and $300 silk scarves getting ripped to shreds by thorn bushes.
I’ve even witnessed a set of Victoria’s Secret lingerie draping from the branches of an Acacia tree – it must have been stolen by vervet monkeys! And guess what, elephants and zebras don’t have a clue about high fashion or trends. They can’t tell if you’re wearing Lacoste from H & M.
When it comes to safari, there’s a good chance that what you wear is going to get ruined. So it’s not the place to be sporting your finest labels and most expensive clothes. Things will get dusty, sweaty, dirty, and covered in flying thorns from the vegetation – so practicality should always come above fashion when it comes to packing your bags.
Night sounds on safari can be extraordinary. Especially when an entire herd of buffalo comes storming through campsite, chased by a pride of lions! That’s what happened to me at Keer Keer Camp in the Timbavati.
What a symphony it was! We could hear one of the beast’s struggle as it went down in a fight for survival. To our astonishment we found the carcass the next day, less than 300 meters behind the camp and surrounded by six lions feasting.
“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” (Karen Blixen)
What to choose for an African safari
When all your safari gear is ready there’s another question that crops up. What to pack it in? If it was any other holiday then the type of luggage wouldn’t really matter; all the bag needs to do is survive the plane journey. But on an African safari things can get a little more complicated.
Your luggage is going to be coming with you on the journey, so it will be bumping around the bush and getting squashed into the back of Land Cruisers. Ideally, you’ll want to bring something that is both strong and can be easily squashed .
I find that duffel bags are perfect for this. I also prefer to only take bags with YKK zips as these are very strong and more secure.
Perhaps you already have something strong, secure, and squashable. If you don’t, what’s wrong with your existing luggage? Many suitcases are simply too inflexible . They take up too much room for how much they fit in, which is a nightmare when guides are trying to squeeze things into a safari vehicle or stash a bag beneath a seat.
Many cheap suitcases also aren’t strong enough . They need to survive getting thrown around and absolutely covered in dust. And those handy little wheels? They’re not that useful when the ground is as rugged and rough as the African savannah.
That’s why I like a sturdy duffel bag that can be squashed down but also expanded to fit in any last minute souvenirs at the end of a safari.
Your health depends on this
Somewhat bizarrely, malaria has actually helped Africa’s safari destinations stay wild and untouched . When the colonial invaders arrived they were fearful of areas where malaria was rife, so they didn’t turn places like the Serengeti into an area for farmland.
Fast forward and there is still some threat from malaria in Africa. Insect repellent is the most important factor in reducing the risk. If you don’t get bitten by a mosquito then you can’t contract malaria. So being cautious and applying the repellent is essential.
Camps and lodges should already come with mosquito nets so make sure you spend the night underneath it and not on top of it – sometimes that’s more problematic if you’ve had a few too many drinks!
I actually prefer not to take antimalarial medication . I’m not a fan of these medications and try to avoid them as it’s difficult to keep taking it for prolonged periods.
But I’m definitely not going to advise that you do the same. Contracting malaria has deadly consequences and you should get recommendations from your doctor .
Antimalarial tablets are especially recommended for anyone on their first trip to Africa. Not everywhere in Africa carries a malaria risk. Unfortunately, almost all the main safari destinations do. You can find country specific malaria maps here .
No antimalarial medication is 100% effective and there is no vaccination. There’s generally three types of antimalarial medication and they must be taken throughout the trip, plus a week or so before and after the trip. Again, your doctor will advise.
Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil) is a daily medication widely regarded as having the least side effects; it’s also the most expensive.
Doxycycline is a daily medication that is widely taken but some suffer side effects such as sun sensitivity and migraines.
Mefloquine / Lariam is only taken weekly but a higher proportion of people suffer from its side effects ( not recommended ).
“Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all.” (Brian Jackman)
The importance of blending in with nature
Ever wondered why everyone is wearing such drab colours on their safari photos? Or why wildlife presenters are always in khaki safari outfits? It’s not about fashion or everyone shopping at the same safari outfitter. Neutral colours are essential as they allow you to effectively blend into nature .
That’s not that important on a game drive as the animals see a vehicle, not the people in it. But on a walking safari , neutral colours enable you to become part of the landscape and not disturb the wildlife.
That means you can get closer to the ungulates .
And it also means you don’t annoy any of the dangerous mammals like rhino or buffalo.
Bright, flashy colours stand out against natural landscapes, so animals will run off when they see you. Furthermore, neutral colours can absorb dust far better than bright colours; a khaki shirt still looks khaki after driving through the savannah, while a bright red shirt will probably have turned khaki anyway!
So what are the ideal neutral colours for safari travel? There’s khaki , olive , mushroom , stone , and acacia . All these are extremely effective at enabling you to fully blend into the landscape.
Now here’s another essential packing tip. Avoid dark blue or black clothing at all costs . Yes, they might be relatively neutral, but these colours attract insects like mosquitoes and tsetse flies. The latter can be vicious and bite through your clothes.
When I was a child, tsetse flies would sometimes get trapped in our jeep. And I remember that my two sisters and I were literally on a mission to exterminate them. We’d use some tissues (we called them “chimiques” – French word for “chemicals”) to squash them against the car windows.
I can still recall the agonising sound of the poor little creatures as we squeezed them in style: a real carnage! Not the most enjoyable thing to picture I must admit, but we were just kids at the time and to be honest it was rather painful when they managed to strike; so we simply couldn’t sit around doing nothing.
Remember to also look up on an African safari
With the impala skipping and the hyenas roaming it’s easy to spend the whole African safari with your eyes to the ground. It’s the famous mammals that attract most people to safari and these normally live on the ground.
I’ve often fell into the rhythm of eagerly scanning the grass and only checking out the animals that live at ground level. But what about the trees and the sky? Africa is a birdwatching paradise and some national parks have over 500 different species .
They range from the exotically colourful to the boisterous and noisy, or the cute and curious to those with bizarre mating displays. Eagles soar overhead, vultures rest on high branches, while tiny tropical birds flutter above the savannah. And if you don’t look up you’ll miss it all.
While finding the big mammals is usually at the core of the experience, ornithology offers an added treat on any safari journey.
Some of my personal favourites are the African fish eagle , the majestic emblem of Zambia; the intriguing helmeted guineafowl ; the stunning bristly crown of the great crowned crane (pictured); then the rainbow colours of the lilac-breasted roller . There’s some inspiring photos and other examples of iconic African birds on the Africa Freak site.
“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” (Karen Blixen)
Good things come to those who wait…
Everyone goes on safari dreaming of the famous images from the wildlife documentaries, like buffalo herds clashing with lions, trunk-swinging elephant babies, or leopards pouncing on black and white zebra stripes. There is a good chance that you’ll see these beautiful safari scenes, but you can’t expect to see everything in the first hour of your first ever game drive.
At lodges and camps, I’ve heard many people complaining and saying that they “didn’t see anything . ” When I ask them to clarify, they say something like “well, we only saw two rhino, lots of elephants, and loads of buffalo.” Then I ask them to clarify further and they say “oh yes, there were zebra and gazelle and warthogs and hippos and crocodiles…”
When people say they “didn’t see anything” it usually means they didn’t see one of the big cats . Safari is unpredictable and you can’t expect to find every animal on every game drive. It’s not an unsuccessful safari just because you didn’t see a leopard.
So rather than get preoccupied with finding all the animals, pack plenty of patience and prepare to be amazed by the unexpected . Safari isn’t just about saying “I saw a rhino.” By being patient you can fully enjoy the natural show created by these incredible mammals.
So rather than zoom off, stop and enjoy your intimate access to the behaviour of Africa’s wild animals.
I remember being 12 years old and visiting the Serengeti in Tanzania. I was playing around with my cousins and standing on a small kopje, a rock that looks a little like Simba’s in the Lion King. Suddenly I got attacked from behind by an unhappy hyrax .
I must have been disturbing his nap or challenging his kingdom because he clearly wasn’t happy to see me! It just shows that wildlife can turn up when and where you least expect it.
Always keep it under 15kg!
Safari involves traveling between different destinations and staying in a variety of different lodges and camps. You’re constantly on the move, either in the safari vehicle or sometimes flying between national parks. So everything you pack is going to be accompanying you .
International airlines have big luggage allowances but the small planes that connect safari destinations have fairly strict 15 kg limits – there’s simply not enough space on the plane to accommodate bigger bags.
Similarly, while safari vehicles can be spacious, you don’t want all that space getting filled with multiple suitcases.
You want to be relaxed and comfortable. Not cramped and having to step over a backpack to get in the car. Don’t worry, you will be able to get your laundry done in Africa so there’s no need for packing 15 of everything .
Three important tips regarding your passport
Everyone needs a passport to visit Africa. So I’m not presuming that you might forget it. But there’s three important things to consider :
1) Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned departure from Africa date.
2) Most countries require you to have two blank pages in your passport , although the immigration official may only use one.
3) Always carry a colour photocopy of your passport and keep a backup file online using a site like dropbox . You can also email yourself a copy of your passport for easy reference.
“…few can sojourn long within the unspoilt wilderness of a game sanctuary, surrounded on all sides by its confiding animals, without absorbing its atmosphere; the Spirit of the Wild is quick to assert supremacy, and no man of any sensibility can resist her.” (James Stevenson-Hamilton)
Document the wonders of Africa
I’ll be honest. Photography is not my specialist subject . I’m the guy who usually prefers taking pictures with eyes wide open rather than the camera shutter. And while I’ve taken a few great snaps of safari, they won’t come close to wonderful photographers like Kerry , Gerry , Morkel, Greg , Andrew and Uwe .
In general, I’m a person who is enjoying the safari and taking a few photos of what comes along. But I have taken thousands of photos. So here’s five easy tips to help you decide the kind of equipment to bring on your safari.
1) Objective of the safari? Are you a serious photographer looking for incredible shots? Or just coming to enjoy the experience and capture some memories from the safari?
If it’s the former, you’ll need to have a good DSLR with at least two lenses . Great wildlife photography is challenging so you’ll need quality equipment that’s up to the task.
2) Lenses and zoom . While safari offers intimate encounters with wildlife, you won’t be able to get three meters away from all the animals. Most wildlife keeps a respective distance . So a good zoom lens is essential, whether you have a compact camera or a DSLR.
Use wide angles (18-35 mm) for picturesque photographs and super zoom lenses (18-200 mm usually does the trick; 28-300 mm for best results) for animal portraits and close-ups.
3) Stability . Zoom into the wildlife and it will be difficult to get a sharp image without some form of tripod. Standard tripods can be bulky and impractical when in a safari vehicle. So consider lighter ones that can be attached to a vehicle roof.
A great option is a pillow pod camera support ; these are portable and provide a soft cushion for resting your lens.
4) Extra memory cards . On some safaris I’ve taken well over 1000 photos. And I’ve seen lions and elephants before so I don’t need to photograph every single one.
On a first-time safari, some people can take tens of thousands of photos. So you’ll definitely need a spare memory card .
NB : Find out what might happen when you’re not fully prepared for the “unexpected” (watch Kai’s incredible video footage below).
5) Portable charging . Many safari vehicles have electricity outlets so you can charge on the go . It’s very handy for ensuring you don’t miss any of the action.
At the Serengeti National Park entry gate my father was in urgent need of going to the bathroom. He decided to choose a bush not very far from the car. About five minutes after he had come back I looked around. There was a huge male lion standing in the exact spot where my father had done his business. It was very close and a pressing need that could have been costly.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Perhaps the greatest health concern on an African safari is dehydration . Africa is hot and you’ll need to be drinking at least two litres of water a day , every day. Dehydration is a slow torture and once you’re dehydrated there’s no going back.
I like to take my own durable water bottle with me at all times. But on a walking safari, I would also recommend a bladder hydration pack .
If you have to remove the bottle from a backpack, then you reduce the willingness to drink. Yet with a pipe hanging over the shoulder , drinking water is always accessible and it helps you stay hydrated.
Mix up the itinerary and see Africa from different angles
For many people, safari is about driving around and checking out all the weird and wonderful wildlife in its natural habitat. Game drives are the core of most safari itineraries and they’re a wonderful opportunity to explore a landscape and all its residents.
Elephant herds, hippo pods, lion prides, monkey troops, giraffe towers; game drives allow you to cover large distances and discover a variety of habitats.
But game drives aren’t always the only means of exploration. Many safari destinations permit a variety of safari activities , each offering a fresh perspective on the landscape and the wildlife.
Where possible, consider an itinerary that incorporates these different activities. While you’ll be seeing the same wildlife, there’s a very different feeling to these experiences.
Nighttime game drives are always thrilling, encouraging you to follow audio clues and listen to the sounds of the savannah . While your field of vision is diminished, remember that a lot of wildlife won’t see you coming. So you can get much closer than normal.
For example, it’s completely black and you can hear rustling. Yet only when the guide switches on the spotlight do you discover that the two rhino are just five meters from the vehicle. Walking safaris (see W ) are another intimate and exhilarating experience.
How about a safari from the air in a hot air balloon or small plane ? It’s a great option for appreciating the scale of Africa’s large national parks and wilderness areas. From the air it’s easy to take in the raw splendour of the environment and pick out all the different herds that roam freely across the landscape.
To get further inspired about safari from air, how about seeing what a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta looks like? Or rising above the African plains on a balloon safari?
Horse riding and bicycle safaris are also possible in some reserves, usually those where there isn’t any threat from predatory cats. They’re a chance to blend into the landscape and get impossibly close to many animals.
Being in the saddle means you become part of the environment , rather than a noisy vehicle that’s interrupting it. So the herds don’t run away and you might be surrounded by hundreds of zebra or wildebeest.
“Africa – You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the Hand of God. You watch the slope lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heart, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.” (Jodi Picoult)
Listen to the guide and never break the rules
Safari is very safe. Except that is, if you don’t respect the environment and ignore the rules . There are sporadic stories of tourists getting dragged through a car window and eaten by lions. Or of elephants flipping a vehicle filled with tourists.
Almost exclusively, these dangerous incidents happened because the tourists didn’t respect the wildness of the environment . Lions, elephants, and many other African mammals can be extremely dangerous.
They will accommodate and accept your presence. But leaving the car window open when approaching a lion pride is like leaving the fridge door open when you’ve got a pet cat. It’s an opportunity to eat and cats don’t usually ask permission.
Likewise, camera flashes are a great way to wind up nature’s largest land mammal. But an elephant will give two clear warnings before it charges , flapping its ears and stamping its feet to show irritation and annoyance.
So when an elephant flips a vehicle, it means that a) the tourists didn’t respect the rules about using the flash and b) they didn’t respect the behaviour of the elephant.
Respecting the environment is about respecting that you are just a visitor to this wild mystical realm . It’s about respecting that safari isn’t about interaction but observation and exploration .
That means not stroking lions, inciting elephants, feeding baboons, riding zebras, or challenging hyenas to a laughing contest.
It also means respecting the wildlife and staying quiet whenever you encounter any animal. Here are some more practical do’s and don’ts when you’re on safari:
- Pack out all your rubbish .
- Stick to the designated trails and definitely don’t wander off on your own .
- Do not feed any of the wildlife .
- Only drive on allowed roads and stick to the strict speed limits .
- Don’t hang out of any vehicle .
- Never take anything out of a national park.
Some recommended places to buy the best safari products
After a few years of trial and error I’ve narrowed down the list of good online safari shops to four. These shops stock almost everything you’ll need for a safari wardrobe along with the accessories that are essential for your adventure.
- Africa Adventure Safari Products – Buy books, clothing and travel gear to take on your trip.
- Kendrick Imports – Kendrick imports unique merchandise from Africa and claims to have personally road-tested everything they stock. It’s especially useful if you’re looking for Rogue outdoor gear or safari clothing.
- SafariQuip – The travel equipment and adventure gear shop. Their motto is “if it doesn’t work we don’t stock it”.
- The Safari Store – The specialist supplier of safari clothing, safari luggage, binoculars, safari books and safari accessories.
Other outdoor adventure stores to consider (for last-minute shopping in South Africa ): Cape Union Mart , Outdoor Warehouse , and Drifters .
Think about practicality and comfort
Most people come on African safari with their big thick walking boots, despite the fact that the most walking they’ll do is from the lodge to the car. There’s a presumption that the African savannah demands the biggest and most durable footwear around.
But did you know that San bushmen hunt animals barefoot? Or that Maasai warriors wear shoes that are made from disused car tyres? Of course, the savannah can be full of thorns, so I’m not recommending wearing slippers on safari.
Yet there’s no need to bring heavy uncomfortable footwear unless you’re actually going to be doing some walking on the safari.
For vehicle-based safaris it’s best to think about practicality and comfort . Safari vehicles in East Africa have pop-up roofs , so you’ll be standing on your chair to get a great view over the landscape. And you don’t want big dirty footprints all over the seat.
So shoes that are easy to slip on and off are good. If you’re just doing small walks around the camp then sneakers are more than adequate. Walking boots are very restrictive and sweaty in the heat, so your friends won’t be too happy when you take them off and smell out the vehicle or tent.
Plus, the funky scents can attract wild animals when you leave shoes outside the tent! I like to pack a pair of heavy-duty waterproof “bush slops” or sandals , which are good enough to handle walking in light bush and practical for staying cool on game drives.
It’s a different story if a walking safari is part of the itinerary. Then you will need something a little more durable . The landscape is rugged and uneven, so sturdy walking boots that cover your ankles and help protect against strains are a good idea.
Don’t worry about fashion or looks . Practicality and comfort are always the most important factors when choosing shoes for an African safari – just check out the tale of high heels below.
In the evenings it’s always nice to slip into a fresh pair of non-safari shoes – i.e. footwear that isn’t covered in thorns or all sweaty from the day. Basic flip-flops are good for walking around the camp and a pair of slip-on tennis shoes are even better as they protect your feet from the evening mosquitos.
During the great wildebeest migration I took clients to a luxury tented camp in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. It was a place for luxury clientèle and many of the female guests came to the restaurant tent in evening dresses and high heels . I felt a bit out of place in my dust-stained shirt, even if a wild lion could be heard shouting in the distance.
After sunset it was incredibly dark, with just the crackle of the fire and the piercing wheeze-honk of hippos keeping everyone company. Out of nowhere there was a loud scream . When the rangers shone their torch they found a female guest collapsed on the grass.
Walking back to the tent in the dark isn’t easy in high heels, especially on a landscape as uneven as the Mara. The lady had tripped and somehow managed to face-plant a pile of buffalo poo .
Turning red just isn’t cool
It’s almost impossible to go on a safari and not see a handful of tourists who are horribly sunburnt . The logic is simple and so many people fall for it. Many think that the sun in Africa is the same as the sun at home. Which technically it is, but the effect is very different.
The savannah isn’t a place for tanning oils or waltzing around thinking that the red burn “will turn brown later.” Not respecting the sun can lead to days of painful misery , and that goes for locals as well as tourists.
Namibia’s Himba tribe concoct sunscreen out of ochre and butterfat, while the Zulu people smear their faces in an orange-brown natural suncream made from the earth. So why do so many tourists come to Africa without sunscreen?
Factor 30 is the absolute minimum you should consider packing. Anything less can’t compete with the sun’s UV intensity. The African sun burns quicker than it does in Europe or America. Bring one main bottle of sunscreen and then one pocket-sized bottle that easily fits into your daypack.
Everyone has their favourite brands and there’s plenty of choice at shops in the West. Unfortunately, there’s only limited choice once you arrive in Africa. Bottled sunscreens for the local market often contain whitening, and while nobody wants to go red, few people want to turn whiter than they already are.
Good sunscreen is imported so it’s rare to find shops or pharmacies with more than just a couple of rudimentary options. Sunscreen is always the number one item on my packing list, because, well, I definitely don’t want to turn the same colour as a baboon’s behind (trust me, it’s not pretty).
“I’ve taken many guests to Botswana’s Central Kalahari in search of the zebra migration. 50 000 zebra are on the move but locating them in the desert isn’t easy, especially given the scorching desert mirages that always hang on the horizon.
I always remind my guests about sunset and wearing sunscreen. Not everyone listens. After a week on safari I take guests back to the city and some can’t believe their eyes. They almost turn into a zebra , with their whole body being white, except for a very dark brown stripe on their arm.
When you sit in the same place in the safari vehicle the whole time, one arm is always in the sun! So when I remind people of sunscreen I now make sure to tell them about also applying it to their arms.
Crucial for the nighttime trips to the toilet
When you’re camping in the bush, there’s a procedure to follow if you need the toilet at night. First , listen . Spend a minute checking if there’s anything rustling or moving around outside. Open the tent . Now shine a torch around the area , making sure there are no wild animals between you and the toilet.
Only now is it safe to leave the tent . Going to the toilet in the night isn’t the only reason a torch is an essential item on the packing list. Many camps don’t have electricity, so a torch is the only way to see where you are going , or even work out where the zip for the tent is.
I prefer a small lightweight torch that’s easy to carry. I also pack a head torch , which is handy in the evenings around the camp. Make sure it has a solid on-off switch that’s hard to accidentally push when the torch is in your bag – nobody wants to find that the torch is out of battery when the camp is surrounded by buffalo.
Rewarding those that create exceptional experiences
While working in the safari industry is considered a very good job in Africa, guides and staff get paid relatively low salaries . Tipping is an expected part of going on safari and many tour companies will offer guidelines on how much you should tip.
The problem is that tipping should always be reflective of the experience , rather than something that’s demanded. So I always like to tip dependent on how a guide or driver has made my experience. If they are good I tip well. If they’re not good then it seems odd to provide a large financial reward.
Realistically, it’s good to budget around 10% of the safari cost for tips . You might not end up giving all this out. But it always feels nice to reward great service.
“Nothing but breathing the air of Africa, and actually walking through it, can communicate the indescribable sensations.” (William Burchell)
Emergency money…just in case
The traveller’s invisible law says that something will happen to your bank card only when you’ve run out of cash. And then you’re stuck in Africa, with no debit card, no cash, and not much that can be done about it.
I always like to keep a small stash of U.S. dollars hidden away in my bag. U.S. dollars are the most usable foreign currency anywhere in Africa ; they can be easily changed and even used to directly pay for goods and services.
Having $100-200 provides peace of mind and ensures there’s a back up for the time when your debit card gets chewed by an ATM.
Getting covered before you arrive
I’m not a doctor or a health physician, so I’m not going to recommend the vaccinations you will need for your trip. That’s something that can only be advised by your own doctor . However, after years of living in Africa I’ve had many different jabs and inoculations so I’m going to pass on my experience.
For most countries in Africa, doctors recommend vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, typhoid, and diphtheria. For Kenya , Uganda and a variety of other countries you’ll also need a yellow fever vaccination and certificate (see Y ).
This website is excellent at providing more detailed information for each individual country.
Some countries require advance planning
Entry and immigration requirements vary across Africa and whether you need a visa in advance will depend on your destination .
None of the main safari countries should pose any challenges if you have an E.U. , U.S. , Canadian , or Australian / New Zealand passport . But they might require advance planning.
Here’s a quick list with information that’s correct as of January 2022 .
Botswana – No visa required for a 30 day stay.
Ethiopia – Visa required. Can get it on arrival at international airports. Must get it in advance when arriving by land.
Kenya – An e-visa is required which must be obtained in advance from immigration.ecitizen.go.ke .
Lesotho – No visa required.
Malawi – Visa upon arrival.
Mozambique – Visa required. Realistically, this should be obtained in advance.
Namibia – No visa required for stays of up to 30 days.
Rwanda – Visa upon arrival.
South Africa – No visa required, but check the special requirements if you’re travelling with children.
Swaziland – No visa required.
Tanzania – Visa upon arrival.
Uganda – Visa upon arrival.
Zambia – Visa upon arrival.
Zimbabwe – Visa upon arrival.
==> Get Your Africa Visa Online Here!
“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.” (Rudyard Kipling)
Intimately experiencing it all from ground level
Walking safaris offer an exhilarating experience . Step, step, step, slowly you wander through the bush, usually with a local tracking guide who picks up on all the subtle clues.
Everyone can recognise a paw print in the sand.
But local trackers can feel the print and immediately tell you the size and sex of the hyena and exactly how long ago it passed along the trail. By following these local trackers you can seek out many herds and animals. And everything looks a lot bigger when you’re also at ground level.
Walking safaris are always intimate . You’re less of a threat on foot, so wildlife doesn’t necessarily run away. They also offer a true appreciation of size.
Hartebeest and gemsbok are impressive animals weighing almost half a ton. Only from the ground can you acknowledge just how big they are.
In some countries it’s also possible to take walking safaris that track rhinos or even elephants, rare treats on any trip to Africa.
On a walking safari near Kruger National Park we came across the remains of a buffalo. I had forgotten all about it, but when we returned later in the afternoon a huge male lion was finishing his supper.
It still gives me goose bumps thinking we had been there a few hours before and hadn’t seen any sign of his presence. And then this huge lion was literally licking the blood from around his lips.
Leave your devices at home and forget about Facebook
It often amazes me the number of tourists I hear complaining that a camp or lodge doesn’t have wifi . They’re on an African safari, 200 km from the nearest town, overlooking a waterhole filled with hippos and buffalo herds, and they are worrying about their Facebook status?
Sometimes you just have to let go.
First , there’s the practicalities of getting wifi in the middle of the wilderness. On a safari you enter vast untamed plains where the rhythm of life is dictated by the rains and the battle between predator and prey. So it’s hardly a place for interrupting everything with technology.
Secondly , one of the great charms of a safari is the absolute escapism . You’ll hear lions roaring at night, antelopes grazing beside the tent, and hippos grunting from the river. And that’s much easier on the ears than the ping that accompanies a Whatsapp message.
Trying to use wifi on a safari is always frustrating. Even when it is available, it’s torturously slow, especially if you want to upload photos or check a data-heavy Facebook news feed. And while you’re trying to connect the iPad you’re missing out on the procession of wildlife that’s roaming around.
It’s better to forget about the screen and fully settle into the wilderness. There’s a whole world going on before your eyes and it’s far more alive than the virtual world!
Encountering nature’s wildest animals
Africa can be a wild continent where dangerous cats run free and hippos live in the rivers. But it’s not completely wild. There are no lions on the airport runway and no rhinos wandering through villages. So the X-rated wildlife situations don’t start the moment you land.
However, in these wild landscapes there are always moments when you hold your breath and hope that one of Africa’s great mammals doesn’t take an interest. Such incidents provide a reminder that you’re just a visitor and this is their realm. And they always provide memories that will linger on for years.
On one safari I experienced an elephant that roamed into the camp and started rummaging through our bags . He stole a tube of Pringles and went through a bag with my friend’s iPhone! You can watch a video of this surreal experience here .
One year I crossed the border between Botswana and Zimbabwe. Although you’re not supposed to, I always liked to take photos at the border posts, next to the sign that says “welcome to …” It’s always a great memory. After crossing into Zimbabwe I walked up the road to snap the iconic green sign that declared I was now in Zimbabwe.
From my left came a loud trumpet sound . People weren’t the only ones crossing this border. The border post was on the migration route of hundreds of elephants. And this big pachyderm wasn’t happy that I’d got in the way.
I quickly ran back to the safety of the border guards, who were rolling around the floor in laughter after witnessing what happened. From then on, I’ve always respected the signs that say no photography at the border.
Fundamental if you’re visiting Kenya or Uganda
Yellow fever is a deadly disease that’s slowly disappearing from Africa. Fortunately, there’s an easy vaccine for yellow fever. However, this vaccination isn’t optional . In countries where yellow fever is prevalent, you’ll need to present a certificate of yellow fever vaccination at immigration.
Without one, they won’t let you in. Or you’ll have to get the vaccine from a nurse at the border post. The yellow fever certificate is required for anyone visiting Kenya or Uganda . It’s also usually asked for when visiting Zambia .
The most enchanting night’s sleep you’ll ever have
When the thrill of the game drive has slowly evaporated away and the nighttime fire is down to its last embers, you’re led in bed waiting to sleep.
Suddenly a noise .
A soft rustling sound.
Something is next to the tent.
You listen intently in the darkness, waiting for the sound to gently drift away.
Now another noise.
Some elephant trumpets are echoing from the distance.
Now a hippo’s wheeze-honk and the strange cry of a monkey .
More sounds are added to nature’s nighttime lullaby as you lie transfixed in the tent.
Don’t pack the sleeping tablets.
Don’t bring earplugs.
Falling asleep on a safari is one of life’s most enchanting experiences .
The safari hasn’t ended just because you’re in bed.
Nature’s chorus will keep you company and provide a reminder of exactly where you lay your head.
“To witness that calm rhythm of life revives our worn souls and recaptures a feeling of belonging to the natural world. No one can return from the Serengeti unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination.” (George Schaller)
“When you leave Africa, as the plane lifts, you feel that more than leaving a continent you’re leaving a state of mind. Whatever awaits you at the other end of your journey will be of a different order of existence.” (Francesca Marciano)
Safari Njema (have a safe journey)!
Congratulations for making it this far! 🙂
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Safari by numbers: the beginner’s 101 guide
Welcome to safari 101, the beginner’s guide to getting the most out of your luxury safari adventure….
The Big Five? The Super Seven? What’s it all about? Welcome to Safari 101, the beginner’s guide to understanding the local lingo and getting the most out of your luxury safari adventure.
Give me five
Many moons ago, when hunting was once rife in the African bush veld, hunters coined the term “Big Five” to classify the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
Thankfully the hunting heyday is over and nowadays protected conservation areas abound that are thriving with wildlife, just as nature intended. Fear has rightly been replaced with intrigue and the beloved Big Five is now a highly sought-after quintet of magnificent African icons that every wildlife enthusiast hopes to catch a glimpse of while on safari.
Good things come in small packages
The “Little Five” is merely a clever play on words, highlighting five pint-sized critters that bear the same namesakes as their mighty counterparts: the ant lion, leopard tortoise, elephant shrew, buffalo weaver and rhino beetle. This of course adds depth to the overall game drive experience, revealing both the big and small wonders of nature to curious minds.
Beauty is only skin deep
Perhaps a far cry from their majestic counterparts, the unfortunate “Ugly Five” definitely gets a bad rap. We don’t think any animals are ugly; each is loveable in its own way, yet the hyena, vulture, wildebeest, warthog and marabou stork remain the unlucky recipients of this far from endearing moniker.
This less than glamorous gang of underdogs is often depicted negatively in mainstream movies and cartoons, which doesn’t help with their increasing unpopularity. Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and no safari would be complete without the Ugly Five. What would the Great Wildebeest Migration be with no wildebeest…?!
Images courtesy of &Beyond guides: Daryl Dell, Steve Walker and Dan Fenton.
You’ll often hear safari fanatics talking about the “Super Seven”, which is an extension of the Big Five that includes both cheetah and the highly endangered African wild dog. If you manage to see the Super Seven, congratulations, you can consider yourself an accomplished safari expert.
Did you know that India has its own wildlife checklist too? Guests visiting the dense tropical forests and world-famous tiger reserves of India are all on the lookout for the Subcontinent’s “Big Seven”, which includes the tiger, leopard, Asiatic lion, Asian elephant, rhino, water buffalo and gaur. So if you have already witnessed Africa’s Super Seven, then it’s time to explore the magnificent jungles of India on a luxury tiger safari.
The holy grail
To graduate from expert to master, one must witness the near-impossible “Elusive Eleven”, which is no mean feat. Considered the holy grail of the bush, these 11 shy, mysterious and extremely difficult to track animals are on every safari addict’s bucket list: aardvark, aardwolf, African civet, African wild cat, bushpig, caracal, honey badger, pangolin, porcupine, side-striped jackal and serval.
If you have seen the Elusive Eleven in the wild, then you are in a very elite league of extremely fortunate safari goers that have major bragging rights.
Images courtesy of &Beyond Guides: Daryl Dell and Jason Glanville.
Once you have conquered the safari on land, it’s time to test your skills in the underwater world. The unofficial fourth “C” in our company ethos is Care of the Ocean and &Beyond now boasts three luxurious island properties in our portfolio where guests can take to the sea and learn all about its curious and colourful inhabitants.
The “Marine Five” are an eclectic bunch: the mighty whale; the feared shark; the intelligent dolphin; the playful seal; and the comical penguin.
Our Marine Five and Big Five Safari is an 11-day adventure through South Africa’s Big Five reserves and coastal areas. Enjoy exhilarating game drives, whale watching, shark cage diving, nature drives, cave explorations, beach trips, horse riding and wine tasting.
Adding a new 5 to the mix
Excluding Africa’s Super Seven and Elusive Eleven, there are four safari quintets (big, little, ugly and marine), which seems a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me. Surely there should be a fifth element to keep the fives well-rounded…?
Given the whole Khaki Fever phenomenon, I’m thinking there should be a Khaki Five? Or maybe even a Khaki Twelve, which would tie in perfectly with a ranger calendar with the proceeds going to conservation perhaps…? Just putting it out there.
Image courtesy of &Beyond guest: Mikelle Furman.
From the Big Five right down to the Little Five, we consider ourselves fortunate to be in their presence, to watch these animals undisturbed in their natural habitat, hopefully, for generations to come. Of course, the safari extends far beyond the wildlife highlighted in this story. There are countless species revered for their elegance, speed, agility and peculiarity, and that’s the beauty of the experience. No two game drives are ever the same and you never know what to expect. Is there anything more beautiful than the graceful giraffe or more striking than the inimitable zebra? Share this on social media and tag us to let us know which animals are on YOUR wildlife bucket list?
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The African Safari 101 Guide
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A safari is one of the most luxurious trips you will ever take in your life. Period. The irony, though, of an African safari is that it’s a vacation that doesn’t sound like a vacation at all. You wake up at the crack of dawn; actually, a little earlier as you’ve to be on the safari truck by 6 AM. You’ll sleep in a tent, albeit a luxurious one, that you’ll pay more money for than any five-star hotel in the heart of the holiday season.
For the foodies and shoppers, there are no restaurants to explore, no shops to drop $10 grand on a bag, or baubles of jewelry to buy. You have absolutely no control over your environment as you place your life literally in the hands of the people you’ve just met. But yet, you will be forever changed, even with the hardest of hearts. Probably why a number of those guys on Wall Street actually own the top safari lodges, because you can’t help but get perspective in the wilderness. What school you get into, what job you get, what house you buy– well, that’s all fine and all. But it’s gravy. Because in the bush of Africa, you get a glimpse of where you really stand in the whole spectrum of the world. So, there’s no argument. One of the top trips that anyone who considers themselves a world traveler can take is the lifetime trip on an African safari.
Image courtesy of Singita
Considerations For First Safari
Going on your first African safari will be an experience like you’ve never had before. This journey will take you into the heart of wilderness, and the cradle of civilization in Africa. Each game drive will become a treasure hunt as you marvel at all the creatures that call this home. This adventure will not only bring you closer to nature but also give you a new appreciation for all the creatures and environments. But, there are some important things to consider as you plan out your first African safari. The most important being – location, location, location.
South Africa is the ideal place for first-time safari goers. You can fly directly into one of its major cities. Either before or after your safari you can easily tack on extra days to hit the beaches or to experience the food scene in places like Cape Town. The region is also home to some of the country’s top lodges and vineyards so coming here gives you a really well-rounded vacation.
Botswana is easy to get to from South Africa and could be another nice add-on. It has a vast untouched landscape and an abundance of wildlife. It is home to the Chobe National Park which is known for its elephant herds. In addition, there is the Okavango Delta, the major water source in the area, and where there’s water there are animals.
Kenya and Tanzania
This region is the heart of Africa. It is authentic and rugged yet has a quiet luxury. There’s no doubt about it this place is special. Here, you have Kilimanjaro, which is one of the most beautiful mountains in the country. There is also the Serengeti, which is known for being home to the Big Five (elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos). However, the Serengeti is regulated so there is less flexibility to go off-roading. To do that you’ll need a private concession or a lodge with its own private land.
Rwanda and Uganda
This trip is for those who have already been to Africa before and know what to expect. People come to this region to see the majestic mountain gorillas. You’ll get the opportunity to trek the mountains and come face-to-face with these gentle giants. However, these rainforests are also home to hundreds of other animals and species.
Our Favorite Lodges
- Anything Singita in SA, Tanzania, and Kenya
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A Day in the Life of an African Safari
When it comes to the structure of your safari there is some room for flexibility. Of course, the details will differ depending on what region you’re in. In general, though, this is what you can expect.
In the early morning from around 6-8 AM, you’ll go on the first game drive of the day. You’ll quickly learn that there is more than just the Big Five and that you’ll see all kinds of wildlife. It’s by seeing the smallest insects to the largest elephants that you realize the power of nature.
Break for breakfast in the bush amongst the wildlife.
After eating you’ll drive out again until early lunch. You’ll enjoy a light meal and then get some downtime for a siesta. If you’re staying in a lodge you can hit the pool, visit the spa, and just hang out. During the middle of the day the animals are usually sleeping in the heat so take advantage and relax.
In the late afternoon/early evening, you can choose to go out on another game drive or do a different outdoor activity like visiting nearby villages and local sites.
Then you’ll come back and have Dinner. Some safari companies will create the most incredible dinners under the African stars outdoors for you.
If it’s your super special you can do a night safari because that’s when the animals are out in full force too. Some animals are nocturnal and you can only see them at night.
Things you need to pack
Be sure to bring lightweight and breathable clothes including both pants and long-sleeved shirts for the evenings and as protection from the bugs. Bring a good pair of hiking boots, a swimsuit, a sun hat, and a rain jacket too.
A good daypack is a must when you’re going out on game drives every day. You can put your necessary accessories in them like your water bottle, binoculars, camera, sunglasses, and jacket.
Be sure to bring enough bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and medicine. Other good things to have for when you get some downtime are journals, books, and downloaded music or podcasts.
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What you need to know before you go on safari, is it safe to go on safari.
Yes. There is no need to be afraid of the animals because they do not see people in the safari vehicle as food. T he animals are used to vehicles because they’ve grown up with them their entire lives. They are not bothered by them and treat them like any other part of the bush. Animals may react negatively if you get in their way or if they feel threatened by your actions. Responsible guides will never put guests in compromising situations, and as long as you follow their instructions, the animals will not pose a threat. Guides will position the vehicle in a safe spot, and let the animals come to you if they wish. There are so many fears based on sensational news stories and YouTube videos of elephants and hippos charging at vehicles or people getting mauled by the big cats. These incidents are very rare, but when they happen it’s almost always due to human error or mismanagement of the situation.
Are people with physical limitations able to go on safari?
There are lodges that offer wheel chair access or disabled rooms for guests that need them. Also, lodge staff will be available to help anyone needing assistance getting in and out of the safari vehicles. If you are unsure if your needs can be properly addressed, we will consult with the safari lodges to see if your specific needs can be accommodated.
Are kids allowed on safari?
Children are welcome at many safari lodges but there are some that do not allow children at all. Each lodge sets its own rules regarding the age that kids are allowed to go on game drives. Also, you know your child. If they are well-behaved and at an age where they can appreciate the experience of a safari, it would be a phenomenal adventure to include them on. Note that there are malaria-free game reserves in South Africa that are well-suited for families, specifically Madikwe and Tswalu.
When is the best time to go on an African safari?
It depends on which country you are going to and what you prefer to see. In South Africa , for example, game viewing is easiest during the dry season (May-October) while baby animals and green scenery make their appearance January-April.
How far in advance should I book an African safari?
You should generally book an African safari approximately one year in advance. Many lodges fill up far in advance, especially during peak season. If Africa is a bucket list dream of yours, you want to do it right, so it’s best to book far in advance to secure the best lodges, reserves , dates, etc. If you are doing a private safari, 1.5 years in advance or more is recommended if there is a particular private guide you wish to use as your schedule , the guide’s schedule and the l odge ’s schedule need to be to be coordinated.
Get the appropriate vaccinations for your trip.
This will depend on where in Africa you are traveling to. See our safari Health & Safety page for more information.
Only bring soft-sided luggage.
Bush flights operated by small airplanes have strict luggage requirements and only allow soft-sided luggage (no hard sides or wheels).
Bush flights also have strict luggage weight limits so you don’t want to over pack. Many safari lodges/camps provide laundry service so there is no need to bring a whole lot of clothing. You can simply rotate through your clothes. TIP: Use packing cubes to stay neat and organized.
Should you do a self-drive safari or stay at a private game reserve where you'll have a safari guide?
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Rise and shine – before the sun does.
Game drives usually start around 5:30 am because animals are most active around dawn and dusk when it’s not as hot. Don’t be tempted to sleep in! You don’t want to be the one who came all the way to Africa but missed out on seeing a pride of lions in action or maybe even a hunt just because you wanted to catch a few extra z’s. Don’t worry, you can take a nap in the afternoon.
Wear layers of clothing during game drives.
Since game drives start early in the morning, be sure you wear layered clothing and a jacket as it is quite cool in the mornings plus the wind chill from driving in an open vehicle. As the day moves on you can shed your layers as the sun warms things up. Remember to bring your jacket on the afternoon/evening game drives too as the temperatures will drop again.
How long is a safari game drive?
The length of a safari game drive can vary by location, the lodge you are staying at or the safari company you are traveling with. Game drives range from 3 hours to 12 hours per outing. It is a good idea to discuss this topic while you are planning your safari to set expectations.
A safari is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you're gonna get.
It’s true! Anything can happen. You might see 4 of the Big 5 in one day, or a leopard in a tree with a kill, lions roaring, elephants splashing about in water holes, or a baby rhino with its mother. Sometimes the game drive will be quiet, and you won’t see many animals. You might not see all of the Big 5 on your entire trip – (I recommend staying 4 nights or more in your chosen location to increase your chances of seeing You just never know what you’re going to see, so remember that nature is unpredictable and enjoy the ride!
Respect the animals and your guide.
These are wild animals, and you are in their home. As long as you respect them and their space, they shouldn’t feel threatened and take exception to you. When tourists act irresponsibly around the animals is when they end up getting themselves into trouble. Don’t be the next star in a stupid human, viral YouTube video. Safari guides are highly trained and know how to read animals’ behavior and the situation at hand. They are there to keep you and the animals safe. Always li sten to your guide and follow their direction.
It is customary to tip your safari guide and tracker at the end of your safari.
As a guideline, $25 per couple per day for your guide and $12 per couple per day for your tracker. Tips are given at the conclusion of your final game drive.
What type of things will I see on safari?
It depends on where you go on safari, but sightings could include a range of things from the Big 5 , antelope, hundreds of different bird species, reptiles, amphibians, insects, animals hunting, species migrations, river crossings, mothers with their young, open plains, thick bush, rivers, ponds, lakes and much more!
How close will I get to the animals?
A well-trained guide will always give animals enough space so that they are comfortable and don’t feel threatened. Many animals don’t mind safari vehicles so if they are comfortable and decide to come toward you, you may come within a couple feet of a passing elephant or big cats or hyenas strolling by, monkeys playing in trees or wildebeest running toward the river. If you are in a private game reserve , your guide is able to drive off-road which allows you to get much closer to wildlife than at a national park where you can only look for animals from the road.
Is going on safari safe for the animals?
Yes, as long as the animals are treated with respect and given the adequate space that they need. As long as they are not harassed or feel threatened, they (and you) are perfectly safe.
Are animals more active at certain times?
Animals are generally more active during the early morning hours and around dusk since it can get hot during the day. A lot of the predators use the day time to rest and seek shade, but not always. The animals don’t follow rules and do what they want when they want, so you can easily find animals roaming during the day or grazing, browsing, patrolling territory, and of course there’s the waterholes. Thirsty mouths gather throughout the day to quench their thirst, and elephants might even take a swim! It’s important to go on both morning and afternoon/evening game drives because you never know what is going to happen!
Protect yourself from the biting flies.
In certain parts of rural Africa, biting flies can be a nuisance and some can carry disease. To protect yourself, wear neutral colored clothing and avoid wearing black and blue, especially if traveling to Tanzania.
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Wildlife Safari 101: Everything You Need To Know
In nature we heal, and a wildlife tour is an opportunity to witness its splendour from close quarters. Every person visits the forest with a unique agenda. Some are there for the thrill of animal sightings, some look at it as an opportunity to unwind, some just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, while some just want to get lost in nature.
Whatever the purpose may be, the only mode to connect with nature is through a wildlife tour. So how then should an ideal wildlife tour roll out?
Get lost in the wilderness
An ideal wildlife tour is one that caters to every person’s needs by offering a certain amount of flexibility. It must be thrilling to both the newbie and the pro.
An ideal wildlife tour must offer a healthy mix of action-packed adventure, delectable food and authentic jungle safari experience.
Be it the forest adventure, the stay option or the choice of activities – everything must be curated to offer an immersive experience. Your guide or naturalist must be knowledgeable to make the tour informative. Be it in animal spotting or sharing thrilling jungle lore, their insights will make all the difference.
While every person’s perspective of how an ideal wildlife tour must be differs, here’s something that is sure to appeal to everyone –
1. Pick the right stay
Book your stay at a place that serves as a gateway to the jungles of Bandipur, Kabini, Nagarahole, BRT Tiger Reserve and Wayanad. This way, you can indulge in the best of both worlds. Mysore, for example, is a city that is steeped in history. Buildings, rivers, waterfalls, zoo etc dot the landscape of Mysuru.
2. Choose an organiser who knows the business!
Ensure you pick a place that knows what they are doing, especially when it comes to wildlife. Do they have a naturalist? How well recommended are they? What are your safari options? Your entire trip will benefit from the insights the experts have to offer.
3. Set a day aside to relax
Enjoy the stay with great food, talk to the naturalists – gain valuable insights into the jungle lore, explore the sights nearby and unwind. Apart from that, ensure you have enough time to enjoy your holiday and just put your legs up!
4. Nature is best experienced when your mind and body is alert.
Start your day two early with a trip to the forest. Enjoy an exciting safari and spot the big 5 of the South Indian jungle – Elephant, Gaur, Sloth bear / crocodile, Leopard and Tiger! A jungle safari is a memory that will be cherished for a lifetime. Make sure you catch the early morning as well as the sundown safari – these are the times when the animals are most active.
5. The next day will be a refreshing stay in the city.
A spa, exploring local sights, indulging in fun activities can occupy your calendar. Relax, rejuvenate and reminisce about the good times spent! We are sure you will plan for an encore pretty soon!
Safari Quest is your gateway to the 5 sanctuaries surrounding the Heritage city of Mysuru. Our wildlife focussed property and our naturalist team with their vast knowledge and experience will enable your enjoyment of the five beautiful wildlife sanctuaries of Bandipur, Kabini, Nagarahole, BR Hills and Wayanad. Our customised itineraries and in-depth knowledge of the region ensures a best of both worlds experience.
Come back to warm and welcoming nature themed studios, enjoy a delicious meal at Drongo cafe, swap stories around a bonfire at Best Kept Secret, relax with a glass of wine at the Mysore Room or enjoy a therapeutic massage at the spa before you embark on your next adventure.
See more and do more at Safari Quest, we look forward to welcoming you!
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Safari 101: Planning a bucket-list Africa trip
Two things are certain when you reach into that bucket list and choose an African safari. The choices you need to make are intimidating. And no matter how you choose to go, your safari will be the best trip you will ever take.
So, how to narrow the daunting array of choices? Which season is ideal? Which part of Africa? Sign on with one of the many tour groups, or instead privately arrange your trip with a safari operator?
Let's start with a basic assumption: This bucket list safari will be both your first and your only, even though you may get the Africa "bug" once you've experienced it and eventually return.
You'll want to consider the kinds of animals in the major safari areas on the continent, the natural surroundings and historic sights, and safety in this age of terrorism.
First, safety. The only U.S. State Department travel warning for safari areas covers Kenya, but it doesn't specifically mention Kenya's Masai Mara, a prime safari destination in the past. Many tour groups still include Kenya, especially the Masai Mara, and despite horrific attacks in Nairobi, there have been no terror incidents in safari areas. Kenya's decline as the greatest safari destination is ironic because the Kenyan safari is the original, from early in the 1900s, when Teddy Roosevelt's expeditions fed Americans' fascination with the continent.
Five myths about State Department travel warnings
Where to go
Which part of Africa is best for a first trip? Most experts would focus on any of three safari destinations — South Africa, neighboring countries in Southern Africa, Tanzania — all of which offer a variety of accommodations from spartan to luxurious, whether you're with a tour group or a safari operator. Whichever you choose, you will find skilled and friendly African guides eager to show you the magnificence of the continent.
South Africa has several vast national parks, and private reserves within them. Chief among the parks is the enormous Kruger, with its mix of paved and unpaved roads that the safari vehicles traverse in extensive cover. That contrasts with the less structured dirt lanes on the savanna in parks in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, where the game ride drivers can roam through the landscape.
Naturalist David Clapp, the expert lecturer and veteran of 50 safaris who accompanied the Smithsonian Journeys tour we chose, noted that Kruger has an abundance of game. "The visitor misses very little," he said.
Adjoining Kruger is another huge area known for superb game viewing, the private Sabi Sand reserve, with an extremely high density of animals, notably leopards.
A second main itinerary centers just north of South Africa, in Botswana — particularly its Chobe National Park, with the world's largest number of elephants — and neighboring Zimbabwe and Zambia. Our trip spent three days in each of those countries, exploring a variety of habitats. Combining the three makes it quite likely you will find the most coveted species, especially if you go to one of the private reserves where the endangered black rhino is protected from poachers who sell their horns to Asian markets. In nearby Namibia, there still are some rhinos in the wild.
That itinerary also allows you to visit the breathtaking Victoria Falls, which lies between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Standing in the mist of the pounding falls with the ever-present rainbow at your back is a bucket list item all by itself.
The third dream safari destination is Tanzania, in East Africa. The unique attraction is the Great Migration, the annual mass movement of hundreds of thousands of wildebeests, gazelles and zebras that pour down from Tanzania's Ngorongoro Highlands bound for the Serengeti plain, as well as the predator lions, leopards and cheetahs that await them.
In addition, this itinerary includes the UNESCO World Heritage site Ngorongoro Crater, in the Maasai tribal area. You descend the basin of the collapsed volcano, once higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, to see a vast variety of wildlife, including rhinos, in the rivers, lakes and forests at the crater's bottom. Nearby is the Olduvai Gorge in the Great Rift Valley, where anthropologists have found evidence of some of man's earliest ancestors.
Guidebooks and tour pamphlets talk about the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo, rhino), a term that has lost its original meaning when coined a century ago: the five beasts most dangerous to hunt on foot. Our Smithsonian Journeys tour director, Robyn Steegstra, went through our 12-day safari without ever referring to the Big Five, even though we did see them all, as well as hippos, zebras, giraffes, baboons, a huge variety of antelopes, and a magnificent array of birds. "Why is a Cape buffalo better to see than a giraffe? It is a marketing ploy. People get disappointed if they miss one of the five when they've seen so much else," she explained.
We were there soon after Cecil the lion was shot in Zimbabwe by an American trophy hunter and it was still in the headlines. Naturally, trophy hunting was on our minds as we talked with our expert African game ride drivers (though we were far removed from the concession lands where hunting is allowed). Typical was this view of a veteran driver for the Royal Zambezi Lodge in Zambia, Chris Musonda: "I am glad the Cecil shooting made people see that our animals are endangered, especially the cats. I fear they will not endure much longer. Africans really do not want money from hunters. Money from tourism is better and most of us cannot imagine shooting these animals." Many villagers are not as sanguine about lions, which kill hundreds of people a year and prey on livestock. Nevertheless, several countries have recently instituted hunting bans.
Though you might save as much as 30% in accommodations by going off-season, if this is your one and only safari, you may decide to follow the old adage: You get what you pay for. For southern Africa, the best time is our summer and their winter, when you get more wildlife viewing because it is dry and the animals congregate in watering areas. There also is less foliage so viewing is easier. You get temperate days, almost no rain and therefore fewer mosquitos (and a reduced malaria threat). If you go in the spring, you get a lot of rain, though for birders, the rainy season can be good. If you go in October or November, temperatures hit extreme highs.
The best season for the safari areas in northern South Africa and for Botswana-Zimbabwe-Zambia is from May to September, with August and September optimal.
However, high season to witness Tanzania's Great Migration is late December through February, when hundreds of thousands of animals are sweeping from the highlands to the plains.
What it costs
Here are some samples of rates through some well-known tour groups, just to give a rough idea of what an organized tour costs, not including airfare:
For the 13-day Botswana-Zimbabwe-Zambia trip with Smithsonian Journeys, the land-only rate per person is $6,400 in April or November, $7,000 from May to September. A similar trip with Road Scholar for a slightly longer stay and slightly different itinerary is $7,800 in April, $8,000 from June to September.
Comparing Great Migration Tanzania itineraries, which have variations in length and accommodations, Road Scholar's rate is $5,600 per person, National Geographic Expeditions charges $9,000, and high-end Abercrombie and Kent's "In Style" trip is $14,000.
Of course, there are ways to do it yourself. You can rent a car and set out on your own as many South Africans do. Kruger National Park has over thirty state-run campsites, and lodging prices are as low as $100 a day.
And you can explore the web for lodges and tented camps just as you would if you were planning any other trip. Those lodges and camps almost always include meals and game rides and boat trips.
Or you can engage a safari operator and chart your own itinerary, rather than joining a tour group. On the highest end, you can privately fly into remote areas with incredibly luxurious tented accommodations and meals, and spend as much as $20,000 a person.
But it almost doesn't matter which way you go for your bucket-list safari. As Clapp told me: "Africa can win you over easily. What you see is so good you never really feel you missed anything."
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African Safari 101: What To Pack
The thought of packing for an African safari might just be intimidating—you hear about all kinds of restrictions, such as the fact that small charter planes only accept luggage under 40 pounds and that it must be soft-shelled (no frames or rigid structures).
While our agents are equipped to prepare you adequately for your African safari, we thought we would put together a packing list for you to use as a reference while you’re preparing to come to Africa.
Documents You Must Pack
Losing documents is a very common occurrence, especially while travelling. As a result, packing the necessary documents safely should be your first priority before packing the rest of your luggage.
- A passport that has all of the necessary visas for every nation that your safari will visit or pass through.
- A small amount of cash, bank cards, and/or travelers’ checks are recommended. These days, you can also utilize e-wallet apps to avoid lugging around multiple credit cards and cash.
- Air tickets and travel vouchers for any pre-arranged organized safaris that have been purchased.
- Where necessary, vaccination certificates (yellow fever, mumps, etc.) will be provided. Some immunizations must be administered many weeks in advance (see Vaccinations needed for your African Safari).
- Medical treatment may include malaria prevention medications (see Malaria Made Simple) as well as any personal medications (also take your prescription in case of an emergency-your medication gets lost, wet, eaten by a baboon etc).
- The specifics of your travel insurance policy Your policy number, as well as the contact information for claims and emergencies, will be provided.
- Prepare a copy of all of your important documents, including your airline tickets, travel insurance policy, immunization records, and records of prescriptions and prescriptions.
Wearing neutral colors such as light browns, greens, tans, and khaki is ideal for safari. These colors do not attract attention and blend in perfectly with the African bush. Wearing bright colors makes you more visible to wildlife, which you want to avoid on safari. Especially when you’re on a walking safari.
Some other tips to consider:
- Dress in a relaxed manner. It is important that you are comfortable with your safari experience. Pack light clothing. Wearing cotton is great for safari.
- Make sure you’re protected at night. Pack a few long-sleeved shirts (depending on the duration of your trip) and slacks to keep warm on your night-time game drives.
- On game drives, you’ll need a jacket and scarf with you because temperatures drop quickly once the sun goes down in the evening.
- Pack a swimsuit and some casual clothing for around camp.
- It is not necessary to bring heavy hiking boots with you on this trip. Walking in hiking boots would not only be uncomfortable in the heat, but they are also cumbersome to transport. Any pair of robust closed-toe shoes will suffice in this situation.
- Make use of the laundry service. Our camps provide laundry services, although they do not wash undergarments. Clothing that is simple to clean is recommended.
- Pack a hat. You will need protection from the sun. It can get extremely hot in Africa. You need a hat that is durable.
- Note: It is illegal to wear Camouflage in Zimbabwe, so stick to your one-toned khaki clothing
The Ultimate Guide to Your Botswana Safari
On the small aircraft that travel to Africa, the weight of luggage is severely restricted: 44 lbs. per person in a soft duffel for Southern Africa, and 33 lbs. per checked bag, per person, for East Africa. The most important thing to remember is to avoid using wheels on your luggage because they add around eight to twelve pounds to it, whereas if you use a lightweight duffel without wheels, you have significantly more weight for clothing and shoes than if you use wheels.
Tools and Equipment
- Remember to bring along all your electronic devices, including your camera, memory cards, batteries, chargers, and a tiny torch with you. The use of telephoto lenses on your camera, as well as lightweight binoculars, is highly recommended.
- A pair of binoculars should be brought by each participant to get the maximum enjoyment out of the safari. A general-purpose binocular with an aperture of 8×40 or 8×42 is excellent for both birding and mammal observation purposes.
- A waterproof/dust-proof bag/cover for your camera; good quality sunglasses; glasses (if you wear contacts, you may be more prone to dust irritation); moisturizer; and sunblock are all essentials for traveling.
- A flashlight or a head light, as well as a Southern African bird guide (such as Newman’s or Sasol), are recommended.
Recommended Items to Pack:
- An SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with memory card ports that accommodate SD cards, or a smaller Superzoom camera, are also acceptable options. When deciding which camera to bring on safari, the size (which should not be too large) and quality of the zoom lens are important considerations.
- All of your chargers, batteries, and gadget power cords, as well as the correct plugs or adaptors for the regions you will be visiting on your safari.
- Camera storage devices have the memory to save a billion photographs! Make sure you have enough memory space on your device.
- Early mornings and evenings, particularly during game drives, can be cool, so bring a warm hat.
- A digital camcorder is a compact, handheld video recorder that may be used to record personal films and upload them to YouTube. It can capture all of the activity on your vacation.
- You’ll need something to keep you engaged on the trip and while waiting for transfers and relaxing while on safari. A good book, iPod, iPad, or games will do the trick.
- A compact diary for recording your travel experiences, taking down the names of animals and birds spotted on game drives, as well as valuable local terminology and phrases,
- In addition to listening to audio books, headphones are useful for listening to a soundtrack while driving or falling asleep, as well as for watching the scenery.
What Not to Pack?
When packing for your safari in Africa, make sure to exclude the following items:
- Single-use plastics are a problem. Many countries, particularly in East Africa, have outlawed it.
- See airline restrictions for further information on needless jewelry and pricey accessories (seeds, plants, certain foods etc).
- Water bottles that are disposable The majority of safari vans and hotels are equipped with water dispensers for re-filling reusable water bottles. Alternatively, purchase a large 5 or 10-litre water jug and fill it with water as needed along the trip.
Our Final Packing Suggestions
- Don’t go overboard with packing. An extremely common blunder is over packing. It is common for your luggage limit to be restricted if your safari includes flights between destinations in small fixed-wing planes (check with your agent).
- With African Bush Camps, you won’t have to worry about bringing your own emergency first-aid kit, and most of your meals will be covered in the tour cost.
- You can rely on our guides who know where to stop for supplies and how to obtain the most essential items if and when you are caught unprepared.
- Towels, bedding, and basic toiletries may be included as part of your African Safari package; please inquire before making your booking. However, we can assure you that our camps are well equipped.
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Safari 101: What You Need To Know About Travel To Africa (PHOTOS)
Africa travel expert
A trip to Africa is on a lot of bucket lists. For many of us in the United States, the continent seems majestic and mysterious yet dangerous and uncharted. Much of what we know about Africa is what we see in the media, a land of lions and giraffes, war and poverty. The Africa I know and love is a land of beauty and wonder that I have now dedicated my life to sharing with travelers.
My travel company, Eyes on Africa, has been sharing the wonders of Africa with those eager to travel and explore the continent's beauty, wildlife, wilderness and culture for 10 years. Many of those we work with are planning a first trip to Africa and have a plethora of questions, from where to stay, when to go, what to pack and more.
I've chosen a list of 10 most frequently asked questions that I'm often pressed with from those with a desire to travel to Africa. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of the land and culture and strive to educate travelers on the essence of Africa.
When should I start planning for a trip to Africa? We encourage our clients to plan their African safari as far in advance as possible; several months at a minimum to ensure a better selection of camp availability. This is especially important if they are planning to travel during the Southern Africa safari "high season" months of July through October.
How much does it cost? Most of the African safaris and African holidays organized for our clients are 100 percent customized to their individual interests, timeframe and budget. The rates for the destinations we offer cover a wide range and typically vary significantly from the "high season" (generally July through mid-November) to the "low season" (generally November through June).
Is travel to Africa safe? Africa's biggest enemy is the international media who represent all 46 African countries as a single entity and not as unique and individual countries with their own characteristics.
It would come as a surprise to many people to find out that there are in fact areas that are worse off in more developed countries than in the "dangerous" African countries. No country can claim to be 100% safe, and so as with travel to any new or unknown destination, it is advisable to take certain standard security precautions. Visitors should take the same precautions as they would normally take in any other destination worldwide. Keep an eye on your purses, wallets, passports, money and cameras when walking in a crowd. Avoid walking in the cities at night and place valuables in your hotel safe. Choosing a knowledgeable operator such as Eyes on Africa as your specialist Southern African tour operator is the best move you could make.
While staying at African safari lodges and tented camps you are typically far removed from human settlement and crime in the camps is virtually nonexistent, in fact, we have never heard of it and have been traveling to the camps for years.
Where in Africa should I visit? What animals will I see? First, let's define the regions. In terms of wildlife safaris, Southern Africa includes South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia while East Africa is essentially Kenya and Tanzania. Meanwhile, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of the Congo, all destinations popular for gorilla tracking safaris, are generally considered Central Africa. Malawi and Zambia are also sometimes classified as Central Africa.
In terms of landscapes and attractions, the regions are quite different. East Africa boasts Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti Plains/Maasai Mara ecosystem and the Ngorongoro Crater. Southern Africa includes Botswana's Okavango Delta wetland, the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert of Namibia, the miles of coastline with diverse habitats and the Kruger National Park of South Africa, the semi-arid Kalahari Desert of Botswana and northern South Africa and the lower Zambezi River basin including Victoria Falls along the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The wildlife species found in the two areas are essentially the same; most of the predators and plains game can be seen in both regions and only some birds and a few mammals and reptiles are distinct between the regions. East Africa offers herds of zebras and wildebeests in the hundreds of thousands. The annual migration between the Maasai Mara in the north and Tanzania's Serengeti in the south is a spectacle unequaled anywhere on earth today. However, Botswana and Zimbabwe are home to 80% of Southern Africa's 300,000 elephants and huge herds are a common sight along their northern borders.
The major differences between East Africa and Southern Africa for safaris are the density of tourists, the safari accommodations and the safari vehicles. East Africa, in general, has earned a reputation for a high density of tourists staying in hotel-styled lodges. The most common safari vehicle in East Africa is the mini-van with its pop-up roof, whereby passengers stand up to take pictures while peering out of the roof or sit in the enclosed vans. Conversely, Southern Africa is known for its luxury tented safari camps and huge tracts of wilderness areas with very low tourist densities, making for a private safari experience. The safari vehicles used here are modified, open-air Land Rovers which also add to the intimacy of the experience.
That said, there are a growing number of luxury lodges cropping up in East Africa, particularly in Tanzania and these lodges offer a far more exclusive experience than the large safari lodges which may have typified Kenya and Tanzania.
For the most part, Southern Africa is dominated by huge land concessions, which are owned or leased by luxury safari camp operators, and these concessions are for the sole use of the individual camp and its guests. With an average camp size of only 10-16 guests and only one or two vehicles for the entire concession, one can drive all day and not encounter anything but wilderness and wildlife.
What are the entry requirements? All people traveling to the Southern African region require a valid passport that is normally valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. At present, holders of American passports do not require visas for South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. They do however require visas for Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia; all but Kenya's may be purchased at the point of entry for a nominal fee. It is advisable to check with the consulate of the country that you intend to visit as requirements can change without notice.
Southern Africa has become very strict with regards to passport control requirements. There have been instances of visitors being deported due to non-compliance. Passports MUST be valid for at least six months after your return home date. We recommend a validity of nine months to prevent any problems in this regard. The passport entry requirement for any travelers entering South Africa is a minimum of two blank pages in their passport (in addition to the two endorsement pages in US passports). If however a guest should be traveling to more than one African country via South Africa, then the traveler must ensure they allow for sufficient pages for each country visited and also have the minimum of two blank visa pages for each re-entry into South Africa.
Should I take any medical precautions before going to Africa? As vaccination requirements change on occasion, we recommend that you check with your local doctor or health department for the latest health precautions. The most important health consideration in Southern Africa is malaria and it is strongly recommended that prophylactics (i.e., oral tablets) be taken as a preventative precaution. You are not legally required to have any vaccinations unless you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is prevalent, in which case an inoculation will be required against the disease.
Should I get traveler's insurance? Yes. Insurance should include coverage of cancellation or curtailment of the trip to Africa, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses, repatriation expenses and damage/theft/loss of personal baggage, money and goods.
Is communication with the "outside world" possible while on an African safari? For most people wishing to visit the remote parts of Southern Africa, getting away from civilization so to speak, is the major attraction and reason for going. As with electrical power, communication by phone, fax, etc. is out of the question given the remote locations of the camps. All camps do however have radio communications with their town/city offices in case of any emergencies. Most lodges in South Africa offer full telephone and internet services for those who do not wish to detach from the world completely.
What weather should I expect on an African safari? In general, the climate in southern Africa is as near perfect as you can get with dry season temperatures similar to those of the Mediterranean, but without the humidity. Daytime temperatures average 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit but can get much hotter, especially in the months of October and November, just before the rains arrive.
During the winter period, June through August, nighttime temperatures in some areas can drop to freezing or below. Early morning game drives during these winter months can start out very chilly and you should bring a warm sweater, gloves and even a hat to cover your ears. However, by mid-morning the days will heat up dramatically. The rains occur each year during November through March, with the dry season stretching from April through October.
What types of food are served on an African safari? Top-class British and European cuisine as well as some local dishes are served in the hotels, lodges, camps and restaurants. Most foreign visitors are very impressed with the quality and quantity of food provided while on an African safari. Some of the more up-scale camps provide food, presentation and service which rival that of a five-star hotel in any top city. The tables are elegantly set under the stars, under thatch or even in a boma, and we promise you will never go hungry.
A Look at Wildlife on Safari
James Weis 159, Contributor
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Safari 101 : All the 3D Touch Tricks You Should Be Using
Introduced on the iPhone 6 s , 3D Touch is just about the closest thing to a "right-click" that we have on iOS . Apple and app developers utilize this feature to give us helpful options that might otherwise clutter the overall app experience, as well as opportunities to "peek" into an action without committing to it. Safari on iPhone is no exception.
If you aren't already using 3D Touch on Safari, the tips below will make you wonder why you haven't started sooner. These options will both speed up and enhance surfing the internet with Apple's default web browser. Some of the tips might seem obvious to anyone who uses 3D Touch on a regular basis, but some are more subtle, so if you consider yourself a pro 3D Toucher, you still might learn a thing or two.
1. Use Quick Actions on the Home Screen
While not all apps have 3D Touch-enabled icons on the home screen, Safari, as with most stock iOS apps, does. Simply press deeply on the Safari icon to open its menu of quick actions:
- Show Reading List: Tap this to launch Safari and open your Reading List. Don't worry about losing any of your open webpages when this happens; Safari opens the Reading List in a new tab, so all of your existing activity is left untouched.
- Show Bookmarks: Tap this to open your Bookmarks folder. Like with the Reading List, Safari will open your Bookmarks in a new tab, so you won't lose any of the pages you already have open.
- New Private Tab: This option gives you a fast way to jump into a private window in Safari. When you're done, you still have to get out of private mode the old-fashioned way.
- New Tab: Select this to open a new tab in Safari.
2. Interact with Links Inside Webpages
If you push lightly into a link in a web article rather than tap on it, then hold the position, it will load a preview of its webpage without you needing to leave the site you're on. Apple calls this action a "peek," and it's a quick way to see if this link is worth opening in the first place. If you like what you see, simply press harder on the screen to "pop" into that webpage.
But that's not all you can do with 3D Touch. When you're holding the "peek," you can swipe up instead of popping into the full webpage. This will open a 3D Touch menu, just like the one you see on the home screen.
- Open in New Tab: This is a good option for those who don't want to leave the webpage they are on but do want to open the link in question. Selecting "Open in New Tab" will force you to switch to the new tab, but you can always switch back to the previous page with the tab switcher.
- Open in Background: This option appears if you have "In Background" enabled for opening links in the Safari settings. When you select this option, the link drops to the tabs button in the bottom-right corner, indicating that page has opened as a separate tab without taking you right to it.
- Add to Reading List: Select this option to add the link to your Reading List. This is especially useful if you don't have time to view that link now but know you want to in the future.
- Copy: This simply copies the link's URL to your iPhone's clipboard, so you can message the link to a friend, save it to Notes, or manually load the site yourself.
- Share: Opens the share sheet, which allows you to send that link to other devices, apps, services, etc. Choose from AirDrop at the top of the sheet, apps from the second row, or activities from the bottom row. The bottom row will only show "Copy," which will copy the URL, or "Save to Files," which allows you to save the link to your iCloud Drive or the "On My iPhone" folder. You can tap "More" to add more options if any are available.
3. Interact with Photos on Webpages
Images have their own 3D Touch options separate from links. However, this only applies if you are interacting with the image itself, i.e., you're viewing the photo's actual location on the web, usually ending in a file extension such as .jpg, .png, etc. If the photo is embedded in the webpage you are viewing, your 3D Touch options will be the same as with a link, so see the section above for more info on that.
When you peek at an image file, it floats above the page as a link preview would. If you pop into it, the photo will just refresh. However, instead of popping to refresh, you can swipe up and view a new 3D Touch menu just for photos:
- Save Image: This option saves the image to your Photos app. It will be located in your main "Camera Roll" album and not any other albums.
- Copy: Select this to copy the image. This is useful if you don't want the image to be saved to your iPhone, but will allow you to paste it into, say, a messaging app.
4. View Tabs More Clearly Before Selecting One
While they don't have as intricate a 3D Touch system as the above-mentioned options, tabs are still 3D Touch-compatible. When in the tabs viewer, simply peek a tab to bring it more into focus. This will allow you to preview its contents better before deciding whether or not to pop into it.
The effect here isn't as discernable as in other areas of Safari, so be careful — too much pressure, and you'll just open the tab. There is no 3D Touch menu here, but you can close out of tabs while peeking at them by swiping to the left.
5. Peek & Pop Bookmarks, Reading List & History
While each varies differently from each other, your Bookmarks, Reading List, and History folders all have the same 3D Touch features. While they lack 3D Touch menus, you can preview any entry in each of the folders using 3D Touch, just as you would a photo or link on a webpage.
Just tap the book icon at the bottom of the display, then tap the book, glasses, or clock icon to open Bookmarks, Reading List, or History, respectively. Peek any of the entries in the folder in question to preview it.
Keep in mind: if you push harder, you will pop into that page in the tab you launched the Bookmarks, Reading List, or History folder from. It might be best to open these folders in a new tab first to avoid losing a tab.
6. Peek & Pop Your Favorite Webpages & Sites
Your Favorites menu appears when you open a new tab or tap on the URL bar in a current tab. All of these links can be peeked and popped using 3D Touch. Unfortunately, however, there are no 3D Touch menus here. You can peek a link to preview it in a floating window, then pop into it if you want to. Additionally, you can peek a Favorites' folder, which you can then pop into.
7. Interact with Safari from Other Apps
Safari isn't just limited to its own app. You can use 3D Touch to preview and interact with links in other apps, especially stock iOS ones (some third-party apps will use their own in-app browser instead of Safari).
Your 3D Touch experience will be the same in all situations where a link would open Safari normally. When you peek a link, the webpage opens in a floating preview window. Here, you can see the page without opening it, just as you can in the methods above. Swipe up, and you can access the 3D Touch menu, which includes options "Open Link," "Add to Reading List," "Copy Link," and "Share."
Here's an example of how the process works in Messages and in Mail. You can expect the same in most other apps that link directly to Safari.
Even some third-party apps that have their own in-app browser have a way to quickly open links in Safari using 3D Touch. In Facebook, peek a link, then swipe up and scroll to "Open in Safari." Twitter, on the other hand, allows you to select "Share Via" from the 3D Touch Menu, then tap "Open in Safari" from the list of activities.
8. Peek, Pop & More in Spotlight Results
Safari links found in a Spotlight search are 3D Touch-compatible as well. When you search for a website, page, or anything in between, any link that appears in the search can be peeked into a floating preview window and popped to open in its respective app. Just know, popping a link into its respective app will leave your Spotlight search, but you can return by tapping on "Search" in the status bar.
Note: Spotlight search will bring you results for many, non-Safari related things. If you peek or pop a link that doesn't work with Safari, like a news or email link, it will open the News or Mail app, not Safari.
When peeking at a search, you also have access to a small 3D Touch menu if you swipe up. Your options include "Add to Reading List," "Copy," and "Open in Safari."
3D Touch Tab Switching Is Still Missing
While we would love to walk you through this awesome use of 3D Touch, we can't — Apple has yet to implement 3D Touch tab switching nearly five months after the official release of iOS 11.
While features like AirPlay 2 , Apple Pay Cash , and Messages on iCloud all saw late launches on this latest version of iOS, 3D Touch tab switching is nowhere to be seen. At least we know Business Chat is on its way — Apple has no news on the fate of this 3D Touch feature.
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Blazing fast. Incredibly private.
Safari is the best way to experience the internet on all your Apple devices. It brings robust customization options, powerful privacy protections, and optimizes battery life — so you can browse how you like, when you like. And when it comes to speed, it’s the world’s fastest browser. 1
More with the battery. less with the loading..
We’re always working to make the fastest desktop browser on the planet even faster.
Improved power efficiency
Safari lets you do more online on a single charge.
Up to 4 hours more streaming videos compared with Chrome 3
Up to 17 hours of video streaming 3
Safari outperforms both Mac and PC browsers in benchmark after benchmark on the same Mac. 4
- JetStream /
- MotionMark /
- Speedometer /
Safari vs. other Mac browsers
Safari on macOS
Chrome on macOS
Edge on macOS
Firefox on macOS
Safari vs. Windows 11 browsers
Chrome on Windows 11
Edge on Windows 11
Firefox on Windows 11
Rendering performance of animated content. 4
Web application responsiveness. 4
4K video streaming
See your favorite shows and films in their best light. Safari supports in-browser 4K HDR video playback for YouTube, Netflix, and Apple TV+. 5 And it runs efficiently for longer-lasting battery life.
Privacy is built in.
Online privacy isn’t just something you should hope for — it’s something you should expect. That’s why Safari comes with industry-leading privacy protection technology built in, including Intelligent Tracking Prevention that identifies trackers and helps prevent them from profiling or following you across the web. Upgrading to iCloud+ gives you even more privacy protections, including the ability to sign up for websites and services without having to share your personal email address.
Intelligent Tracking Prevention
Safari stops trackers in their tracks.
What you browse is no one’s business but your own. Safari has built‑in protections to help stop websites and data-collection companies from watching and profiling you based on your browsing activity. Intelligent Tracking Prevention uses on‑device intelligence to help prevent cross‑site tracking and stops known trackers from using your IP address — making it incredibly difficult to learn who you are and what you’re interested in.
Safari makes it simple to see how your privacy is protected on all the websites you visit. Click Privacy Report in the Safari menu for a snapshot of cross-site trackers currently prevented from profiling you on the website you’re visiting. Or view a weekly Privacy Report to see how Safari protects you as you browse over time.
Putting the you in url..
Safari is more customizable than ever. Organize your tabs into Tab Groups so it’s easy to go from one interest to the next. Set a custom background image and fine-tune your browser window with your favorite features — like Reading List, Favorites, iCloud Tabs, and Siri Suggestions. And third-party extensions for iPhone, iPad, and Mac let you do even more with Safari, so you can browse the way you want across all your devices.
Safari Profiles allow you to separate your history, extensions, Tab Groups, favorites, cookies, and more. Quickly switch between profiles for topics you create, like Personal and Work.
Web apps let you save your favorite websites to the Dock on Mac and to the Home Screen on iPhone and iPad. A simplified toolbar and separate settings give you an app-like experience.
Safari Extensions add functionality to your browser to help you explore the web the way you want. Find and add your favorite extensions in the dedicated Safari category on the App Store.
Save and organize your tabs in the way that works best for you. Name your Tab Groups, edit them, and switch among them across devices. You can also share Tab Groups — making planning your next family trip or group project easier and more collaborative.
Designed to help your work flow..
Built-in tools create a browsing experience that’s far more immersive, intuitive, and immediate. Get detailed information about a subject in a photo with just a click, select text within any image, instantly translate an entire web page, and quickly take notes wherever you are on a site — without having to switch apps.
Notes is your go-to app to capture any thought. And with the Quick Note feature, you can instantly jot down ideas as you browse websites without having to leave Safari.
Translate entire web pages with a single click. You can also get translations for text in images and paused video without leaving Safari.
Interact with text in any image or paused video on the web using functions like copy and paste, translate, and lookup. 6
Visual Look Up
Quickly learn more about landmarks, works of art, breeds of dogs, and more with only a photo or an image you find online. And easily lift the subject of an image from Safari, remove its background, and paste it into Messages, Notes, or other apps.
Surf safe and sound.
Strong security protections in Safari help keep you safe. Passkeys introduce a safer way to sign in. iCloud Keychain securely stores and autofills passkeys and passwords across all your devices. Safari also notifies you when it encounters suspicious websites and prevents them from loading. Because it loads each web page in a separate process, any harmful code is always confined to a single browser tab so it won’t crash the entire application or access your data. And Safari automatically upgrades sites from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS when available.
Passkeys introduce a more secure and easier way to sign in. No passwords required.
Passkeys are end-to-end encrypted and safe from phishing and data leaks, and they are stronger than all common two-factor authentication types. Thanks to iCloud Keychain, they work across all your Apple devices, and they even work on non-Apple devices.
Learn more about passkeys
Apple Pay and Wallet make checkout as easy as lifting a finger.
Apple Pay is the easiest and most secure way to shop on Safari — allowing you to complete transactions with Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone or iPad, with Touch ID on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, or by double-clicking the side button on your Apple Watch.
Learn more about Apple Pay
With AutoFill, you can easily fill in your previously saved credit card information from the Wallet app during checkout. Your credit card details are never shared, and your transactions are protected with industry-leading security.
Same Safari. Different device.
Safari works seamlessly and syncs your passwords, bookmarks, history, tabs, and more across Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch. And when your Mac, iOS, or iPadOS devices are near each other, they can automatically pass what you’re doing in Safari from one device to another using Handoff. You can even copy images, video, or text from Safari on your iPhone or iPad, then paste into another app on your nearby Mac — or vice versa.
When you use Safari on multiple devices, your tabs carry over from one Apple device to another. So you can search, shop, work, or browse on your iPhone, then switch to your iPad or Mac and pick up right where you left off.
Save web pages you want to read later by adding them to your Reading List. Then view them on any of your iCloud-connected devices — even if you’re not connected to the internet.
iCloud Keychain securely stores your user names, passkeys, passwords, and credit card numbers and keeps them up to date on your trusted devices. So you can easily sign in to your favorite websites — as well as apps on iOS and iPadOS — and quickly make online purchases.
Designed for developers.
Deep WebKit integration between Mac hardware and macOS allows Safari to deliver the fastest performance and the longest battery life of any browser on the platform, while supporting modern web standards for rich experiences in the browser. WebKit in macOS Sonoma includes optimizations that enable even richer browsing experiences, and give developers more control over styling and layout — allowing for more engaging content.
Make Safari your default browser
Customize your start page, view your browsing privacy report, monitor your saved passwords, use apple pay in safari, view your tabs across all your devices, read the safari user guide, get safari support.
Traditional country pursuits reimagined for a modern world
There’s much to consider when planning an African hunting safari, but it’s often the small, simple things that really make the experience what it is, says Peter Ryan.
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There is a recipe to writing about a first African hunt. Start with thornbush and sunsets, then spread thickly with rifles and calibres. Sprinkle with references to the Dark Content, the Big Five, white hunters and the ‘grey ghost.’ Top with a plug for your favourite outfitter and the whole stodgy cake is baked.
All good as far as it goes, but sadly it’s not much use to a beginner planning their first African trip. I waded through loads of it trying to plan my own maiden safari two decades ago, back when pterodactyls circled the skies and fire had yet to be domesticated. It worked out in the long run – when these words appear in print I will be on the ground for a lucky 13th safari. Based on that admittedly limited experience, what follows doesn’t adhere to the conventional recipe. It is simply what I would like to have known way back then.
Whole books have been written on rifles for Africa and many are fine reading. They split hairs and are fun for those of us whose interests lie that way. But the vast majority of first safaris are not for mountain nyala in Ethiopia or lion in Tanzania. The hands-down winner is the plains game hunt in a southern country – South Africa, Namibia, perhaps Zimbabwe or Mozambique. There is a staggering array of plains game available across those great hunting nations – kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest, impala, warthog and the rest. And there are good reasons why almost everyone starts this way. This is some of the best, most accessible and affordable hunting to be had on the planet.
Outfitters vary wildly in quality, reliability and experience. Look for depth – a long history of successful operation, a large gallery of quality trophies, and a team big enough to handle injury, illness or any of the fickle surprises Africa is prone to. Once you have a shortlist, put the web to use and research the hell out of each candidate. When you make contact remember that how they treat your questions (in terms of patience, attention to detail and so on) is the best indicator of how the safari will go.
Unless an eland is on the cards there is no need to buy a new safari rifle (and plenty of good reasons not to.) A rifle you know and trust in the 7mm mag, 30/06, .300 class is fine for 95 per cent of plains game hunting. Find a batch of absolutely premium bullets – think Barnes TTSX, Swift A Frame, Woodleigh – and once it’s zeroed walk away from the bench. Practise live and dry firing off a set of shooting sticks until you can set up and get a steady shot away in short order without thinking. That takes practice. Remember you’re building a solid bridge between two stable things – you and the sticks – not pivoting the rifle on its point of balance to create a see-saw.
You can buy books on game anatomy, but with few exceptions they will tell you only two things. The first is that bullet placement on African plains game is not quite your favourite behind-the-shoulder shot at home. Standing broadside you follow the line of the front leg to one third of the way up the body. If the game is quartering, look for the light between the front legs, draw a vertical line through the middle of that gap, and again place the shot a third of the way up the body.
These are sweeping generalisations to be sure, and some will disagree. They may seem blunt, but have faith – they’re worth more than all the half-inch bench groups and ballistics tables put together. They will let you get a good, timely shot away without complexity or confusion.
But the key to a great safari – your safari – isn’t in the technicals. It is understanding what you want from the experience. Those who simply desire the greatest number of trophies for the least cost are perhaps the easiest to cater for, though most finish their trip with a sense of regret. John Ruskin had it nailed: “the common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” Safari really is one of the great examples of buy cheap, buy twice. Trust me on this.
Ask yourself some fundamental questions and answer them honestly. Are you going for the romance, to get your name in the record books, or to put horns on the wall? For the first you’ll want vast wild landscapes with the Big Five wandering around. That combination is not standard on every African hunt. Walking with them is quite a thing, even if you’re not hunting them. If that kind of experience is what you want from Africa then say so and move on if you can’t get it. There are thousands of hunting outfits. You’ll find another.
Another piece of unconventional advice: be a good client. That’s for your sake as much as the PH. When he stops to look at a track or a chameleon or a pale chanting goshawk – most good professionals are also impressive field observers – it’s a chance to learn something rather than watch the clock. Those small moments are among the most pleasurable of any safari and they separate the great clients from the rest. Have some respect for the skills you’re seeing. And if weather or luck isn’t on your side one day, the golden rule is simple – keep up, shut up, shoot straight.
“We only see what we know,” said Goethe, and he was right. It would be a lost opportunity to go all the way to Africa without understanding what you’re looking at. That means knowing something more about the game than just how big a trophy is. A knowledge of how they live, how the rhythm of the ecosystem works and what your hunting dollar is doing for conservation will add depth to what you remember.
Here’s something they don’t put in the brochures. Safari can be an emotional rollercoaster, everything is sharper and more dramatic. The highs and lows of each day, uncluttered by news from the outside world, assume an importance that’s hard to explain. It’s like a soap opera, with everything a little blown out of proportion. If you understand that going in, you can enjoy the ride.
To all this I must add a final piece of advice. After all the fiddling with rifles and outfitters and paperwork you will one day find yourself on a plane. When you do, ponder this: we live in a world where the walls keep getting closer, the fences higher, and the great experiences grow fewer by the year. Everyone will tell you what rifle to take, what gadgets are needed, even what clothes to wear. I’ll tell you this instead because it’s the single most important thing: go with wonder in your heart.
Long after the safari is a memory a crate will arrive from a distant port and out will come an array of horns. If you’re very lucky, somewhere at the bottom will also be a folded skin, impala perhaps. When you open it you’ll hold in your hand the terracotta colours of pure, wild Africa, still lively and sleek as they were among the camel thorn. And then you’ll remember everything. But understand one thing first. It will never let you go.
Traditional country persuits reimagined for the modern world
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How a lifelong fascination was created.
Swapping the Scottish Highlands for the south of England, Sam Thompson joins Rob Minty to learn more about the UK’s smallest deer species and its management.
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Park of Culture and Leisure
Park of Culture and Leisure - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)
- (0.57 mi) Elektrostal Hotel
- (1.00 mi) Yakor Hotel
- (1.31 mi) Hotel Djaz
- (1.41 mi) Mini Hotel Banifatsiy
- (1.42 mi) Elektrostal apartments
- (0.07 mi) Teremok
- (0.21 mi) Coffee Shop Usy Teodora Glagoleva
- (0.25 mi) Mazhor
- (0.30 mi) Tashir Pizza
- (0.31 mi) Ermitazh
Park of Culture and Leisure Information
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- Odile (as Olga Chenchnikova)
- Madonna (as Olga Chenchnikova)
- Olga Chenchilova
- May 17 , 1956
- Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, RSFSR, USSR [now Russia]
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