How to Pick Your Safari Destination

There are many things to consider when planning a safari. Whether this is your first time, or you've been several times before, the choice of destinations, styles of safari and accommodations can seem mind-boggling. But there are plenty of ways to help narrow down the choices and find a safari that's perfect for you.


First time on safari?

One of the first things we'll ask you is whether you've been on safari before. If not, there’s a whole world of choice out there. An important consideration is not trying to bite off more than you can chew. A safari is an expensive way to spend your holiday no matter how you do it, and all the early mornings and adrenaline-fuelled game drives searching for wildlife can be surprisingly tiring. So, for a first time safari, we would often suggest a 3- or 4-day safari, to get a taste for what it’s all about. This is a good amount of time to explore an area, enjoy a variety of activities and hopefully see a good amount of wildlife. If you feel this isn’t enough time, then I’d suggest definitely not doing longer than a week for your first ever safari. The trouble with Africa and its wildlife is that it has a somewhat addictive nature, so even if you think this is a once in a lifetime trip, you’re likely to find yourself going back on safari again and again! Great destinations for a first-time safari would include Kenya and Tanzania, where it’s easy to combine a few days of fantastic game-viewing with time relaxing on on a beautiful beach, or South Africa where there are a multitude of other areas to explore.


What else to do?

The next consideration is what else you may want to see or do. You may be interested in landscapes, photography, birding, wine tasting, tribal culture, trekking, or simply escaping your daily life and unwinding on a beach somewhere. All of these can make up a part of your safari or a great addition to it!

When you want to travel will also help narrow down your choices. For example, South Africa has opposite seasons to Great Britain, so it makes a perfect destination for a winter escape! If you’re adding on time at the Victoria Falls, be mindful of water levels to make sure you get the experience you are looking for! Those wanting to see the famed river crossings of the migration herds in the Maasai Mara – Serengeti ecosystem should travel between June and October to maximise their chances. Keen birders will love the green season (typically November until March) where migratory birds add to resident species and fill the skies with colour and life. And of course, if you have total flexibility, you can make your trip really unique – time your Kilimanjaro climb to fit with the full moon on summit day, or watch the lunar rainbow at the Victoria Falls.


When to travel?

It’s worth considering how much you hope to spend on your trip, too, as this can rule some areas in and out. Africa’s not the easiest place to travel around, and some of the most fascinating areas are remote and difficult to access. This makes running a safari camp or lodge costly and challenging, and can push up the overall cost of staying there, whether it’s a luxurious lodge or a rustic safari camp. Many safari camps have to get water for showers and cooking trucked in from great distances away, fly in all of their food from the nearest city, and the harsh environment means that furnishings need constant refurbishment.

This is one of those holidays where the price you pay won’t just go towards the standard of accommodation – in fact we would argue that this is not the most important thing! Finding the right location for what you want to see or do, having an excellent safari guide who knows the area inside out, and visiting at the right time of year should come over and above the actual accommodation itself, in my mind.


Why call us?

Speaking to someone who has been to the destination you’re considering makes an enormous difference – all of the research online and in guidebooks doesn’t add up to a conversation with someone who can explain the reason you’d stay in Camp A instead of B that time of year, or why going at a different time of year would suit your personal interests better.

The last thing to say is that no matter where you go, it’s pretty difficult to have a bad time on safari. The wide-open spaces, spectacular stars at night, incredible food often cooked in the simplest kitchens, wonderful hosting, and of course seeing some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife in its natural habitat adds up to an unforgettable safari wherever you go.

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