Few things rival the African Safari when it comes to a traveler’s bucket list. Majestic mother Africa conjures up images of regal lions, entrancing elephants, and galloping giraffes on the picturesque plains. Your heart is full as you take in a sublime sunset after experiencing a day you’ll never forget. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so undoubtedly, you want to make it as memorable as possible. Even if you’re the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, this is one trip that you want to plan to make sure your experience is unforgettable carefully.
There are many things to think about, so it’s a good idea to start mapping out your adventure months in advance. Here are five great tips to get you started on your rare and magnificent journey.
1. Where and when to go
African safaris can generally be broken down into three seasons.
- Dry season (June to October)
- Mixed season (November to March)
- Wet season (March to May)
The most critical decision you’ll need to make when planning your trip is when to go. Africa is so vast, and different countries offer unique experiences and climates. The most popular safari destinations fall into these eight countries:
- South Africa
That’s a lot of choices. With each country offering its marvels at different times of the year, you’re going to want to do your research to customize the offering that most appeals to you. Do you want to witness the spectacle of thousands of wildebeest and zebras embark on their annual migration while being pursued by ruthless predators? Then you’ll want to visit Kenya between July and October.
Or perhaps you’re more interested in the awe-inspiring mountain gorillas while spending your nights in a roof top tent. In which case, you’ll want to head to Uganda while avoiding the wet season, which would make your mountain hike a lot less pleasant. Maybe white-water rafting is more your flavor. If so, you’d be best suited to heading to Zimbabwe to ride the Zambezi river and take in some of the best wildlife parks on the planet.
There is a lot to consider, so you’ll want to give yourself ample time to tailor your trip to your liking
2. What to pack
Keep in mind that you’re liking going to be moving a lot on your safari. From bouncing up and down on a Land Rover to traversing the valleys in a prop plane, you’re going to want to be tactical when it comes to packing. You’re going to want your wardrobe to be versatile as you’ll likely be chilly for the sunrise, roasting in the afternoon heat, and then cooling down again for sunset. The name of the game is layers. When it comes to colors, lean towards earth tones like tan and green. Some of the other essentials include:
- Bug spray
- Full brimmed hat with chinstrap
- Rain gear
- Hiking boots
3. Finding a great safari travel planner
Don’t skimp on the research when it comes to finding a great safari planner. Planning the entire trip on your own can be done, but it’s a daunting task and will likely cause more headaches than it’s worth. Ease your mind by hiring someone who knows the different countries’ ins and outs and is familiar with the best tour operators. Let them tie together all your transportation and accommodations, so all you have to do is focus on the fun.
The right planner will know exactly what parks are best at what time of year, which will go a long way in achieving your animal goals.