Research Tips for Your African Safari - Get the Most out of your time in Africa
The trick to getting the most out of your African safari is to immerse yourself in the destination before you travel. Read our travel guides, watch National Geographic Africa channels, read Africa travel books, anything that allows you to create a picture in your head of your dream African safari. It is our job to unlock that dream and make it a reality.
That said, there are also some practical tips for deciding on a camp or lodge, and what is right for you. Here is our advice and tips for factors to consider when choosing a destination or lodge.
How comfortable will you be on safari?
We consider being in the African wilderness a safe and enjoyable experience. One that can be slightly outside of your comfort zone, but fully revitalising. The question to ask when choosing a camp or lodge is, how comfortable are you in the African wilderness? We can arrange fly-camping (where nothing but a small dome tent separates you from the wilderness) to the most solid structures imaginable. We recommend a degree of immersion, but not so much that you are uncomfortable and miss a night's sleep.
How much luxury do you need on safari?
Finding the balance between what is considered standard amenities in a European 5-star hotel and what a lodge in Africa offers, is a balancing act. Some of the lodges we recommend will stand up to the best service and amenities of any establishment worldwide, whilst others are more low-key and in tune with nature. Can you sacrifice a hairdryer for a few days? Is not having Wi-Fi okay? Let us know where you fit in and we can plan accordingly.
Location of the camps and lodges
Not all locations are equal, and any travel consultant worth their salt will know the difference between lodges located within the same game reserve. Questions to ask include: Is the camp or lodge located in a game rich area where you can expect regular wildlife interactions? As the non-resident wildlife move with the changes in seasons, are you visiting these areas at the right time of year? Is this a private concession and will sightings of wildlife have a limited number of vehicles? Will you be sharing the experience with 40 other people?
Size and type of the camps
Are you looking for a small and exclusive camp, or are you comfortable staying at larger camps? Generally, more expensive camps in more exclusive concessions have 8 rooms or less (16 guests for an intimate experience). Is your camp or lodge well matched to who you are travelling with? (i.e. if you are on honeymoon, you probably want a camp that doesn’t encourage children. If you are travelling with children, will the camp cater, entertain and educate them?)
Safari guides and staff
Do the camps have a good reputation for personalized service and safari experience? Are the guides that will take you on safari fully knowledgeable, passionate about wildlife, and trained to interpret and show you the amazing, hidden secrets of nature? A good and enthusiastic safari guide has an uncanny ability to seek out various wildlife experiences (large and seemingly insignificant) and interpret them for the uninitiated – this is the greatest factor in having a life enriching safari.
Many of the camps and lodges you will be staying in will have a very limited amount of rooms, and will be in high demand during the best seasons to travel. We recommend starting planning your safari at least 6-12 months prior to your dates of travel (and even further out for exclusive camps in destinations such as the Serengeti or Okavango Delta). If you are travelling as a group, plan well in advance.