It’s safe to say that every self-respecting traveller loves the idea of a safari. What with the animals and the beautiful scenery, there is no better activity in the world. There is also no worse expedition for beginners. Because there is so much on a newbie’s plate, it can be difficult to stay error-free. And, one mistake on the African plains can be fatal.
To avoid any mistakes, there are a few things you should know before your trip. Any old hands should know the following inside and out. However, if you’re a novice, these could be the difference between a nightmare holiday and a journey of a lifetime.
Think of it like real estate where the location is everything. Yes, any trip into the African wilderness is something to behold regardless of experience. Still, that doesn’t mean that some places aren’t better than others. The truth is that certain areas play home to events that you wouldn’t see anywhere else in the world. And, that includes parks in Africa. The Serengeti in Kenya is the primary example because of the migration of wildebeest every year. Quite simply, this doesn’t happen anywhere else. A Tanzania safari is also another jaunt worth considering. For whatever reason, the animals in this part of the world seem to be more plentiful and curious. As a result, it makes for a more exciting and enjoyable trip.
More Money = Trip Of Lifetime
People like to find bargain deals because safaris don’t come cheap. In fact, they are incredibly expensive. However, there aren’t many deals which don’t compromise on the experience. The reason these companies can provide a budget trip is that they cut down on particular features. It might be the accommodation or the amount of time in the Land Rover might be shorter. Whatever the cutbacks, they are bound to impact the trip negatively. Although no one likes to hear it, expensive safaris are the ones which offer the best experience. And, if you don’t plan on going again, why wouldn’t you splash the cash?
Thanks to photos of tourists sat metres away from a lion, lots of people think that the van is impenetrable. At the end of the day, it’s a rickety Land Rover that wouldn’t inspire confidence on the roads back home. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that means it isn’t very safe. That’s not to say something will go wrong and you’ll be left vulnerable in the middle of nowhere surrounded by predators. Most of the time, everything goes to plan. Still, there are times when your security might be at risk which is why common sense is essential. Otherwise, the lions and other big cats might not seem so cute and cuddly. As a rule, listen to the guide and do what they say because they are there to help. Plus, they have years of wisdom and know-how.
Early Starts & Late Finishes
Simply put, there is going to be a lot of long days. To catch the animals in their natural habitats, you have to play by their rules. That means waking up when they do and going to bed at the same time. Unfortunately, predators like lions are nocturnal hunters, so they track prey by night. If you’re lucky they might make a kill early in the morning. Regardless, there is no time to sleep in or go back to camp prematurely if you want to see any of nature’s handy work. Knowing this beforehand should allow you to acclimatise to the notion. Indeed, preparing for early starts and long nights is one of the keys to getting your body into shape.
Every Day Is Unpredictable
The savvy among you will figure out that every day starts with the same activity: a game drive. During this drive, you might notice some of the same things. Then, after one or two, you might realise this is the perfect opportunity to reserve your sleep deprivation. Don’t do it. The reality is that no two days are the same in Africa. Sure, there are similarities that you will see pretty much every single day on tour. But, there will also be things that happen that won’t occur again, not on the trip or in your lifetime. Any non-believers should watch the clip of a pride of lions and a crocodile fighting over food. At the end of the day, a safari deals with wild animals, and they are notoriously hard to predict. Sometimes, they laze about without a care in the world and it’s boring. Others, though, they spring into action and make the trip worth every penny. Unless you’re there with your camera ready, there is no way to know what will happen.
There’s No Dress Code, But…
There are certain items in your wardrobe which will come in handy. The thing to remember is that you’re entering a foreign environment, so you need to dress accordingly. Everyone knows it’s going to be hot, which makes a long-brimmed hat invaluable. There is only so much sun cream one person can apply in a day. Clothes which are long and breathable are also useful. Although you need to cover your skin, there is no reason to sweat to death in the scorching heat. Finally, colour coordinated outfits should increase your chances of spotting wildlife. No one is saying your need to wear camouflage gear because it isn’t a tour of Afghanistan. But, tan clothes do blend into the environment, which makes it harder to spot you on safari.
Just because you have paid good money doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to see anything. Wild animals don’t play by anyone else’s rules but their own, so anything can happen. Of course, the odds are seeing something special is very high, even if it’s just a rare animal grazing. Still, the more you get your hopes up, the more it will hurt if the trip is a dud.
Treat a safari like you would a bag of chips: take it with a pinch of salt.