By Carel Verhoef, Manager at DiscoverAfrica.com.
A safari is a once in a lifetime trip so you’ll want to make sure that you have everything planned. From financing your trip, to researching and booking accommodation, to checking the best time of year to travel, to ensure you make the most of the weather, and of course catch the big five!
Accommodation varies in style and comfort, so you will need to decide early whether you are staying a few days or a few weeks, and whether you want to camp, stay with a host or guide, hotel or if you would prefer a safari lodge or resort.
The main difference between basic and luxury accommodation is the location, as well as the level of additional services they offer. As a general guide a safari trip will cost an average of £350 per day, not including flights and transfers, so you can use this as an estimate to scale your travel plans. If you want a more precise tool to calculate the cost of your safari trip try using online Safari cost estimators, which will work out the cost of your travel and accommodation based on factors like the number of people, accommodation star rating, and length of visit.
Wildlife migration and movements
The wildlife you get to see on a safari holiday is most spectacular part, so you want to be sure that the area you book will give you the best possibility of seeing everything from lions to elephants. The HerdTracker app can help you track this, providing real-time updates of the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti. The app sources images and data from pilots that fly over the Serengeti and Masai Mara, to plot and predict migratory movements, river crossings, and movements to help you plan your trip at the right time of year and in the right place. This guarantees you will not waste money missing one of the greatest sights in the world!
When booking any holiday you want to decide on the best time of year to go, and choosing a safari trip that is time specific will make this the top of your agenda. The main tourist seasons run from December and January when it is dry and hot, to June to August, when the climate is cooler and dry. You will need to consider the specific area you want to visit to avoid heavy rainfall, which for example in Kenya is from March to May. Although prices during this time are lower, and tourist areas quieter, check that the places you want to visit are not closed, as many places close completely during this time.
When packing for a safari you may want to opt for a canvas holdall as well as a backpack for daytime essentials when out and about, as you’ll be out for a few hours. Most travel lodges supply toiletries, so you can save space packing these. Dusty and dirty conditions are to be expected whilst on your safari so neutral shorts, t-shirt and lightweight trousers are recommended. Comfortable footwear is also an important consideration, as you will likely be on foot, so walking boots are a common choice.
A few essentials you will also want to bring are:
- Wide-brimmed hat (for shade from the sun)
- Sun cream
- A jumper or fleece for the evening time
- Sun glasses
- Bottled drinking water
There are lots of things to plan when organising a safari holiday, but remember that deciding what you want to see when on the safari is the most important thing, so you want to plan this in to your journey, to make sure you making lasting and special memories.