First Time Safari Q&A

Whether you have always had a safari on your bucket list, or whether it is something you are now starting to consider, there are lots of unanswered questions you may have regarded your first safari. This article will hopefully answer them!

Hyena in East Africa
Buffalo herd in the Okavango Delta

Your Safari Q&A's

What does a ‘safari’ entail?

The word ‘safari’ is of Swahili origin, meaning ‘a journey’ or ‘expedition.’ It is generally used today to refer to a trip where wildlife watching is the main activity. While it may still be a journey, traveling to various camps, it can also mean that you spend the night in one place and enjoy daily guided walks, game drives or boat excursions from there.

Which destinations are the best for watching wildlife in their natural environment?

Although it depends in part on which time of year you plan to travel and the type of animals you’re hoping to encounter, the top countries offering classic game viewing include Botswana and other East and Southern African nations.  

Can you see the same species in each one of those countries?

Generally, that is true; however, there are some that are better for sighting a particular species. Wildlife parks and the reserves that they host are typically notable for an abundance of certain animals. For example, if you’re hoping to spot lion prides, the private reserves bordering Kruger National Park in South Africa are ideal. Or, if elephants are your priority, Chobe in Botswana or Amboseli National Park in Kenya are highly recommended.

When is the best time to visit Africa for going on a safari?

The best time to visit Africa for a safari depends on the particular destination. Safaris can generally be enjoyed in Namibia and South Africa year-round. May through October are the months you’ll want to aim for in Zambia and Botswana, while East Africa is good for safaris every month other than April, May and November, the rainiest months of the year. If you’re hoping to watch a certain spectacle like the wildebeest migration, your visit to the Mara or the southern Serengeti savannahs will need to be timed between January and March or July and October.

In addition to safari activities like game drives, what other activities are available?

The options are practically endless – riding the famous Blue Train or Rovos Rail in South Africa is always a highlight for rail enthusiasts. Or you might enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the spectacular landscapes with a hot-air balloon ride in Zambia, Kenya or Namibia. Horseback riding in Botswana, South Africa and Kenya is possible, and you can paddle the Okavango Delta in a mokoro canoe too.

Zebras in the Masai Mara
Lion cubs in the Masai Mara

Logistic Questions

Will I have to swallow a bunch of pills and endure injections?

Whether or not you have to take medications or get injections depends on the particular regions you’ll be visiting. Your general practitioner, a health clinic, and our travel experts can all provide specific advice based on the itinerary. While there are several regions such as South Africa and northern Kenya that are malaria free, it is essential to take malaria precautions in places that put you at risk. Yellow Fever injections may be required for entry into some countries.

Do I need to buy specific types of safari clothing?

You don’t have to invest in pricey bush wear, but there are certain things to keep in mind. It’s important to blend into the environment – you don’t want to wear a bright attention-grabbing color, looking like a ‘Road Work Ahead’ sign despite animals being more sensitive to noise and smells. Keep in mind that it’s not always blazing hot, early mornings and nights can be quite chilly. That means you should pack clothing that can be layered and removed as temperatures rise. A warm hat and gloves are advisable as well.

Can I easily add a few days stay on the coast after spending time in the bush?

You’ll want to make the most of your time in Africa, so we highly recommend adding a few days at the end of your trip to enjoy the coast. Some of the top spots to consider are the Seychelles which lie off the Kenyan coast, as well as Zanzibar which has beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise sea off the coast of TanzaniaSouth Africa’s Natal coast is also home to some fabulous beach wilderness lodges where whales and turtles can be seen seasonally.

Start Planning Your Safari

We hope this answers some of your safari questions. However, if you still have questions, please do get in touch with our safari specialists Elaine and Gemma. Either drop us an email, give us a call on +44 208 004 2345 , or book a video consultation to find out more and start planning your safari adventure.