Whenever there is news in the Western media about Africa, it often comprises of sensationalized negativity. Traditional media makes all the 47 countries that make up Africa seem like one desperate nation. Well, for every bit of bad news out there, we have many, many things to celebrate! Traveling to Africa allows a visitor to fill in the gaps and to experience all that’s wonderful about Africa. And we’re here to help you plan your next safari!
The travel experts at Fair Trade Safaris call Africa home, and we have personally visited all the popular (as well as also some fairly obscure) destinations around East Africa and Southern Africa. We have reveled in the sight of African wildlife from the back of a game-viewing vehicle…and also on foot with an armed ranger. We’ve done a tribal dance with the locals and embraced their culture. We’ve tracked rhino and gorilla to see them in the wild before they’re extinct. We have marveled at the wildebeest migration across the Serengeti.
The Fair Trade Safaris team is made up of well-travelled people born and bred in Africa, and some incomers who got hooked by the magical charm of the land and its peoples. We know that the thought of foreign travel to a continent so far away can make some people a bit nervous, and that’s why we’ve put together our Top Ten Tips For Planning Your Safari. So, here’s what our experts say about Planning A Safari:
Decide on your absolute must see animals… lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, giraffe, wild African dog, elephant, African fish eagle, ostrich, pelican, etc.
Choose your month and duration of travel, bearing in mind that the best time to go on safari in southern and eastern Africa is June-September.
List the kinds of activities you would like to include e.g. hot air ballooning, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, white water rafting, canoeing past hippos, shark cage diving, horseback riding, helicopter flight to Cape of Good Hope, walking safaris and close-up animal encounters, cultural interactions, visiting an orphanage and other philanthropic projects, etc.
How brave and bold are you? Are you willing to push the boundaries by walking in big game country and camping for the night? Or, would you rather build up courage slowly and stay within your comfort zone in a safari lodge?
Know yourself! Is constant hot water and a high-pressure shower a priority or would you find a warm bucket shower and a canvas basin of hot water for your morning wash rustic and charming? Or can you manage a bit of both?
Maybe you have a specific place you want to visit. Where is that? Perhaps it’s Tanzania or Kenya to see the greatest migration of animals on earth and the colorful Maasai tribe, or the largest curtain of falling water at Victoria Falls, Cape Town’s Table Mountain, the leopards of South Africa’s Kruger Park, or hippos and elephants wading through the waterways of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. None of these are vaguely near each other and they stretch from the Equator, south beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, and down to the very tip of Africa.
Are you taking your family – what special considerations do any of them require and what is the range of ages?
Set a budget and a contingency amount in case there’s something you really want to add on, like the ‘Flight of Angels’ in a helicopter over Victoria Falls, or hot air balloon over the Masai Mara.
Your answers 1 through 8 will help narrow down the choices and destinations but you’ll still need a Fair Trade Safaris expert to put together an itinerary that will fulfill all your desires and make logical sense! Dreaming up your wish list is easy; putting it all together is a skill.
Plan as far ahead as possible (a year in advance is good, but a few months can be doable as well) to make sure there’s space in the small exclusive camps and lodges, to get your visas, medication and injections in order, and to especially to build up your excitement for this bucket list vacation.
Have you been on safari and can add to these tips? Contact us and let us hear from you!
The founders/owners of Fair Trade Safaris have over 35 years of experience in photographic safaris, cultural trips, and philanthropy & wildlife conservation-based activities in Africa. We would love to use our experience and knowledge to plan your African adventure!