African Safari Planning Tips - Part One
Where to start in planning a safari?
Planning a trip to Africa can be incredibly complicated. And some of the complexities may surprise you – for example many properties will not accept bookings from individuals and Google Maps wont always get you where you want to go because road conditions deteriorate and can be questionable. In short when you are planning this trip you need an expert travel advisor and guide on the ground. If there is just one time in your life that you are going to let someone craft your perfect vacation then this is it.
How long should I go for?
Geographically Africa is bigger than the US, China and all of Europe combined! So you clearly can not “do it all” in ten days. The best thing you can do is pick one country of focus and then strive for no more than three stops. Trying to squeeze it all in will make you feel like a contestant on the Amazing race – you can say you have been there but you won’t really see much. This is truly a trip of a lifetime… don’t ruin that by trying to do too much!
Can I take my kids on safari?
Certainly kids older than eight can go on safari and have a wonderful experience is you work with family friendly lodges and camps. Some have age restrictions so make sure you know the limits before you book, and of course some are more family friendly than others. This is much easier to do if you are working with an expert who can help you find lodges with kid focused programming. Keep in mind that being on safari can be tiring and physically demanding. Bumping down dirt roads for hours a day may not be your child’s idea of a good time so consider your child’s tolerance for this before planning on a family trip.
Should I book a private safari or go with a group?
Group tours can make sense if you have a specific passion (like bird watching or photography) or if you simply enjoy the dynamics of meeting new people while you travel. For an ideal group tour you will want to find a program with a high guide to guest ratio and a smaller group of travelers.
When looking at a group versus a private safari know that at the four or five star level there is not much cost savings by being in a group. So if you are looking for a more flexible and personal experience booking a safari that suits your own taste is probably best. This will allow you to customize your trip. For a private tour try to aim for six travelers or less so that you can be flexible in what you do each day.