- Figure Out The Situation With Your Visa
Tourist visas are required for American travelers entering Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, but not for Botswana or South Africa. You should be able to buy yours online and print it out ahead of time – just make sure you do plenty of research so you know what’s what.
2. Don’t Miss Out On A Walking Safari
A walking safari will no doubt be the highlight of your trip if you do one. Getting out on foot will open up a whole new world. You won’t just be somebody looking out of a jeep. You’ll become a part of it all!
Just bear in mind that doing this means it’s even more important to listen to your guides and follow the rules. They will be leading with their guns and strong rules that must be followed. You may not even be able to talk! Always listen to your guides, and bear in mind that this might be an option you are given on a regular safari – but it might not be. If you do get the opportunity, many who have done it will tell you to grab it with both hands.
3. Never Leave Vaccines Too Late
Book an appointment with the doctor a minimum of one month before your trip – vaccines can take weeks to kick in. Take precautions while on your trip, too. Do plenty of research and ask for advice from your physician.
4. Pack Light
You really don’t want to have too many things with you on your trip. The dressing is for comfort, not style. Lightweight, light-colored pants and a t-shirt is great for day time. Neutral colors are recommended. Ideally, you should be able to layer various pieces and have a sweater or jumper for night time. This is not about being stylish, so be smart and only take the essentials! You’ll be able to focus on what’s in front of you this way, too.
5. Say Yes To Your Guide
You’ll always have a guide. Get to know them and they will tailor your trip much better for you. Your guide may suggest interesting ways to make your trip better, and it’s worth saying yes to these things even if you’re tired!
6. Bring A Real Camera
You’re going to want a real camera with a good lens and spare memory cards. Smartphone cameras may be able to capture what you’re seeing, but you’ll need to use your own judgment on whether it will be enough.
7. Take A Notepad
You might want a notepad to journal your experiences and write down interesting things you learn while you’re out exploring. Your guide will give you some really interesting bits of information, providing you ask questions. You’ll be glad you have a written record of your trip, too. Plus, it’ll give you something to do during the downtime.
8. Always Follow The Rules
The rules are not there to be broken. For your own safety and the safety of everyone in your group (as well as the animals), you should not touch the animals, jump out of the jeep, litter, or do anything you have been told not to. Do not hang out of the side of the jeep for a photo next to a pack of hungry lions. It seems like common sense, but there are horror stories. While looking at potential African Safari tours in 2020 bear in mind that you will need to do as your told.
9. Chat To Your Guide
You will likely be encouraged to ask your guide questions. Most guides are extremely knowledgeable and will share as much as they know if you ask them. Ask even silly questions or questions you think maybe irrelevant. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.
10. Know-How To Amuse Yourself
You can’t always guarantee when you will see animals. You will have lots of downtime during the day, and this means you’re going to need to amuse yourself. You likely won’t have electricity to use either, so you’ll need things like magazines, packs of cards, books, and so on. A good old fashioned conversation is always a good idea, too!
11. Ask Your Guide To Stop
If you think you see an animal, ask your guide to stop. You may have spotted an animal that nobody else has spotted, and it’ll give you real brownie points with the rest of your gang. Even if you’re not sure and it turns out to be some debris on the floor, it’s better to have stopped than to have gone straight by.
12. This Isn’t A Vacation
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is going to be a vacation. You probably won’t spend a lot of time relaxing. You need to go on safari because you want an adventure, and that means going out and exploring even when you’re tired.
If you choose a real safari, you’ll likely have to deal with a 5 am wake-up call, at least 6 hours spent in the bush, and much less downtime. You will likely be sitting in the jeep for a long time waiting to see something, but still, this is not relaxing when you want to spot an animal.
Does it sound like a safari is for you? It won’t be for everybody. The mornings are early, the nights can be late, and it won’t always feel luxurious or relaxing. If you want the true safari experience, you’ll need to be comfortable with getting uncomfortable. Of course, each safari in each place is different, so make sure you do your own research and find the right one for you.
Have you been on safari or do you plan on going on one? Leave a comment below!