For many travelers going on a safari is a dream trip, an opportunity to see Africa’s unspoiled natural beauty and to view wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos in their natural habitat.
If a safari is on your bucket list, here are some tips as you plan your trip:
The East African nations of Kenya and Tanzania are among the most popular safari destinations, with travelers drawn to one of the world’s most remarkable sights – the Great Migration. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras make the trek from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of food and water. While the Great Migration usually peaks in July and August, going in October will let you avoid the crowds, and you’ll still see plenty of action.
You’ll hear the words “tent” and “camp” used when it comes to accommodations. While the level of comfort on a safari can range from rustic to ultra-luxury, remember that most will have running water, full bathrooms, electricity and modern conveniences, including Wi-Fi. Just keep in mind that some remote camps may run on generators that are turned off at night and during the day, when you’re out on a game drive.
Try to plan as much of your trip ahead of time as possible, including arranging transportation between the airport and your hotel. It’ll be one less thing to think about when you arrive after a long flight. And don’t leave the required paperwork for the last minute. In addition to a passport, some countries, including Kenya and Tanzania, will require a visa. Also, check with your doctor well in advance of your departure to make sure you have all the recommended vaccinations and immunizations. Follow the advice of the State Department and register your plans with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Enrollment will make it easier to contact you if there’s an emergency, as well as alert you to important information about your destination.
When packing, remember to keep things light, both in your suitcase and wardrobe. Bring casual, comfortable clothes that are easy to wash. Don’t forget essential toiletries, like tissues or rolls of toilet paper. To prevent bug bites, avoid wearing dark clothing. Pack light-colored pants and long-sleeved shirts. In some areas, your access to ATMs will be limited, so bring some cash. And don’t forget an adaptor for your phone and other electronic devices.
A safari can be a great family vacation or group trip, but travel experts recommend that parents bring children in their teens or older. So if you’re thinking about including the kids, consider whether they’re old enough to handle the experience.
Finally, remember that nature doesn’t always operate on a schedule. When you’re looking for wildlife, be patient. Have your camera ready at all times, and while you’re waiting, take in the gorgeous scenery as you anticipate those jaw-dropping moments that will stay with you forever.
For help planning a safari, be inspired by our safari information to contact an African specialist agent.