What to Consider When Planning Your First African Safari
It doesn’t matter if you’re a young jet-setter or a retired senior looking to see more of the world. Your first African safari experience promises to be one you’ll always remember. An African safari promises you the opportunity to see some of the greatest wildlife and country in the world. All you have to do is plan your trip. There are some things you’ll need to keep in mind.
Choosing the Type of Safari You’d Like
Believe it or not, the traditional African safari does not necessarily mean riding on the back of a 4×4 truck. While this may be ideal – and possibly safest – there are some more interesting choices as well. Depending on the African country you plan on visiting, you’ll find that your safari options include elephant back, walking, mountain biking, canoeing, air balloons, camel riding, and even horseback riding. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to spend your evenings sleeping in a tent, in a luxury lodge, or in a mobile home – or in any of the other available package options.
The key here is to remember that you have a lot of choices, so if your goal is to simply participate in a safari, you don’t have to settle for the first group you find. You can narrow your choices down by country and then by the above factors, if you so choose.
Health Tips Before the Safari
Your health should be your number one priority at all times. Make sure you spend some time talking to your doctor about your travel plans before you leave. You’ll want to see your doctor about 6 weeks before your trips so that any vaccines you need can be administered. If you plan on visiting eastern or southern sections of Africa, you’ll definitely need a yellow fever vaccine. No matter where you go, you should be taking anti-malaria medications, wearing bug spray with DEET, and using a mosquito net at night. You should also wear long sleeved pants and shirts during the evening hours, as that is when mosquitoes are at their worst. You’ll also need to make sure your Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid vaccines are up to date.
Safety Tips During the Safari
The adventurer in you likely imagines the danger of being so close to lions, crocodiles, and other African animals. The truth is that individuals on carefully guided safaris are in very little danger – from the animals, at least. Your main concerns should be avoiding travel scams, keeping yourself hydrated, and avoiding petty crime.
The climate in Africa is hot and dry, and your body may not make the adjustment as easily as you thought. You’ll need to keep drinking water to avoid dehydration, which can happen quickly if you get caught up in the events of the day. Political unrest and crime are not uncommon in most African nations, but as long as you familiarize yourself with local customs and stick with your group, you should not have any problems. Take regular precautions, though, such as keeping your money in a secure location and not wearing flashy watches and jewelry.
The best African safaris are usually the ones run by well-established tour groups like Outback Africa or the Nomad Safari Guides. Make sure you research the reputation of any tour group you’re considering long before your trip. The more experienced your guide, the more you’ll enjoy your first safari.