Safari in Africa– The Africa is known for its breathtaking scenery, the exotic culture and especially the incredible safaris that reveal the wild life of the continent. On the other hand, we often hear news about the most negative aspects of some countries and, at the end of the day, there is no doubt about what it is like to actually travel and go on a safari in Africa.
We arrived in Africa a bit confused and did not know much what to expect. But after 4 months traveling the mainland, we passed a few hot flashes and learned a lot about what it’s like to be a traveler there. We will tell you everything you need to know to better organize your trip and make your safari an unforgettable experience.
Planning: Want to do a safari in Africa?
Planning well in advance is critical for you to ensure the best safari experience in Africa. Get ready to get excited, frustrated and anxious – all at the same time. There are many possibilities and you will have to deal with a wide variety of destinations to choose from. And do not be discouraged when you find you have difficulties with transportation, infrastructure and fair price: all this will be compensated with the incredible moments you will have on your safari.
Choosing the destination
First of all, it is important to know what you expect from a safari in Africa. Do you have a definite goal? Want to see lions strolling through nature? Can not miss the chance to see the impressive water fall in Victoria Falls ? Or your dream is to spot gorillas in the forest?
If you have nothing specific on your wish list, do a search and see what you like best, to start selecting your destinations.
As we have already said, what is not lacking is an option: the African continent has no less than 54 countries! Each place has its own characteristics, and you certainly will not have the time (or money) to know everything. Still do not know where to start? We help you.
Safari in Africa: where to go
South of Africa
It is in the southern part of the continent that there are fascinating and popular destinations such as Namibia , Botswana , Zimbabwe and South Africa . Traveling through this region is relatively easy. South Africa is a good starting point as it offers flights and transport to several other countries.
Many safari options are concentrated in the eastern part of Africa. Gorillas in Uganda, wildlife in Kenya, incredible beaches in Mozambique (yes, your safari can include beaches!), Expeditions through Kilimanjaro in Tanzania … the list here is extensive!
The situation on this side is more complicated and the traveler’s life becomes more difficult by these bands, but that does not mean that you should give up these destinations if you want to know them. Senegal, Ghana and Mali are some of the countries on this side of the continent that, although less visited, have much to offer.
When to go
Define how much time you have available to start setting up your itinerary. Be sure to take the time of year into consideration as much of what you will see on safari depends on the conditions of nature. There is no point in risking certain destinations in the off-season. Many animals migrate according to season and Victoria Falls may be dry, for example. Can you imagine going to the other side of the world and not being able to see anything you wanted?
We can not define the best time of the year to do a safari, since it depends on the destination. Remember that there are 54 countries in the continent? So, research the best season according to your chosen place.
Let’s not get bored: traveling through Africa is not cheap. Just start your price research to conclude that you have much more destinations in mind. Despite the low cost of living in most countries, you will end up spending more than you imagined.
Public transportation is cheap, but it is often so complicated to understand how it works, that you will consider renting a car, or closing a private tour. Many accommodations will offer you less than you expected at the price you paid. And this will all vary according to the destination chosen.
But if your goal is even to do a safari in Africa, do the math, plan right, study the options and play – it’s satisfaction guaranteed! You already know what you want to see, what places you would like to know, and how much time you have available. Now you plan ahead to be able to choose the best options for accommodation, transportation, tours and activities.
It is worth emphasizing that your expenses vary greatly according to the chosen destination. For example, we were surprised by Zimbabwe’s high prices. Namibia was more accessible than we had hoped, and South Africa remained on average.
How to Travel to Africa
Choosing how you are going to get around Africa is one of the most important aspects of your planning, as it has a drastic influence on your travel budget. It’s important to know what to expect from the option you choose, so you do not get frustrated with potential pitfalls, or you’ll be aware that you’re paying a lot more for extra comfort.
Flying across the continent weighs in your pocket. The demand for flights is not high and with this, prices can go high. Some buses are uncomfortable and full, trains are slow and complicated.
Roads can become a challenge if you want to rent a car. So how do you choose the best way to get a safari in Africa? It depends on your budget and the places you choose. Let’s go to the options:
This is the most common mode of transportation. Different options come into this category: one is the bus bed, which is large, more comfortable and safe, and is suitable for long-distance travel. There is also a lack of choice when you will have to feel a canned sardine and catch a crowded van – read: with 3x more people than the maximum capacity.
These vans are very common for domestic routes and will often be your only way of getting around. The name of the van varies according to place: in Kenya it is “matatu”, in Tanzania it is called “dala dala”, in Mozambique the name is “plaque”, and so on.
There are not many train options to travel around Africa, but they do exist and can offer you a very interesting experience. You can choose, for example, a trip on a luxury train through South Africa (well we wanted, but it did not fit into our budget), or an unimportant trip between Zambia and Tanzania .
The so-called “Overland tours” are very popular in Africa. In this mode, you join other travelers to take the group tour. The transportation is done in an adapted truck, which inside looks more like a bus. There is also a driver and a travel guide, who will accompany the group throughout the course.
If you do not want to use public transportation, this is one of the most economical options for a safari in Africa. The value is not the lowest, but already includes the vast majority of tours (some are extras), food, lodging and transportation. Meals are prepared by the guide himself. As for accommodation, you can choose between camping and hotel, and if you choose to stay in a hotel, it will cost you almost twice as much camping. We decided to make the Overland Tour “camping” version and we liked it a lot – (to know more, see the report we made, where we told 9 truths about our safari through Africa ).
Displacement between African countries can be very expensive by plane. But it’s a good alternative if you search for flights in advance, or if your travel time is too short. There are places that can only be accessed by jets, like some luxury resorts in the Kangaroo Delta, for example.
Called “self-drive safari”, some people choose to take a safari in Africa on their own, renting or even buying a car. Traveling by car is more expensive and requires lots of planning and preparation. It is necessary to define the route to be traveled, to choose the stopping points and to check the conditions of the route, which in some places can only be made of 4 × 4. One should also choose a good vehicle and get to know the car well to avoid passing any heat in the middle of the desert. The recommendation is that you do not drive at night and always have a plan b, if necessary.
If you choose to rent a car, you can tour several destinations in Africa and visit the large safari parks on your own. But one recommendation: we think the safari is best availed when you have a guide. They know the area better, understand the behavior of animals better, know the safety rules and are paid just to offer you the best experience.
Passport and Visas
See in advance what the entry requirements are in the destination country – and be sure to check the information with the Embassy. We had a hard time in Mozambique because we had read that the visa was withdrawn when arriving in the country and, upon arriving there, informed us that the visa should be taken in Brazil. Just imagine the trouble! But in the end everything went well(I.e.
Do not forget to check the validity of your passport and, depending on the route you will take to Africa, check if there are many blank pages, because your passport will be very stamped!
We crossed many borders through Africa and we had no problem. If your trip is in a group, the guide will help if necessary.
It is good to have some care: if you need to pay for the visa, give the money only to the official in charge, inside the immigration office. When returning your passport, make sure the visa information is correct. In our group, we happened to change passports and note the wrong date on the visa.
Many countries require the vaccine against yellow fever. In addition, some other vaccines are indicated, depending on the destination. Check the recommendations according to the countries you will visit.
Another important point is to protect yourself from malaria. As there is no vaccine, there is an indication of taking a medicine. Depending on the country, malaria is a very serious problem – be sure to check it out and check our malaria prevention tips .
Be sure to take medications for continuous use and sos, because depending on the place it can be very difficult to buy a medicine.
Super tip : Before we spend a season in Africa, we did a specialized medical consultation to know the best ways of preventing diseases according to the countries that we would go to. To learn more about this query, read about traveler’s medicine .
There are people who still ask if it is really necessary to take a safe trip to travel. People, for Africa do not even have to think twice right? Choose good insurance and ensure a smooth trip.
You will certainly be going through very remote places, so we advise you to choose insurance that will reimburse you if necessary. In an emergency, you may not be able to get in touch with the insurer, so take a credit card or cash and get a fair picture of the repayment process and the coverage. We suggest doing a search with Prosperous and see the insurance option that best fits your needs. And using our code GUATEMALAN you still get a 5% discount.
What to pack for a safari in south Africa luxury safari
This is a question everyone has when packing for a safari trip. Needs may change depending on where you go on safari. Therefore, these tips are more geared towards those who are going to do safari in South Africa .
Clothing for safari in South Africa
Usually the safaris in South Africa begin very early, before daylight even and last until 10 in the morning. Another sightseeing option in South Africa is in the afternoon to watch the sunset. In the early morning and at the end of the day, the temperature is lower. As cars are opened, with the wind, you will feel cold. Throughout the day with the sun you will feel warmth and as the cars are open you will also feel the sun.
My advice is to wear light and long clothing. That way, you will not spend too much heat, and you will protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes. Because it is light clothing, I advise wearing a coat, to wear at the beginning and at the end of the day.
The most ideal fabric is cotton. Many people advise trekking clothes, or those pants that have zippers and shorts. But that’s up to you. On a safari in South Africa, you might even get out of the car, but you do not have to wear this type of outfit. I saw some people in jeans, which is doable. But I would not advise the heat. It is also common to advise the use of light clothing on account of the sun, and also not to draw attention to animals. The most suitable colors for clothes are: dark green, khaki, beige.
Scarf can be a great outlet too. To protect a little more of the cold in the morning and also to use to protect the legs of the sun
Accessories and what to take on a safari in South Africa
- Hats or caps – the safari jeeps in South Africa are open. So you will be exposed to the sun.
- Shoes – I see no need to wear hiking boots. Even the “Walking Safaris”, you can quietly wear a sneaker or a normal boot. Trekking boots are usually heavy, remember that it is important to carry a suitcase.
- Incidentally, I do not recommend this “walking safari” unless you like birds. Do you think if you had any risk of seeing a wild animal, would they take you on a walking safari?
- Binoculars – No need, the more luxurious lodges you can borrow the binoculars and the ones you can not, my advice is to zoom in and see through the camera. I think it’s better than having to carry one more thing, and the safari bag should be limited in size and weight.
Finally, safari in African isn’t a passive experience. It isn’t just about glimpsing wildlife. You’re enveloped in their untamed world, absolutely surrounded by the drama and charm of the planet’s greatest theater; every angle is unique and each moment personalized. Allow Picasso’s safari experts to handcraft your perfect immersion, bringing harmonic luxury to the natural wonder, and tailoring your dream African safari.