African safaris are the time for fun and adventure but if you don’t consider the small stuff you may find that your big game aspirations come unstuck.
The week before your trip is a great time to relax and play at an online casino as well as make all the preparations for a potentially life changing experience in Africa. Here are a few things you may not have considered.
You will need clothing layers
It may be scorching when you head out for a ride at 3pm but the temperature can dip sharply after sunset.
First time visitors to Africa often believe it stays warm around the clock and that there is no need for additional layers of clothing such as jumpers and jackets.
It is a good idea to always dress in layers and wear closed shoes so that you don’t get chilly during the early morning and later in the evening.
Safari tours usually include warm blankets but if you are going it alone, make sure to have your own layers and comforts at the ready.
Wear neutral colors
First time safari-goers may be inclined to wear brighter colors and hues, but this is actually a major faux-pas as yellows, reds and oranges can distract and scare away animals.
You may not have noticed before, but the majority of people pictured on a safari actually wear neutral colors.
Think muted greens and khaki. Those colors act as a sort of camouflage and help you to blend in with the surroundings.
Buy a good pair of binoculars
Often referred to as ‘binnies’ in Africa, binoculars are a crucial part of the safari experience.
It is very unlikely that you will be able to get up close and personal with a pack of lions so you will need to be able to view them clearly from a distance. Investing in a decent pair will make your safari much more pleasurable.
Depending on the type of safari package you booked, you may need to pay park fees during your time away. These fees can run up to $100 per person so it’s a good idea to see whether they are included or not before you leave.
Check guided game drives
Exploring the African bush on a guided tour is the best way to see wildlife as you will be in the company of a highly skilled and experienced game ranger.
They will know how to spot animals and track them while also answering your questions and imparting knowledge.
However, you should be clear about the number of guided drives you can take before departure and make sure that any flight times do not get in the way.
You will need a visa to enter every African country and while most tourist-friendly locations will provide these when you arrive at the airport, you should be prudent and double check before leaving as policies and prices are prone to change. You don’t want a visa situation to limit your activities even before you begin.
Don’t forget tips and laundry costs
Americans are well versed in the art of tipping, but Europeans and other nationalities are less accustomed to doling out cash to drivers and guides which can leave a gaping hole in budgets.
A weeklong period of tips can add up, so factor in the outlay when costing your daily allowance.
Safari resorts are also likely to charge for laundry so enquiring about these facilities and the cost is recommended before booking. There may be additional charges for ironing, for example.
Smaller parks may be best
Audley Travel rep Sarah Powell believes clients often get fixated on the names of bigger parks and fail to realize that lesser known locations may provide a better experience.
Depending on your budget and interests, you could save money by venturing beyond the beaten trails. Private reserves may also be a better option than popular national parks.
Consider guides carefully
Sojern VP Sylvia Weiler recommends taking the time to find the right guide. She notes: “At every camp, you are assigned a guide that is with you for the stay.
Your guide’s personality, knowledge, and passion for their job will determine what kind of experience you will have, and that’s one thing neither blogs or magazines suggested: requesting a specific guide in advance.”
You should also be prepared if something does go wrong. This means having the right travel insurance in place, registering the trip with the US State Department and ensuring emergency contacts have up to date passports in case they need to depart at short notice.
An African safari is likely to be the trip of a lifetime and taking heed of the tips here will make it even more memorable.