For the intrepid few who long for something different, an African safari may be in order. Of course this assumes that you are comfortable with leaving some of your modern conveniences behind. And this also presupposed that you enjoy watching or photographing animals.
What to Expect in an African Safari
When the idea of an African Safari is broached, most people imagine animals galore – lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, etc. Although this is what Africa is known for, this continent also boasts of beautiful beaches, architectural wonders, and spectacular landscapes. In fact, a visit to these sites is included in some African safari vacation packages.
Especially for nature and animal photographers, an African safari is beyond comparison. Nothing beats being up close to animals in the wild and photographing them. Beautiful landscapes will also leave you in awe. So it is best to bring the appropriate photographic gear for those once in a lifetime pictures.
Booking an African Safari
You have decided to go on an African safari, and presumably you have a budget for it. The question is where do you start? First, you have to choose where to go. The popular African destinations are Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Tanzania. Each of these countries has its unique offerings in terms of animal viewing and photography opportunities, landscapes, and other tourist attractions.
Fortunately, making arrangements for this kind of vacation is no longer a tedious effort. You can deal with a travel agent or go directly to a tour operator. More often than not, air transport and accommodations are taken care of in these African safari tours. You will just have to specify your schedule. And there are several holiday packages to choose from. The internet should be able to provide you with numerous options.
Of course you can do everything yourself – book your flights, make arrangements for accommodations, rent a vehicle, hire a guide, etc. If you or someone in your entourage is experienced in African safaris, this may be the preferred arrangement, and at the same time it will allow you utmost flexibility. However, it is unlikely to be cheaper than a group tour where “wholesale” rates apply.
For those who would like to experience a safari sans letting go of modern day conveniences, there are luxury tour packages available. Here you travel 1st class. And when you reach your destination, you are housed in a camp with luxury accommodations. It may not have the extravagance of a five-star hotel, but it is likely to have much more than mere board and lodging essentials.
Group Tour versus Private Safari
You want to stay longer in a particular location to photograph the cheetahs, but your other companions are tired and they want to go back to camp. You want to leave early in the morning to catch the dramatic sunlight while photographing elephants, but the others are still asleep. These are common scenarios when you participate in an African safari group tour.
Especially if this is a once in a lifetime trip, you surely want to make the most of it. So if you want maximum flexibility short of making all the arrangements yourself, a private safari is an option. This will allow you to dictate what you will do, when, and how. And there are tour operators offering this type of service. So if you intend to spend a whole day or night watching lions, you will just have to coordinate it with your guide in advance and everything will be arranged. Expect to pay more for this customized tour, though.
African safari tours may not be for everyone. But for those longing for excitement and for something different, it is a worthwhile experience.
For those who long for something different in their vacation package, African safari tours come as a welcome option. Viewing (and photographing) animals in the wild will surely get your adrenalin going. There are numerous safari tour packages to choose from depending on your preference and budget. But one thing is for sure, this is not for the faint of heart.