An African Safari to Suit You
Many experienced travelers dream of an African safari, but deciding which kind of trip can be daunting. There are more than 20 countries to choose from and a multitude of safari styles.
For easy reference, here are different types of safari, as well as some African countries that cater to each style. Narrow down your travel desires and budget then seek help from a travel advisor.
Some of the most luxurious accommodations in the world are in the African delta. Luxury lodges range from the very exclusive, with separate thatch-roofed rooms—to properties with up to 100 rooms. You can expect en-suite bathrooms, separate verandas and sometimes even private pools. You might request both morning and evening game drives, though in luxury lodges, the agenda is usually what you set. Ask your travel advisor about some lodges that have a circuit you can travel, staying several nights in each.
Most people associate the safari with the idea of the mobile tented camp, derived from traditional hunting safaris that set up tents to follow game across the country. The bush camps of today are usually luxurious, semi-permanent tents on raised platforms with thatched roofs.
Camp is usually set up for you well in advance of your arrival, and comes complete with hot showers, gourmet food and incredible service. These mobile camps enable travelers to reach more remote areas. Well-known bush camps include Abercrombie & Kent’s Kenya Hemingway Safari Tour and the tented safaris in Tanzania operated by Nomad Safari Guides.
Small group safaris
Traveling in a small group, typically fewer than 16 people, is perfect for groups planning milestone travel, such as an anniversary or multi-generational trip. You’ll travel in 4x4 vehicles or overland trucks on a day-by-day schedule with a tour guide who stays with you to coordinate and manage the trip. Guides are well-informed and groups are nimble enough to reach more remote areas. Luxury guided tours from And Beyond Africa include a tour of Botswana’s best parks and a night at Victoria Falls.
Many African safari destinations don’t work for the self-drive itinerary, in which travelers plan their own trip, rent a car and drive through game parks. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have the infrastructure for this kind of trip, but this travel style doesn’t work in countries like Malawi or Zambia, where finding fuel or even passable roads can be difficult (stick with a tour here). If you’re committed to the idea, do some research at Namibian.org, or the South African company Wildlife Africa.
For the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity, consider traveling with a charter operator who can fly you directly into a game park. These allow you to visit parks you can’t access over land and will obviously give you some spectacular aerial views. For example, Namibia’s increasingly desirable Skeleton Coast offers shipwrecks in the desert, but don’t expect to see much wildlife. And check fly-in safari options throughout East and Southern Africa with The Africa Adventure Company.
But don’t stop here. The varieties of safaris are virtually endless, from trips that combine safari with beach time (on the Indian Ocean), to safaris devoted to helping tribal communities, develop the once-in-a-lifetime getaway that suits you.