Bucket List DestinationsHow to Plan a African Safari Trip:
Step by Step
An African safari maybe a once-in-a-lifetime trip and should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Planning your safari can be an enjoyable experience, but there are many factors to consider when planning a safari, especially for first timers. Traveling to Africa is not as straight forward as visiting other parts of the world. Many places are remote with extensive driving routes and require logistical planning with flights and transfers.
We recommend letting Safari Ventures do that for you. We take care of your tour from start-to-finish. Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a group trip, a company trip, a month-long stay, visits to multiple countries, or just a simple trip for two, our team of safari experts are here to provide you with the best safari experience.
Below is our step-by-step guide to help ease your mind when planning the ultimate African safari trip.
What areas of Africa do you want to visit?
Africa is a huge continent with natural wonders, vast lands of amazing wildlife, great city and cultural experiences. Deciding what to do during your travels can be intimidating. However, first deciding where you want to visit can help narrow down all the sights and activities available. We recommend focusing on 1 to 2 countries for your first time. Trying to squeeze in too many countries will make each destination feel rushed and diminish the experience. For first timers hoping to see a lot of wildlife, consider visiting either Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa which offer the greatest opportunities for “big 5” sightings and many other species.
East Africa or South Africa?
These regions offer very different experiences. If you are looking for a well-rounded experience, then South Africa may be a better choice. South Africa allows you to experience the history and culture of Cape Town, the stunning winelands, and of course superb game viewing as well. South Africa is an amazingly diverse destination with something for everyone.
On the other hand, if you are looking for that “National Geographic” experience, then we highly recommend visiting east Africa. Kenya and Tanzania differ from South Africa because of the sheer volume of game. The Serengeti and the Masai Mara are best known as the home to the Great Wildebeest Migration.
When do you want to visit Eastern or Southern Africa?
Deciding when to travel to Africa may greatly affect what you can expect to see during your visit. Looking at East Africa, you can expect to have great wildlife viewing year-round. The Great Migration is a year-round event where wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles travel in a clockwise circle between Kenya and Tanzania searching for food and water. Thus, when you decide to travel will determine where you should visit. If planning to visit June to July, then Tanzania offers the best chance of seeing the Great Migration in the Serengeti while January to February is the best time to witness the wildebeest calving season. If planning to travel July to October, Kenya may be the best choice for the migration. It is important to understand that these are wild animals, and nothing is guaranteed while on safari. Nonetheless, we at Safari Ventures have drivers/guides that are highly educated in spotting wildlife and will do their best to make your experience exciting and memorable.
For more information on when the best time is to visit Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe- Click here.
What will be the length of your trip?
Africa is a big continent and there are many things to see and do. Deciding how long you plan to visit will help you decide how many stops are feasible without feeling rushed. We suggest visiting Africa for a minimum of 8 days, not including flight travel. That way you can take the time to enjoy everything Africa has to offer.
Scheduled (small group) or private safari?
Deciding between a private or shared safari? If you don’t mind sharing your safari vehicle and enjoy interacting with other travelers, then a scheduled small group safari may be a great option. Keep in mind that all our safari vehicles in east Africa carry a maximum of 7 passengers, all with a guaranteed window seat. Not only are scheduled safaris and tours more budget friendly but they are fully escorted and can provide the same wonderful experience as a private safari.
If you will be travelling in a big group or staying at luxury lodges/camps, we recommend planning a private safari. You will have more flexibility and can fully customize your trip.
In Southern Africa, your safari game drives are usually provided by the camp/lodge. Therefore, although you trip was tailor-made, you may still be paired up with other travelers at each lodge you visit unless a private guide/vehicle is requested at an extra cost.
What do you want to do while in Africa?
Visiting Africa is more than just going on game drives and see amazing wildlife. Whether you’re visiting Eastern or Southern Africa there are many things to see and do. Here are just a handful of activities to consider:
- Witness the Greatest Show on Earth- The Great Wildebeest Migration
- Take a hot air balloon safari over Tanzania’s Serengeti or Kenya’s Masai Mara
- Take a helicopter ride over Victoria Falls
- Safari and migratory Bird watching at Etosha National Park in Namibia
- Visit a Maasai Village in Tanzania
- Explore Cape Town with our guided day tours
- See the mountain gorillas up close while trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
- Play a round of golf at Tanzania’s one-and-only 18-hole golf course
- Play the “Extreme 19th hole” from a high cliff while golfing in South Africa
- Cruise through the Okavango Delta in Botswana on a mokoro (dugout canoe) or boat
- Enjoy a beautiful beach resort after your safari in Zanzibar
- Climb the tallest mountain in Africa- Mount Kilimanjaro or hike the foothills
- Go on a thrilling shark cage diving adventure in the Western Cape of South Africa
- Shop for unique handmade crafts
Knowing what you want to see and do during your visit will help us determine your perfect itinerary.
How many people will be going on this trip?
Are you planning a trip for two? A small friends/family group? A big group? Are you planning to travel with children? The number of people traveling with you will influence your itinerary and determine how far in advance you need to start planning. Generally, the bigger the group the more time is needed to plan and organize as well as to guarantee lodge/camp availability. Many safari camps might have only a dozen or less rooms and tend to book quickly especially during peak season. If you have a big group, need multiple rooms and want a specific accommodation, plenty of advance planning is essential.
Traveling with children is another factor to consider. There are several camps that may not allow children under 7 for safety reasons, however there are also many family-friendly camps that cater to children with special day camps. Rates for children are often substantially lower. Our safari team will be happy to provide more information on that.
What is your budget range?
The budget is probably one of the biggest factors in determining the specifics of an itinerary. An 8-day safari with accommodations, meals and internal flights can range from $2,000 to upwards of $20,000 per person. Setting a budget up front will help determine the best options when it comes to accommodations, transportation, and activities.
What type of accommodations would you like to stay in?
Africa offers a variety of accommodations depending on the destination. The type will determine the budget and activities you can expect. Are you looking for budget-friendly 3 to 4-star or luxury 5-star accommodations? During your safari, are you interesting in staying in lodges, permanent-tented camps, mobile/seasonal camps? While in South Africa’s cities, are you interested in staying at a major hotel or a boutique hotel? The number of hotels, lodges, and camps available in Africa are plentiful. Our expert team makes frequent site visits to ensure that your accommodation is up to our standards. They will be able to suggest the best options available based on your preferences and budget. For example, the perfect lodge for honeymooners would not be ideal for families or large groups.
Would you like assistance with flights?
Safari Ventures will help you with flight timing or bookings on request.
Africa is not a do-it-yourself destination. Designing the ultimate safari trip takes care, thought and the attention to detail of an expert. We will listen to your needs, answer any questions or concerns you may have, and work until we have ultimately curated the perfect itinerary. Our goal is to make your Africa experience the trip of a lifetime, seamless and worry-free. Please contact us at 1.888.341.7771 or click here to start planning.