Know how to book an African safari, and it will be everything you ever hoped it would be. By day, you’ll explore African’s extraordinary landscapes in search of animals big and small. By night, you’ll relax beneath a canopy of stars and with the sounds of the plains echoing in your ears. Get your booking wrong, and your African safari could rapidly become a nightmare. Here’s how to book an African safari so everything goes right!
1. Speak to the Experts
There’s a safari out there for everyone. East Africa alone has a huge range of potential safaris to choose between. But when it comes to safaris, one size doesn’t fit all. For instance, first time safari goers in particular are likely to want the traditional game drive experience. They can be enjoyed in a variety of safe destinations in Africa including Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park and Tanzania’s famed Serengeti.
But others may be looking for something a little different. Gorilla trekking, which can only be had in Uganda and Rwanda, are increasingly popular. They will see visitors swap the grassland plains for dense mountainous forest.
The good news is that many of these experiences can be combined in one fantastic vacation if you know how to book an African safari. One day you can be gazing at elephants, the next wondering at the beauty of mountain gorillas in their natural habitats, before exploring stunning beaches or important cultural attractions.
Speak to an expert – a team with years of experience in arranging safaris – and they can use their expansive knowledge to eek out exactly what you’re looking for from your safari. This will include your estimated budget, the types of accommodation you’re after, and what type of animals you’re keen to see.
2. Avoid Going Independent
Travelers who grew up backpacking their way around the world might be tempted to dig out their old gear and head out on safari independently.
But we promise you this isn’t how to book an African safari! The effort of arranging everything yourself is hardly ever worth that effort, and probably won’t save you any of your hard-earned cash either.
First off, you’re more than likely to stress yourself out with all that has to be arranged: accommodation, transportation, meals, guides, and so on. Secondly and more importantly, if something goes awry, there’s no one to turn to for help. That’s simply your dream African safari ruined.
3. Book In Good Time
Booking early is another important factor in knowing how to book an African safari. The sooner you contact a tour operator, the more likely it is you’ll get the exact safari you want. That’s because top lodges can get fully booked months ahead of time, especially in the peak July to October season.
If you desire to go gorilla trekking in Uganda or Rwanda, there’s another very good reason to book in good time. Each trekker requires a permit, and there are only a limited number of permits released each day. Once they’ve sold out, that’s it, your dreams of encountering a silver back and his family group have sadly come to an end.
4. Book With a Specialist
It goes without saying (we hope!) that specialist safari tour operators are worth their weight in gold. Since the big international tour operators are in the job of selling vacations worldwide, they simply can’t have the wealth of knowledge and local understanding that a safari specialist does.
So instead, be sure to book your African safari with an African safari specialist. They will give you much more bang for your buck, and when based locally, will have all the information they need to ensure your vacation runs smoothly.
It sounds obvious, but how can you plan how long a transfer will take unless you’ve experienced it yourself? Likewise, local connections with everyone from driver-guides to the office team will help ensure a trip so smooth you probably won’t even notice all the hard work which goes on behind the scenes!
5. Take a Look at Our Important Information
You should already have realized that going on an African safari is not like a standard vacation.
Although a good specialist safari tour operator will take care of all the complex details of your trip, there are some things you should do in preparing for your journey into the magical world of the Big Five.
To start with, it’s more than likely you’ll need to obtain a visa before traveling. This may seem like a burden, but it’s generally a very simple process. Similarly, you’ll probably want to make sure you’ve got the correct sorts of clothing and footwear for the heat of Africa.
Knowing How to Book an African Safari is Key
Safaris promise the travels of a lifetime. They are trips that reaffirm all that’s important in the world, and often reconnect us with the family or friends we’re traveling with.
For this to happen, you need to know exactly how to book an African safari. As we’ve shown, just a few simple rules will help you get the sort of safari you only normally see on television screens. Whether you aim to see the Big Five on the banks of the River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park or encounter gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, these rules are the same.
First and foremost, you should speak to the experts, who will guide you through the entire process, and avoid the temptation to arrange things independently. Be sure to not only book as early as possible, but also book with a safari specialist. Finally, prepare for your trip by discovering exactly what to expect using our expert knowledge!