Gonna take some time to do the things we never had ~ Toto: Africa
African safari notes.
Where do we begin?
Firstly, the where. Check here for a key points summary of the different safari areas. Then return to this page.
Inside or out?
Next step: do you go for a safari lodge inside the game reserve, or on the outside? Well, in general we prefer to stay in, but it depends on the region and the game reserve. We can advise; just ask us.
On what basis do we pick a lodge?
It’s all about the quality of wildlife viewing and and the accommodation comfort. First we suggest a reputable game reserve, and then a consistently well-run lodge in that reserve. And yes, we are fussy about both, and to us, quality and comfort always matter when you’re far from home. Our favourite lodges offer warm service plus game viewing that surpassed our high expectations. See our quality checklist here.
When is the best time?
The very best time for an African safari is .. always. This is because Africa is blessed with close to perfect weather. We do have seasons though; the differences are often measured in rainfall (ie. rain or dry seasons) and temperatures do vary, but moderately. So in short, it very much depends which region you want to visit, and we can advise when it will be optimal. We can advise.
How do I know the price is fair?
We cost all our tours on the published prices of safari lodges. No more. Road transfers, internal flights, conservation fees, taxis and government tourism levies, plus VAT are then added to the lodge price, as required. Bank charges of 3 – 5% for credit card payments will apply; however there is no charge for EFTs, which, although it’s a little slower, makes it easier to track a payment. Of course, it is entirely possible to do all the payment tasks yourself if you have the time, and we offer assistance with the safari lodge booking. Safari prices in 2023/24 start at approximately US$750 per person, sharing, per night in a private game reserve, fully-inclusive.
What does the price include?
Superior lodges OR comfort tented rooms (Meru style).
All accommodation with own en-suite bathroom.
All meals, teas and coffees. Drinks in specified lodges.
Guided wildlife viewing in open vehicles.
Daily game viewing activities. Two game drives are standard.
Qualified, experienced game rangers and trackers.
Local road transfers.
Local flights unless specified.
Conservation fees per reserve, some lodges.
And what is excluded?
Gratuities, premium drinks such as French champagne etc, and travel insurance are not included. Conservation and Park fees at some lodges.
Is a National Park camp cheaper?
Yes, National Park camps are cheaper, as a rule, and there are reasons for this. Firstly, they are not all-inclusive, so everything is added on. Secondly, there is much more traffic in National Parks, and please note that no off-roading is permitted. Thirdly, game drive vehicles are often larger, which means more people on your vehicle. Fourthly, accommodation is generally basic, and the on-site restaurants are average, at best. Local residents love to visit the National Parks during school holidays, where they can self-cater for the entire family for two or three weeks.
So, is a private reserve worth the money?
A private reserve is certainly worth every cent. The benefits are numerous. There is no traffic, off-roading is permitted, game drive vehicles are small and comfortable, and in general the accommodation is superb. The cuisine is of a high standard. And importantly, the odds of seeing more wildlife, close up, are greater.
And what about payment?
We offer 2 payment options and we discuss these with you after you have approved your safari tour and price. A safari is not confirmed until deposit/s have been made and local flights booked. Lodge Ts and Cs as published will be applied, and final settlement is requested 30 – 60 days before your safari begins, as a rule.
Are we safe in a game reserve?
Yes, you are safe in a private game reserve. Upon your arrival you’ll receive a full security briefing so you fully understand the safety protocols. Safari lodge personnel take your safety extremely seriously.
Should I worry about malaria?
Some safari areas are designated malaria-free, and seasons affect mosquito activity. Kruger is not designated malaria-free. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended in a malaria area. Your doctor or travel clinic can advise best and latest products. It also helps to prevent mosquito bites with sprays and creams. In general, lodges provide window screens and sleeping nets. They also spray infrastructure with insecticide regularly.
What about medical facilities in Africa?
There are very good private hospitals throughout South Africa, though our once-prestigious (think first ever heart transplant, for example) state health facilities are shambolic. It is, therefore, vitally important to have sufficient travel and medical cover before departing on your travels, to ensure entry to a private hospital if needed.
Will I need any injections?
Difficult to say, now that the WHO will likely control what drugs they want you to take when travelling internationally in future. But during the planning stage, before booking, chat about options with your GP or travel clinic physician. However, none are required currently, mid-2023.
I like to travel ethically; what about canned hunting?
An absolute no-no for us is hunting for “sport”, as well as canned hunting, lion cub petting and walking with lions. These activities all feed in to the unethical side of wildlife. (Check here if your own cubs are thinking of gap years or volunteering.) Canned lions are still a reality in South Africa after 30 years of anti-cruelty advocates such as Chris Mercer insisting South African law-makers to ban the activity, but to no avail. Commercial farming of wild animals for the Chinese tiger bone market, using lions and rhinos in particular, is rife. Botswana has, strangely, reverted to elephant trophy hunting, under pressure from wealthy hunting groups like SCI. So we urge you to be discerning, and will happily supply more African safari info in this regard – just ask.
Can I do some good on my visit?
Yes! Pack for a Purpose is a helpful and practical way to do some good. The idea is to bring school items for kids in rural (safari) areas, who are often poorly supported by local government, if at all. Hand the items over at your lodge reception, or visit the school yourself.
What about the pandemic?
Africa, in general, was largely unscathed by the 2020 WHO-pandemic. Vax certificates, masks and tests are currently not required.