African safari info.
Where do we begin the search?
African safari info is easy enough to find, however it’s good to first look at “the big picture”. Safari regions are individual and distinctive, offering different settings and experiences. It’s important that your expectations are met, and therefore a key-points summary of some major safari regions is available here.
When is the best time to go on safari?
It’s always a good time to go on safari, the issue being one of comfort. With the so-called green season in Botswana being wetter than usual, prices are consequently lower. Kruger is at its warmest in February and coolest in July, yet prices remain contant. The short answer is, it depends which region you want to visit, and when it will suit you. We can advise.
And booking our safari?
The smart option is to book 13 months ahead for a few good reasons, notably because most top safari lodges are small. Only having a dozen or so rooms, they accordingly fill up rapidly. Also, best flight prices to Africa are offered a year in advance.
How do I know the price is fair?
Prepare a sample costing of a tour yourself. It’s not too difficult as most safari lodges publish their rates online. Do remember to add transfers, internal flights, Park entrance fees, conservation fees, taxis if required and government tourism levies as well as VAT. Be realistic and also add bank charges of about 3 – 5% for credit card payments and admin fees.
On what basis do you recommend lodges?
Above all, our key criterion was quality, in every department. We went visiting, in summer as well as winter. And we made notes as if we were in our clients’ shoes, but not only the kindly, forgiving type of client. Oh no. We exercised a very critical eye indeed while participating in all the game drives and walks, sampling the many meals, sleeping in the beds and engaging with the game rangers, trackers and lodge staff. To sum up, we shortlisted the best, where service shone through and game viewing surpassed expectations.
What is included?
Superior (luxury safari level) accommodation.
All meals, teas and coffees. Drinks in specified lodges.
Exclusive wildlife viewing in open vehicles.
Daily game viewing activities. Two game drives are standard.
Qualified, experienced game rangers and trackers.
Local road transfers.
Park fees; conservation fees.
Then what is excluded?
Gratuities, premium drinks and travel insurance are not included.
Is a National Park camp cheaper?
Yes it is, but be advised there is much more traffic in National Parks and no off-roading is permitted. Game drive vehicles are larger too; that translates to more people on your vehicle. In general the accommodation is rustic, and furthermore the on-site restaurants are average at best.
So, is a private reserve worth the money?
A private reserve is definitely worth it. There is no traffic, off-roading is permitted, game drive vehicles are small and more comfortable, and in general the accommodation is luxurious. Accordingly, the cuisine is of a much higher standard.
And what about payment?
There are three payment options and we discuss these with you after you have agreed in principle to the quote for your safari. The tour is not confirmed until deposit/s have been made and local flights booked. Cancellation policies will be applied at this point. Final settlement is requested 2 months before your safari begins.
Are we safe in a game reserve?
Yes, you are safe in a game reserve. Upon your arrival you’ll receive a full security briefing so you fully understand the safety protocols. However, if you disregard these safety instructions, then in that instance there are risks. Safari lodge personnel take your safety extremely seriously.
Should I worry about malaria?
Many, probably most, mosquitoes do not carry malaria, and it also depends on the area you visit. Some safari areas are designated malari-free (Kruger is not one of them). In addition, mosquito activity is seasonal, and malaria prophylaxis is recommended in a malaria area. Your doctor or travel clinic can advise best and latest, and prevention of mosquito bites is a smart routine. Private lodges provide sprays: bring your preferred repellent, as well.
Are there top medical facilities in Africa?
There are excellent private hospitals throughout South Africa, even though our once prestigious public health facilities are now in tatters. It is therefore critically important to take sufficient travel and medical cover before departing on your travels. In general, countries to the north of SA evacuate emergency patients to South African private facilities.
Will I need any injections?
No. Nevertheless, chat about prophylaxis with your GP or travel clinic physician. For example, some visitors elect to have a Hep-A-B-typhoid vaccination for “peace of mind” but be sure to check the status of these vaccines. Much controversy surrounds the safety of vaccines due to insufficient testing.
I like to travel ethically; what about canned hunting?
Hunting, as well as canned hunting, lion cub petting and walking with lions for fun are an ABSOLUTE NO-NO for us. (Check here if your own cubs are thinking of gap years or volunteering.) Canned lions are still a reality after 30 years of anti-cruelty advocates begging South African law-makers to ban it. Wild animal breeding for the Chinese market, lions in particular, is rife. Botswana is back to elephant trophy hunting, bowing before pressure from wealthy hunting groups like SCI. Be discerning; we happliy supply more African safari info in this regards – just ask.
Can I do some good on my visit?
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. Many lodges offer cultural tours to their local communities.
What about the pandemic flu virus?
Some basic research is revealing. Firstly, air pollution globally kills more humans than the virus says the WHO, and to clarify, by a whopping 650%. Secondly, annual seasonal flu claims approx. 750,000 lives, the Lancet reveals. In any event, though, if your immune system is compromised it’s best to take all precautions and consider carefully the risk/s of long-haul flights.