Gonna take some time to do the things we never had ~ Toto: Africa
African safari tips.
Where do we begin?
We help you choose the right safari for you – the what, when, why and how, is here at your fingertips. Check here for a key points summary. Your instinct will guide you as well; follow it. A website may well “speak” to you.
Inside or out?
Next step: do you go for a safari lodge inside the game reserve, or on the outside? Well, it depends on the region and the game reserve within that region. We can help; just ask us.
On what basis do we pick a lodge?
It’s all about quality. We are picky about which lodges and which reserves we offer. Very picky. Our favourites are those lodges where service, comfort and game viewing has 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 perfect weather, despite some seasonal differences. The issue is, first and foremost, one of comfort. So the short answer is, it depends which region you want to visit, and when it will suit you. 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 (if required) and government tourism levies, plus VAT are then added to the lodge price. 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. In the final analysis, it is entirely possible to do all these tasks yourself if you have the time, and we will help you on condition we book your lodge accommodation.
What does the price include?
Superior (four to five star safari level) lodges.
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.
And what is excluded?
Gratuities, premium drinks such as French champagne etc, and travel insurance are not included.
Is a National Park camp cheaper?
Yes, National Park camps are cheaper, as a rule, but be advised that there are reasons for this. Firstly, they are not all-inclusive, so everything is add-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 much higher standard. And 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. The 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 (Kruger is not one of them). Malaria prophylaxis is recommended in a malaria area. Your doctor or travel clinic can advise best and latest products, and it’s a good idea to prevent mosquito bites with sprays and creams. In general, lodges provide window screens and sleeping nets.
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 critically under-staffed and under-funded. 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?
No. But during the planning stage, chat about options with your GP or travel clinic physician. For example, some visitors elect to have Hep-A-B-typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations for personal peace of mind, but they are not required, nor mandated, and the vast majority of our visitors do not have them.
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 begging South African law-makers to ban the activity, but to no avail. Commercial farming of wild animals for the Chinese market, lions and rhinos in particular, is rife. Botswana has, strangely, gone back 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 and tests are not required.