Planning an African Safari but have about a 100 questions in mind? We did too! After all, you will be dipping in to your savings for this one so it’s only natural to want to have it planned meticulously keeping a host of things in mind pre-booking. We’ve compiled a concise guide for you to run through when planning that African Safari holiday. Here goes:
- Use a trusted tour company to help plan this trip. As much as we love the process of planning each minute, we had to relinquish some of that planning to the experts. They know the best time to visit depending on what kind of a safari experience you are looking for plus keeping that budget in mind.
- Thoroughly understand what you want to see and experience from your safari. Each season presents a totally different kind of viewing from migration to dry season viewing to birthing season. Set your expectations at the time of planning.
- Costs vary as per season with migration June – early October being the most expensive.
- Be respectful and mindful of the animals and your surroundings. This not a zoo and therefore off-roading, touching, petting and feeding animals is strictly prohibited. Listen to the instructions of your guide and camp/lodge guides.
- Insist on a knowledgeable guide and don’t self-drive (we don’t recommend it). You can very easily get lost in the savanna with no real roads, signs and google maps to guide you therefore always insist on a driver that doubles as a guide who is familiar with the terrain. Your guide 99% of the time has some extensive knowledge of the animals and surroundings enriching the overall safari experience.
- Carry power banks and re-chargable batteries as depending on the type of camp/accommodation you pick, you won’t always have the luxury to charge your gear at all times. Wifi is usually weak or non existent so enjoy the detox.
- Take your yellow fever vaccination before traveling to both Kenya and Tanzania. Our yellow fever certificates were checked at the Kenya – Tanzania border.
- Clothing – While most blogs and websites give you the usual guidance on what to wear, shades of beige, cream, white and military green only; I truly believe this is not necessary. Avoid dark colours as it can get very hot in the day but apart from that the animals dont really mind you in a shade of orange. Local Masai are almost always dressed in bright colours. Always carry a jacket as nights and early mornings tend to get chilly. Use sun protection.
- Preserve water – Water is a jewel in Africa and although you are not permitted to use regular tap water to drink or even brush your teeth with, it is important to not waste the drinking water you are given.
- Tented stays are in the middle of nowhere and unfenced which means animals can walk right outside your tent in the middle of the night. Therefore do not leave any food and belongings outside.
- It is recommended to upgrade your vehicle to a 4X4 vehicle with pop-up roof for game viewing (as opposed to a van with no pop-up window). This makes game viewing easy and helps when driving on the bumpy unpaved roads.
- Border crossing by flight or car are both possible. Car journey between the two country borders takes about 6 hours and can be quite exhausting mainly because of the poor road conditions. Flights are expensive but saves time while the car journey has a charm of its own with a chance to spot animals on the way while entering and exiting the parks.
- Group safari tours or private are both available to pick from. Group tours are fairly common, only slightly cheaper and a great way to meet new people. However, we recommend a private safari experience just so you customize the trip to suit your needs, sometimes even pack in a little extra and have more space for snacks 🙂
Best time to Safari in Kenya and Tanzania:
- Mid June – Mid October (Peak period – includes migration season and animal crossing on the Mara River): By early to mid June the wilderbeasts make their way towards the western Serengeti, where they cross the Grumeti River to reach the grassy plains of the region. They then continue to trek north towards the Masai Mara during late July and early August. Once here they must cross the crocodile laden Mara river until early October before making their way Southward again.
- November – December (lean period + rain): Expect lower prices during this season with thundershowers not lasting the entire time and fairly good animal viewing.
- January – February (birthing season): Potential to spot babies and a rare chance to see an animal give birth in the wild.
- Late March – April – May: These months witness the most amounts of rainfall and are considered as low season often providing good discounts and value for money.
What they say?
“A bad day’s game viewing in the Masai Mara is still better than a great day just about anywhere else”.
Tour company used:
- Spirit of Kenya Tours and Adventures