Here’s a safari recipe that will leave you knowing what to expect when you land in Africa, ease your travel preparations, and ensure you have a fantastic holiday.
- A willingness to step outside your comfort zone
- An open mind
- A sense of adventure
- Get ready. First you need to organise all your logistics – book a tour, book your flights, and get all your documents in order (passports, visas, vaccination certificates, etc). Most visas in Africa can be obtained on entry, but it is wise to check for each country you plan to visit. Figure out your travel goals and make sure you communicate them to your tour operator so they can help you plan the perfect safari itinerary. Check your goals against the above ingredients and try out some activities that push the limits of your comfort. It might be to include some nights bush camping with the sounds of the nocturnal wildlife surrounding you, it might be white-water rafting on the Nile River, or it might be volunteering at a community project – it doesn’t matter, so long as it is an adventure to you.
- Get set. The next step is to prepare for travel. Research your destination for extra activities, climate information, cuisine recommendations and anything else you can find out. Ask lots of questions both of your tour operator and from other travellers. And finally, pack appropriately as you are now armed with all the information that you need. A decent camera is a good investment for a safari as you will want to take some special pictures of the wildlife. If you plan to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and/or Mt Kenya, you might need specific climbing gear, or if you are tracking the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, it is wise to check what specific clothing you need. Read up some travel blogs and look for ways you can engage with locals in your destination – find a tour operator who can facilitate dinner with a family, a visit to a community project or even a home stay. Open your mind to the possibilities and you will be surprised at the opportunities that come up.
- Go! The time has finally come for your holiday. Get to the airport on time, keep your copy of Born Free in your hand luggage to read on the plane, and ensure all the other ingredients listed above are handy. Your adventure is about to begin and now, having followed steps one and two, you are ready for anything. Travel in Africa is unpredictable, but with the right attitude the unexpected can turn into a fabulous opportunity to experience something a bit different. Maintain a sense of humour, roll with the punches, and your safari will be one of the greatest memories of your life.
Following this simple recipe will ensure you have a great safari. You will have everything organised, feel in control, and be ready for anything.
What are some of the other ingredients for a successful safari? If you have travelled to Africa, please share your tips for first time safari-goers in the comments below. Or if you are planning a safari and have questions, please post them too.