If you are reading this, chances are you are thinking of coming to Africa on a safari. If you have never been on a safari before, the thought of venturing to Africa can be a daunting prospect. You may have friends who have been on safaris before and they have told you how wonderful it is, but in the back of your mind you are still uncertain as to what it all entails. We have taken the liberty of answering some of the questions you may have.
As far as the accommodation goes, a wide range of accommodation types are available – from basic tents right through to luxury lodges and villas with private plunge pools. At Diverse Africa, we focus first and foremost on selecting the best area for you to visit. Once we have identified an area that will work for you, we will recommend a lodge that suits your requirements both in terms of the experience that you are looking for as well as what you are prepared to pay. A number of lodges have luxury tented accommodation and we have included an image of one such tent below to give you an idea of these kind of accommodations. At Diverse Africa, we are strong supporters of this ‘tented-type’ accommodation as it offers a truly authentic feeling and allows you to hear the sounds of the African bush from within your room. There is something special about falling asleep to the distant whoop of a hyena or the chorus of the frogs and toads.
A safari can be conducted in a number of different ways. The most common type of safari is in an open game-viewer (see image below left). The vast majority of animals are habituated to the presence of the game-viewer and this allows you to get close to them without interfering with their normal behaviour. From a photographic point of view, a vehicle offers the best opportunities. In a number of parks, you are not limited to driving on the roads and can follow the animals as they move through the bush.
Another means of conducting a safari is on foot. The upside of this is that it allows you to explore areas that are inaccessible to vehicles. It offers a more remote wilderness experience. The focus is usually on seeing some of the smaller things and gaining a greater understanding of the various elements that make the African bush so special. From a photographic perspective, the opportunities for photographing animals are not as good as in the vehicle, as the majority of animals are very wary of the presence of humans on foot and tend to move off when we approach.
There are a number of other means of conducting safaris – boating, ballooning and mokoro (dugout canoe) trips to name but a few. The image below right shows people on a mokoro safari in the Okavanago Delta. A mokoro does not offer great photographic opportunities of big game, but it allows you to enjoy the peace and tranquility of a pristine ecosystem as you glide across the water without any foreign noise. At Diverse Africa, we look to provide you with as many contrasting safari experiences as possible so that you can get the most out of your time in Africa.
As you can see from the image above, you can get very close to the animals. The animals are used to the shape and presence of the vehicle and as long as you remain seated in the vehicle, you are safe. As these animals are wild, they can be unpredictable. With this in mind, Diverse Africa recommends lodges where the best guides operate so you know you will be in the hands of an expert when you are on safari.
Yes. At Diverse Africa, we prefer to recommend unfenced lodges in wild areas. This allows the animals to move through the lodge grounds giving you the feeling of being in a truly wild area. At night your guide will escort you to your room as a safety precaution and once you are inside, you are perfectly safe. You will be free to walk around the lodge during the day.
Your choice of where to visit is largely dependent on what you wish to see as well as the time of year that you intend traveling. Furthermore, it is also influenced by whether you have been on a safari before or if it will be your first safari experience. At Diverse Africa, we take into account all of your needs when recommending a place to visit. We are also cognisant of the specials in the tourism market that are applicable to you when you travel as this can often make the difference when deciding between two similar lodges. We have put together a couple of sample itineraries to give you an idea of some of the places we recommend as being great safari destinations.
Generally speaking, Africa is a long-haul destination. It costs a lot of money to get here and it also takes some time. As a result, we will do whatever we can to ensure that you get the most out of your stay. We typically recommend that people do not do less than a 7-night trip. We also recommend that people stay a minimum of 3 nights at each lodge as this gives them the opportunity to settle in and explore all that the area has to offer. Occasionally we may however recommend a two-night stay at a lodge. We believe that it is much better to visit fewer places and do them properly than to try and cram in as many places as possible in a short space of time.
Many people enjoy doing the research and planning a holiday. This can aften be as much fun as the holiday itself. There is a wealth of information available on the internet which can help you make your decision. We do advise, however, that you research thoroughly when using the internet. If you do not want to plan and book the trip yourself, you can seek the advice of a travel expert like Diverse Africa. We strongly believe that this is the best way of doing it. For more information on why we feel this way you can read “Why you need a travel adviser when traveling in Southern and East Africa”.
As a final point, we believe that it is worth taking plenty of time when planning a safari to ensure that you get the safari that is perfectly suited to your needs. We would also like to encourage you to plan well in advance as it can often be tricky to secure the availability that is required if one’s dates are not flexible.
If you are thinking of coming on safari, pop us an email. We would love to assist you to ensure that you get the most out of your time in our beautiful continent.
People are sometimes apprehensive about going on safari as they are uncertain of what the food will be like. Others are afraid that the lodge will not be able to cater to their dietary requirements. We can assure you that on safari, you will eat like a king. Most lodges will typically do a large brunch and a dinner as the two main meals of the day (some lodges also offer lunch as well). These are supplemented by a more than substantial high-tea and a light snack first thing in the morning. As far as dietary requirements go, from vegan to gluten intolerant, whatever your needs, as long as you let the lodge know well in advance, you will be catered for.
Lions, elephants, giraffe and zebra. These are some of the things that immediately spring to mind when one imagines being on safari in Africa. Without a doubt, these large mammals are the most sought after creatures by safari-goers. So what animals will you see on your safari? A lot has to do with the area that you visit. Some areas are better for seeing certain animals. People are often fascinated with seeing the big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). The big 5 is certainly a drawcard, but at Diverse Africa, we believe that there is a lot more to the African bush than 5 mammals. We sometimes send people to areas where there is little chance of seeing all of the big 5. Based on what you wish to see, we will send you to the right areas at the right time of year so that you have the greatest chance of seeing the widest variety of animals from antelopes through to predators.
A typical day on safari will see you being woken at first light. The earlier you get out on safari the better. Dawn is a very active time in the bush as a number of the nocturnal animals are still moving and the diurnal animals start to begin their activities for the day. An early start will also allow you to savour the sounds of the dawn chorus as the birds wake in song from their night of rest. The early morning also offers fantastic lighting for the photography enthusiasts. After a light snack and a cup of tea or coffee, you will head out on your morning safari. Depending on the lodge where you are staying, this may take the form of a game-drive, a boating or mokoro safari or a guided walk. The duration of the safari is dependent on what you see, but you will typically return to the lodge around mid-morning at which time you will enjoy a sumptuous breakfast. After breakfast, some lodges offer an additional safari activity.
Lunch is served around midday (not every lodge serves lunch as some offer an extravagant brunch and high tea). After breakfast, one has the opportunity to relax during the heat of the day and enjoy the views from the lodge. High tea is served in the mid afternoon, after which the afternoon safari departs. This safari usually returns after dark and gives you the opportunity to search for some of the elusive nocturnal creatures. (Please note that walking and boating safaris will be completed before sunset).
Dinner will be served on your return to the lodge.
Depsite the fact that some of the areas we recommend are extremely remote, they are all easily accessible. In certain areas, people can rent a vehicle and easily drive themselves from one destination to the next, but in others we recommend that people take light aircraft transfers to get from one lodge to the next. If you are apprehensive about doing all of this on your own, Diverse Africa can recommend an appropriate private guide.
There is no one best time of year to travel. Each season offers something different. There is a general perception that the game viewing will be better in the dry season as water is limited and animals gather around the remaining water sources. This is not necessarily true. Certain areas offer better game viewing after the rains as animals gather in the open plains and other areas offer great sightings throughout the year regardless of the season. There are, however, some places which are most productive during the dry season.
There is no set answer to this question. As mentioned in the section on accommodations above, there are a wide variety of accommodation options available ranging from simple tents to luxury villas. The price is also influenced by the mode of transport that you choose. At Diverse Africa, we will always ensure that people get great value for their money and we will tailor-make a safari to meet your budget.