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15 Things to Expect on Your First African Safari Vacation
Are you getting ready to go on your first African safari vacation? If so, we’ve created the ultimate guide on what to expect. Continue reading for 15 helpful tips to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.
Traveling to Africa for an authentic safari experience is not something you just plan last-minute. It requires a lot of thought and consideration long before it’s time for your first plane to take off.
This is especially true if you’re traveling from the States, considering Africa is on the opposite side of the globe. The travel there is a trek in itself, so you don’t want to plan a safari the day right after you arrive.
Thankfully, there’s much to do here that will blow your mind, no matter which African country you end up in. When the day of the safari tour of your African safari vacation does come, though, make sure you’re prepared.
Here’s a list of some things to expect to help you gear up for this awesome adventure.
1. Intense Heat
Maybe you’re used to the humidity of Florida or the desert temperatures of Arizona. It doesn’t matter – Africa is on a whole other level. Being out in the blazing heat here is no joke.
You want to make sure you’re properly hydrated before you go on your safari, and throughout all the days you spend on vacation, too. The last thing you want is to be having such a good time only to suddenly pass out of the heat or suffer from heat exhaustion at the end of the day.
2. Mosquitos Everywhere
Another thing to make note of is all the mosquitos. You will be particularly prone to them if you’re going somewhere in the bush. Thankfully, it’s a norm for many accommodations in Africa to have mosquito nets around the bed.
Still, it’s up to you to make sure the nets are wrapped tight when you go to sleep and to keep them closed throughout the day as well. Don’t forget to put on some bug spray as you venture outdoors, either.
3. Animals All Around
This is kind of a given when going on an African safari vacation, but it’s worth researching. The thing is, the animals on your safari won’t always be right in your face. Sometimes, you’re going to have to search for them as you’re driving around.
Keep an eye open for a small creature on the ground or something bouncing between the trees. There’s more wildlife out here than you might think, but it will pass you by if you’re not looking for it.
5. Interesting Noises and Beautiful Sights
One way to help yourself spot an animal is to listen for it. You’re going to hear all kinds of noises while you’re on safari. From monkeys saying hello to one another to wildcats roaring and birds chirping, you’ll definitely feel like you’re in the heart of Africa with so many calls and croaks going on.
Not to mention, you’ll be listening to them with a beautiful horizon right in front of you. This goes for whether you’re in the middle of the desert or a more green, forested area.
Don’t forget there are amazing waterfalls and rivers to explore, too! If you’re near one, it’s worth asking your guide to check it out or planning a separate tour on the water.
6. Tons of Photo Ops
Wherever you end up, make sure you have a camera. But, keep in mind the one on your smartphone may not do the safari justice. You want to have an image generator that can truly capture the shot.
Take a quality camera with you, and if you’re really into travel photography, bring a few different lenses. Make sure you have the proper protection and cases for all your items so you can keep track of them all as you interchange your tools.
If this isn’t really your style, buy a cheap pair of binoculars for yourself. This will help you see everything near and far in perfect scale.
7. An Early Morning
Here’s something you may not have realized: you’re going to be getting up really early to go on your African safari. The hour or so just before and right after dawn is when all the animals are most active.
It’s also the coolest time of the day so even though you’ll be seriously hot come lunchtime, take an extra layer with you as you head out. It’s crazy how the temperature can change. You don’t want to waste your experience on trying to say warm then cool down rather than enjoying the sights.
As far as the animals and their actions go, stay alert at all times. They are going to be up and at it before the sun, but you’ll also see some furrier (and non-furred) friends throughout the day.
8. Slight Exhaustion
Between the early morning, the intense heat, and all the excitement, you’re going to be tired. In fact, you may end up more tired than you’ve ever been before. It’s part of the experience, so embrace it!
If you feel like you’re getting too tired, remember, you can sleep when you get home. How often are you going to come back to Africa, and if anything, how soon?
Enjoy every part of it while you’re there, even the most exhausting aspects.
9. Incredible Comfort
There’s nothing better than being completely burnt out then coming back to comfortable, cozy digs. If you plan your vacation right, that’s exactly where you’ll end up.
The digs in the desert are much nicer than you may expect. Safari tours have been going on for years and the owners of these companies have everything down to a science. From where to go to see the most animals to how to best welcome you and recharge you where you end up at night, everything will feel like a dream.
That is, of course, if you book the right place.
10. …Or Not the Best Digs
Don’t take the booking process lightly. The last thing you want to do is dream about this incredible African safari only to have it be a nightmare. It may not sound possible with everything mentioned so far, but one bad booking can ruin the whole trip.
Make sure you stay somewhere you feel comfortable. You want there to be a nice airflow, a good bathroom situation, and a comfortable bed. Look into the food options and even the wifi possibilities, too.
This may sound a little much for being on safari, but it’s worth doing your research. You want to create the best experience possible, and this doesn’t happen when you plan halfheartedly. For help getting the experience you’re expecting, book through Earthlife Expeditions.
11. Smart Guides
Just as where you sleep matters, so does who you’re with. Thankfully, there’s a high standard for smart, good-quality guides no matter where you stay. These are the leaders of your safari, after all.
You want someone who is knowledgeable about the area and the animals around, but also someone who knows how to have fun. More so, the guide should stress safety and prepare you and your group for the unexpected. Remember, you’re in the wild when you’re on safari, so it pays to have a guide who knows their stuff well.
12. Close Encounters
Your guide isn’t the only new friend you’re going to take on safari. Animals aren’t afraid of the safari trucks or the accommodations set up in the wild. They will walk right up to you and say hello, and you can feel free to say hi right back.
Do this within reason, of course. These aren’t the creatures you see at the petting zoo. These are large, powerful, untamed animals.
It’s best to interact with them using caution when they come close. However, remember to have fun with the experience. They won’t bite if you play nice.
13. Far-Off Entertainment
When an animal does come close to the safari truck don’t get so focused on it that you forget everything else. There may be something more interesting happening on the horizon or a larger group of the same animal in the distance.
Keep an eye out for these things. When you notice it all at once you realize just how incredible nature is. Everything lives in harmony and so much life is going on all around. It’s easy to forget this in everyday life, so let the safari teach you a thing or two about being in the present.
14. Other Safari Adventurers
Unless you’re willing to spend the big bucks for a private safari, prepare to share the experience with complete strangers. You never know, these people may become your best friends! Even if you don’t say more than a few words to each other, though, remember to be cordial and kind.
Otherwise, it’s going to be a very long ride. Other adventurers are here for the same reason you are. Enjoy yourself as much as you can while letting them do the same.
15. No Dresscode
The final thing to expect on your African safari vacation is the lack of a dress code. You won’t be explicitly told what to wear or turned away from the safari due to your attire.
However, it’s better to wear certain clothes instead of others. Choose light fabrics that are breathable in the heat and try to layer one or two of them. This allows you to stay cool and calm but it also helps protect against bugs and dust.
Take the African Safari Vacation of Your Dreams
It’s one thing to travel from one city to another as you check things off your travel bucket list, but it’s an entirely different story to go straight for an African safari vacation. You feel like you’re in another world when you’re on safari, and if you do it right, it’s absolutely amazing.
Make sure you have your passport ready to go before you book, though!
If you were so excited about going away you forgot to plan for this important detail, click here to access all the passport application info you need.