Going on safari in Africa can be an exciting, yet somehow scary experience the first time. It is the ultimate venture into the wild and unchartered territory of a less populated and less developed continent. And of course, there is the wildlife to consider…
In order to make the most of your safari experience, we have come up with 5 ‘Top Tips’ for first time safari travellers.
1. Know the best time of year to go on safari
This safari tip is crucial, as the time of year largely determines the quality of wildlife viewing. Dry season in most of sub-Saharan Africa runs from roughly July until October, with some variations in weather patterns depending on the country. Shoulder seasons often provide a good balance between getting better rates, fewer crowds, and great wildlife sightings. Make sure you check up to date weather patterns with a local guide or operator on the ground in the country you are visiting.
2. Pack only light neutral coloured clothing
Traditional safari outfits actually have a logic behind them. Some wildlife are attracted to bright reds, navy, and black. These include smaller annoying wildlife like Tsetse flies as well as larger, dangerous wildlife. In addition, it gets quite hot in mid-day during most safaris and lighter coloured clothes reflect the light effectively, keeping the body cooler.
3. Bring boots to cover ankles
In the bush, all kinds of creatures are crawling everywhere. There is dust and sand on most footpaths, and lots of things that bite. Ankle or even knee high boots avert the discomfort related to ankle bites and avoid turning your shoes into a sandbox. Highly recommended.
4. Be prepared to wake up early
In Africa, wild animals are most active during the coolest times of day – so before sunrise and after sunset. Night drives are not universally allowed in the parks, so you will definitely be waking up around 5.30am to have a quick cup of coffee or tea before setting off on your first game drive.
5. Ensure your personal safety
When venturing out into the wild where predators roam freely, it’s absolutely crucial to ensure your personal safety. Each camp manager will offer safety briefings, and it is very rare that a client gets hurt if they behave according exactly the guidelines of the camp managers. Read up on the behaviours of specific wildlife and never walk around randomly or god forbid fall asleep (it’s happened, seriously) in the parks.
Willow Constantine is the Founder of Bespoke Safari Co. Bespoke Safari Co. is a boutique travel agency offering cutting edge curated travel experiences in Africa.