Ultimate African Safari Tips for the skeptic traveler(2023)

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Zebra you see on African senior safaris -Tanzania-Wildlife-Safaris

Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by Augustine Tours

Are you planning your first African safari but still anxious about it? Are you a safari skeptic? I get it. Africa is a vast continent with untold stories. And African safari stories are among the untold ones. This definitely creates a concern for travelers in regard to conservation and responsible tourism practices. You will also learn a few tips on how to budget African safari trips.

In this post, I share my top African safari tips to keep in mind as you plan your trip. Everyone who has been on a wildlife African safari will never forget the feeling they had on their wildebeest migration or gorilla trekking safari.

On your second or third time in Africa, you will get used to the feeling and you will start getting into more detailed wildlife or cultural tour experiences. Some call them African custom-made safaris as opposed to all-inclusive African safari packages. 

A lot will change after spending some time in the game drives, walking, and driving through Africa’s wilderness. I have planned and been on safaris in every country in East Africa. So, I will share my tips with the first African safari-goers.  Here’s then my prime guide on African safaris.

Why is Safari an essential piece of a vacation to Africa?

The meaning of safari goes beyond seeing the incredible African wildlife and natural beauty that Africa has to offer. It is an experience. 

Safari, which is a Swahili word meaning journey, which is now a synonym for an African trip, a vacation that offers a unique wildlife and cultural experience in East Africa. I call it Africa Travel, which provides an unparalleled experience that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression. 

This makes the African vacation a journey that is on many travelers’ bucket lists.

It offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich traditions and vibrant heritage of the continent. The African travel experience is truly unforgettable and transformative.

It leaves a lasting impression.

Embarking on a safari in Africa allows you to immerse yourself in the vastness of the continent’s stunning landscapes, from the sweeping savannahs to the lush rainforests. 

The thrill of encountering majestic animals in their natural habitats, such as elephants gracefully roaming the plains or lions prowling through tall grasses, is an awe-inspiring sight that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. 

Gorilla is the new baby of Africa Travel

Watching gorillas is a must-see for any wildlife enthusiast. Gorilla trekking is becoming the new jewel of African safari packages. It is an experience that leaves a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to witness it. The opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat as they interact with one another and navigate through the dense vegetation is an experience everyone would fall for.

Captures the beauty and awe of the natural world

Moreover, safari guides provide invaluable knowledge about the local flora and fauna, enhancing your understanding and appreciation for Africa’s rich biodiversity. Beyond the wildlife encounters, safaris also provide opportunities to engage with local communities and learn about their vibrant cultures. Whether it’s interacting with Maasai tribespeople or visiting traditional villages, these cultural exchanges offer a deeper connection to Africa’s heritage. 

Tips for your first African Safari

Now let me list some African safari tips you will need to know. Having understood that the African safari has multiple synonyms, I will be using them to familiarize myself with the vast African safari vocabulary.

African Safari Tip #1: Inquire about the best time to go

Yes, first thing first. You will need to learn and inquire about the best time to go on an African Safari. Although Africa’s wildlife is present all year, there are seasons that most ideal for wildlife watching. This is why you should investigate the best time to go on a safari in the specific African destination you intend to visit.

In most cases, you can go on an East African trip any time of the year. Gorilla trekking for instance is possible any time while going for a wildebeest migration safari requires you to find out the best season, generally June to October.

The season you visit can enhance or challenge your travel experience. Going during the rainy season allows you to find animals relatively easily since they are mostly concealed but it may challenge your mobility because of the unpaved and muddy roads. If you don’t mind challenging yourself, any time of year is perfect for you. 

Africa Trip Tip #2: Don’t shout!

An Africa trip that involves visiting animals in their natural habitat can draw overwhelming excitement.  Always keep in mind you are in wildlife territory. Nobody would want guests to yell in their houses. It may be tempting to yell out to the animals in the wild, but this is a definite no-no on a safari. 

Mountain Gorillas Rwanda is a luxury safari experience
Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

The excitement is hard to contain. For obvious reasons, shouting can startle the animals and may cause them to run away or become aggressive. A terrified animal will always defend itself. It doesn’t matter if you are in a vehicle or not. Animal behaviors are unpredictable. An African Safari is an event where humans are just visitors to the homes of animals. So the hosts( animals) may expect us to behave accordingly.

This tip applies to both the “big five” which can be extremely deadly, and the primates. 

In a few words, loud noises can disrupt the smoothness of the long-awaited African safari experience. So, maintaining your voice down and observing the animals from a distance recommended by park rangers is just the best way to enjoy the ride. 

Vacation to Africa Tip #3: Dress For the Jungle( Savannah)

Making animals notice unusual colors isn’t something you want to do! When you go on a vacation to Africa, you should wear lightweight, comfortable clothing in neutral colors.  Safari goers converge on wearing Khaki, beige, gray, or olive green which in all aspects are good choices.

Safari clothing is designed to be comfortable, blend in with the environment, and withstand the elements and colors of the African jungle. Go for lightweight fabrics like cotton, linen, and breathable synthetics. Depending on the season you book your African safari, select items that can be layered, so you can adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. 

African safari tips for Tanzania
Wildlife safari in Tanzania

If you are traveling for a summer safari, you might also want to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Whatever season you go, make sure you wear closed-toe shoes. If you plan on going on some bush walks, I recommend bringing a good pair of safari boots with you.

Photo Safari Africa Tip #4: Get a good Camera taking great photos

In some cases, you will get a few meters closer to the giant mountain Gorillas, but it may not be the same for the “big five”. Capturing a good photo of a lion or tiger will require a camera with a telephoto lens. When going on a safari tour in Africa, it is recommended to bring a good camera. 

READ ALSO  12 Great Reasons for your Romantic Wildlife Safari in Tanzania
couple of gorillas in Bwindi
Gorilla couple

Consider also choosing a camera that is lightweight and easy to carry, as your safari can be anything between a few and long hours. If you are a wildlife photographer, you know the best equipment you need for great safari shots. 

Now that you have a good camera, you should take as many photos as possible. If you see a zebra from the first steps you get to the park, don’t expect to see a herd of zebras when you move further. A good chance might not come twice.  So, take many photos for you to filter when you will finish your safari. 

African Trip Tip #5: Wake Up Early

Take a cup of hot coffee(tea) at the crack of dawn to get ready for the safari.  If you are not a morning person, this is something you’ll have to get used to for a great African safari experience. 

You will realize that animals are most active in the morning and evening because it is hot for them to move about during the day. It makes sense to include two game drives in your wildlife safari package, a morning and evening game drive.

The evening game drives start in the afternoon at around 4:00 pm. Your day will be concluded with a refreshing dinner.

Safari Trips in Africa Tip #6: Enjoy the Sunset Views

An African safari is attached to diverse unforgettable memories. Concluding a safari day with a magnificent sunset and a drink is one of them. In summer, African sunsets offer some of the most stunning views, with brilliant colors in the sky.  Watching the sun go down over the savannah, desert, or coast, with the wind blowing and the sound of animals in the distance, is a truly magical experience. 

Sunset from Virunga Lodge
Sunset from Virunga Lodge

Some argue that African sunsets are another experience of the safari. They provide a sense of peace, tranquility, and awe, as the colors of the sky change from orange and pink to deep purple. Whether you’re out in the wild or in a city, a sunset in Africa is a special moment that will be remembered for a long time.

Get a drink while reflecting on your safari day, and watching the beautiful sunsets. Don’t forget to take pictures!!!

Africa Tours Tip #7: Enjoy The Wildlife and Nature

Nobody will argue that Africa isn’t the most magnificent wildlife destination in the world, if not the greatest. But the African travel experience isn’t limited to wildlife viewing. There are beautiful green hills worth photographing. 

Burundi green tour- less-traveled destinations
East Africa Is A Land Of Adventure and Nature

Yep, there is so much to see and enjoy. Tailor-made or group safaris will expose you to a variety of landscapes that your camera will be tempted to capture. When you see an animal, ask your tour guide to stop and observe it and take as many photos as you can…. You will need to filter the best shots.  

A chance of seeing gorillas mating or a lion pursuing its prey won’t probably come twice. 

African safari vacation #8: See the beautiful Birds!

An African safari vacation isn’t all about wildlife viewing. There are thousands of different birds and species. Some are visually attractive, and others have wonderful calls. What a nice wake-up call listening to a bird singing at the crack of dawn. 

Birding in an African safari is another component making your trip an exciting and rewarding experience. When discussing your safari or tour itinerary, check if there are options for a birding tour. In most parks, you can see hundreds of species of birds in their natural habitat, including many that are difficult to find in the wild. 

Birds in Rwanda Nyungwe National Park
Birds in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park

From brightly colored hornbills to huge vultures and tiny kingfishers, the variety of birds on the continent is diverse and unique. To make the most of your safari for birding, it’s best to travel with an experienced guide who can lead you to the best birding spots and help you identify the different species. Yes, it’s worth your time.

Nyungwe National Park is one of the most popular birding destinations in Rwanda, here is a wildlife Rwanda tour that offers an opportunity to see birds.  

African Safaris Tip #9: Follow the Safari Rules and Instructions

Every wildlife activity has a set of regulations to observe. Some of them are clearly marked and posted at the entrance of the park. Some regulations are for your personal protection, while some are for the safety of wild creatures. You are entering a wildlife zone, so knowing the rules of the territory is just something you need to be aware of. 

No rule is simple. Park rangers are trained to know the animal behavior for a smooth safari experience. Seeing a gorilla beating its chest is just fantastic to watch, which can arouse your excitement leading you to try the same game. Just don’t try here but at home!

 Among the safari guidelines to observe here are the top 10 rules:

  1. Always listen to your guide’s directions.
  2. When seeing animals, move gently and cautiously.
  3. Make no loud noises or sudden movements.
  4. Do not toss anything into the car and keep to the authorized location.
  5. Avoid feeding or interacting with wildlife.
  6. Be mindful of the environment and take all trash with you.
  7. Avoid wearing perfumes or scents that may attract animals.
  8. Maintain a safe distance from any wildlife.
  9. Do not deviate from tracks or trails and stay on specified routes.
  10. Do not approach the animals to obtain a better view or image.

African Safari Packages Tip #10: Ask Questions

African Safari Packages incorporate a diverse set of visits. The safari guide is skilled to explain what the activity is about. It might sound like a simple tip but great. Don’t be afraid of asking many questions. Here is an advantage of going on an African safari with a tour company. You will have an experienced tour guide assigned to you happy to answer any questions. 

Rwanda Community visits
Rwanda Community visits

If you need a more in-depth safari, opt for a tailor-made tour as opposed to scheduled group tours. The only way to get the most out of your vacation is to be as curious as possible since that is how you will learn about African wildlife and experience the cultural richness. Your guide is knowledgeable and skilled enough to assist. 

Trip to Africa Tip #11: Stay healthy on your African Safari

Health is everything. Don’t forget to take care of yourself by remaining healthy while on your first African safari.  For sure, it may sometimes be difficult to do a morning and evening gaming drive, but there are a lot of important things you can do to keep up with the pace. 

Some suggestions for staying healthy while on safari include:

Maintain constant hydration. Some safaris involve long walks and hikes. So, carry a bottle of water with you to avoid running out. A compact refillable water bottle is ideal for an African safari.

Carry insect(mosquito) repellent or antimalaria pills with you. Because your body system isn’t used to the local climate, it is recommended to talk to your physician.

Africa Safari Trip Tip #12: Quality of Safari Lodges Matter

African Safari lodges vary from luxury tented camps and mid-range to budget accommodations. Luxury and mid-range lodges provide a range of amenities and services for a great experience in the wilderness. WIFI might not always be reliable in some areas, but it is worth noting that you will stay connected. But don’t be astonished if you can’t send emails. Remember you into the wilderness. Simply focus on the untamed beauty around you. When inquiring about the Africa safari trip package, make sure you indicate the level of accommodation you prefer.

READ ALSO  3 Great Africa Wildebeest Migration Safari Tips
One & Only- Nyungwe National Park
One & Only Lodge- Nyungwe National Park

Not only will lodges located near the parks save you some driving hours, but they also offer the chance to enjoy breathtaking views and amazing wildlife sightings. 

Whichever option you choose, the safari lodge package includes meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Luxury and mid-range accommodations have international and local cuisine menus for an unforgettable dining experience!

Safari Tour Africa Tip #13: Mix Wildlife, Nature, and Culture

An African safari isn’t just about wildlife viewing. Each African country has unique and exciting cultural experiences everyone would love to engage in. Inquire about possibilities of cultural visits, which your tour operator can include in your tailor-made tour package.

Gishora drum sanctuary-Burundi drummers
Gishora drum sanctuary

How will a cultural visit enhance your safari? While you gain first-hand cultural knowledge, it will also generate income for local communities, in areas of low employment, such as rural and remote areas.

Safari Guide Tip #14: Tip Your Guide

There is no fixed tipping etiquette for safari guides. As a common practice, tips range between $10 and $15 per day but the amount is always at your discretion. 

A competent guide is responsible for your safari experience. They will take you to unexpected corners and can always improvise on a couple of activities that would enhance your safari. Remember, they know the area, understand safari animal behaviors, and have grown up in the region in which they operate. 

The guide wakes up before you and sleeps after you. They are always on and answer all of your queries, which they have undoubtedly been asked hundreds of times. Working as a safari guide is a great profession that most people highly value. I know African safaris are costly, and you probably don’t want to spend any more money after you’ve already spent so much on your vacation, but it’s crucial to budget for tips.

Africa Travel Experience Tip #15: Enjoy your first-time African safari

This is also important, come with a mind ready to enjoy your safari. With all the above-cited tips for a smooth safari, things can go wrong. If something doesn’t work as expected, don’t let the negative side ruin your experience, but instead, focus on the positive things. Immerse yourself in the African wildlife and cultural richness with an open mind and friendly attitude. Go for it if you can utter a few words in the local language. This is perceived as a friendly sign, and people will respond back friendlier. 

Swahili Words you can use on your East African Safari

If you’re going to East Africa, here are 10 Swahili kind words, you can use

  • Habari – “Hello”
  • Kwaheri – “Goodbye”
  • Ndio – “Yes”
  • Sawa – “Okay”
  • Hapana – “No”
  • Tafadhali – “Please”
  • Asante – “Thank you”
  • Karibu – “You’re welcome”
  • Samahani – “I’m sorry”
  • Sijui – “I don’t know

Africa Travel and Safari Inspirational Quotes

1. You haven’t been on a safari

“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa, for he has so much to look forward to.” Richard Mullin. This quote perfectly captures the allure and excitement of embarking on a safari adventure. The anticipation of witnessing Africa’s magnificent wildlife in its natural habitat is unparalleled.

2. African safaris go beyond wildlife

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir. Going on a safari is not just about spotting animals; it’s about immersing oneself in the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. From breathtaking landscapes to vibrant sunsets, every moment spent in the wilderness leaves a lasting impression.

3. Safaris are not for wealthy travelers

“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” Eugene Fodor. Contrary to popular belief, safaris are not exclusive experiences reserved for the wealthy. There are various options available, catering to different budgets and preferences, making it accessible for anyone with a desire to explore Africa’s wild wonders.

There you have it, my 15 top tips for first-time African Safari goers. Need help with a lifetime safari experience, call or email us for a personalized travel itinerary.

4. African Safaris teach the untold story

“Africa is a place where dreams come alive, and every step taken reveals the untold stories of its rich history and diverse cultures.” – Unknown

5. Resilience

“African wildlife safaris are a testament to the resilience of life, where even in the harshest environments, nature finds a way to thrive and inspire.”

6. Sunset Safaris

“Every sunset in Africa is a reminder that no matter how dark life may seem, there is always a new dawn waiting to bring hope and beauty.”

7. Embrace African Safari Adventure

“African safaris teach us to embrace adventure and embrace the unknown, for it is in those moments that we truly find ourselves.”

8. Breathtaking moments

“As the golden sun sets over the vast savannah, it reminds us that life’s most breathtaking moments are often found in the simplest of places.”

9. Untamed wilderness

“In the heart of Africa, where the rhythm of wildlife echoes through the air, you’ll discover that true beauty lies in the untamed wilderness.”

10. Feeling while on African Safari

“Embarking on an African safari is like stepping into a world where nature’s wonders unfold before your eyes, igniting a sense of awe and wonder within your soul.”

Africa Travel FAQs

How much does an African safari cost?

The cost of an African safari can vary greatly depending on various factors. Generally, a midrange African safari can start at around $400 per person per night, while for a luxurious and comprehensive experience, the price can range anywhere from $700 to $1500 or even more per person. The African budget safari can go lower than $ 300 per night.
The price of an African safari can vary significantly depending on various factors.
This higher-end option often includes top-notch lodges or tented camps, private guides, exclusive game drives, and additional amenities. 

What is the best African safari?

Choosing the best African safari can be a daunting task, given the continent’s vast array of breathtaking destinations. The best African safari is the one that is designed based on your travel wishes and needs. For instance, the best African safari tours for couples should respond to the couple’s desire to explore and learn together the beauty of the continent.

Accompanied by knowledgeable guides who share their expertise and passion for conservation and culture, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Africa’s rich biodiversity and cultural riches. You’ll have an incredible and unforgettable experience exploring its stunning landscapes and encountering its magnificent wildlife. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with local communities and learn about their traditions and way of life.

Where is it safe to go for an African safari?

If you want to book African safaris, there are numerous incredible destinations that offer a safe and unforgettable experience. To name a few, you can consider Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda on your African trip. Furthermore, it is important to research and choose a reputable local tour operator and follow their safety guidelines to ensure a smooth and enjoyable safari adventure.

Conclusion

When embarking on an African safari, there are several essential tips to keep in mind for a memorable and enjoyable experience. Firstly, it is crucial to pack light and prioritize comfortable clothing suitable for unpredictable weather conditions. Additionally, investing in high-quality binoculars will enhance wildlife viewing opportunities, allowing you to spot elusive creatures from a distance. To ensure safety during game drives, always listen to your experienced guide’s instructions and maintain a respectful distance from the animals. 

Remember to bring sunscreen and insect repellent as protection against the harsh sun and potential mosquito bites. Carrying a reusable water bottle and staying hydrated throughout your safari adventure is also advisable. Furthermore, respecting the local culture and customs is of utmost importance; be mindful of local traditions and interact with the communities respectfully. Lastly, embracing patience and an open mind will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and captivating experiences of an African safari. 

Tip of the week

Beyond epic Gorilla trekking Rwanda vs Uganda toursEast Africa offers Kenya & Tanzania wildebeest migration safari experiences and more.

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