How to plan an African Safari
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Macmillan, 1920
With more than fifty countries on the continent and its islands, Africa has a huge variety of experiences to enjoy. Some are well known and iconic African experiences. Others might surprise you. In any case, we have many years experience in finding, testing, and booking these experiences for our clients. Here are just a few:
Food and wine
Where to go in Africa
The first African country that most people in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the USA think of is South Africa. The ties between those countries influence that top-of-the-head recall. But don't stop your thinking at that point, there's much more to enjoy. Every country is unique and has exquisite experiences for the discerning traveller to enjoy. That said, think of South Africa as your degustation experience in Africa. You can sample many (but not all) African cultures, landscapes and wildlife in South Africa. Having discovered what you love about Africa in South Africa, come back to another country for a deeper and richer experience. Since 2008, we have been booking these wonderful destinations:
How much does it cost?
Travel options in Africa are as varied as anywhere else but we understand that you want to get an idea. So here are some examples:
- 16 day self drive in Namibia, staying in hotels, lodges and permanent camps: A$217/person/night including 4x4 vehicle
- 12 day photography workshop, Mozambique and South Africa: US$264/person/night
- 16 day wildlife safari and beach resort, Serengeti and Zanzibar: A$667/person/night
- 11 day escorted wildlife safari, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe: A$1036/person/night
- 29 day East Africa indulgence, Gorillas, Masai Mara, Vic Falls, Cape Town, A$1064/person/night
- Luxury train and wildlife safari, Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam, Serengeti, US$1329/person/night
NB: All itineraries exclude international flights and are subject to availability and price changes without notice.
Africa straddles the Equator and consequently you can find almost every climate from tropical through temperate to alpine. (Did you know that there are more than a dozen ski resorts in Africa?) Check our descriptions for each country:
How to book: package, small group, self-drive or tailor-made?
Our any-time departure packages consist of a fully integrated itinerary, starting from the moment you arrive in Africa right through to the moment you leave. You will be accompanied by English-speaking guides and drivers on every planned activity. Other guests may join you on game drives and other activities but you will not travel as a group as such. Packages such as this have been tested by ourselves or our partners. NB: We generally do not include flights in our packages because our clients come from many different ports and we always want to get you the very best deal. We will quote the airfares personally and separately.
Our packages are suitable for experienced travelers, especially those who have traveled in African previously.
Browse our packages now.
First up, let's dispel a misconception. If you see the word "group" and think of dozens of people tumbling off a coach to follow a furled pink umbrella around a popular tourist attraction before being herded back onto the bus in time to rush to the next "attraction"...... (shudder).
No, we're not that.
Our groups are small. Usually about six or twelve depending on whether we have one or two tour leaders. Our tour leaders are very experienced, usually Australians who have been travelling to and/or living in Africa for more than ten years. Sometimes much longer than that. In addition to the tour leaders, we are accompanied by local guides during the day and during every planned activity.
Think of the tour leaders as your quality control officers. They have been on this itinerary and know what to expect so they know immediately when something is about depart from the plan. They delight in being able to mitigate the variation before you are aware of it.
Our small groups are perfect for first time travelers to Africa and for people who want to leave all of the little issues to somebody else. After doing this for more that a dozen years, we can tell you that no itinerary in Africa goes perfectly. But the tour leaders can make it so.
Browse our scheduled departures now.
The "road trip" is an essential facet of the cultures of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. We all enjoy the freedom of travelling on our own schedule. We can dally at a gallery or cafe as much as we like, without feeling beholden to other travellers. But we also enjoy the certainty of booked accommodation and knowing there will be a warm bed waiting for us at the end of the day's journey. Sometimes it's fun to take the bed with us in the form of a roof top tent.
Such travel is also very popular in Africa. The very word "safari" is Swahili for journey and derived from the Arabic word "safara" with a similar meaning. Early settlers in southern Africa strongly admired people who ventured out into the African countryside.
These traditions are very much alive in southern Africa to this day. South Africans, in particular are very fond of renting a well-equipped 4x4 and driving into a neighbouring country for their safari holiday. Consequently, the biggest global car rental brands all have many hundreds of such 4x4's in their fleets in the region.
Alternatively, you can rent a regular sedan and drive from property to property, enjoying their accommodations and game drives. The best countries for self-drive safaris are:
Obviously, the best way to ensure that you get exactly what you want in a trip to Africa is to get us to design it specifically for you. What might not be so obvious is that this approach should not cost you any more than if you booked it "on the internet". Because we add so much value in helping you through the design process, our suppliers allow us a margin on their prices. They know we wont "forget" things like transfers, park fees, charter flights, departure fees etc. The effect is that we design your dream safari and minimise the risks to you for about the same price as the "internet price". Contact us now for a no-obligation chat.
Personal security in Africa
We take the safety of our clients very seriously indeed. As a guide, we only book countries and experiences that we would be happy to book for our children. We rarely book experiences that we have not sampled ourselves so you can ask us for first hand knowledge about everything we propose for you. That said, we also monitor various intelligence sources and we have found the most reliable to be the US Department of State. This organisation is extremely well funded and somewhat conservative in its assessments. So it is up to date and matches our risk-averse posture.
The United States Department of State maintains an interactive map that depicts the security assessment of most countries on earth. (Does it surprise you to learn that the travel advisory for many African countries is the same or better than most of Europe?):
Vaccinations and your health in Africa
Like security, the health and sanitation infrastructure in Africa varies from state of the art to very basic. In all cases, you should ensure that your travel insurance policy covers you for medical evacuation if required. The Center for Disease Control in the United States maintains an excellent resource for travelers. Refer to our "country" pages.
Some diseases and disorders are more prevalent in some places in Africa than they are in your home country. For detailed information about specific diseases, including how to protect yourself, you can refer again to the Center for Disease Control:
In addition to these diseases there are several that are transmitted by bug bites. You should always take primary measures to prevent such bug bites. The CDC has more information about bug bites.