Know you want to go to Africa, but have no idea where to start? Or are you hot to head out on safari, but have no idea who, what, where or when? African travel and planning a safari can be very overwhelming. Lucky for you, we've got many months of African travel under our belt, and even more importantly insider's knowledge from trusted locals to share.
We'll break things down and discuss various activities and area characteristics to help you find the right location for you. Let's start by considering a few things:
1. What do you want to see?
For a lot of people who decide to visit Africa their main interest is viewing the wildlife. No other continent offers the same opportunity to see such a diverse spectrum of wildlife in very close proximity. With over 1,100 different species of mammals and over 2,600 species of birds, it is impossible to see all of them in a single trip. Most people who safari in Africa hope to see the "Big 5" - Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. Many of the more well known reserves, like the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, the Okavango Delta & Chobe National Park in Botswana, are home to the Big 5. But just because the animals are there, you're not guaranteed to see them. Greater Kruger is well known for Leopard sightings, while Masa Marai is more well known for up close lion sightings. Though outside of the Big 5, cheetahs are another popular animal on the wish list. While they are abundant in Kruger National Park, it's uncommon to see them. However you have a much higher chance of seeing cheetahs in The Serengeti.
Africa is more than safari of course, so consider what else you may want to do while there. Do you want to go sightseeing? Would you like to spend time doing other activities like hiking, scuba diving or fishing? Do you want to discover the beautiful beaches in Africa as well? Taking your activity wishlist into consideration will help define the most appropriate destination.
2. How much independence do you want to have?
Traveling independently throughout Africa is not as easy as on other continents. If this is your 1st, 2nd or even 3rd visit, we recommend guided tours throughout your entire trip. Guides provide an extra layer of reassurance with directions and local customs, as well as additional safety helping you avoid areas of high crime.
Are you on your 4th or 5th visit at this point? Or are you traveling with a local? Then self-driving may be a good option for you. Or think about splitting up the trip with some self-driving between cities, and taking advantage of guided tours on safari or in more remote areas where you aren't as familiar.
3. Decide on your mode of transportation:
4x4 jeep safaris are the most common when seeing landscapes and viewing wildlife. If you are a little more adventurous, then perhaps a walking safari is for you. We recommend walking safaris in Masai Mara or Kruger National Park. Boat safaris in the Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park in Botswana are also popular ways to see local wildlife. Thinking of something even more adventurous? Hot air balloon rides are a fantastic way to tour and see the bush, and are common in the Serengeti.
4. How much time do you have?
Traveling to Africa in itself is time-consuming, so plan accordingly. When flying from the US, plan on 3 nights for travel. Most flights will leave in the PM and fly overnight. With the time change you usually arrive in the evening the next day, or in the morning 2 days later. If your travel only allows for 1 week, plan on visiting one location to maximize your time. If you have 10-14 days of travel available, you can afford to hop around to multiple cities or countries.
5. How much money do you want to spend?
We hear it all the time - most people consider Africa a bucket list trip, expecting to spend $10,000-15,000+ for two people. But don't let this deter you! While that is definitely true of luxury safari locations, you can also find great budget safari options that are much more affordable, safe and a wonderful experience.
Affordable safari options are common, but are not available in all countries. We recommend defining your budget first, and let that guide you as to what area offers the best safari bang for your buck.
Now it's time to get planning! At Travel Greene we work with local tour agencies in various locations in Africa to bring you a more authentic and affordable experience, allowing you to create all the memories you can fit into one trip. Consider your preferences and budget, and we'll guide you the rest of the way!
Contact Travel Greene for your African Trip Planning Today.
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