Expert Advice for Planning an Unforgettable African Safari Experience
Everyone deserves a break once in a while. The ultimate holiday can involve an unforgettable Africa Safari journey to experience the continent’s plethora of natural beauty first-hand. However, planning a trip can be challenging and usually involves many factors to consider, especially for first-timers.
Planning a trip to Africa is more complex than visiting other parts of the world. Many places are remote, requiring extensive planning regarding flights and driving routes.
To help prepare you, we’ve summed up a step-by-step guide to help you plan your next African safari tour. Take a look!
Plan months ahead to avoid logistical nightmares
Planning your next Africa Safari tour will give you enough time to iron out logistical annoyances. When it’s time to go, you’ve organized everything, including booking tickets, accommodations, transport, and sorting your packing list.
Moreover, African safaris are often in high demand, so it may be hard to book accommodation and transport if you are organizing the trip at the last minute. During peak seasons, all decent lodging is usually booked out, forcing you to book into safari lodges and camps with mediocre services and security.
Depending on where you plan on going, some camps for African Safari tours will require tourists to book at least six months ahead – some even a year. Many travel experts recommend planning two years before the intended trip. That may seem excessive, but it will give you enough time to consider all the nitty gritty with your safari operator and ensure the success of your next African safari tour.
Choose Your Destination
The African continent harbors some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. But for African safaris, the best places to go are Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa (of course, not in that order).
Each country has distinct cultures, wildlife, and adventure activities that appeal to different travelers. Some countries offer African safari tours catered to casual travelers who only wish to observe animals up close. On the other hand, other countries focus on giving a luxury experience with many guided activities, including wine tours, wilderness hikes, and game drives.
Ultimately, your destination depends on what you want to experience. Here are some popular activities and their recommended destinations:
- Gorilla Trekking Safari: Uganda and Rwanda
- Big 5 & Wildlife Viewing Safari: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana
- Forest & Nature Walking Safaris: Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania
- Mountain Hike: Mount Kenya (Kenya), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Rwenzori Mountains (Uganda)
- Skydiving: Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya Botswana
- Swimming with Great White Sharks: South Africa
- Whale- or dolphin-watching: South Africa
- White water rafting: Uganda
- Wildlife viewing river cruise: Uganda and Botswana
- Volcano hiking: Rwanda and Rwanda
Choose safari activities that match your interest
There are many things to do in Africa, so travelers must be specific about what they wish to see and experience when visiting the continent.
These countries clutch the Virunga Volcano Mountains on their borders. On the slopes of the Virungas, pristine forests untouched by human hands make home to the last mountain gorillas. In these impenetrable woods, you can see mountain gorillas within an arm’s distance.
That magical moment when you are eye to eye with a free-living silverback deep in the misty woods has a way of stripping everything from your mind and focusing your attention on the essential things in life.
Tour operators in Uganda and Rwanda offer gorilla trekking tour packages, allowing travelers to get up close and personal with the gentle giants. These safari packages include all the essentials you will need to plan your next African safari tour, making the planning process a walk in the park.
Another famous event people want to witness in African safaris is the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya and Tanzania which happens throughout the year with highlights from July to October.
If you wish to see massive herds of African elephants, the places to go are Amboseli in Tanzania, South Africa, or Botswana.
For an explosive mix of African cultures, visit places around the coasts, like the East African coast in Mombasa, Nairobi, and Dar es salam, or go down to South Africa’s coastal cities. For remote cultures, Kenya’s Maasai, Uganda’s Karamajong nomadic communitys, and South Africa’s Pygmy community offer some compelling encounters.
For travelers into meeting hidden forest peoples and their cultures, the Batwa communitys that formerly occupied the mountain forests, now living on the outskirts of the gorilla parks, are something to look forward to.
Select the best dates to travel
Another vital detail when planning your next Africa safari trip are the dates you intend to visit. You have to consider peak seasons when planning to go to a country.
During peak seasons, usually dry seasons, safari destinations get crowded, and travel prices, especially accommodation, spike due to high demand.
In the low season, there are fewer travelers, translating to lower prices and higher chances of booking your desired safari accommodation and activities at comfortable prices.
However, you will also need to consider the time of a particular event you plan to see. As mentioned above, the highlights of the Great Wildebeest Migration happen between July and October. If this is something you want to witness, your tour dates should fall around that time frame.
Similarly, the best time for gorilla trekking excursions in Rwanda and Uganda is between July and September, when the weather is dry for comfortable forest hiking.
If you can stand the downpours, visit Uganda between April and May. During the rains, the mountain gorillas come down the wooded mountains to forage near the camps, which makes trekking the great apes easier for some travelers.
Of course, some travelers, especially landscape photographers, enjoy beautiful African nature without animals. If you are one of them, we recommend you visit in the winter months of October-Decemeber and March-May. During these months, the emerald green is electric to a loving eye offering an authentic African bush experience.
Set your spending budget
Another important consideration is to decide how much you are willing to spend on your trip. The amount you spend depends highly on the season of your visit. If you visit during the low season, you can expect to spend less.
Managing your expectations is crucial because you get what you pay for on African safaris. More expensive places often offer better experiences and services. However, enjoying your time in the country is still possible when you are on a tight budget.
Choose a tour operator you can trust
Though self-planned safaris give travelers a purer sense of adventure, booking your next African safari tour with an experienced operator is smarter.
With a travel provider, you have a team who manages your entire journey. They also take care of logistics concerns so that you can spend more time at reserves, parks, and other attractions.
Plus, safari operators have a team of knowledgeable guides proficient in the local history and culture, allowing you to get to know the country as you travel.
If you have specific interests or requests for your trip, a tour operator can make arrangements for you. Whether you want to see landscapes and animals on foot or in a vehicle, an experienced travel provider can make it happen.
Plan your next African safari tour with Nkuringo Safaris
Nkuringo Safaris is a destination management company for Uganda, Rwanda, and other East African safari destinations. The local travel company offers unforgettable private tours and safaris. It has expert local guides who provide active experiences that make lasting memories.
They will tailor your African safari tour package according to your preferences. Reach out to the local specialists and let them know the attractions you wish to see, the animals you want to witness, and the experiences you crave.
Popular Safari Packages For First Timers
Why Nkuringo Safaris
Nkuringo Safaris treats all guests as family. “The African Safari is very important to us, and we want travelers to see the continent’s beauty through our eyes and the eyes of the locals.” Therefore, you can expect more when you choose us as your travel operator, including:
- Intimate Experiences: they utilize their local knowledge to help guests find that personal connection with safari destinations.
- Immersive Tours: they allow guests to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and basic wildlife, creating authentic experiences.
- Value for Money: they tailor your tour to your wants and budget. Once you tell them your preferences, they will send you a detailed quote for your approval. Their services don’t have hidden costs.
- Entirely Local: Nkuringo Safari is owned by a Ugandan woman named Eva Lydia Mpanga, who is directly involved in planning trips for guests. The entire local team has years of experience in safari logistics and service experience.