Africa Travel Articles
Top Tips On Booking Your African Safari
Author: Kimberley O'Sullivan
Date: February 2012
For many of us, the idea of booking an African safari for the first time is a daunting task. You need to have some idea of where you want to go, the cultures and languages spoken, the best places to visit, what to pack and of course, when to go.
You'll also need to research the logistics: can you fly straight into your destination? And once there, how are you going to get around and where are you going to stay? These are not issues you want to sort out on arrival so before planning your trip, it's really worth doing the research - and who better to guide you than the African safari experts themselves.
Here are some simple tips on what to do when booking your African safari:
Do some research first
Having a rough idea of what you want to experience - a walking safari with Maasai warriors - or where you'd like to go - the Okavango Delta in the green season - is a good base from which to start planning. Then start doing a bit of reading around the idea; there's always plenty of information online. Our Map of Africa is a great place to start if you're researching African destinations.
Travel forums like TripAdvisor and Fodors are all good portals to start with as other people's recommendations and trip reports generally provide the most honest reviews. You'll soon work out which part of the Serengeti has the best wildebeest migration sightings or which Mauritius resort is most suitable for all-inclusive family holidays.
Make some important decisions
At this point you will need to look at how much time and money you have to spend. This is also influenced by whom you're travelling with - your spouse, family or even just on your own - as travel logistics multiply in their intricacy as more people become involved.
Work out how much you can realistically spend per day; this will help you work out your travel time. A budget doesn't have to be that specific but it's a good way of ensuring you don't overspend, and perhaps helps you to work out where you have the luxury to splurge on something exceptional.
Find a safari expert
Planning your entire African safari on your own can be done but is often dishearteningly difficult, usually presents logistical nightmares and can potentially cost a fortune, especially if mistakes are made. Therefore, the value of professional experience and insider knowledge of the African travel industry is priceless.
To make the entire planning process so much easier, find a safari expert to help you create your trip, and let them do all the hard work: flights, transfers, accommodation, activities, car hire ... everything can be packaged together in the most effective, hassle-free way.
And don't think that using an expert is going to cost you more; it's very often the opposite! Not only do you get the support and advice from someone who understands the African travel industry but most travel consultants work on a commission basis that takes the base cost from the ground suppliers and lodges and adds a percentage that you would have paid for in full had you booked direct.