Top 5 Tips for Booking Your African Safari

Planning your safari holiday in Africa is hugely exciting. There are so many bucket-list experiences to choose from; natural wonders to see; gorgeous tented camps and lodges to stay at; and alluring landscapes to soak in – from mountains to beaches, rainforests to deserts.

We’ve been planning safaris since 1998. We thrive on matching the right locations, lodges and activities to our clients’ wish-lists, making their African safari dreams come true and their vacation unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Because of our excellent service, we are proud of our almost 100% rating on Feefo, an independent and verified review system where our clients give honest feedback. Read what they have to say here.

If you want to start planning a safari in Africa, here are our expert tips on making it a seamless process:

1. Know When You Want to Go

 

In Africa, timing is everything. Most of the continent’s best safari experiences depend entirely on naturally occurring factors, like seasonal rainfall. This means that having preferred travel dates will make a big difference to your itinerary – you don’t want to be in the Serengeti when the millions of wildebeest are already mowing down fresh grass in the Masai Mara!

Knowing how many days you want to spend in Africa and at what time of year is very important information to have when you start planning your itinerary. Not only will this influence what you’ll see and experience, it also has a big impact on your budget. If your safari goal is a seasonal event, it is likely that the best places to experience it will be booked up well in advance, which means you want to know the ideal travel dates as soon as you start planning.

Peak or High Season Low or Green Season
About June to October About November to May
Highest rates Lowest rates (except Christmas and New Year)
Book up to 12 months in advance Aim to book 2-6 months in advance
Coolest and driest weather Warmest and wettest weather
Easiest to find and see animals More challenging but rewarding to find and see animals
Most visitors Fewest visitors
Thinnest vegetation and fewest water sources Lushest vegetation and most water
Most dust, least mud Least dust, most mud

2. Know Where You Want to Go

 

Start with having a specific goal for your safari. Maybe you’ve dreamt of seeing gorillas since you were a child, or witnessing Victoria Falls in full flood, or seeing all the Big 5 in the wild. What animals or experiences are at the heart of your dream safari? The answer will more than likely help determine your ideal destination.

Ask your travel consultant:

  • Where is the best place to see the animal you most want to see?
  • Where is the best place to experience what interests you the most?

Milady tests the Rovos Rail luxury train in South Africa.

 

When you have a primary destination and rough travel dates, you can explore which attractions and experiences combine well with your goal. This is the main reason we curate and publish tour packages and itinerary ideas. Browse our safaris to find out which locations and attractions go well together in terms of logistics and gain a general idea of the costs per person. You’ll most likely enrich your safari goal with additional places and experiences, creating a wish list for our Africa Safari Experts to turn into a dream vacation itinerary.

Part of our service is to make sure your journey is tailored around your unique travel wishes and concerns. For example: if you’re travelling with your young children or elderly parents, celebrating a special occasion, use a wheelchair or dietary requirements (vegan, kosher or halal), or simply prefer private residences to hotels – we tailor your itinerary around your needs and preferences.

If you don’t yet have a specific safari goal, we recommend that you do a little research to find out what really interests you. A good source of inspiration and advice is our weekly newsletter – sign up for it here.

Alternatively, you can always connect with one of our Africa Safari Experts about what you generally do and don’t like on holiday.

Tankiso on safari in the Eastern Cape.

3. Have a Budget Estimate

 

An African safari is not an inexpensive holiday. Even though there is a wide range of available itineraries and travel styles, there are a lot of logistics involved in going on safari in Africa. It’s also worth keeping in mind that safari lodges must deliver excellent service, food and accommodation in very remote destinations – and that costs much more than delivering the same standard of comfort in a big city.

Our Africa Safari Experts say...

‘We advise clients to have an idea of a budget band that you feel comfortable working within and disclosing this to your agent at the earliest opportunity. This will hugely expedite the consultation process and you’ll arrive at your ideal itinerary sooner. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or cautious when thinking or talking about what you’re willing to invest in your travels, but within a specialist and ethical company such as Go2Africa, knowing what budget we can work with has a massive impact on the planning of the trip and knowing what is and is not feasible.’ – Justin Chapman

 

4. Know Your Travel Style

 

Your travel style is a matter of personal preference and influenced by the people you intend to travel with, your budget, and the time you have available for your vacation. If your budget is limited, you’ll want the most affordable options. If you have limited time, you’ll want the most efficient travel logistics.

Angela, Tracy and Lee-Anne in Addo Elephant National Park.

 

Which one of these travel types do you prefer?

Tailored: Our tailoring service doesn’t cost you anything extra – it’s the value you get when you book through Go2Africa. Our Africa Safari Experts match your wish-list, preferences and budget to the most suitable accommodations, activities and locations, and make sure you get the best value for your time and money.

Private tailored: This style of travel features private guides, vehicles, transfers, accommodation and activities tailored to your specific interests, such as bird watching on safari. You have a high degree of control over your meals and daily schedule, plus private facilities wherever you stay.

Set departures: These safari experiences start and end on fixed dates during the year. This type of travel includes luxury train journeys and mobile safari expeditions – we can then tailor-make the rest of your itinerary.

Scheduled and Overland tours: These tours feature fixed dates, a circuit of popular attractions, medium to large groups of travellers, transport in a mini-van, coach or modified truck, and accommodation ranging from comfortable lodges, mid-range hotels and safari camps. These tours offer travellers the most budget-conscious way to experience a safari in Africa.

Rikke, Bonita and Tracy in Kenya.

5. Choose an Established Travel Agent

 

When choosing a travel agent who can add true value to your African safari, look for the following criteria:

  • Personal travel experience in the specific countries you want to visit.
  • Independent, unbiased advice – your agent should not be employed by a specific lodge, safari activity operator or marketing company.
  • Financial protection – the necessary supplier insurance to protect your travel investment.
  • Full travel booking service – it’s in your best interest to work with a full-service partner, an agent that takes care of every detail from your flights, activities, accommodation, transfers… everything.
  • 24/7 on-safari support – an important advantage of booking through a credible agent who is based in Africa.
  • Recent reviews published on independent sites like Feefo.

A great agent takes the time to get to know your preferences, addresses your all concerns, and offers you detailed, up-to-date travel advice. Good planning reduces risk and increases rewards – from making savvy savings to smart splurges, the best agents deliver vacations that you’ll be talking about for the rest of your life.

 

Ready to Go?

You’ve set your travel goal, enriched your vacation wish-list, worked out your budget range and preferred dates, and been allocated your personal Africa Safari Expert. It’s time to get ready for the holiday of a lifetime…