A Guide to Your First African Safari

This serves as your guide to key considerations when going on your first African safari. With over 25 years of experience, we are well-equipped to provide you with invaluable insights.

Venturing to Africa for the first time is an indescribable journey. It is a continent overflowing with enchantment – from its breathtakingly diverse landscapes to its cultural tapestry and transformative encounters with wildlife.

As an expansive and culturally rich continent, Africa promises some of the most extraordinary travel adventures imaginable. It caters to every kind of traveller, whether you crave heart-pounding adventures, immersion in untouched wilderness, enlightening cultural exchanges, lavish retreats, or wildlife-filled safaris.

Find inspiration on why you should visit Africa.

1. What does a typical day on safari look like?

While each day on safari remains unpredictable (no two days are ever the same), there does  exist a customary daily structure that is typically adhered to. It’s a familiar rhythm intertwining game viewing with ample opportunities to unwind and relax in all-inclusive comfort – a dream vacation for any type of traveller.

A common practice is usually two game drives per day, each lasting approximately three hours – one at dawn and another in the late afternoon, coinciding with when wildlife is at their most active. It’s also the most opportune times to enjoy iconic African sunrises and sunsets.

Take a more detailed look at what to expect on a typical day on safari in Africa.

Spending six hours or more on game drives might sound daunting, but with wildlife spotting, engaging conversations with your guide and trackers, and coffee or sundowner stops, time swiftly passes by.

How do game drives actually work?

2. How do you decide on where to go in Africa for your safari?

Africa is a huge continent, with the best safari destinations located in a wide range of countries in East and Southern Africa.

It’s a big statement to make, but there really is an African safari holiday for everyone. If you’re wondering where to go, we can pinpoint Africa’s most iconic and popular destinations as well as those hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track hideaways.

Read our take on the best places to go on safari.

Our most popular destinations for first-time safari goers are:

For clients who are interested in gorilla trekking we highly recommend adding some time to your trip in:

More off-the-beaten-track destinations favoured by returning visitors to Africa include:

3. What Type of Safari to Choose?

Safari adventures come in all shapes and sizes, from walking safaris to self-drive safaris, to hot-air balloon flights over the vast herds of the Great Migration. How do you decide what type of safari is right for you?

4. When is the best time to go on safari?

Deciding when to visit Africa is a great starting point for planning your safari, and depends entirely on what you want to see and experience. As a general rule, Africa is warm and sunny throughout the year. But certain countries, and even regions within those countries, experience a variety of climates.

The key point to remember about the weather when you’re planning an African safari is the difference between each region’s dry and wet seasons (also known as high and low seasons).

If you have a specific month you’d like to travel then our where to travel when’ advice is for you – select the month below to see our recommendations of the best destination to visit for your desired month:

Where to go on safari in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, SeptemberOctober, November or December.

5. How Much Does a Safari Cost?

Having been in the safari business for almost three decades, one of the most frequent questions we get asked is, ‘Why are African safaris so expensive?’ It’s no secret, a safari won’t be the cheapest holiday you’ll ever go on, but it’s one of the most exciting and memorable vacation experiences you’ll ever have.

There are a lot of factors that go into the cost of an African safari – location, length of trip, time of the year, and level of comfort – and a number of reasons why a safari is not a cheap holiday. Have a look over some resources that explain all of this in-depth:

6. Things to consider when booking a safari

Both your satisfaction and your budget are at risk in a destination with foreign cultures, remote travel, unusual and complex logistics and a diverse offering of accommodation. Most clients enjoy the security of having an African Safari Expert who has first hand-knowledge and can guide you through the research and booking process, and provide on-the-ground support while travelling. Booking with Go2Africa also ensures all of your accommodations, transfers and experiences are made in a single booking, which means that any problem beyond your control that affects one aspect automatically triggers compensation in the other.

Discover the reasons you should consider using a travel agent or tour operator to help you book your safari.

Whether budget or luxury, you’ll be spending a substantial amount of money and will want to consult with a well-travelled expert who can give you the best possible experience – even if you ultimately would like to try and book it yourself.

Here are some good questions to ask an African safari before booking.

7. Why book with Go2Africa?

Over 25 Years’ Experience
Since 1998 we’ve tailored unforgettable African safari holidays for over 200,000 travellers, that leaves a lasting positive impact.

We Know Because We Go
We have first-hand knowledge of every destination, lodge and activity we recommend from our 1 000+ carefully selected safari partners.

We Are With You All The Way
We take care of every detail, offering 24/7 assistance and local know-how from the right time zone, until you return safely home.

You Are In Expert Hands
With the most awarded Top Travel Specialists in Africa by Conde Nast Traveler and led by one of Travel & Leisure’s A-list specialists, you are in expert hands.

Making A Positive Impact Together
Every journey with us makes a meaningful positive impact by creating sustainable solutions, enabling people and nature to mutually thrive together.

Complete Financial Protection
Our clients are fully covered by our supplier default insurance, and our accreditation bond with the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association.

Browse some of our additional resources:

8. Make a positive impact while on safari

Making a Positive Impact

As a leader in the safari travel sphere, we’re proud that one of our core values at Go2Africa is ‘We Conserve’. To live wholeheartedly by our values, we’re committed to ensuring that our clients’ trips serve as an aid to conserve and protect Africa’s wildlife, wild places, and the surrounding communities.

We are actively involved in initiatives across the continent with local partners who share our commitment and vision for travel as an opportunity to drive positive impact. Together, we aim to create a sustainable and prosperous future for Africa’s natural ecosystems and the people whose livelihoods are directly linked to it.

Whether you’re in search of immersive gorilla conservation experiences, helping to contribute to anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park, or raising critical funds for school children in rural areas, we offer a range of safari itineraries that allow you to truly make a difference when you travel to Africa.

All of our Positive Impact Safaris include a donation from Go2Africa to one or more of the Positive Impact projects and partnerships we actively support across the continent.

Some of these safaris also allow you to have hands-on experiences, or visit one of our wildlife, community or environmental projects run by one of our many partners. This could be anything from helping to collar a rhino to gather vital conservation data, to painting a schoolroom and giving your own lesson in a rural village.