Africa Safari – Choosing The Right One

Google “Africa Safari” and one becomes completely overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of choices presented, page after page of safaris on offer by hundreds of tour operators. It is no easy task but with a little preparation, searching for the ideal Africa desert safari dubai can be a success.

Here are several essential points to consider ensuring you choose the right Africa safari;

1. Where to Go

If it is animals you are after the obvious choices are Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia or South Africa. If it is Gorilla trekking and African wildlife choose Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. If it is culture try Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; if you are really looking to get off the beaten track try Cameroon and Gabon in Central Africa.

East Africa: Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania offer a more “romantic” African safari; the roads, services and cultures are more authentic than the Southern African options.

The most famous parks of the Serengeti, Ngorogoro Crater, Masai Mara and Queen Elizabeth are in this part of Africa. The tropical African coastline of Kenya and the world famous Spice Island of Zanzibar. Anyone after animals, culture and a few days of relaxation on tropical beaches; East Africa is the obvious choice.

Southern Africa: Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are far more western and comfortable than East African countries however they tend to lack the “real Africa” flair that we are accustomed.

The most famous parks in this area are Chobe, Etosha, South Luangwa, Okavango Delta and Kruger; the famous Namib desert and Fish River Canyon to the wine region of Stellenbosch. Southern Africa offers a very different experience to East Africa.

West Africa: Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana if you are after culture and not bothered about wildlife. Mali is famous for Djenne, Timbuktu and Dogan Country; Burkina Faso is well known for its music scene and Ghana offers historical sites from the old slave trade years, tropical beaches and a few game parks with very few animals.

Central Africa: Cameroon and Gabon is for the real adventure traveller. A safari through these countries will take you into a different world of tropical beaches, pygmies, bush meat markets, surfing hippos and thousands of low land gorillas. This part is far less travelled by the average tourist and can be difficult to find an English speaking tour.

2. Level of Luxury

5 star luxury accommodation to camping are all on offer in East Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa. Central Africa expect a minimum of 3-5 star accommodation.

Upmarket accommodation options are endless however expect to pay hefty prices for 3-5 star accommodation. Facilities are excellent offering well stocked bar/restaurant, often swimming pools, hot showers, flushing toilets as well as the romantic African colonial style most tourist lodges and hotels have adopted.

Campsites have changed immensely over the years. Gone are the days when there was no grass to pitch tents, cold showers (if water at all) and warm drinks in the fridge. Most campsites in East and Southern Africa are very well serviced and equipped boasting hot showers, flushing toilets, extensive bars and restaurants and good clean room accommodation to upgrade if camping does not take your fancy every night. Of course there is always the chance the power may go off and hot water may not last but overall campsites offer excellent value for money and all the amenities the average traveller desires.

3. Transport

Transport through Africa varies from Fly-in safaris, 4×4 Land Cruiser/Mini Van to custom built Overland Safari Trucks.

The most expensive but possibly practical way for those with a large budget and not much time is to fly from destination to destination. Most parks and major tourist attractions have air strips to cater for the fly-in safari traveller. Don’t expect to camp on these safaris; companies offering fly-in also offer 5 star lodge accommodation. The downsides to fly-in safaris are that you miss out on the local sites, sounds, smells and culture of a country. Not really exposing to the real Africa. These tours offer full luxury.

Opting for 4×4 Land Cruiser or mini van is far cheaper than Fly-ins and offer anything from 5 star accommodation to camping safaris. Often group size is limited to 8-12 people per tour allowing for a small group feel without it being too overwhelming. These are popular safaris as they suit most budgets. These tours mostly stay in hotel/lodge accommodation with very little camping.

Overland custom built safari trucks are the cheapest option. Most tours offered in safari trucks are camping with the exception of a couple who offer hotel/lodge accommodation. Travelling in a large safari truck gives you the best viewpoint enhancing your Africa experience. The vehicles are totally self-sufficient complete with camping equipment and extensive kitchen. Travelling as a group, anything from 13-25 people offers communal style living and is particularly popular with single travellers or older couples wanting the extra safety and security. These safaris often blend animal viewing, community projects with adventure activities, appealing to, but not limited, the 20-40 year old traveller. These tours are becoming more and more popular with the over 50s looking for the more adventurous style of travel. There is nothing like cooking on open fire, shopping at local markets and socialising with locals.