Safaris are an increasingly popular activity for adventurous travellers and casual holiday-goers alike. Ever since David Livingstone discovered the African heartland in the mid 1800s, travellers have been captivated by the romance of exploring nature’s wilderness, which is no longer the realm of only the rich and the brave. With so much choice now available, there are a lot of things to consider when planning a safari.
Where to go.
First and foremost you should consider where you want to go on safari. Every location offers a different experience, so it’s worth researching the wildlife, climate, desert safari dubai style and accommodation available in each destination.
Africa is the most popular destination for safaris and is home to some of the world’s most spectacular natural scenery and wildlife. Safari goers can witness the ‘Big Five’ in their natural environment, as well as hundreds of other rare and exotic species, including cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes and hippopotamuses. Although tourism remains a threat to the continent’s ecosystems, Africa retains its allure and mystery, and is one of the few remaining places in the world where travellers can witness exotic animals in their natural habitat.
Of course, not all African safaris are the same. Some locations, such as South Africa, lend themselves best to first-time safari visitors, while more seasoned safari enthusiasts may seek more challenging experiences and rarer species elsewhere. Accommodation and services can also vary wildly, with countries such as Botswana being renowned for their luxury lodges, which are sold at premium prices. Package deals and self-drive safaris can offer much more affordable options, so it’s important to consider what kind of experience you are looking for.
Tanzania gets only 20% of the number of safari tourists that visit neighbouring Kenya, allowing it to offer a much more natural safari experience. Amazingly, Tanzania is home to three of Africa’s top five natural wonders; Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, which combine to provide a stunning backdrop for safari travel. Lake Tanganyika offers a further attraction and its wildlife-rich waters constitute over a third of all fresh water on the planet.
Alternative safari destinations For those seeking something a little different from the classic African savannah safari, there are a number of exciting alternatives:
- Mountain gorilla safari in Uganda – trek through dense jungle to witness imposing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
- Chitwan National Park safari in Nepal – explore the Ganges river plain where one quarter of the world’s endangered Asian rhinos live, alongside tigers, otters, crocodiles and a myriad of birdlife.
- Polar bear safari in Canada – traverse frozen tundra landscapes to spot polar bears, arctic foxes and snowy owls
When to go.
Deciding when you go on safari is another important consideration. Many locations offer seasonal highlights that can make your safari truly unforgettable. In Tanzania, for instance, the ‘Great Migration’ takes place on the Serengeti between December and January, when swarming herds provide a sensational wildlife spectacle. Another highlight is the calving season in February, when safari goers have the opportunity to watch excitable lion cubs stalking their prey.
You should also research seasonal and climactic variations in your chosen safari location. In Africa the best time for a safari is during the dry season, when animals congregate around water holes, improving your chances of a successful safari. The lack of vegetation also makes the animals easier to spot. In East Africa the dry season takes place in January-March and July-October, while in the south of the continent it occurs in May-October.