One of the most fulfilling and exhilarating experiences you can imagine is a safari in Africa. It’s one thing to read about it, entirely different when you actually see your world come alive with exotic wildlife and lush landscapes.
Ask any photograph buff, and you’ll get a wide range of answers. Some will say it’s the most beautiful place on earth, others might tell you about herds of elephants or lions they’ve seen up close. But what questions should be asked before signing up for your own African photo safari adventure?
I’m here to answer that question, What to Expect On An African Safari -Things You Should Know!
This blog post also includes helpful links for travelers who want to plan their next big adventure while at home or have concerns about how to prepare for their trip. Read now!
What to Expect on an African Safari
Every day is extraordinary on safari. It’s not like other vacations where everything is planned, it’s a chance to experience something new every day.
On an African Safari, you have the chance to see lions in the wild, photograph elephants or maybe get up close and personal with cheetahs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake and find yourself surrounded by giraffes while watching zebras grazing nearby?
Early Starts Be Prepared for Reveille
Some of the best photo opportunity happen in the morning, around 5-6 AM depending on the season. Therefore, game drives are conducted in the morning, when wildlife sightings are possible. The early start is recommended, so be prepared to photography the animal encounters along the way.
Your guide should be able to help you enjoy the experience of the drive. An excellent guide will teach you about the different plants and small and large African wild animals that live in this area, which makes the drive more interesting.
Game Drives Should be 4 Hours at Least
All game drives are different. It is recommended to search out drives that are at least four hours. With so many safaris drives available, it’s difficult to know which tours are best.
Game drives are not only for tourists and photographers looking to see wildlife but also for those who want a day of relaxation. There is never a guarantee that the animals will be in their natural habitat or even show up at all during your game drive. However, if you are lucky enough to have an encounter with wild animals, it can create unforgettable photo opportunities!
Be Prepared for HOT and Dusty Safari Experience
A safari day can be a long and hot experience. Dress in layers, as it will be cool in the early morning and hot in the late afternoon. Wear closed shoes or boots because the terrain can be dusty.
Wearing neutral tints is best. They help to keep you cool during the noonday sun. Neutral khakis are a suitable color to consider if it’s going to be hot and dusty outside
Seek Time Outs From that Safari Vehicle
Expect NO toilets, or toilet paper, don’t expect to return to the lodge to use the facilities. Be prepared to use a bush. Carrying hand sanitizer is a good option.
Most professional guides are excellent at spotting tourists that are overwhelmed. It is important to take regular breaks. You can use these breaks to stretch your body or do something that will give your eyes and mind a break. Read a book for 10 minutes.
Hiding During the Noonday Sun
Depending on the time and season you are traveling, there are things to consider. If you are visiting during the hot summer month, it may be best to plan your photo activities in the morning or early evenings.
The heat of the day can be difficult to handle. To make matters worse, it is hard to find shade in some parts of Africa. Ask if the safari vehicle has air conditioning. Only venture out on early morning or late afternoon game drive, when most animals are still active and you have a better chance of photographing wildlife.
Ask your guide for specific noon day activities so that you can make the most out of your safari experience with minimal sun exposure.
No Internet or Cell Coverage
Safaris are the ultimate wildlife experience, and you’ll likely come back with a ton of photos. But if you’re going to take this trip, be sure to keep these things in mind:
There will be no cell phone signal. However, mobile phones work in most safari camps and it is possible to make calls from major cities.
While you’re out on safari, you won’t have cell phone coverage or any other electronic communication (Most areas have no internet)
If your battery is running low, switch off apps that use satellite data or switch to airplane mode until you can charge your battery.
Look at purchasing a power pack before leaving for your trip.
Be open-minded and flexible
The key to a successful African safari is being open-minded and flexible. A safari drive is unpredictable, but the important thing to remember is that you cannot control everything on your trip. Be prepared for warm and cold, wind or sun, mosquitoes and flies, rough ride, or even animals attacking you. The most important thing on an African Safari is not worrying about things you cannot control.
The rules for your safety and safety of the wildlife are fairly straightforward. There is no need to feed animals as they will quickly learn that people bring food with them on their travels through Africa (and become dependent!).
Listen to the Safari Guide and Stay Safe
Listen to what the guide says and heed his warnings. These are wild animals they are not domesticated. So it is best to not make noise or try to touch them. If you see an animal that looks sick or injured, do not disturb it as this can lead to a confrontation between wild animals and you.
I recommend you stay in the car at all times. This is not only because it’s safer, but because your guide will help if there are any problems.
Wear nothing of value or expensive while on safari. Save yourself a headache by leaving the good jewelry and expensive watch at home. Due, however, bring a good pair of sunglasses.
Make sure to keep an eye on your belongings at all times. You’ll never know what could happen to them, so be really cautious and watchful of the people around you.
Ask The Guide Questions
It’s important to ask questions while on safari. It will help you get the most out of your trip and learn more about the wildlife . Most guides are knowledgeable, but it is still important to ask lots of questions to make sure you know what you’re getting into before going on an African Safari
While on your African Safari, ask the guide about the animals that are most likely to be seen in the area. What behaviors or habits they have noticed of any animal that might interest you. They will know enough about their subjects to answer all questions and give some insight into how these animals while still being wild.
Expectations for an African Safari
Depending on the safari, they are have different objectives. The day may be very long or short, depending on the type of adventure you are seeking. Even if you purchased an inexpensive self-driven trip, it is still likely that your itinerary will follow much of the same schedule as a more expensive trip.
With the increase in tourists, African safari companies are trying to cater to a variety of groups and interests. There is a wide range of activities that can be done while on an overland safari, from camping to five-star hotels, photography safari or dedicated bird-watching safaris. The World Tourism Organization predicts that Africa could more than double the number of tourist arrivals from 50 million in 2010 to 134 million by 2030.
Frequently Asked questions
How much money should I take on an African safari?
This depends entirely on the type of trip you are taking. If you are going for a budget-friendly, camping safari in Africa, then you may only need a few hundred dollars. If you are going for an overland safari that includes luxuries hotels and private game drives, then you should budget about $20 to 50$ a day.
What can you not do on an African safari?
While a safari in Africa is a wonderful experience, it is not the most ideal place for people who cannot handle high levels of heat or have health concerns.
- Don’t Annoy the Animals.
- Don’t Act Disruptive
- Don’t Act Rude to Locals..
- Don’t Live on Your Cell Phone.
- Don’t Disregard Your Guides.
- Don’t Overpack.
- Don’t Stand in Front of Other Photographers.
- Don’t Forget to Tip.
Is it safe to go on a safari in Africa?
Yes, safaris are generally safe in Africa. While there are risks involved with any kind of travel, the risk of being attacked or killed by animals is extremely low.
Bob Wild is a professional photographer and the former owner of African Photo Safari, having led guided photo safaris to numerous destinations including Namibia in western Africa. He owns Who Said Photography and continues to help introduce newcomers to the joys of photography.