What do you actually do on African Safari?
So, first things first. Going on an African Safari is something most people dream of experiencing at least once in their lifetime. But once you have been on a safari, you will want to go again and again. It’s addicting.
When you arrive at your safari lodging you will first have the time to settle in. Usually, the lodges are situated at game reserves, so you will be able to see animals in their natural habitat. I spent a few days at Welgevonden Game Reserve in Limpopo for my first African Safari and it was an unforgettable experience.
After settling in you will have time for lunch before you head out to your first game drive. On a safari, everything evolves around game drives. This definitely is the best part of an African safari but lets don’t forget the exclusive lodges, breathtaking scenery, and delicious food. Everything combined makes a perfect getaway.
There are two game drives a day. The first one is early in the morning. You wake up before sunrise, have a bite to eat, drink a coffee to wake yourself up and of you go. Nature is waking up and you are in the middle of this scenic masterpiece just waiting to spot wild animals. It is a spectacular feeling. Your ranger is the one who will spot the animals, explain how they behave in nature and try to make your bush adventure as exciting as possible. Usually, he will also prepare snacks and drinks for the road. The game drive lasts around two to three hours and then you are headed back to the lodge.
You will have some free time before and after the lunch. And in the late afternoon, you will be heading for another game drive. This time, it will last till sunset and it is also possible to spot animals in the dark. We saw a family of cheetahs just walking along the road, on our way to the lodge. Once back at the hotel lodge, lovely dinner will be waiting for you.
This is a typical African safari day and it is always exciting and unexpected because you never know which animals you will see on the next game drive.
What to bring on an African Safari?
If this will be your first time on an African Safari, then there will be a few thigs that you should be aware of.
Clothes are an important part. They should be in neutral colors, nothing wild and too bright. The fabric should be light and airy and don’t forget to bring some warm clothes too because it can get quite cold in the evenings. So, layer up! Your safari can include bush walks so wear comfortable shoes. You never know what is hiding behind the bush 🙂
One of the most important things to bring with you is a bug spray. Usually, the lodges will provide that for you, but to be sure, just take one with you.
This is obviously. You should not forget to bring your camera. When I was on my first safari I was taking pictures all the time. I had my DSLR, my Samsung phone, and my GoPro with me all the time. Of course, don’t forget to enjoy the ride also, but do try to capture a few of those moments on your camera as well.
Last but not least bring your binoculars. Often the animals are far away, hidden in the bush and if your ranger does not get off-road to get closer, you would not see much. So, bringing binoculars will help a lot.
What animals can you see on African Safari?
There are different animals all over the game reserve and it depends on the time, day and of course a bit of luck, which animals will you spot. However, I must say that from the moment we arrived at our game reserve we saw Zebras, Giraffes, Wildebeests, Hyenas, Baboons and much more. And on our game drives, we saw even more. We saw Buffalo, Springbok, Waterbuck, Leopard, Cheetah, African Lion, Elephant, White Rhino and different birds.
What are the Big Five?
When searching for an African Safari the term Big Five often comes up. So, what does this actually mean? The term Big Five refers to the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot in Africa. The animals are not chosen by their size but for the degree of danger involved in hunting them. Later, the safari tour operators simply took the phrase and turned it into a marketing term. The goal on every safari is to spot the big five which are: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, African Elephant and Rhinoceros.
Fun facts about the Big Five
- Leopard is the most difficult to spot because he is solitary, secretive and stays hidden during the day.
- The most endangered species of the Big Five is Rhino. The illegal traders hunt them for their horns.
- African Elephants can communicate across large distance with a very low frequency that can not be heard by humans.
- You can find out which lion is older by the lions mane. The darker the mane, the older he is.
Where to stay on African Safari?
There are quite a few places where you can stay on your African Safari. One of the most known definitely is Kruger National Park. Here you can reserve one of the luxury lodges or even go on a self-drive tour around the game reserve. Chances of seeing the Big Five are highly likely as this is the most popular park with many animals. Pilanesberg National Park is next door to Sun City and here you will also easily spot the Big Five. Also one of the famous reserves is Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game reserve where you will spot giraffe, white rhino, lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and wild dogs. One of the less known parks is Welgevonden game reserve where I stayed for a few nights, with also a great chance of spotting the Big Five. I was there for four days and I saw them all!
How many days to stay?
As mentioned before, you should visit African Safari for at least a few days. To go on a few game drives, to see the animals, enjoy the peaceful nature and pamper yourself with delicious food. Staying in one of the luxury lodges does not come cheap, so be prepared to spend a bit more for this unforgettable journey.
Photos are courtesy of Our World Travel Selfies.