Local Africa Safaris Experts
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In Africa, safari is the best type of travel adventure there is.
It's something that you dream about, you read about, you research, and finally, when you think you know what you want, you book.
It’s understandable that you would want to pack as much wildlife tracking, big game viewing, bird watching, river rafting adventure into your trip, I mean, this is once-in-a-lifetime, right? But there are more than a few points to consider before you book to ensure you get the best adventure travel out of your African safari.
Do Your Animal Research
Like the big game hunters of the olden days, you must scout out your trip - Do you know what kind of animals you would like to see, and where those animals can be found?
Well, if you want to see the Big Five: Lions, Leopards, Buffalo, Elephants, and Rhinos, you should go to certain parks in South Africa, Kenya, or Tanzania where these animals live together in abundance. Most popular are the Kruger National Park in South Africa and The Ngorongoro Crater National Park in Tanzania.
If it’s chimpanzees you’re after, you’ll have better luck heading up to Kibale National Park in Uganda.
For Mountain Gorillas there are fewer options, as only 880 individuals were recorded in Nov. 2011. You’ll have to go to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to see these elusive and rare creatures.
Time Your Safari to Perfection
The time of year you go is also critical.
While most of us are used to having a “summer” and “winter” season at home, central Africa is a different story. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this means permanent summer. In reality, there’s a big difference in the seasons, and going at the wrong time of year could either leave you high and dry or down and damp.
Besides affecting your choice of what to pack, the wet/dry seasons have other consequences. Driving times are affected, with some parks inaccessible, and the types of animals you’ll see will vary. For instance, in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, the seasonal change is quite dramatic.
The dry season lasts between April and October, and the driest months are when game concentrations are at their highest. The rainy season starts in September when you can see great flocks of birds moving through the region. Many of the lodges close however during the rainy season as large parts of the park become inaccessible.
Despite what National Geographic xaand the tourist brochures lead you to think, Africa is not a zoo. You can’t always count on the animals to stay where they are, but you can plan on where they might be. Take, for instance, the annual migration of animals in the Serengeti. Between July and October, over two million animals, mainly wildebeests and zebras, go in search of greener pastures from the Serengeti National Park to the Masaai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. To do so they must cross thousands of miles of predator infested grasslands and rivers teeming with Nile crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Quite an impressive display.
If flamingos are what tickles your fancy then you may want to consider a trip to Lake Natron in Tanzania. During the wet season, great flocks of Lesser Flamingos literally cover the lake like a flapping pink blanket in order to find suitable breeding grounds.
Don't Try to Fit Too Much in
As excited as you may be to see ALL the animals, this might not be the most enjoyable or practical of strategies. Many of the national parks are spread out across countries, borders, and sometimes on the opposite side of Africa.
If spending eight hours bumping over rutted dirt roads in Tanzania sounds like the ideal vacation, this can easily be arranged. However, it’s far more practical to concentrate your vacation days in one area, to maximize the amount of time you have actually viewing animals, and minimize the time traveling between animals. For example, consider one camping vacation in Kruger National Park, instead of a traveling survey of all the national parks in South Africa. This way you’ll truly get to know an area, the animals that live there, and the conservation challenges they face. You’ll also lower your environmental impact by reducing your travel time; ecotourism at its finest.
Talk to a Destination Expert
Of course, this is a lot to consider. With any adventure vacation it is always advisable to speak with a local expert with years of experience in the area. Eliya in Tanzania, for instance, has been roaming the African savanna in search of Big Game for almost his entire life. He can tell you exactly when to travel, where to go, and what you’ll see at any given time of year. This kind of knowledge is invaluable if you want to get the most out of your time there (not to mention he’s one of the nicest guys we know).
Don’t miss any opportunity to make the best of your time in Africa. Know what you want to see, make a plan, consult an expert, and leave your worries in the dust.
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I worked with Nuru-Deen to plan a 6 day customized holiday in Ghana. Simply, he was exceptional! His outstanding knowledge of the country allowed me to participate in walking and driving safaris in Mole National Park, canoe safari in the Hippo Reserve, visits to villages, historical talks in Cape Coast, city tour of Accra, visits to art markets and time on the beach. His has an outstanding relationship with the guides and drivers, and he provided fantastic communication throughout the experience. I highly recommended working with Nuru-Deen when planning a trip to Ghana.Read More Read More Less
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