19 January 2014

How to plan your African safari routing


In general plan your safari routing in one flow like a circle, clockwise or counter clockwise. It feels natural and provides the best holiday experience. Avoid going back and forward and in zigzag. This feels uncomfortable and confusing. Let your African safari tour for example start in Johannesburg, move north east to Kruger, then further north to the Victoria Falls and from there to Cape Town. Depending on your international flight you might go back to Johannesburg or fly out directly from Cape Town. If for some reason you wish to start with Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula, maybe to recover from a long flight and to acclimatize, move then on to Kruger and further to the Victoria Falls and maybe also into Chobe and the Okavango Delta. Keep a close eye on flight connections to avoid “lost days” somewhere in the middle of your safari as they might take precious time you would rather like to spend in the bush.

An African safari circuit feels the best and will offer the best experience of a natural flow.

Happy safari holidays!

What is the perfect African photographic safari experience?


As a wildlife photography enthusiast you will want great pictures of the Big Five, all other amazing animals and maybe also great landscape shots. Your perfect African photographic safari would be going home with the perfect picture.

In order to get that, your safari should be planned carefully. Choose safari destinations that offer excellent Big Five sightings. Go rather for private game reserves or concessions than for game drives in public parts of national parks. Consider a private vehicle to have enough space for your photography and freedom of movement. Choose your time of travel carefully and ask for an experienced guide.

Last but not least the accommodation should offer facilities to charge your photographic devices preferably in your room and if the lodge/camp has Wi-Fi that would be nice, in case you want to share your images immediately.

All that set, you will achieve your goal and come home with the perfect picture.

Happy wildlife photography safari!

How to make sure you get a great African safari guide


On your game drives you will share a safari vehicle with other guests and a driver/guide (on many private game reserves in South Africa will also be a tracker) unless you have a private vehicle, but there will still be a guide.

It is crucial for your
African safari tour that you have a good guide. A good guide finds the wildlife for you, knows the area and knows how to position the vehicle for the best photo. A great guide makes sure you get your perfect African photographic safari. But how to make sure you will have a great guide?

Most of the guides in the different safari countries are trained by an official institution and qualified through an exam. This is one criterion that makes sure there is a certain quality standard. Another important factor is experience and not to forget the personalities should match when you are on bush adventure trip.

You can ask people who were on safari to recommend a game reserve or even guide they were very happy with. In general private game reserves have well-trained and experienced guides, but still it can be a wrong match and you suffer during every game drive. Don’t let it get that far. When you feel this is not going well, talk to your guide first and try to improve the situation. If this is not working talk to the head ranger or manager to either get a different guide or join others on a different vehicle.

Try to work together with your guide and learn from him/her about the bush and let them know what your expectations are. This is a good foundation for a successful safari and great wildlife photography.

Happy safari snapping!

Want short transfer times on African safari?


Travelling in Africa means covering big distances. Going for example from Johannesburg to Kruger Park is a 6 hours drive and going from Kruger to other parts of South Africa even longer, not to speak of heading up to the Victoria Falls or other top-rated safari countries. The transfers can eat your days.

Unless you enjoy driving or even preferring self-drive safaris, you should consider light aircraft transfers between the safari lodges and camps to have short transfer times during your
African safari tour.

The light aircraft transfers cost slightly more when comparing them with road transfers for solo travellers of couples travelling, but they save a substantial amount of time. The flight transfer from Johannesburg to the Kruger lodge takes about 1 hour, comparing to the 6 hours drive this is really a big win. And the flights go straight to the lodges and you are on safari from the moment the plane lands.

For short transfers choose flying. It is the best way to get around in Africa.

Happy safari flying!

How many people are on your African safari vehicle?


This might be a question you have not thought about yet, if you haven’t been on an African safari before, but if you have, you will understand immediately its importance.

Most safari vehicles have seats for 10 guests plus driver. Many lodges and camps use all seats and put 10 guests on the vehicles during the game drives. This is quite a lot and can be an unpleasant experience. There are three rows of three seats each, which means one person will have the middle seat like on a plane. There is one lucky person sitting in the front next to the driver, but for the rest the vehicle is really full and if you want to do photography, it is not working at all.

The higher end lodges put only a maximum of 6 guests on a vehicle, which is much better. No one on the middle seat, space to do photography and a more intimate safari experience.

The best is of course the private vehicle, especially for wildlife photography enthusiasts, but that comes at extra costs.

However, check with your safari tour operator the number of people on the game drive vehicle to make sure you get what you are looking for on your Africa holiday.

Happy game drive experiences!

Want smooth African safari?

want smooth african safari

When you go on holiday you don’t want hassle, you want a smooth flow from one destination to the other with great experiences. In order to achieve that you can better book with a specialized African safari tour operator.

No funny flight connections and lost days between destinations, as you want to use everyday of your holidays as good as possible. Certain routings just don’t work. They don’t allow a flow and others work perfectly, using the available time efficiently. Jumping between safari countries also doesn’t help with a smooth flow as distances in Africa a huge and flight connections can be complicated and time consuming.

Keep it simple in the first place and go with the best routing. That will make sure you will see as much as possible during the available time.

Happy safari travel planning!

Mention your budget for your African safari holiday


You will most likely have an idea what your holiday may cost as you looked on the Internet for offered African safari tours and got an idea what the costs are or you have set a certain amount apart that you want to spend. Either way tell the safari operator what that budget is. That will safe you time and energy in finding the safari you like.

Often people think that mentioning the budget will make that a cheaper tour is made more expensive, because the budget is higher and the other party wants the money. Maybe that happens some times, but decent safari operators will use that information to create the safari that suits you best. It makes communication so much easier and avoids irritation and frustration on both sides. Make clear what you want, what budget is available and if this is realistic you will get it. Otherwise you will get explained what is realistic with that budget and why. Safe your nerves and time. Rather use your energy for an adventurous fantastic safari, made to suit you best.
Happy wildlife safari traveling!