Safaris are always great fun to plan, and once they have been confirmed, it's time to start counting down and getting excited!
Once you have booked and finalized your safari, the little details often come to mind. Have a peek at our FAQs for some great advice.
1. What should I pack?
When on safari, comfort is the most important thing. You want to enjoy your safari experience, without any hassles. The most common question we get asked is, “Is khaki really necessary?”, and in all honesty, no it is not. The most important thing is that you are comfortable, and pack both for warm and cooler weather. Bright colours are not recommended, especially if you are planning to go on a walking safari. The best way to dress while here is like an onion – In layers! This way, when you are chilly on the morning game drive, you can dress nice and warm, and peel off the layers as the sun comes out. We’ve compiled a list of some of the key items that we think are necessary for your wilderness adventure.
• Long sleeve shirts (especially in the winter months of April – August)
• Warmer outer layers
• A jacket in case of rain (especially in the summer months of December –February)
• Long pants
• Comfortable closed shoes
• Comfortable open shoes for around camp
• Warm socks
• Sunscreen (even in the winter months, our temperatures can reach 30 degrees Celsius)
• A hat
Please note that while it is not essential, it is recommended that all clothing items be in a neutral colour. This helps to blend in with the surroundings in the bush, giving you a greater chance of good animal sightings.
Further items of interest:
• Mosquito repellent
• Guide books – optional (some guests like to further their knowledge about the animals that were seen during a game drive or around cap)
2. What about Malaria?
The Kruger National Park, and all surrounding areas, are in a malaria zone. Whilst the risk is relatively low, we always advise to consult with your doctor before you leave, as each country may have different requirements. We also recommend speaking to your doctor about medical & travel insurance for your trip.
3. What can I expect?
Now that you have chosen which area you would like to visit, where you are going to stay, and you have your suitcase all ready to go, you are wondering, 'But what will it be like!?', right? Well, here is an example of what you can begin to look forward to. Please note that this varies from lodge to lodge, and also depends on which season it is, so check above for your estimated schedule.
4. What should we tip our ranger or tracker?
First and foremost, tipping is not required, it is only an option. If you feel that your ranger and/or tracker have done an exceptional job, you may tip them. Suggested amounts are R50 – R100 per day to each, but please note that these are only guidelines, and you may choose to give any amount that you please.
5. What type of vehicles will we be conducting our safari on?
The vehicles used are professional safari vehicles; open roof and sides, and is elevated to enable better visibility. They usually seat a maximum of 10 people.
6. What will the weather be like?
During the Summer months of October to March, it will be very warm, with temperatures ranging between 25 and 40 degrees Celsius daily. During the night, it will cool off a little. This is also the wet season, so bring a waterproof jacket just in case. During the winter months of April to September, the early mornings, evenings, and nights are very chilly, with the days only warming up to around 22 degrees. We recommend to dress like an onion – in layers!
7. What are the visa requirements for travelling to South Africa?
South African Passport control has become quite strict recently. All visitors are required to have AT LEAST 6 months validity left on their passports after their return date, and must have at least two blank pages.
8. Are the wild animals dangerous?
When on safari, it is important for guests to understand that they are entering the animal’s territory, and thus must respect it accordingly. If provoked, the wild animals can become aggressive, just as a human would if someone was annoying them in their own home. It is important not to stand up in the safari vehicle (as this disrupts the shape that the animals are used to), tease the animals, click or yell at them to get their attention, and so on. Listen to your qualified game ranger for instructions before you head out on safari.
9. Is communication with the ‘outside world’ possible while in Africa?
Absolutely! Some camps and lodges have internet available, as do all major cities. However, as a large part of Africa is turning towards eco-friendly solutions, many camps and lodges are converting towards solar power, or no electricity. Check with Jacqui or Ken about which lodges provide internet or business facilities.
10. Is it safe to travel in Africa?
As with all places in the World, there are dangers that may be encountered. We recommend using common sense and being street wise, as one would in their home town.
11. Will there be snacks if I’m hungry on safari?
Generally, your guide will pause the safari halfway, to allow you to stretch your legs or perhaps use the loo. During this time, he or she will set up a table with drinks (tea/coffee in the morning, or soft drinks/alcoholic varieties in the evening) and snacks so you can refuel your body and mind before continuing on to search for Africa’s wildlife.
12. What if I need to use the loo on safari?
This is a good question, and a frequently asked one! Sometimes, there are rustic bathrooms that your guide may be able to stop at during your safari. However, most of the time, the ‘bush bathroom’ is the one most used. Your ranger will help you to find a suitable, safe, and private space for you to do what you need to do. Otherwise, we suggest making sure that you go to the loo before you leave for safari.
13. What other costs will there be?
Each national park or reserve has certain conservation fees that need to be paid by all guests visiting their area. Further to this, if you wish to purchase any items from the curio shop, this will be of the guest’s own expense.
Thanks to the The Safari Store UK for the great pic!