There’s no vacation quite like an African safari. It’s the sort of adventure many people dream of for their entire lives, a unique experience in a part of the world unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s a wild, majestic land still dominated by the natural world and mostly untouched by mankind, which makes it particularly special. While a safari vacation will provide a wealth of memories and exposure to a culture and wilderness you’ll see in your dreams for years after, you cannot go on an adventure like this without many months of careful planning. Even in the best of circumstances it isn’t an experience for everyone. Here are five things you should consider before embarking on a safari vacation.
First off, are you committed enough to a safari vacation to handle all of the required planning? This isn’t the type of vacation you can decide on last minute and hop online to hunt down some deals. Most people spend several months or even years planning these trips. They are almost always customized, so you must become intimately involved in the planning to make sure the trip turns out as you would like. You must keep an eye on the political climate in Africa, and take that into consideration when planning your entry and exit points. You might also need some vaccinations, so check in with the tourism board to cover all of those bases well in advance.
Are you willing to be unreachable for a significant amount of time? While you will enjoy quality food and accommodations on your safari vacation, what you probably won’t enjoy is easy communication with the outside world. Once you get out of the city and into the safari camps you’ll often be without electricity, internet and phone connections. Radios link through to the nearest town for safety, but you will be completely separated from your world at home. For many people, this is a major attraction. But you might be unwilling to be put in this situation for a week or two. Consider that carefully before booking.
Can you spend entire days out in the elements? This is not a vacation for those who would rather sit poolside and enjoy room service. You’ll be riding in bumpy, off-road vehicles, dealing with bugs and pests, and sitting in the heat of the sun for hours waiting for wild animals to make their presence known. Be honest about whether you are game for this type of trip before embarking. Because once you are out there, there’s no turning back.
Are you healthy enough for this type of trip? While dealing with the heat and the cold of Africa you will also be doing a significant amount of walking. You should always have a complete physical before a trip such as this, and make sure you are up to the challenge. Safari vacations are almost always completely safe, but you are going to be around wild animals. You have to be able to move quickly if the occasion requires it. So be prepared physically and mentally before heading overseas.
Finally, do you have the financial flexibility to buy what you’ll need to make the trip a success? You must pack for a safari vacation with care. You’ll need specific clothing, the proper hat, the right walking shoes and various emergency provisions. Most people also bring a high-end camera and professional lens along, as you’ll have the opportunity to snap some once-in-a-lifetime photos. Take the time to hunt down online coupons and travel articles full of suggestions to plan out your list of necessities, but in any case you’ll need to spend some money. Safari vacations aren’t cheap, and it isn’t worth it to cut all corners. Create a budget and make sure you are willing to spend it to insure a successful trip.