Africa is as beautiful and majestic as it is wild and diverse, and it has the ability to evoke emotions from within that we never thought possible. Africa almost literally has it all: From the grasslands of the Savannas and the desert landscapes of the Sahara to the tropical white sandy beaches of Africa’s tropical islands, each sight will most certainly leave a lasting impression upon you. The main issue that people seem to have with Africa, is that they believe the media and fall into the trap of categorizing Africa as one entity. Africa is comprised of more than 40 countries, each one very different to the last, so don’t let negative stereotypes and media coverage of one location, put you off from visiting another. One of the most alluring and charming things about Africa however, is the incredibly diverse list of Animals and wildlife that the continent has to offer.
African Safari experiences are most certainly eye-opening experiences, and they are ones that will leave lasting impressions on you for the rest of your life. An African safari experience not only gives you the ability to see an incredibly diverse range of wild and majestic animals in their natural habitats but on top of that, an African safari experience will also help to provide you with a taste of real African history and culture. You will experience regional cuisine, cultural traditions and pastimes, animals in all of their natural glory, rugged and stunning landscapes and scenery, and much, much more besides.
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There is no best time to embark on an African Safari, as they are fantastic all year round, but what you do need to pack, will depend on when you choose to visit. In reality, there is no best, or worst time to visit Africa, as each park, each game reserve, and each country, will offer different allure and appeal depending on which month you visit. The wet and dry seasons both offer very different experiences, so choose accordingly. Obviously most people would prefer the dry seasons, but if you can handle a little, ok, a lot, of rain, and some very impressive storms, the wet seasons can also leave lasting impressions upon you for all of the right reasons. Just remember, different animals prefer different conditions, so do your research if there are any creatures you would prefer to see.
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Like any trip, before you go, you will need to pack, so make sure you pack smart. First and foremost, as you will never see sights like the ones you will see in Africa, ever again, you will need to make sure you pack a camera, and by camera, we mean a proper camera, not just the one on your smartphone. Not only will you need a camera you will also need plenty of other electrical accessories including batteries, storage cards, and a charger. You will also want to pack binoculars to help you get great views of the animals and their surroundings in the distance. Now, as for you, as it will be hot, you should pack lightweight clothing, plenty of sun protection, sunglasses, and a hat. As you will also want to blend in without having the animals see you coming from miles off, choose colours that blend in to the natural landscapes. Obviously you don’t need to kit yourself out in full camouflage, but do try to blend into the landscape. You’ll need insect repellent, plenty of comfortable clothes for dining out, a first aid kit, disinfectant spray, towels, and of course, a bathing suit for any pools you come across. Remember, the nights also get pretty chilly, so don’t forget warmer clothes for in the evening.
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When you embark on your Safari, you obviously won’t be camping out in the bush as that would be far too dangerous, so you will probably be staying in a hotel, a lodge, or a resort. We rely on the internet for so many of our daily activities, and if you need WIFI, make sure you enquire in advance about whether or not it is available where you plan on staying.
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Remember, although there are many Africans who are fluent in English, there will also be many who don’t speak the language all too well, and there will be some who truly don’t speak the language at all. There are literally thousands of indigenous languages spoken in Africa, and not to mention countless other dialects, so remember that whichever country you visit, there will almost certainly be many, many different languages spoken. There is a huge variety of linguistic diversity in Africa, and because of this, each country does speak an official language. Most African countries were, at one time, colonized, and because of this, being able to speak fluent English, Portuguese, and French, will prove very useful. Because of this, it may be worth brushing up on your languages before you leave, and perhaps try to memorize some of the most important words/phrases. Obviously, there are apps and pieces of software that you can use to help you out, plus of course, there are useful interpretation books, but even so, you will encounter language barriers, so just bear that in mind.
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African safaris can range extremely widely in cost, which deciding factors being things like: Where you plan on visiting, when, how long for, and where you plan on staying. For example, some people want a luxurious and decadent experience, whilst others simply want to cover the basics.
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When booking your experience, have a think about which animals you want to see, and which sights and surroundings. Do you want to explore mountain ranges, see lions, relax on a tropical beach, go canoeing, go hiking and trekking, and much more? Also, will you be travelling with children, with friends, with family members, alone, or with a partner perhaps? All of these things will need to be considered.
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Travel tips: Consider using a local tour operator
Obviously, if you want to have the best chances of seeing the best sights, you should book with companies that are local and know the areas the best. Not only that, but local companies are also much more affordable than others, plus, they guarantee the best deals in the process.
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As mentioned, the incredibly biased media is considered one of Africa’s biggest antagonists, who, as mentioned, represent all 46 countries of Africa as one single entity. No country can claim to be 100% safe, so if you are new to Africa, and to travelling, you should be advised to take certain precautionary methods, such as you would if you travelled anywhere else in the world. Keep an eye on valuables, wallets, bags, and purses, etc, don’t carry large sums of money around and keep valuables out of sight.
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When you visit Africa, you will be blown away by the sights you see, and what better way to cement these memories forever, than by capturing them in photograph form? You will see so many sights that your camera will never leave your side, so when packing batteries, make sure you pack plenty, and when you think you have enough, pack some more just to be sure. If you’re thinking of using your smartphone or tablet’s camera, then don’t bother as it is simply not worth it. To carry your camera, your lenses, flashes, and batteries around with you, you’ll need a camera bag, which ideally is waterproof, and, is light in colour. The sun gets very hot in Africa, and a black bag could potentially heat up your equipment and damage it. Light colours however are much more forgiving.