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What To Expect
When you visit Africa for the first time you may be expecting to step out of the airplane and into the wild, fully kitted out in your safari gear with binoculars in hand. This is not the reality of course, unless you are flying via light aircraft into a remote bush location.
If you are visiting the Kruger Park in South Africa for example, you’ll more than likely fly into the JHB International airport and then take a short flight to Hoedspruit. You’ll be met at the airport by a friendly lodge representative and transferred to the lodge in a 4×4 vehicle.
A typical safari stay is 3-5 days in one location. There are two game drives per day on average, one leaving around 5am and the other in the late afternoon, leaving around 3pm. Be sure to pack warmly for these as they can be a little nippy in the colder months.
The average game drive lasts around 3-4hrs but may be longer depending on the animal sightings. A good guide will typically ask their guests if they have any animals in particular they would like to see, and then communicate with other guides in the reserve for possible locations or recent sightings.
There are plenty of photographic opportunities on safari as this is not a rushed event. During the game drive your personal guide or guides will highlight and explain the many different animals, birds and plant species in the bush. This is an excellent learning experience and teaches you the finer intricacies of the bush you would miss on a self-drive experience. (Which are not allowed in the Private Reserves)
Typically at the halfway point your ranger will stop at a nice setting in the bush and lay out drinks and snacks for you. This is normally a variety of local treats like biltong (jerky), nuts and fruits. There will also be cold drinks, tea and coffee available, and of course alcoholic beverages for sundowners.
Once snacks are done you will make your way back slowly to the lodge where you have an hour or so to yourself before breakfast or dinner is served. Your private game ranger typically joins you for all meals where he shares stories or answers questions regarding the wildlife experience.
Best Time to Go
Africa has many great locations and the best time to go differs from the Southern African countries to the East African countries. Let’s assume however that you want to go on to Southern African, as this is the most popular and all around best value experience.
The Kruger Park is the most popular wildlife reserve in Africa thanks to the abundance of animals, superb accommodation, facilities and mouthwatering cuisine. The best time to go to the Kruger is from late July to October.
This is the back end of winter which means those early morning and late afternoon game drives are not so cold, and believe us, sitting on the back of an open top vehicle at 5am in Winter is not the most fun you can have in the bush. Which reminds me, the back of the vehicle gets the most air flow, if you want to be warmer, sit in the middle or near the front.
This July to October period features cooler weather and the summer rains have not fallen yet, which means less dense vegetation. Less dense bush means better wildlife sightings and cooler temperatures means the animals are more active during the day, resulting in better sightings.
Be advised however that this is by far the most popular time to visit the Kruger and you will need to book your trip well in advance. There is certainly more demand than there is accommodation when we are talking luxury safaris.
South Africa is however a year round destination and if you are unable to travel during these peak dates, consult with one of our travel specialists and come up with a solution that better meets your needs. There is no shortage of options when it comes to Planning Your Dream Vacation.
African Safari Tour Prices
The price of a luxury safari starts at around $450 per person sharing nightly in the low season, and around $750 per person sharing nightly in the high season.
A great value location which offers a rich wildlife experience is Zambia. You can get terrific value here and it is not as busy as some of the more popular locations. This will change in the years to come as more companies start to promote it, so if you are looking for a great value experience, check it out.
Another important thing to remember is that many of the prices for luxury safaris include full board. This means that all meals and local drinks are included, often times even the more exclusive brands, depending on the lodge.
At African Safari Home we are often sent limited time specials that don’t make it on the website, so be sure to contact us and our consultants will keep you notified when they arrive so you can get the best value for your budget.
Lastly it’s worth noting that many times it makes sense to stay at the slightly more expensive properties as they typically offer the best animal viewing locations. The Kruger Park for example, has an abundance of wildlife, but if you want to see leopard on your trip you should stay at the private Sabi Sabi reserve on the border.
Again, we recommend you contact us with your wish list and we will have an area specialist design a tour with the best options for your budget.
What To Wear
The best clothes to wear on safari are earth tones. Khaki is most definitely the dominant colour worn by guides and lodge employees and the perfect option for your African safari.
You don’t want to pack too many bright colours however as wearing a red shirt in the bush is not going to help you blend with the natural surroundings and remain discreet during sightings.
Evening attire is also very casual and there is absolutely no need to pack to impress. More often than not your guide will be dressed in cargo pants and a neutral colour button shirt, which is perfect for you too.
When packing for safari be sure to include a hat for the hot sunny days and a warm jacket, scarf or beanie if you are travelling in winter. The early morning and late afternoon game drives can get rather chilly, blankets are however provided on the game vehicle should you need an extra layer or two.
Big Five Safari
What are the Big Five animals?
These are the five animals that historically were the most difficult and dangerous to hunt. They are also the biggest attraction in the wildlife reserves of Africa.
The Big Five are:
Where to See The Big Five?
The Big 5 can be seen at many parks in Africa but the best location in our opinion is the Private Reserves of the Kruger National Park.
The reason for this is the abundance of leopard in the Timbavati Reserve. The leopard is a notoriously shy cat and often the one animal not seen on a Big 5 safari. The Timbavati however has a dense leopard population and these magnificent cats are a must-see sighting.
Another superb location is Zambia. This is still a largely unspoiled area and boasts an abundance of wildlife, and also offers great valued for money compared to some of the other more popular destinations like Serengeti and Masai Mara.
The Big Five can however also be found in Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, in addition to a few other less popular countries like Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi.
For more information on the best options for your requirements and best time to see the Big Five, contact a friendly Travel consultant.
The Great Migration
The Great wildebeest migration is the largest mass movement of animals in Africa.
Each year more than two million animals move in a circular pattern, starting in the southern Serengeti and moving up into the north, towards the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya.
The animals move in a clockwise direction and follow the seasonal rainfall in search of greener grazing pastures.
The more than 1.7 million wildebeest are joined by over 500,000 gazelles, 250,000 zebra and closely followed by a large variety of predators, including lion and hyena.
The river crossings in turn provide extra cause for concern as crocodiles lay patiently waiting for the large animal masses to navigate the waters.
In total around 250,000 wildebeest die each year during the Migration. The main causes are hunger, exhaustion and predation during the 800 kilometre roundtrip.
This however gives way to the roughly 500,000 calves that are born in a 2-3 week period each year.
When is the best time to see The Migration?
The Migration can be seen year-round as it is in constant movement.
The best way however is on a luxury-tented safari, as these operators closely track and follow the migration.
Seasonal weather patterns are not precise so rather than risking a fixed location, the tented experiences go out to where the migration is.
The one exception to this rule however is in calving season. During this time the wildebeest need to wait for their young to build up the strength to make the journey, which provides a 4-5 week viewing period.
This calving season typically takes place in February in the southeastern part of the Serengeti ecosystem.
The upside about going on safari during this period is the spectacular amount of wildlife on display. The predators hunt the young wildebeest creating a showcase of nature in its most raw form.
The downside about this experience is the abundance of tourists and the Park can feel overcrowded.
We recommended the luxury-tented safari option if your budget allows for it. It is a magical lifetime experience that should be on top of any wildlife lovers’ bucket list.
The Serengeti is however more than just The Great Migration.
The area is home to some of Africa’s most splendid wildlife, and is famous for it’s abundance of large predators.
The Serengeti ecosystem in fact boasts more than 3,000 lions, roughly 8,000 spotted hyenas and over 1,000 leopards.
Predators of course do not exist without a food source, and the Serengeti has a diverse population of grazers including eland, waterbuck, African buffalo, warthogs, gazelle and topi.
If you want to combine the best of the Serengeti with a Great Migration experience, contact us and we will provide you with the best options for the time of year you wish to travel.
Creating bespoke luxury safari packages is of course our specialty, and we pride ourselves on having the best rates in South and East Africa.
Africa has become an extremely popular destination for honeymooners.
Here is a guide to the best destinations.
Cape Town is a beautifully romantic city and often voted in the Top 10 Cities Worldwide.
The world-renowned Table Mountain forms the backdrop of the city and is a real sight to behold. If you want to the Southern most tip of Africa from an aerial position, take the cable car to the top and enjoy a glass of wine whilst you take in the breathtaking surroundings.
Cape Town of course boasts many fine beaches but few offer a more memorable experience than Boulders Beach. Here you and your partner can swim with a local penguin colony in the shelter of huge boulders and crystal blue waters.
Cape Town is of course also known for its plentiful vineyards and stunning wines. These romantic settings provide picture perfect moments for you to remember for a lifetime.
If you venture a short 35-minute drive outside of Cape Town and into the Cape Fold Mountains of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the backdrop gets even better. You would not be wrong for thinking you had perhaps left South Africa and landed in a new world.
No honeymoon vacation would be complete without fine wine and cuisine, and Cape Town delivers on this promise too. Home to three of the worlds Top 100 rated restaurants, the city will not only please your eyes, but your palette too.
If you and your partner have an adventurous spirit, Cape Town offers a wide range of activities including shark cage diving, whale watching, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and open water kayaking on the sublime Atlantic Seaboard.
If you are more culturally inclined a trip to Robben Island is a must, as are the several cultural experiences located only minutes outside of the city centre.
The Kruger Park
The Kruger Park is home to more large species of mammals than any other wildlife park in Africa. It also offers incredibly romantic settings for honeymooners, like the tree houses at Lions Sands Safari Lodges and the private reserves of the Timbavati where you can view The Big Five Animals.
In addition to the large varieties of animal in the Kruger, it is also home to more than 500 bird species, with over 240 resident species.
The Kruger Park offers a wide range of accommodation but really sets itself apart from the rest of Africa with its all round experience.
There are many great lodges, locations and wildlife destinations in Africa, but none offer a better combination coupled with world-class cuisine and service.
Combining the Kruger with Cape Town and Victoria Falls makes for the ultimate Honeymoon safari experience.
The Victoria Falls is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is the world’s largest waterfall. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Whilst the Falls themselves are a spectacular site, the area has a lot more to offer than just the “smoke that thunders” as the locals refer to it.
This dream honeymoon destination offers more adventure activities in one location than arguably anywhere else in Africa.
You can enjoy romantic sunset cruises on the mighty Zambezi, or kick your adrenaline into high gear with a white water rafting experience.
You can enjoy the soothing waters of Devil’s pool at the edge of the falls, or take in a tiger fishing experience.
If you like jumping off things the bridge at Vic Falls offers one of the highest bungee jumping locations in the world, or you can opt for the thrill of the swing instead.
If you feel like taking in a little wildlife on your stay, simply opt for a local safari experience in the Chobe.
Victoria Falls like the Kruger and Cape Town also offers a stunning variety of accommodations, so finding a great location for your budget is no problem.
If you want to spoil yourself with a truly romantic experience, check out the Royal Chundu Lodge located a few minutes down the Zambezi, set in total privacy on two islands.
In summary it is easy to understand why Africa has become such a popular Honeymoon destination, and we would love to help you plan your dream vacation here.
Contact us today and let one of our experienced consultants plan the ultimate package for you and your partner, and benefit from the best rates at more than 300 lodges.
For more information see our post on the Best Honeymoon Safaris.
Where are the best lodges in Africa?
With more than 300 excellent luxury lodges in Africa to choose from, you as a traveler are spoiled for choice
The best concentration of exclusive lodges however, is found in the private reserves of the Kruger Park in South Africa.
The Kruger Park is easily accessible by air and these luxury lodges are in high demand, with many booked 8-12 months in advance.
These lodges not only boast spectacular settings with front row seats to the finest game viewing on the continent, they also offer the best combination of accommodation, service, cuisine and amenities.
These lodges additionally provide a more intimate bush experience. Generally there are no more than 8 suites or units, each boasting private plunge pools, en-suite bathroom facilities, private viewing areas, butler service and guided safaris.
Lodges like Lion Sands go the extra mile with their luxury tree houses and outdoor slumber experiences, providing an even more intimate bush experience.
What is the price of an exclusive luxury lodge?
The rates for these super exclusive lodges start at around $450 per person sharing nightly in the low season, but can be as much as $2,000 or more in the high season, it just depends on the lodge you are requesting.
On average however you want to budget for around $1,000 per person nightly at the best of the best.
Luxury Safari Lodge Reviews
If you want more information on the very best lodges in South and East Africa, visit our guide called Top African Safari Lodges.
You can see reviews for the Top 10 lodges as well as images for each and links to more detail as required.
To book any of the lodges or enquire about a bespoke safari package, contact us today and an experienced travel consultant will help you plan your dream vacation.
When you book with African Safari Home you get the best rates and service from our SATSA Bonded Company
Cape Town boasts a wide variety of attractions including the spectacular Table Mountain, world-class beaches, shark-cage diving, wine estates and more.
Beaches – Adventure – Cuisine
Zimbabwe / Zambia
Victoria Falls is home to the world’s largest waterfall and an abundance of activities for adventure seekers including rafting, tiger fishing and more.
Waterfalls – Rafting – Wildlife
★★★★★ 13 Nights
Experience the finest locations and luxury accommodations on this magnificent tour starting in Cape Town, up to the Kruger Park and ending in Victoria Falls.
Cape Town – Kruger Park – Victoria Falls
★★★★★ 8 Nights
Enjoy the best of both worlds with a world-class safari adventure followed by the breathtaking beauty of the Bazaruto Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
Timbavati – Bazaruto
★★★★★ 7 Nights
An elephant lovers dream safari with more than 50,000 in the Chobe alone. Couple this with the Okavango Delta, a world heritage site, and you have a very special safari vacation.
Chobe National Park – Okavango Delta
When you book with African Safari Home you get the best rates and service from our SATSA Bonded Company
Be warned though that not everywhere in Africa offers these fine experiences, and we highly recommend you use an expert tour operator to help you plan your vacation.
If you wan to get the best value and truly experience memorable moments in cities like Cape Town or wildlife parks like the Kruger, Serengeti and Masai Mara, contact us today and let’s show you how we go the extra mile.
If you are interested in sublime luxury travel then see our latest article on The Top 10 African Safari Lodges.
We will soon launch a premier edition of this site catering to utterly opulent safari accommodation, join the newsletter to stay in the loop at Sam’s Safari Club.
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