What to Expect on Safari
Going on safari is not like visiting a zoo. No one can guarantee that you’ll see everything that you want to see; the animals are wild after all. Even the start and end of the wildebeest migration cannot be accurately predicted.
What you see or don’t see is part knowledge and planning, and part luck; which is the true adventure of a safari. Be open with your guide about what you do and don’t care to see. He has a pretty good idea what kind of animals will be in certain locations depending on the season, weather, time of day, and other factors.
Don’t Get Too Close to the Animals
This sounds like a no-brainer, but people have done some stupid things on safari. It’s for your protection as well as for the animals for you to stay within your vehicle. Your guide may allow you to walk outside in certain designated areas.
Many of the animals are used to the sight and noise of the safari vehicles, allowing you closer access to them than if they were not in a game park. Don’t mistake this “intimacy” for tameness in the animals. They are still wild animals!
There are a number of accommodation options for you to choose from depending on where you want to be, what you want to spend and how you want to spend your night. The basic trade-off is cost vs. comfort with options from camping in a regular tent all the way to a luxury hotel.
Camping: Many envision this to be the only way to do a safari. They want to hear the sounds of the animals at night and possibly see an elephant walk near the campsite. At some of the locations, the campsites are outside of the park due to park restrictions. The Serengeti camps are in the park. At Ngorongoro they are on the crater rim and temperatures can dip down to freezing at night.
Luxury Tent: The only thing missing from this “hotel room” is the TV. For those looking to turn back time with a more Hemingway-esque or British colonization style, this is the way to go. These are permanent tent with hard floors and very comfortable furniture; definitely not “roughing it.”
Standard Lodge: These lodges are similar to a standard hotel in the States. They all have running hot/cold water, comfortable rooms, great views and more amenities then you’d ever expect.
Luxury Lodge: These luxury lodges are similar to a 4 or 5 star hotel in the States. Plush lobbies, rooms, landscaping and better food make this option the most relaxing after a long, dusty day riding in a jeep.