Seriously, you must do these 5 things on safari! There is nothing as incredible as an African Safari. Nothing. Seeing these animals in the wild is not at all comparable to seeing them in a zoo or a “safari” park. The savannah goes on forever….truly, the Circle of Life is real. Going to the Serengeti is like stepping into the Lion King, I kid you not. Or a Nat Geo documentary. I expected to see Simba and his friends at any moment. Instead, I saw many simbas (simba means “lion”!). An African Safari is a trip anyone who loves to travel must take at least once in their lifetime! Be adventurous!
The best experience will include:
1. Staying at a Luxury Safari Camp. Tent? This, my friend, is total “glamping”. It is more like a well-appointed suite at a first class hotel. The guides and staff are attentive and make sure you have everything you want. Your guide, or perhaps a Maasai Warrior (at least in Tanzania) escorts you to and from your tent at night. Going back after dinner one night in the Serengeti our Maasai guide took a flashlight to our left and whoa! Hyena eyes, about 6 pair, were staring at us! What an adrenaline rush! The sound of the savannah at night is a symphony (except for the wildebeest who make a really loud, aggravating bleat…no wonder they get eaten, the dodos, since they constantly announce their location!) The meals are amazing, cocktails before dinner and three delicious, fresh, chef prepared meals a day. Luxury camping is the only way to glamp!
2. A private guide and viewing vehicle. Now this is a treat. You do not have to worry about “taking turns” with the others in the vehicle, getting the best view, or the best camera angle, because you are not sharing that view. It is perfectly wonderful to have your own private experience on the savannah.
3. Watching the sunset, or sunrise, from the Savannah. Sunsets are best viewed with a Sundowner (a cocktail) in your hand, hors d’oeuvres on a small table outside of the vehicle, while enjoying the growing silence. What an incredible luxury, having cocktails on the Savannah while the sun sets! Yes, it is as wonderful as it sounds! In the mornings, it is hot chocolate on the savannah. As in the ocean, the animals are more active at sunrise and sunset.
4. Take your photo opportunities when they come! Always, always have a camera ready to shoot! Be ready. You will miss a lot if your camera isn’t ready to go. Just keep shooting! You never know what you might capture!
5. You must see the Big 5, though there is never a guarantee. The Big 5 are Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo. Having a great guide is the best way to make sure you have every chance possible to see these awe inspiring animals, many of which are endangered. It is just impossible to express the feeling you get when you quietly pull up in the middle of a herd, or a pride of lions. Just….incredible. Breath-taking. Exciting. Awe struck.
Going on an African Safari is always a thrilling adventure. I have done safaris in the African winter, when the foliage isn’t thick, and the animals are easier to see. These animals are a treasure, and I cannot imagine a time when they won’t be there anymore, but if climate change, poaching, deforestation and human activities such as taking cheetah cubs for pets in the Middle East and killing them in “canned” hunts are not addressed, it is likely your children or grandchildren will never see these animals in the wild. The extinction of African animals is happening, and if we want to preserve our wildlife, we have to do something about it. National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative is a great way to involve yourself, and so is the Africa Wildlife Foundation. You can also call your representatives in government and let them know you support measures to save our wildlife. We can all do something!