Explore Africa Safaris is committed to ensure that your time on the African continent is memorable for you. After surfing many websites of different Safari Companies in Africa you may still not be satisfied with the information to help you make a decision to come for a Safari.
On this page we have included a few questions you may want to ask yourself before you finally board your plane to come for your dream safari of watching animals and birds in their wild and the diverse cultures Africa offers. Africa has much to offer her visitors: colorful cultures, exotic cuisine, un-spoilt beaches, and pristine reserves and, of course, unique wildlife & safaris.
We have included a time frame, style and budget for every traveler. We accommodate everyone who would like to have their vacation in Africa. Whether it is your first time here or one of your many times – we make your safari, the safari you have always desired to have.
We will assist you selecting a safari, accommodations and travel routes which best suit your requirements, and even give you an idea of what sights you will see.
Come on now let us “Take you to the Natural Serene of Africa”. A continent that touches your soul and before you know it- you have fallen in Love with the beauty and splendor.
If you have been visiting projects, now it is time to visit the natural in its wild.
The initial stages of planning an African Safari, with its many options and decisions, may seem confusing at first, but when one approaches the planning stages practically and chronologically, the excitement of the trip has already begun!
For the person who has never had an opportunity to visit it, Africa is a continent shrouded in mystery. Its vast expanses of land make up the second largest continent on the planet, and is comprised of over 50 different countries, in which more than 2000 languages and dialects are spoken!
The African continent is so huge that the following countries could all fit in:
China: 3,705,387 sq mi
USA: 3,615,102 sq mi
India: 1,269,388 sq mi
Argentina: 1,068,296 sq mi
Europe including Scandinavia: 1,906,176 sq mi
And the total area altogether comes to 11,564,299 which is still less than Africa’s 11,706,166 sq mi. The continent is sparsely populated.
There are three main safari regions in Africa:
A) East Africa: (Tanzania and Kenya).
B) Southern Africa: (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia & Botswana).
C) South Africa.
Each individual country within the three regions offers the visitor unique adventures, whether it be enjoying the scenery, viewing game or becoming acquainted with new people and cultures. In order to make an informed and rational decision, a person has to establish his / her priorities, and this can only be done by asking oneself a few questions, which will eventually contribute to, or indeed be, the deciding factors in planning the safari.
Questions to ask yourself...
1) How much time do I have available for my safari?
Safaris go between 16 and 21 days. However, safaris can be of a shorter duration, e.g. from as few as 2 - 10 days, or to as long as you would like to stay.... However, It is important to always bear in mind when you plan a safari, that the journey to and from Africa will take at least 3 days of travel. Going for too short a period (less than 10 days) is not recommended, as you will hardly have recovered from jet lag, before you are already on your way back home again!
However, if you have a project you are working on in Africa already and you would just like to get out of your work station and catch up on the serene in the continent, then 2-3Days could do, depending on the distance from the project area to the nearest National Park or any tourist attraction.
2) Am I limited to a budget?
This will determine to a large extent what kind of safari and accommodations you will participate in - accommodation varies between budget and the very luxurious, and differ from region to region and within National Parks and Private Game Reserves.
3) What are my interests?
Do you have special interests in, e.g. bird watching, wildlife photography or experiencing local cultures?
4) Are there any special activities I would like to incorporate into my safari?
Would you like to do a project in the community e.g. help construct a school in a community, construct/paint a health clinic, play with kids in a children’s home, help refugees in a camp, then do a Safari after? Please, visit our Community Projects Page for more details or just e-mail us. We organize projects for and individual to big groups. Some of our income as a company go to destitute people in needy communities.
5) Which part of Africa do you recommend - Southern or East Africa?
Because of the diverse in culture, Africa is still diverse in its Fauna and Flora and so different regions offer different sceneries, below is some information we have compiled for you: in East Africa- we have Uganda which is endowed with Mountain Gorillas with over 300 out of the 650 remaining in the whole world, Uganda also is the richest country with a little over 1,000 bird species 300 more compared to Europe’s 700, this is followed by the beautiful culture and warmest people on the face of the earth. Kenya and Tanzania are home to Wildebeest migration which can be witnessed in either Serengeti (Tanzania) or the Masai Mara (Kenya) depending on the time of the year.
In Southern Africa we have Cape Town, Table Bay and Table Mountain, the largest dunes in the world to be seen at Sossusvlei in Namibia, and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. BOTSWANA home to the Okavango Delta is one of those places you would love to go.
6) Are Kenya and Tanzania over-commercialized? They appear to be from some materials, but are they still the best place for game viewing and cultural experiences?
Too many mini-buses chasing predator sightings is not an uncommon occurrence in some areas of East Africa, but it can be avoided by selecting a good operator and staying away from the crowds, in smaller camps. The Serengeti, for example, is so vast that crowding is hardly a problem, even in high season.
There is no doubt that areas such as Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve and Tanzania's Serengeti Plains and Ngorongoro Crater offer a spectacular wildlife-viewing experience, especially if a visit can be timed to witness the annual wildebeest migration. The Ngorongoro Crater harbors the greatest concentration of wildlife species on the continent, including herds of wildebeest, antelope and zebras which attract the large predators in considerable numbers.
7) What are the advantages on selecting Uganda in East Africa?
Learning from neighboring Kenya and Tanzania’s experience, Uganda is keen on conserving her National parks and wild life reserves. Blessed with green (almost all year round) the National parks are not affected by visitors. So, far Uganda’s parks are not crowded even when it is peak season, the vastness of the parks will accommodate the crowd.
The use of open safari vehicles for game drives in many areas (much better for photography than enclosed mini-vans). It is a policy by the Uganda Wild Life Authority for Safari Companies to use open roof vans entering the parks. This allows you to take great photographs and have a nice view of the wildlife.
Game drives by boat in Murchison Falls, Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth, and Canoes on Lake Mburo, afford a different avenue to see some of the animals close range and big game drinking or crossing rivers.
8) What are the main advantages of East Africa compared to Southern Africa?
Primarily, there are three good reasons to select East Africa:
If you are intent on combining culture and wildlife, East Africa has no equal. Uganda will offer you the beauty of her culture, the Mountain Gorillas, the different types of birds with spectacular colors. Nowhere else can you see Masai herdsmen (in Kenya) with their cattle side by side with wild animals such as buffalo. In Tanzania's northern circuit, for example, there are many opportunities to visit Masai homesteads or cultural bomas, experience market days in the towns and villages, and to generally experience how wildlife and people co-exist. This is not nearly as prevalent in Southern Africa, where wildlife areas are often practically devoid of human inhabitants.
East Africa has a wider range of accommodations in the prime game-viewing areas, such as the Queen Elizabeth Mweya Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls Paraa Lodge both with swimming pools, Tented Luxurious camps. In Serengeti and Ngorongoro, ranging from small exclusive camps to moderately priced larger lodges. In some Southern African countries such as Botswana (especially in the Okavango Delta) accommodation options are largely limited to expensive private tented camps.
10) Which region offers better bird-watching?
UGANDA! You’ve got it! The birding is excellent in Uganda which boasts of a little over 1000 different species. Southern Africa (Southern Africa: ( Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia & Botswana & South Africa, has about 600 species being present.
“There is a world of difference between a sightseeing tour and a well planned safari’
Hugh Cott 1959
A tiny landlocked country supporting more than 1000 species, Uganda deserves its reputation as “birders’ Eden”. A short trip here to soak up the bizarre and mind-blowing Shoebills at Murchison Falls, or Albertine Rift endemics at Bwindi National Park, is incredibly rewarding, while the chance to come face to face with Africa’s most noble beast, the MOUNTAIN GORILLAS, is probably the most touching experience any wildlife enthusiast could hope for. Uganda is a superb destination for rainforest fanatics and those in search of the rare and elusive.
In terms of size, Uganda is the richest country in Africa for birds. It has an excellent infrastructure and a great diversity of habitats, from the papyrus-fringed swamps of the Lake Victoria Basin, through both lowland and its forest has one of the highest diversity and density of primates in Africa totaling 13 species including the black and white colobus, blue monkey and grey – checked mangabey, the threatened red colobus, bush babies and pottos'.
13) How long does game viewing stay interesting? Should we select a tour that mixes cultural experiences and game-viewing or stick with game-viewing only? (We are thinking of a trip of about 14 days)
Game-viewing can get repetitive if you stay in the same habitat too long, which translates into seeing pretty much the same vegetation, animals, birds, etc. The key is habitat diversity: look for an itinerary which has a mix of three or four major habitat types such as wetlands, highveld savannah (open grassland dotted with trees), acacia or thornveld savannah (also known as bushveld) and riverine bush. By all means select a tour which will look at all aspects of the natural history of an area, not just game.
Try not to get too caught up with the 'Big Five' fever, i.e. sightings of lion, leopard, rhino, Cape buffalo & elephant. There's much more to be discovered about the African wilderness, particularly its incredible bird-life, smaller mammals, reptiles & amphibians, even insects and butterflies. Not to mention the trees and other plants... If you are receptive to learning about all aspects of the natural history, your trip will be much more meaningful and enjoyable. Please don't set yourself up for disappointment by focusing on just one or two of the big cats: especially leopard and cheetah. They are not always seen.
14) Should I go with a small group, or simply go by myself?
It all depends. For a first visit to Africa - unless you're young, adventurous & traveling as a backpacker - my advice would be to go on a small group safari.
15) Are safaris dangerous?
Obviously, there is a certain degree of danger when you are in the bush with wild animals. However, you will always be accompanied by an experienced guide. Accidents are infrequent and the camps have excellent safety records. Provided you use common sense you should be perfectly safe. And always follow the guides advise.
16) What are the things to watch for as far as price is concerned?
The most important thing is to make sure that all the essential things associated with the trip are included in the quoted price:
1. Ground Transportation
2. Accommodation (Full Board)
5. Guide/Driver service and transfers.
Some operators tend to confuse the issue with a very low up-front quote for a bare-bones trip which is not what you want and not what you end up paying for, once all the 'extras' are added in. Make sure you double and triple check with the tour company you are dealing to ensure that your hard earned dollar, pound, euro etc is not wasted on something below standard. Keep up with the COMMUNICATION!!!
17) When is the best time to go?
It depends. Generally speaking, game-viewing peaks from July through September, but it is good year-round. In East Africa, it rarely gets unbearably hot, although some people prefer to avoid the 'long rains' which fall in April & May. For bird-watching in Uganda, the summer months are better, i.e. October through February/March. The Gorillas can also be watched throughout the year. However, the most important thing here is the Gorilla permit, some people book & pay 12-24 months ahead of time. The park has a limited number of people they allow every day to view Gorillas so the earlier you book and pay the better for you. The dry season from July to September is considered the optimum time for the western & northern Serengeti & Kenya's Masai Mara, while December, January and February are arguably the best three months for the southern short grass plains of the Serengeti. The months of March through May and June are low season in East Africa, and offer excellent value for money.
October through February can get very hot in northern Botswana and Zimbabwe, especially in the Zambezi Valley. Victoria Falls is at its best in April/May, while Cape Town's nicest weather is February, March & April. Namibia and other arid areas (such as the Kalahari) are at their best in March, April & May, just after the 'rainy' season.
18) Any other tips?
Look for quality and value for money. Don't end up spending $2,000 or more on airfares only to be disappointed by a poorly run, inferior safari. Ask for references from previous clients and make sure that the trip has been operated before (don't be a guinea pig!).
Above all, take the best pair of binoculars you can afford, forget about your cell phone and office, and go and enjoy the vacation of a lifetime!