To get the food, shelter and safari experience you want, you need to research your trip. Here’s a thorough list of the details you should consider.
Plan on at least two weeks. That should allow for at least three different camps in different areas, for three nights each. Generally, you get an early morning game drive and a late afternoon game drive each day, so two full days in each camp almost guarantees that you’ll see a lot. My wife, Jane, and I went on safaris in January and February in Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It was the wet season in some places, but it wasn’t particularly rainy. Although the vegetation was lush, we saw elephants, hippos, giraffes and baboons beyond counting. In the drier Serengeti, Kalahari and Sabi Sands, we saw a lifetime’s worth of cheetahs, leopards and lions. We also got to see the Serengeti’s great migration of wildebeests and zebras.
Collect money and consider about the cost while planning the safari. Handling the money is very important no matter where you plan to travel.
The Travel Company
You also could simply deal directly with a company that operates multiple camps, such as Asilia Africa or Wilderness Safaris. Cultural and educational organizations offer safari packages. African Portfolio got us to the Asilia and Wilderness camps that really intrigued us, as well as to camps operated by other companies. Whoever helps plan your trip will take care of getting you from one remote camp to another, often in small airplanes.
The Big Five — lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and Cape buffalo — were the most challenging game animals for hunters on foot in another era. They’re still worthy targets for your camera, but so are zebras, giraffes, exotic antelopes and almost countless kinds of birds. All of these are in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. Gorillas are in Rwanda and Uganda.
Lodges, from hostels to luxury hotels, are found near some game-rich areas like the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa. In the Kalahari Desert and the Serengeti you’ll find tented camps, which are clusters of individual cabinlike tents and one or two large tents for the dining room and staff operations. The individual tents usually have real beds and attached private bathrooms with heated showers and flush toilets. There are also mobile camps, which move to follow game, especially the migration in the Serengeti. All your meals will be at the camp. Most camps supply the usual toiletries as well as sunscreen and insect repellent.