Your First Safari

How To Get Started Planning An African Safari

If you’re thinking about taking a first-time trip to Africa, you are in for a real treat. There’s no destination that can match the magic that surrounds you and each country offers its own unique experience. Getting started on planning a dream trip to Africa can be daunting as well as time consuming. Taking in important factors like where to go, how much it will cost, when is the best time to travel, and what wildlife you’ll be able to see are crucial when it comes to planning. Using our 20+ years of operating on the ground in Africa, we’ve created a small guide answering key factors we use to design unrivaled safaris that can help you simplify the planning process.

Where Should I Go?

While choosing where to go on your first safari comes down to personal preferences, our first-time travelers often prefer to explore popular national parks and reserves in Tanzania, Kenya, or South Africa. Those that desire a more rustic safari experience lean towards Botswana as it’s known for its remote atmosphere and vibrant wildlife. If you are feeling super adventurous, Uganda offers unforgettable encounters with mountain gorillas while Namibia showcases vast deserts and phenomenal scenery. While not as popular as the other destinations, Zimbabwe and Zambia are known for more adventurous activities and calls home to some of the best safari guides on the continent.

Where Should I Go?

While choosing where to go on your first safari comes down to personal preferences, our first-time travelers often prefer to explore popular national parks and reserves in Tanzania, Kenya, or South Africa. Those that desire a more rustic safari experience lean towards Botswana as it’s known for its remote atmosphere and vibrant wildlife. If you are feeling super adventurous, Uganda offers unforgettable encounters with mountain gorillas while Namibia showcases vast deserts and phenomenal scenery. While not as popular as the other destinations, Zimbabwe and Zambia are known for more adventurous activities and calls home to some of the best safari guides on the continent.

How Much Time Do I Need?

We recommend at least having four full days on game drives as it gives you enough time to have a number of exciting wildlife encounters. Keep in mind you will have to consider both arrival and departure days as well as travel between different destinations. Our selection of African safaris typically have a duration of seven to ten days with a mix of two to four safari camps and lodges. Don’t forget to take pre and post-safari excursions into consideration as they tack on an additional couple days to your African adventure.

What Can I Expect To See?

Africa offers exciting wildlife encounters with a diverse range of animals including the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant) and many other elusive predators along with different species of plains game. Depending on your destination, some of these species might be more prominent than others. Other popular sought after wildlife sightings include the black rhino, wild dog, cheetah, and giraffe. Don’t forget to look up as you might get the opportunity to see a quick-moving falcon or even an African fish eagle as it hunts the various waterways.

How Much Does It Cost?

Depending on your travel style and budget, an African safari can cost from between $200 and $2000 per person a night. Budget safaris can be done on around $150 per night, mid-range $300 and luxury $750 and higher. It’s also important to know that not all countries have comparable costs. For example, a remote safari in Botswana is far more expensive than a tented experience in Tanzania or Kenya. Seasonality can also affect the cost as in the high season pricing will rise and then drop during the low season. We typically recommend a budget of at least $3000 per person for a comfortable safari experience which would be inclusive of all internal flights and transfers, all accommodation, meals but exclusive of international airfare.

Where Should I Go?

While choosing where to go on your first safari comes down to personal preferences, our first-time travelers often prefer to explore popular national parks and reserves in Tanzania, Kenya, or South Africa. Those that desire a more rustic safari experience lean towards Botswana as it’s known for its remote atmosphere and vibrant wildlife. If you are feeling super adventurous, Uganda offers unforgettable encounters with mountain gorillas while Namibia showcases vast deserts and phenomenal scenery. While not as popular as the other destinations, Zimbabwe and Zambia are known for more adventurous activities and calls home to some of the best safari guides on the continent.

When Should I Start Planning?

The general rule of thumb is the sooner the better. A majority of our clients often plan a year in advance, which we highly recommend due to the popularity of certain camps and lodges. While a commitment this far into the future can seem daunting, this is by far the best way to ensure you get exactly what you want. If you are planning a last-minute trip, don’t hesitate to contact us as we have a special knack for finding the perfect safari experience on short notice.

Can I Bring My Children?

Absolutely! We cater to a wide range of families and work with a number of different accommodations that have plenty of activities to keep them busy. Most safari lodges and camps have a minimum age of six but can vary depending on the location. Overall, bringing your kids on safari is the ultimate wildlife and educational experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

Award-Winning Tours

We are proud to hold TripAdvisor’s most prestigious award for the last two years. Since 2011, the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence honors tourism businesses that deliver consistently great service across the world. This designation is presented to approximately 10% of total businesses on TripAdvisor that have consistently achieved great reviews over the past year.

Quality & Service

There’s a reason why more than 10,000 people have trusted Odyssey Safaris to create their African safari. We build your adventure around your interests, likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams, even sprinkling in a few surprises along the way.

First-hand Knowledge

For over two decades, we’ve created unforgettable travel experiences around Africa and that’s down to the quality of our people. Our expert team have extensive and firsthand knowledge of the region and are passionate about what they do.

Unmatched Value

While there are cheaper options out there, we believe that our service and expertise makes our value for money hard to beat. Our stellar reputation for warm and deeply personal service at every step in the planning process is what sets us apart.

Our secret pocket guide helps you budget better and shares everything you need to know when planning your first trip to Africa.
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