Planning is quite an easy process. If you already know where you want to go, so much the better. If you’re not sure, let me suggest an itinerary; piece of cake. Just pop me an email showing your interests in planning a safari. If you can, please tell me when you are thinking about going. If you’re not sure, tell me and I’ll describe what to expect from different months as far as weather, flora, and fauna.
Next, tell me how many people will be in your group and how many days you are considering. If you tell me from which city you’ll travel, I can give you an idea of what your flight itinerary might look like, and suggest ways to save time and money.
Just tell me as much as you can, and I’ll take it from there. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s a lot to remember, but to make it easier, you can use my contact page. Hey, don’t be shy; you won’t be bothering me. If you haven’t realized it by now, I love my job.
How about a few suggestions on where to go?
South Africa is the best destination in Africa, and I’ve been doing it since 1994. Tourism is extremely safe and travel is easy. It is a very modern country with some of the best wildlife reserves in the world. Best of all, it is the easiest place to safari and the cheapest. Some of the greatest wildlife reserves in the world are Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Reserve, Etosha Reserve in Namibia, and Chobe and Moremi in Botswana. There are also super nature and wildlife reserves such as Mkuze, Ithala, Tembe Elephant Reserve, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and many have the big five. How about hiking in some of the most beautiful mountains in the world: the Drakensbergs? Blyde River Canyon views, or even far south in Natal where you can see 3000 year old bushman rock art? The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the biggest in the world and a perfect example of the semi-desert savanna typical of the Kalahari region. We can go to the park or we can go on a 4×4 camping safari out so deep into the savannah that you never knew you could be so far away from yourself. But don’t forget the more civilized…Cape Town is a dream. Visit the Stellenbosch wine region, the beaches, the Cape of Good Hope, the magnificent Garden Route. It is all possible. It is so easy.
You also have to consider how comprehensive of a tour you want. Do you want an all wildlife safari? There is no place better for wildlife than southern Africa. Do you want an African safari with a concentration on photography? On birding? On specific animals such as elephant, rhino, meerkats? Do you want an extreme adventure such as a balloon ride, white-water rafting on the Zambezi, or an elephant-back safari?
I love to talk about Africa, so, drop me an line and let’s get started.
To go over that all again:
- How long can you be away from home. I need to calculate just how much time you can spend in Africa?
- How many people will be in your group and from where are you coming?
- What regions do you have an interest in seeing?
- Can you cook? By that, I mean are you a good cook? If not, can you clean or cut veggies? Can you light the braai (that is a South African barbeque)?
- How many nights or days of a wildlife safari do you think you'd want?
- Do you like to relax and feel totally at ease? Do you want me to turn off my cell phone so that you won't get any calls? Do you like gin and tonics or wine at sunsets?
- Do you mind going head to head with a rogue bull elephant in full musth? Just kidding, that is my job, but I promise that give your adrenal glands a workout
Let me tell you some more
about my safaris
The price I give you will include almost everything except your cost of getting to our safari meeting place. For instance, if you were to visit Kruger National Park, you will have to fly to Johannesburg, then take a very short flight to an airport near Kruger where I'll be waiting. From there, we'll head for our first game drive in Kruger. My price includes airport transfer, entry, community levy, Wild Card (a hefty conservation fee of about $200 per person), my guide services, my vehicle, en suite accommodations, and three meals. In short, just about everything. I do not include booze or sodas or candy bars (though I always have snacks of fruit and cookies). I do not include any elective activity such as a night drive with a park ranger, but those are only about twenty bucks. After we've planned a safari, I'll be sending you loads of safari information and travel tips. You will be well prepared!
How long do the tours take?
Well, are 6 nights / 7 days enough for a safari? Are 14 days too many? You could spend a month on a South Africa wildlife safari and leave still wanting to see more. I do it all the time. To be realistic, though, you can only spare a certain amount of time away from home and work. So, the first thing you need to consider is the total length of time of your vacation. When I call a tour "ten days," I mean that this is the actual time with me on safari, and understand that this is 9 nights and 10 days. In other company tours, you might see a "7 Day African Safari," but look at what you get. They might even include air travel time from the US. The day length of any tour is a travel industry "gotcha." My 7 day African safari will be six nights and seven days actually in the bush looking for critters.
I don't conduct dozens and dozens of safaris each year, so I can probably make time to fit the dates you need. It's best if you have some flexibility, and this can often be arranged so many months in advance...and it is BEST to plan EARLY. The shortest African safari I've conducted was four nights / five days, and the longest adventure safari with one group was 48 days. I suggest that the minimum comprehensive adventure travel tour be around 5 nights/6 days, 8 is better, more is even more wonderful for you! BUT keep in mind that I can custom tailor any African safari tour to the time you have available. I will help you plan your safari so that you are not trying to do too much in too little time. Quality is more important than quantity. I will suggest better itineraries to best optimize travel between regions.
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW, and other stuff for your African safari
Here are some useful tips for your South African safari tour. I try to make sure that my clients are fully informed about what to expect. Whether it's an African photo safari or any other African adventure travel, the first thing to remember is that the seasons in southern Africa are the reverse to those in the United States and Europe. The climate is quite mild all year round, but it varies greatly from region to region. Winter (June to September) in the Cape Town area can be compared to the winter of San Francisco. At the same time up north in the Kalahari or Kruger, the days are always beautiful and warm, with hardly a cloud in the sky; keep a jacket with you, but you probably won't use it much. It can get chilly in August (all right, it can get darn cold) when the sun goes down, but there is rarely an evening when you won't want to sit out under the stars.
The southern summer is also their rainy season in many areas, and this can present some interesting conditions. In the rainy season and just after, the foliage grows making it a bit more difficult to spot the animals. Since there is more water for the animals, they don't frequent the watering holes (usually located near the roads) as often because there are many pools and natural holes deeper in the bush. The shoulder seasons are ideal times to view wildlife. September to November are their spring months, and April to June are their autumn months...but the seasons are not as clearly defined as in North America and Europe. As I mentioned, any time of the year is perfect.
How, about the wildlife? It is important to remember that these animals are wild. They are accustomed to seeing vehicles filled with strange creatures, and they have reached a kind of acceptance with these vehicles...but not necessarily with humans. In some viewing locations, it is safe to get out of the vehicle and sit in the shade or a hide shelter near a water hole, but these areas are always marked. Along the road...well, stay in the vehicle! In game reserves and parks, you can take great walks into the bush with park rangers.
The best time to view wildlife is from daybreak to about 11:00 and again from 3:00 to sunset. This varies with the seasons. In the midday, the larger animals usually rest in the shade of trees or lie down in the warm sun. You'll notice how evolution has given many of the animals natural camouflage; their coloring is quite often the same as the surroundings: the springbok is the color of the grass so it can hide from the lion...but then, so is the lion, but not to hide from the springbok, but to stalk it!
My most popular African safari tours are in South Africa. South Africa's motto is "A world in one country," and it is certainly that. It offers wonderful adventure travel and can easily fulfill all your desires, and it can do so in a surprisingly affordable way. I want to design a tour just for you. Whether you plan to travel alone, with your partner, with family, or with friends, I can custom tailor a perfect safari experience and "shepherd" you part way or the entire visit. I won't send you anyplace I consider to be dangerous.
Your safari will be one of the wonderful experiences of your life. I've never had a client glad to see the end of the safari. It all went by too fast and there was so much more to see. You have experienced wonderful things, indeed, experiences that have enriched your life. For a short time, you have shared a land and its people, you have seen wildlife far different than any you've ever seen; you have seen a wonderfully diverse and beautiful land and its many cultures ...your life has been changed. You'll return home to your great life, but you will certainly know that a part of Africa resides in your soul. In months and years to come, you'll find yourself recounting stories of your tour, and you'll have a special tenor in your voice and look in your eyes. Don't be surprised that one day you meet someone in the know who says to you, "You got it, too, don't you?" "Got what?" you ask....you've got the Africa bug.