You are on page 1of 39

African Safari Planning

By Will Fox
Will Fox has guided hundreds of people on Safaris in Africa. He runs On Track safaris to help support INGWE – Leopard Research, a project he established to conserve free roaming leopards in South Africa. Will has compiled this safari-planning guide giving answers to the most frequent questions he is asked by people who are considering taking a safari.

African Safari Planning
Issue 2 Tips on Planning your African Safari By William Fox

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means without prior permission of the author, nor otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

In turn that lead to my becoming involved with African wildlife conservation. Without one there can’t be the other. I figured that it was worth compiling a safari-planning guide that hopefully provides some answers to the questions that I am most frequently asked by people who are considering an African safari. which I hope you’ll enjoy. I’ve based this book on the most common questions that I have been asked over the years. as I believe that tourism and conservation must work hand in hand.On Track Safaris. moving from the UK to South Africa and subsequently starting my own safari company . In putting together the second edition of this safari-planning guide. My love of Africa started on my first visit in 1980. my aim is not only to update the information provided but also add more detailed answers to some of the particular questions that I have been asked since African safari planning was first published. After all what better a reference point could one have than the questions that have been asked by others who were planning an African Safari. But it is not my aim for this guidebook to be a sales brochure for my safaris.Forward Having guided hundreds of people on safari in the African bush. William Fox . but rather to provide you with sufficient information to make a reasoned decision when choosing your African Safari. On Track Safaris aims to raise money for our work in conservation. I’ve also added a few comments of my own and stories from safaris.

For example on a recent safari we came across a lone lioness that and had clearly been fighting. our lioness was frequently and desperately calling for her pride. . Safaris have evolved from the days when the name safari was synonymous with hunting animals through to today when the majority of visitors take their shots with a camera. A dominant male from a northern pride had travelled south looking for some adventure (as lions do). And so the story unfolded. Of-course those things are key elements of any safari but moreover modern safaris also provide opportunities for guests to ‘experience Africa’. However. want more than just to be shown animals and enjoying stylish bush lodges. on finding our female he had lured her away from her pride to mate with her. indeed appreciating their help with tracking and listening to the lion calls and other animal behavior. but it’s a good one. Safari is the Swahili name for ‘journey’. When one thinks of a safari one thinks of Africa and wildlife. It has become synonymous with adventure and the discovery of wildlife and habitats of Africa. experiencing all the factors that contributed to a great lion story and a great day on safari. but thankfully some of the magic surrounding a safari to wild Africa is still there. to understand the real conservation issues and in many cases get involved with conservation. My guests were naturally keen to learn more about what had happened to her and so we suspended our normal game drive and both guests and guides spent most of that day reading the signs and using our bush knowledge. as well as having opportunities to spend time understanding animal behaviors and learning bush skills. Of-course air travel opened up Africa so that a safari became much more affordable. And by involving our guests in understanding the tracks we saw. Now stranded on her own. the females from the northern pride didn't approve and came south looking for their male! On finding the two new lovers together they let our lioness know they weren’t impressed in the least. we were able to follow the stranded lioness until she was thankfully reunited with her own pride later that day. But what a day we had had. the bush. But that evolution continues and we are now moving into an era when visitors quite understandably. By moving between both prides of lions and our stranded female we were able to establish exactly what had happened.What is a Safari? Sounds a simple question. and gave her quite a hiding. rustic but high quality lodges etc. who had drifted further south hunting Buffalo and out of range for her calls. which added to its glamour and mystique. In the early part of the twentieth century an African Safari tended to be seen as an expensive trip reserved for the rich and famous.

which should provide the best value for money and moreover safari experience. Just jump down to the option you prefer: Self Drive Tour You can arrange a self-drive safari tour and essentially ‘do it your self’. mixing time in the African bush with a beach resort holiday). However as far as the type of safari goes. Essentially. which I will cover later. When you are planning your safari. The self-drive option requires an element of local knowledge to ensure yours and your passengers’ safety and can end up being . game viewing and recreation that you prefer. there are four basic types of Safari: • Self drive tour • Guided safari tour (taking in several different locations). Some National Parks such as the Kruger Park in South Africa are open to the general public allowing you to drive the myriad of roads looking for animals. There are plenty of accommodation websites and guidebooks that provide descriptions and booking options and of-course the Trip Advisor website should have reviews of accommodation venues. the time of year you wish to visit. your preferred accommodation and of-course what you can afford to pay. • Reserve/lodge safari (based on one particular reserve or lodge) • Bush and beach safari (normally two center break. I’ve given a brief description of each safari type below. However it would be churlish of me not to inject a word of caution. Unless you have experience in driving in Africa then please consider the safety aspects of driving in Africa and the likely hidden extra costs. then your choice should be directed by the wildlife you want to see.What kinds of Safari are there? A safari can be undertaken in many ways . there are a number of things you need to consider. Mix and match the types of accommodation. The most popular safari is undoubtedly a fully guided safari tour.from the DIY self-drive right through to an exclusive luxury ‘fly-in’ safari.

But that is not the main reason that I recommend a guided tour. As I said earlier tourism and conservation need to go hand in hand. They normally cater for large groups and move between a number of hotels and lodges or reserves. Those companies that advertise on the RT website have demonstrated that they operate in a responsible and sustainable manner and as such are worthy of consideration. so look for companies who do this. local knowledge and visits to out of public reach places. I also feel that it is worthwhile selecting a tour operator with good conversation credentials who demonstrates a social conscience. I have added some driving tips in a later chapter if you are interested in self-drive. tips. before heading off again to a game reserve. self drive does give you the freedom to do your own thing and even change your itinerary as you go. which offers some assurance as to the quality that you should expect. but as I said it can be a slightly cheaper option that taking a small group safari. which allows for personal service. then ensure your tour minimizes road travel and hotel stays in favor of bush lodges and more time spent in the bush with nature. I would recommend you visit the Responsible Travel website. covering comparatively large areas. My advice is to opt for a tour that provides high quality game viewing.. This form of safari provides the best overall value coupled with the best safari experience. which is a referral site for many types of holidays including safaris. then tourism must help fund conservation. After you don’t come on safari to gaze out of a coach window. There are hundreds of tours and packages available online and I’m sure the choice is daunting and may even be overwhelming. but there are many of this form of tour available and they can be a relatively cheap option. unique accommodation and caters for small intimate groups accompanied by a quality guide. But more importantly. which a tour operator and local guides provide. As a good place to start.more expensive when compared to a fully guided safari tour. In my local town. However. If you can. The bedraggled and somewhat bewildered are shown where to eat before being herded back onto their coach. on any given lunchtime. It’s not my style. after all I own and mange a safari company. One other tip. Guided Safari Tour My recommendation to everyone considering a safari is to take a guided tour. Ofcourse I would say that. We limit our safari groups to between two and six people. you are likely to miss out on the information. . Not only that but the site also provides independent customer reviews on each safari they list. several coaches stop to allow their passengers time to take a café lunch. I have not met a safari guest yet who does not want to support conservation and also help the underprivileged communities that often rely on support from tourists visiting their country. My preference is not for the large coach type tours. Each needs the other to survive. If we are to maintain and sustain what is left of the wilderness for future generations.

Check that the ground transportation. But most importantly it’s often the only way to see something. hidden by trees. accommodation. they’ll notice very small creatures.Having an experienced guide is essential for any safari and is a great way for you to learn about all the elements of nature. simply because trained guides know what to look for and will spot things that you may never see. which ends up costing you a lot more once you add in all the extras that you’ll need to cover when you arrive. excursions. Reserve or Lodge based Safari Ideal if you prefer to stay and enjoy one location. guide/driver and transfers are all included. like a chameleon or a dung beetle. meals. Some operators complicate the issue with a very low cost for a bare-bones safari. and at other times they’ll see things that are far off. This form of safari is usually for . As well as all the ‘big and fury’ animals that we all want to see. My advice is to stick with a reputable safari operator that offers an inclusive deal with no hidden costs. When choosing your safari it’s important to make sure that all the essential elements associated with the trip are included in the quoted price.

Again you can choose to self drive to a lodge. South Africa – The Kruger National Park Botswana – The Okavango Delta Kenya . followed by a sumptuous dinner with coffee taken sitting around the fire listening to the sounds of the nighttime bush and recounting tales from the day. that conversation is a little one sided. But at the risk of offending many great places. It’s interesting to note that many of our guests take the view that they can easily find a beach holiday relatively cheaply elsewhere in the world. However the distances between safari venues and the beach can make this a more expensive tour than a stand-alone bush safari.less than seven days as beyond that things can become a little repetitive if you stay in one place. To be fair. given the surroundings. I have to say that these conversations often happen after a day game viewing in an open land rover. Beach and Bush Safari Normally a fourteen-day package with seven days spent on a guided safari and seven days at a beach resort. Where should I go for the best Safari experience? This is a very difficult question to answer and one that could be a book in itself. There are literally hundreds of great locations throughout Africa.The Maasai Mara . If they are coming to Africa they prefer to maximize their safari experience while in the country. I have chosen three locations (marked in red on the map below) that in my view are the best places to go for a safari. however this means that your hire car would remain in the lodge car park unused for most of your stay and as such its is often better to fly in to a local airport and arrange a pick up by your lodge.

the climate is good for safari all year and most important of all the variety of game viewing and scenery is spectacular. . South Africa is relatively easy to get to in that there are frequent international flights to Johannesburg from most countries of the world. Thorny Bush Reserve and a number of other wildlife reserves. The countries infrastructure provides ease of transportation. Johannesburg OR Tambo airport was upgraded significantly as part of the 2010 soccer world cup and now provides all of the services and facilities that one expects from a large modern airport. where you will also find the Sabi Sands Reserve. then my advice is to find a tour that includes at least some time in the LowVeld i.e.South Africa South Africa is my preferred venue for a safari. the area around the Kruger National Park. but if it is a wildlife safari that your looking for. South Africa boasts many fine game viewing areas.

safari tents are usually what one can only describe as luxurious. . Many safari operators transfer to the LowVeld by vehicle. flight time around one hour. simply because you’ll hear and see more. Not only that. And if you think ‘tent’ means ‘sleeping bag on the ground don’t worry. it’s definitely worth opting for some accommodation venues that have luxury tents. but it is often a preferable option to hanging around at the airport waiting for an internal flight for several hours. If you have a choice. as the road network to the wilderness areas is very good.This region provides the best opportunities for wildlife game viewing throughout the year and has a variety of venues for you to choose from. In that way the overall experience is more fulfilling. When visiting South Africa. In our case. especially if you have just endured a long-haul flight from your home to Johannesburg. it is often advisable to look for tours or venues that include cultural and conservation elements as well as game viewing. we meet our guests at Johannesburg airport and transfer straight away by safari vehicle to our home reserve. There are daily flights to and from the LowVeld area from Johannesburg airport. Most people agree that is a much better way to spend your first day. or having to stay overnight at an airport hotel. That means that we’re normally enjoying our first game drive before most transfer flights have arrived in the LowVeld.

As with whale watching it is easy to include a few days at the Falls as part of your safari. even luxurious accommodation with lodges that also have swimming pools and provide an All Inclusive daily itinerary. Flights to Cape Town from Johannesburg (approximately two hours) run almost every hour making it easy to enjoy some time whale watching at the beginning or the end of your wildlife safari. The climate makes it an all round visiting destination. There are 11 official languages and not one true South African stereotype. either before or after your wildlife safari to the Low Veld. There are several climactic zones too. if you would like to add a trip to the Victoria Falls then there are daily flights to Livingston (Zambia) taking just one hour forty five mins. offering vastly different holiday options depending on what it is you’re looking for. private wildlife reserves where you can see a lot of animals in a short amount of time. From July through to November some excellent whale watching can be found on the southern coast of Africa. there are several good reasons to choose South Africa when thinking of an African holiday. similar to that in Queensland. and beautiful scenery to go along with them.South Africa also has plenty of small. These private game reserves normally have comfortable. Botswana . There are species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on the planet. Here are some things you may not know – South Africa is a country with the highest bio-diversity of any country in Africa. and ranks amongst the most bio-diverse countries in the world behind Brazil and Indonesia. South Africa has an infrastructure unlike any other part of Africa. which shows its human diversity as a county that supports all cultures. which makes getting around quite a lot easier than in the rest of the continent. Why choose South Africa? Well. Alternatively. South Africa (and moreover Johannesburg) also provides a good hub from which to add an extra couple of days whale watching near Cape Town or even a visit to the Victoria Falls. South Africa is also fondly called the Rainbow Nation. enabling a sports-mad culture to prosper.

dry and largely mosquito-free winter climate make this period the best time to visit the Okavango Delta. Hot and dry September and October are also good months to visit as thirsty animals are concentrated in enormous numbers on its fringes (the Moremi Game Reserve is particularly rewarding at this time). The extra costs of staying at a lodge in the delta are well worth it and will hopefully leave you with treasured memories that will never be forgotten. Planning when to go to the Okavango Delta should take into account the seasonal nature of the area. Many animals migrate to the delta at this time and the resulting game viewing plus the mild. however that somewhat diminishes the experience. well known for their distinctive custom and dress. While November to April is the rainy summer season. . You will land on one of the small Mara airstrips. Although please note that it is not guaranteed that the wildebeest will get to Maasai Mara. and from there transfer by car to your particular lodge or camp. December to February are great times to visit as it is dryer. The access point to Kenya is Nairobi Wilson Airport and the Masai Mara is accessible by a ninety-minute flight from Nairobi. There are several game reserves one can visit in northern Botswana. In contrast to a Southern African safari. as opposed to the open game drive Landover or jeep style vehicles used elsewhere. June to August is high water season with the best opportunities for viewing game from boat or canoe. The world-renowned wildebeest migration is in July to October. Flying to the Maasai Mara is the quickest option. Also. To many people Botswana is not as visually stunning as other safari locations. with the world famous Okavango Delta being the most popular. game drives are taken in closed vehicles or mini buses with opening roofs. You will then transfer to a light aircraft for the final leg to the delta where you will be picked up by 4x4 vehicle for the short leg to your bush lodge. the Great Wildebeest Migration and the Maasai people. The Maasai Mara is situated in southwest Kenya and is famous for the abundance of lion. but given the distance and road conditions is well worth the extra cost. however the wildebeest and a lot of the zebra will moved on to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania by then. In my view this does diminish your game viewing experience somewhat but nevertheless you are likely to see some wonderful game species. however the remoteness and large concentrations of wildlife easily compensates. Kenya/Tanzania I have combined Kenya and Tanzania as the Serengeti (Tanzania) and Maasia Mara (Kenya) form part of the same eco-system. To get to the Okavango delta you will first need to fly from your home country to Johannesburg (South Africa) and then take a flight to Maun Airport in Botswana.Northern Botswana has some great game viewing opportunities. It is more expensive than travelling from Nairobi by vehicle. It is possible to stay outside of the delta area and take day trips into the delta from the surrounding lodges. making this the best time to see this incredible movement of animals. It is without a doubt one of Africa’s most famous safari destinations. I will focus on the Maasia Mara in Kenya as it is probably the most famous of the two and more easily accessible.

which in my view have reduced the quality of the safari experience. I’m not sure what he had seen on TV or heard perhaps from his friends.The not so good news is that for the past several years Kenya has been a dumping ground for cheap European tour groups. Certain lodges and campsites also have age limits. If you are travelling with children under 12. but he imagined that there was danger around every corner. eleven year old son and grandma. who seemed to be totally stressed out about being in Africa. I fondly remember a family joining us on safari last year made up of mum. double check to make sure children are allowed to stay at the lodge/campsite and what the age-limit may be on game drives. My view (and I may be wandering off track a little here) is that children should be welcomed on safari and be involved as much as possible. was climbing trees and was . However this is changing with Kenyan tour operators and hotel/lodge/camp owners pulling out all the stops to revive their once thriving industry. In our case. I won’t bore you with the details but towards the end of the safari he had transformed completely and was running around the lawn barefoot. dad. If you're making your own reservations. then talk this through with a safari tour operator who will be able to shape your safari to cater for your family. On his first night he sat at dinner terrified by a couple of moths that were attracted to the paraffin lamps that hung around the stoop of our lodge. One word of warning. We’d rather offer exclusive family safari packages to cater for the individual needs of both kids and mum and dad. An African safari can be a liberating adventure for kids. Are there any age restrictions? Some safari tours do have age restrictions for children. What greater adventure for a child than a safari. we love to see families on safari but we naturally do not to mix a family with small children in with a small group safari that may include couples or single travellers. I was quite concerned about the young boy. At the very start of the safari. be careful and try to avoid the large lodge / minibus safaris.

Whereas those are the winter months in Southern Africa. It’s important to remember that if you live in the Northern hemisphere you’ll be used to summer being between June – August and hopefully being warm and dry. We have had some wonderful seniors on safari with us over the years. He returned home confidant yet respectful of nature and the bush. but the motorbike was going around the wall of death at a fair ground at the time! When is the best time to go on Safari? This is probably the most frequently asked question. Given there are no serious medical conditions then all are very welcome. she sent me a photograph taken the same week of her grinning from ear to ear while sat on the handlebars of her sons’ motorbike. That is when the temperatures can often reach 40+ and the game lodges are very busy and prices are at a premium. The prime safari areas are best visited from June through October when the weather is cooler and dry. much to the amazement of his mum and with much pride from his father. The dry season is the most optimal season to see animals. availability of water and a number of other natural factors to find you great game sightings. My advice is to focus on the reason that you are going on safari i. then this is Africa and that is very easy to do. then please ensure you have an experienced guide. To the eighty-four years young lady who could dance the night away after dinner and still be bright eyed and raring to go at 5:30 the next morning. to see wildlife. Having said that. and moreover the bush isn’t so dense allowing you to see further. the water holes attract a wide variety of animals. I’m often asked if there is an upper age restriction. Different seasons offer different game viewing opportunities. This makes it easy for you to find and view wildlife. and tend to be pleasantly cooler and dry. Most safari operators will tailor each day’s activities to suit their clients and if we need to slow down a little. Summers in Southern Africa are Dec – Feb and are warmer (often very warm if you are not used to it) and rainstorms can occur. At the other end of the scale. She wore out two of my young rangers who needed to work in shifts just to keep up with her.even becoming proficient at target shooting with an air rifle. late December and early January. The dry season also means the vegetation has thinned out. That in itself would have been quite something. a good guide will take into account the weather.e. With less standing water around. Before travelling. From the elderly lady who had been with the British Colonial service back in the day. As with all of our safari guests they start as clients and very soon become friends. she rang us to ask what was the dress code for dinner and when she was on safari entertained us with wonderful stories of her time as a teacher in colonial Africa just after the Second World War. They have kept in touch since returning home and I’m pleased to hear how the young guy has joined his local scout troop and is continuing on with a newfound passion for nature. When she arrived back at home after her safari. So if you would prefer to visit at other times. And the answer is of-course a resounding NO. If I were to pick a time of year NOT to visit (and its only a personal choice) it would be during the Christmas period i.e. .

directly or indirectly and that serious sunburn may result from unprotected exposure. Here is an example of the type of wording you might expect to see on an indemnity form: I do hereby warrant and acknowledge: That my general health is good and there is nothing that renders me unfit to undertake a Safari. but it’s worth checking that is the case before buying your cover. Most safari operators and guides at the various lodges and game reserves will stress basic precautions you need to take while game viewing. hyena. I figure that comes as no surprise to anyone. For example the hot wet summer months tend to be the worst time for mosquitos. Here you are reliant on your guides’ ability. the flick of an ear or swish of the tail may not mean much to you. However in the modern day with lawyers ever eager to sue companies. He or she will understand animal behavior and know when it is a good time to say view Lions from an open vehicle and when it is time to move away. Wherever you go on safari.Is Safari dangerous? Every safari has an element of danger. Nature is unpredictable and you will be getting relatively close to dangerous animals. insects and plants and other natural hazards may occur whilst on safari that rivers and dams may contain bilharzias and sickness may result upon entry or consumption of such waters. bush pig. the indemnity forms now need to list all the hazards that you may (and probably won’t ever) encounter. That I am aware of the hazards and distribution of malaria in Southern Africa. The bottom line is that you are on safari to relax and enjoy viewing wildlife and it is your guides’ job to find that wildlife in a considerate manner that keeps guest and animals safe. Some year ago that indemnity form was very simple and comprised a few lines only. For example. you will be asked to sign an indemnity form to indemnify the safari operator or lodge against your being hurt or traumatized resulting from an event that wasn’t directly their fault. rhinoceros. A wildlife safari will normally fall under general travel insurance. Do I need insurance? The simple answer is yes you will need travel insurance. That I am aware of the potential dangers of exposure to sun . Stick to your guides’ advice and all should be well. . buck. warthog. That there will not always be protection in the form of fences building and vehicles in which to take cover and that exposure to one or more of the following potentially dangerous animals such as lion. buffalo. that's what makes it exciting. but to your guide will understand what these things mean and act accordingly. What about Malaria? Malaria occurs in varying degrees throughout sub Saharan Africa and is spread by mosquitos. which is more an indication of the realities of operating in the modern world then anything else. spiders. I have listed some of the basic safety guidelines that we tell our guests later in this book. leopard. wildebeest as well as poisonous snakes. There are Malaria free areas and the risks alter from season to season. hippo.

We always offer discounts to groups. if you travel with friends. There are often great offers available online either direct with the airlines or through sites such as skyscanner. quickly spraying his/her legs and arms before an evening game drive. African safari specialists will know when a regional flight makes more sense than driving. if you cut down on some of the ultra luxurious perks. Your doctor will be able to advise on antimalarial pills (prophylactics). a spa. where you could miss out on a game drive due to a late afternoon arrival. It's when the animals congregate around waterholes and the grass is short.especially around dawn and dusk. don’t get bitten by mosquitos. Travel to Africa in the off-season (Feb – May). A good safari operator will take the time to listen to what you want out of a safari and will get you the best value based upon your personal preferences. better game viewing opportunities. You’ll often see even the toughest game ranger dressed in the obligatory khaki shorts. especially during the peak season (December and January). etc. at the price you can afford. However there are ways that you can make your safari cheaper without cheapening your safari.You can get a great safari experience with a good guide and good accommodations for much less money. How can I keep the cost down? I have to be honest and say that this amongst the first question that I would ask. But if you go on a small safari tour to private game reserves with a great guide then you will have an incredible safari in any ‘off –season’. Any good tour operator will be able to arrange for you to be met in country from a flight that you have booked. then why pay the extra commissions. expedia and opodo. . Find a good safari operator. As well as looking romantic. Use an insect repellant on any exposed skin and wear long sleeved shirts and trousers at dawn and dusk. Most lodges provide mosquito nets around your bed for use at night. Go with a friend or a group. These would include a private plunge pool. Unless your tour operator is able to provide a discount on the price that you can get online. Conventional safari wisdom says that the dry season is the best time to go on safari. or whether it's worth spending your first night at a hotel rather than game reserve. a large selection of wines. You can really cut the costs of a safari and retain all the benefits. they help you relax and enjoy a restful sleep without need to worry about Mosquitos. but the best form of protection is the simplest. gourmet meals cooked to order. but obviously check with them before buying your tickets. The list of discount flight shops seems endless so shop around for the best deal and book as early as possible. They understand that if you wish to go on a walking safari and want to do night drives. it pays to book your safari with an expert to get the safari you want.e. Book your own flights online. But I am from Yorkshire in the UK and the inhabitants of that fine county do have a certain reputation for lets say ‘finding the best value’. and that is when you can find some discounted safaris. i. Forego the extra luxuries . as do many other safari tour operators. In the end. that you have to safari in a private reserve.

My advice is check out any reviews of the safari that you are considering. Most people going on safari will be taking a selection of game drives or bush-walks with a game ranger. In that way you’ll get a good feeling that you are making the right choice. The word ‘game ranger’ is often used incorrectly. called a spade a spade and not a ‘digging implement’. I figure the question is moreover how do I ensure the quality of guide(s). Whatever his or her title. who (as they say). “If I wanted animals to appear on time. You’ll spend a lot of time with your tour guide while on safari and will probably be with several other field guides at the various reserves you visit as part of a safari tour. it is his or her experience and a passion for nature and people that are the essential elements in any tour or field guide.” He was a Yorkshireman like myself. I was leading a safari with a group from the UK when one of my safari guests. on any safari. When on game drive there is no reason to . As much as I understand that the lodge kitchen need to produce meals on time. During a recent safari (which is fresh in my mind). I couldn’t have agreed more. In fact the person who looks after you while on safari is better referred to as a field guide. Safari guests want more than to just view animals. other than yourself. made a slightly tetchy retort to a young tracker (who had apologized for a blank game drive). As much as the quality of your guide is very important. we had such an occasion. I want this (he points out across the African bush). which I think explain my point better. A guide should never leave a sighting just to be back in time for dinner.How important is the guide or ranger? Your guide or ranger is probably the most important person. the real deal. so check this element carefully. it is just as important that the lodge you are staying at understand that your number one priority is to view game. with both statements. I’d ave gone to a zoo or Disney World.

You will probably visit several different reserves during your safari to vary your wildlife. your safari will basically encompass visiting game reserves with normally (depending on size) one or more chic. “Tell yon lodge a cheese toastie’ll do when we get back. What happens on Safari? Other then travel to and from Africa. Rhino or whatever is key. Of-course the lodge kitchen staff care. enjoying being in the same place as the Lion. I should say that it’s not that we’re ungrateful for the efforts of the lodge staff. They work hard to put high quality (hopefully local) cuisine on your table and often need to work to a schedule. The number one priority is a real wildlife experience. I want to stay ere and see what ‘appens. Game drives leave from your lodge each morning and evening and traverse the reserve where you are staying. The most usual way to see wildlife is from the back of a game drive vehicle. or when back at the lodge no need to worry about the quality of the rowing machine in the gym. Just let nature dictate the pace and if that means we’re late getting back at the lodge for diner. Safari guests would much rather go for a big five-bush walk than work out in a gym. cultural and lodge experiences. Your guide will be on hand to help you spot the wildlife and will be able to explain what is happening during each sighting. allowing you to see a lot more than from a conventional car. high quality bush lodges on that reserve. Who cares? It’s wildlife experiences that we want and not just being able to say I saw a Lion. These tend to be an open Landover or similar 4 x 4 vehicles that have been modified with comfortable seats for guests. but in the words of my Yorkshire friend while watching a pride of Lions as they moved off for a nights hunting.” He was absolutely right.charge around trying to tick off species just because that is what it is assumed guests want. . Spending quality time in a sighting. I may have been unkind by saying ‘who cares’. We stayed and he witnessed a Lion hunt resulting in his wearing a grin from ear to ear as he ate his toastie at 11pm that night.

. away from it all. Of-course the serenity and peace of being in the bush. that sort of thing. My advice is to pick an itinerary with a couple of breaks from game driving. together with the relaxed atmosphere of bush lodges and camps makes relaxing very easy. linking up with our leopard research team to monitor leopards. The idea is to give you an overall immersive bush and wildlife experience. For example enjoying a cultural visit or taking in a wildlife rehabilitation center. In our case we intersperse big five game viewing with opportunities for you to meet our conservation team and be hands on (if you wish). Morning game drives leave at first light to ensure the best game viewing and that can mean that you are getting up at 5:00. so it’s often a welcome break to have a couple of days during your safari where the scheduled activities mean you can enjoy a lie in.What type of safari you choose will alter how the safari unfolds but it is important to remember you are there for a holiday. or developing your bush senses. so try and balance game viewing activities with time for some R&R. learning the art of tracking animals.

to see animals that only come out at night or certain activities that usually only take place at night. – Taken after dinner or more often that not forms the later part of the afternoon game drive.Depending on where you go on safari. It is the bush and nature that calls the tunes. It is a huge benefit if this is permitted. Early morning drive – Normally starting at first light and returning for breakfast. There are broadly three types of game drive. . that will affect when this is possible and moreover when it is not ethical to do so. then off road driving will not be permitted as it is likely to do long term damage to the veldt. with the aid of a strong spotlight. Afternoon drive – Leaving your lodge after high tea and returning for dinner. For example if there has been rainfall over a certain limit. The contrast is greatest on the night drive where it may be possible. your vehicle may be allowed to go off-road. All good reserves have strict ecological and conservation guidelines for guides. Night drive. This works really well where a great sighting (say a leopard in a tree) is some way off the road or track and to get a good appreciation you need to be closer. It’s never the case that one may be better than another as there are no firm rules for success. allowing you to enjoy a night drive on your way back to your lodge for dinner. Often the afternoon game drives are extended into the early evening when darkness falls.

that sort of thing. On most reserves your guide will also be communicating with any other guides in the area via a radio to co-ordinate their efforts and cover as much of the reserve as possible. During the morning drive you will probably stop in the bush for a ten minute break at around 08:00 when your guide will set up a table to serve coffee tea and biscuits. to help lead you to animals. sitting up front on a bonnet mounted seat to spot spoor (tracks) left from the night before. Game drive times vary as the seasons change but morning drives tend to start at around 06:00 with a coffee taken in the lodge before departing into the reserve. so take along a fleece or warm jacket just in case. Your guide will often be accompanied by a tracker.Please remember that it might be chilly in the early morning or late evening especially in an open game drive vehicle. The more eyes on the ground the better as there are normally huge areas to cover. .

dependent on what you find on your game drive. At around 18:00 you’ll again stop in the bush for a fifteen-minute sundowner (a drink of your choice accompanied by snacks). During the heat of the day there is usually time to relax and enjoy the serenity of your surroundings before the afternoon game drive. The afternoon game drive will normally start with high tea before setting out into the reserve at around 16:00. Then it’s off again and as the sun sets your guide/tracker team will use a spot lamp to find any nocturnal animals as you return through the reserve back to your lodge for dinner.Then you’ll set off again arriving back at your lodge for breakfast somewhere around 09:30. Brunch is then served on your return to the lodge. but that could be later. No trip is ever the same and your tour operator will work with you to come up with a sequence of places and activities that addresses your requirements. To be on foot in the African bush is a wonderful experience and one that we very much enjoy when the time is right. to create that . There is often the option of a guided bush walk in the late morning.

Lunch and dinners usually available. Country hotels – Normally found on the outskirts of rural towns. There is range of establishments in this category. Trip Advisor or any of the review sites available. blending with the environment. secure environments with landscaped gardens. via their websites. upmarket establishments. they are small. I particularly like the Responsible Travel website that not only provides leads to find great safaris. Guest Houses – Again not normally found in game reserves. As I said earlier.exceptional journey. A fantastic African safari experience awaits you wherever you choose to stay. in beautiful settings. complete with claw bath and his and hers sinks or a more modest canvas construction is entirely your decision. Country Lodges – Normally not found in game reserves. set in tranquil suburbs or countryside. they are smaller. gracious establishments. What is the accommodation like? Accommodation options whilst on safari vary greatly. Often owner managed. exuding charm and understated luxury. ranging from traditional and basic tents for the more adventurous travelers to the huge decadent lodges for those who want to really indulge themselves. but generally very luxurious. Here are a few brief descriptions of some of the accommodation types available: Bush & Game Lodges – A guided safari tour will normally visit several lodges within different reserves as part of your safari. each being unique but offering you contact with the bush. Whether you prefer a huge and extravagant suite. It is very easy to check out the accommodation at any particular lodge or reserve. They tend to be tranquil. with about 5 rooms or suites. or by prior arrangement . Usually all meals and activities are included in the price. The term lodge can mean either a permanent tented camp or structures made of natural materials. but also has genuine customer reviews for you to read before making a selection. usually owner-managed.

clothing or other light objects that will help these projects. What should I bring? For most people. Bring spare spectacles. credit card numbers. prescription medication. passport. both cases with round pins. In Africa. You can usually buy whatever you need in small shops and supermarkets. If you lose your bag or important things. ideal where you would rather spend money on actual safari accommodation when you arrive at a reserve. Check your flight details and don't forget to confirm them – including onward connections abroad and returns. Often a good stop over location. If possible. If you're bringing anything electrical. This basic safari-packing list below provides some good pointers.). important travel documents. light colored (tan. In addition you should bring a carry-on bag with everything you cannot live without (camera equipment. comfortable. Safari clothes should be washable and loose fitting. if necessary. it keeps you comfortable and is unobtrusive and non-threatening to wildlife. an African safari is an expensive holiday. If you plan ahead then you’ll ensure that you won't have any unpleasant surprises on your safari holiday abroad. Many safari camps and lodges now support local community initiatives in and around the wildlife parks. this could be an enormous help. often selected on the basis of the strong individual stamp owners place on their service and amenities. etc.Reasonably priced.passport numbers. etc.and there is no charge for their time and advice. or neutral colors). It's important to remember to pack light especially if you're taking internal charter flights between parks because the baggage weight can be limited. khaki. so it pays to seek the expertise of a seasoned professional . money. Please ask if you can bring any school supplies. reserves and concession areas. electricity is generally 220/230 volts and uses either three-prong or twoprong plugs. or children's meals. List all your important numbers . Don't forget to order special meals on flights. or you could buy one in country. organize travel insurance and medical insurance. Check your passport isn't about to expire. and/or a copy of your prescription. probably at a good price. bring an adapter. If you've forgotten anything – don't panic. Select your clothing based on comfort. Some essentials to bring with you: Camera and camcorder (with battery charger or spare batteries) Binoculars (the best you can afford 8x32 or 10x42 are recommended) Rechargeable Torch/Flashlight Electrical converter and plug adapter Suntan lotion and insect repellent Spare glasses (it can be very dusty so avoid contact lenses if you can) Sunglasses Hat Credit/debit card Personal medications Lightweight clothing (no bright colors). If possible pack using a soft-sided suitcase. check whether you'll need visas. Including long sleeve shirts and trousers for .with management Bed & Breakfast establishments .

You will get a better exchange rate in Kenya and you will get the best rates at a forex. £160 or $270) with you and thereafter use a credit or debit card to either purchase goods or to withdraw local currency at an ATM or bank. rhino. Your lodge may accept US Dollars.000 (approx. US Dollars will be accepted in larger hotels. sweater or fleece for early morning and evening Waterproof jacket if you're on safari during the rainy season Swimsuit A good book to enjoy between drives Mobile phone with call roaming option to keep in touch with home. but it’s worth checking first. but again at a poor exchange rate. Although it is a term that is now synonymous with tourism it was actually coined by big game hunters. If you want to take cash. Warm clothing. Should I bring dollars or local currency? If you are travelling to South Africa the local currency is Rand.e. it’s important to let your credit card provider know that you will be travelling to Africa and ensure that they have your mobile phone number. In Botswana you will need the local currency (pula) for tips and minor expenses. Small travel first aid kit. It originally referred to the five species that were deemed most dangerous to hunt on foot. We recommend that you bring around ZAR2. Spare plastic zip lock bags A well broken-in. We have know safari guests to be refused funds at an ATM when their card provider initiates a security check. /. shops and restaurants but at a poor rate of exchange. leopard. When travelling to Kenya then for day-to-day expenses you will need Kenyan Shillings ( drives and evening meal. Thankfully it now has a different connotation i. What is the Big Five? The term ‘Big Five’ refers to lion. elephant and Cape buffalo. to cover bar bills etc. You can keep your cash safe in the hotel's safes. comfortable pair of lightweight hiking boots or walking shoes. Better that they ring you on your mobile phone and deal and clear it up straight away. the five big animals that one is supposed to want to see most of all on safari.or 'Bob'). take your local currency ( Sterling / Euros / Dollars) and change into Shillings at either the bank or forex at the airport or at a bank or forex / FX. . You should avoid changing money in your hotel or Safari lodge as their rates will be poor. Wherever you travel in Africa and before you leave home. Of-course your lodge should also accept credit or debit cards. Anywhere that will accept Dollars will also accept Pounds and Euros. which in turn leads to expensive phone calls home to sort it out.

We find that most safari guests when asked what they want to see while on safari will quite rightly say “EVERYTHING”. But importantly you didn’t charge around trying to find the other four. discovery. What a wonderful African experience. Responsible travel brings you closer to local cultures and environments by involving local people in tourism. However. What is Responsible Travel? If you haven’t guessed by now. rather than simply to tick off 'places and things'. and you only saw one of the big five. It’s a way of travelling for those who've had enough of mass tourism. . After all there is always tomorrow. adventure and to learn. Then later on you come across two Giraffe bulls necking (territorial fighting not kissing). What a wonderful experience. Imagine a game drive where you spend some quality time watching a herd of Elephant. feeling it. For those for whom travelling is for relaxation.My view is that the hype surrounding the ‘big five’ name is no more than a marketing ploy or at best is used to boast that a guide found the big five in one game drive (hoping for a big tip). I won’t bore you with my views on conservation and tourism needing to work hand in hand any more save to say that the title explains all. My advice is don’t come on safari with a tick list of animals you must see at all costs. that’s great. I am an advocate of responsible and sustainable Travel. If you come across the big five every day. fulfillment. There will be a lot of them. rather enjoy every opportunity you have to be in the company of whatever wild animals your guide finds for you. understanding more about their behavior and the herd dynamics. but see it as a bonus. smelling it and learning about it rather than just looking at it. It's about doing this in a fair way that helps ensure that they will give you an even warmer welcome. However I am often asked what responsible and sustainable travel means so let me put some context to the term: Responsible travel is about re-discovering how to experience nature and to be in it. you did connect with the bush and wildlife and did get to understand a lot more. You stop to watch a couple of red oxpeckers on the back of a loan Wildebeast and then enjoy a sundowner by a dam seeing and listening to a pod of Hippo as they prepare for their nights grazing.

Always wear boots and socks when walking around the bush. or through a leading responsible travel operator. it’s tempting to throw a log on the fire. Give the animal a clear birth and don't make any noise to further aggravate the situation. Leopard or Hyena to visit at night. in which case it is not unknown for Lion. Hippos are actually the most dangerous of all the big animals. Carry a torch/flashlight at night. Safety Tips You will normally be given a safety brief before you start any safari.The responsible traveller tends to prefer smaller groups. avoid swimming in rivers or lakes unless you are absolutely sure there are no hippos or crocodiles. and to meet some local people (as well as fellow travellers) rather than be surrounded by hundreds of people from back home. some animals will get annoyed and consequently aggressive. A game ranger will assist you. But. wear sunscreen and a sun hat Wear long sleeve shirts and trousers and spray liberally with insect repellant especially on morning and evening game drive. Don’t stand up when in a game drive vehicle. the responsible traveller makes and experiences a difference. It’s unlikely that you would try. When entering a room put a light on or use a torch/flashlight before you enter. You may ask why you would? But many lodges have an open fire to enjoy at night and if the fire is dying and the staff are away perhaps getting you a drink. You don’t know what is sharing the log pile. Above all else the responsible traveller wants to cut loose and experience their world. Be careful when walking around at night. but here are a few safety tips that might be useful: When out in the open. whether on game drive or bush walk. Do not take logs from a log pile. Use the mosquito net that will be provided if you are in a Malaria area. if you stand up or wave something around on the side. If you are on foot and an animal looks hostile make sure you are not in the way of its escape route. Whether they travel independently. even at your lodge. It’s unlikely that you would be in a position where you come across an animal without . but just in case. Many lodges are open to the bush. Don’t. Many safari vehicles are open-topped and the wildlife is generally accustomed to these. They feed on the banks of the river and if they sense danger will charge and attack whatever lies in their path in order to get back to the safety of the water. don’t stumble around in the dark.

but we offer safety advice. So don’t run. radioing the other guides for assistance in finding her and headed to the place where she had been seen last. Unless like my Californian friend above. The phenomenon known as fight or flight syndrome is part of human nature i. stand and fight or run away. I was happy to agree to stay for a short while when the guest in question whispered to me that he would like to take some photographs. Thankfully she hadn’t reached the elephants (in fact she wasn’t even aware they were not far away). That was perfectly normal and I didn’t give it any extra thought. I once had a lady guest from California who it transpired had had an altercation with her husband while on safari and decided that it would be rather fun to go off for a walk on her own while the rest of her group were having lunch. We were in a relatively safe position some fifty meters from the rhino with the wind in our faces. Elephants are fantastic creatures and are normally tolerant of people in a game drive vehicle if approached respectfully. One occasion comes to mind when the flight instinct was too much for one of my guests after we came across a rhino on foot. first stand still. I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard this. However. most of which is basically common sense. One thing for certain is that if you run away then you take on the mantle of a prey species that will be recognized by any predator. you go off wandering on your own! Not to labor the point. I was blissfully unaware of the situation until one of the service guys who was working in the reserve (actually fixing a bore hole pump). situations can occur. having just gone off to play somewhere without telling anyone. There have been a few times when I have needed to shoulder my rifle as a precaution (to be ready). Then walk away slowly. I live and work in the African bush and can count on one hand the dangerous encounters I have had over the years. I’m not sure what model of digital camera he was using. Still as my mother used to say “all’s well that ends well. But to put some context to it. I raced off in my Landover. after all you will be in wild Africa. but as he switched it on a loud tune (I think it was a digital version of the ‘entertainer’) played as the camera . I could almost read the headlines in the international press.your guide in attendance. but I have never found it necessary to shoot. is probably the hardest to do. because with all the precautions and planning that we have. so I wasn’t unduly concerned. I would say however that the instruction to stand still if you come across an animal on foot. I felt rather like a mother whose son or daughter goes missing and is instantly fearing the worst. until he switched his camera on. told me he had seen her heading towards a herd of elephants that were in a dry river bed about 1km from the lodge. but don’t do it again”.e. they can be very aggressive towards people on foot. We always repeat the advice above to our safari guests. only to see them return home unawares of the panic they had caused. If you encounter an animal that doesn't like your presence move back slowly and quietly. Of-course it is very unlikely that you will come across dangerous animals on foot accompanied by a guide. Initially everyone stood still as I instructed. but if you do.

started up. because she span around aggressively (rhino have exceptional hearing if poor eyesight). with others sat in a tree below. However his wife on the other hand didn’t let him off so lightly. . it can be difficult to tell the difference between a female sable and an impala when they are running. Look up in the trees if you want to spot a leopard. We eventually found him puffing and panting about 500 meters away. and teased him about it the entire way back to the lodge. look in rivers if you want to see crocodiles (especially in patches of reeds) and watch out for steaming dung heaps to give you a good indication how close you might be to an elephant. he did see the funny side of her teasing and we had a good laugh about it over lunch. which in turn startled my guest. The best time to spot game is at dawn and dusk. His wife and I were left watching a rhino’s rear end disappearing in one direction and her husbands in the other. so if one spots a lion kill or whatever they can let your party know so you get to see it too. usually far from the tracks you're driving on. who ran for it. Even if you carry a nice guidebook. How can I improve my being able to spot wildlife? Here are some tips that will help you maximize your wildlife viewing successes: Go with a guide. To be fair to him. I made no comment as in my line of work I find it best to say little on these occasions. The rhino did exactly the same and ran in the opposite direction. Straight past his wife and me as fast as his legs could carry him. Guides will often be in radio contact with each other. Know where to look. At midday the sun is hot and most animals prefer to siesta under the shade of a tree. Vultures circling. usually means there is a carcass there and whatever killed it (probably Lions) are still there. Our rhino clearly wasn’t a music lover. A guide is also useful in identifying species.

Then ten minutes later we take off the ear defenders and it normally at this point that bush suddenly comes alive for most people. Game parks are often bigger than some small European countries and the animals are wearing camouflage. an ear or tail flick over high grass. or a strange form in a tree. Guests can quickly blow away the cobwebs and have a head start on enjoying all aspects of nature. but that a female leopard in estrous has scent marked a bush. If one can smell popcorn when walking along a game trail. giving folks the opportunity to focus on touch. but has proved very popular. To give you a great example. Animal and birdcalls tell a story and we encourage our guests to get to know what at least some of those calls mean. You are looking for a change in form. On the first day of our safaris we offer our guests the chance take part in what we call our bush experience exercise. been dulled by urban living. After an initial ten minutes where the only sense used was smell. That in time will register almost subconsciously as you quickly scan an area. It’s not that some enterprising person has opened a popcorn stand nearby. where I sit my guests separately on a rock or fallen tree and offer them a blindfold. Don’t try to spot the outline of the whole animal. It is fun activity that is designed to quickly heighten your bush senses.Bring binoculars. The idea being to close down three of the main senses. Last. The question I am most asked about our bush senses activity is where does it originate. hearing defenders and gloves to wear. Anyway back to our bush experience exercise. That may be legs seen under a bush. It is actually something that I was taught when I was training to track animals many years ago. Of-course this isn’t a compulsory activity. The smells of the bush can tell us a lot about what has been happening. but glance around frequently at distance. because they will be telling us. which have more likely than not. Of-course we are on hand to make sure everyone is safe and can relax and enjoy reawakening their senses. We take a walk in the bush. but are too often over looked or missed all together. For example the vervet monkey has specific alarm calls for a predator on the ground (possibly leopard) or a predator in a tree (possibly snake). They are very easy to understand and give us clues as to where a leopard maybe. that lets us know that one of our female leopards is ready to mate. Enjoying using their ears. As someone who studies leopards it’s always a welcome and exciting smell. leaving the focus on smell. My instructor started me out with this and other similar . the sounds of the bush are amplified and much clearer allowing you to focus on a myriad of calls and noises. It’s a strange thing but when we remove the blindfold most people quickly look around to orientate themselves and then just as quickly close their eyes again. we remove the blindfold. we then remove the gloves. Still without vision. at least at the start of their safari. Sound is of key importance and is probably the most underused sense.

although it is always best to have a well-planned route mapped out in advance. This is a common event in Africa and sadly I should mention that there is a small minority of unscrupulous traffic police who are looking for a cash payment. If you are in a car with windows. Cash tips are normally given in the local currency. it's better to keep them closed. You can book a car online with all of the major operators. I was wrong and soon learned that a tracker needs to use all his or her senses. These figures represent suggested minimum amounts: If you receive exceptional service. You will need to pay in cash. Rather state that you are prepared to go to the police station and make payment of any speeding fine or other minor traffic offence. Check up on the driving rules and laws. Many traffic officers are polite and understanding of foreign travellers driving in their country. Only get out at designated places and follow the rules that will be posted. You can then choose the route and book accommodation to suit your pocket and travel plans by reviewing the hundreds on accommodation providers available from Guest Houses to five star game lodges. but it's wise to check this in advance.tricks to heighten the use of my senses. as these are bribes. Stick to the speed limits and watch for variations on any road. either for a random check or for an alleged speeding offence. Hiring a car in Africa is as the same as most other places in the world. which is illegal. My advice is that under no circumstances should you make any ‘on the spot’ cash payments. Most camps allow tipping by credit card if you prefer not to carry cash. Self drive advice If you’re feeling confident. Here are a couple of basic tips for driving in Africa: Stick to the main roads The main highways are generally good quality but some minor roads are riddled with potholes or may just be dirt roads. then a self drive safari can provide the traveler with a lot of additional freedom and choices. Even though I had wrongly imagined that tracking was just about looking for sign. as there may well be some differences to what you are used to. How much should I tip? Many people ask about tipping on safari. Don't stand up or stick anything out of the car. Proceed with caution. Hitch hiking is very common in Africa and you are likely to see many folks wanting a lift. with lodging or accommodation booked and paid for prior to travel. Always stay in your car when driving in a game park. Keep your windows up. but sadly not all. Finally be prepared to be stopped by the traffic police. I would advise against giving a lift to anyone who you do not know. Also note that motorway tolls and petrol stations often do not accept foreign credit or debit cards. If the officer is crooked then he/she will back down at that point and if not then you’ll have a fine to pay. a greater tip is always appreciated! .

General staff fund (for cleaners. Include a personal thank-you note for your ranger and tracker along with the tip. Envelopes for tips can normally be found either in your suite's stationery set or in the camp lounge. I have to be honest and anyone who meets me will no doubt vouch for this. but for me making sure that one is looking stylish in the bush takes second place to practicality. There is also a term of safari chic that followed the film Out of Africa. Trackers / butlers / valets: $5 per guest per day. which helps one to blend into the bush. has the same effect. which includes khaki clothing. All tips are normally given at the end of your stay. If you'd like to give a gift to the camp staff.): $5 per guest per day. a football (soccer ball) and pump will be very printed leopard's skin. but to be honest any neutral color. A hat is very important to prevent sunburn. Practical but can hardly be called stylish.Rangers: equivalent of $10 per guest per day in a shared vehicle. belted bush jackets. as many people in South Africa are football-crazy. and animal skin patterns . etc. If you're returning to a camp and know the ranger or tracker personally. cooks. How can I support conservation or the local community? By simply coming to Africa on safari you are contributing towards conservation as . So yes khaki is a good neutral color. a personal gift for him or his family is a lovely gesture. This not only included clothing but also interior design and architecture. waiters. it’s a wonderful way to thank them for the key contribution they make to your safari experience and is always deeply appreciated. What is safari style? There is a certain theme or style associated with the word. bush hats. The picture below shows me checking a leopard’s access point on the fence line with one of our young rangers. At least double that amount per guest in a private vehicle.

If you feel that you would like to be involved with a particular cause or conservation project then there are many ways that you can do that. Our ethos is one of inviting our guests to be part of the family. one of which (that is important to us). So wherever you choose to travel in Africa and whoever you choose to travel with. All good tour operators have community support programs that you can support. This later point is something that I encourage our guests to do. To do that first we need to ensure they have the infrastructure and support to create a good learning environment. We operate a safari company with the aim of providing an authentic safari experience. After all who could be better ambassadors for our conservation project than people who have been there and seen it in action. We want our guests to become part of our global family. Moreover if you would like to maximize that contribution then choose a tour operator that supports one or more conservation projects. a very big thank you. you can also help any project by raising awareness and spreading the word about them when you get back home. After all no one feels like learning when they are hungry. so . helping the cause of protecting free roaming predators. In that way you win twice over. That family ethos doesn’t end when you fly back home. but also to raise funds for our work with leopards and other large predators. There go the future conservationist of Africa and it is very important that they learn about all the aspects of conservation at an early age. Kick off your shoes. is to support local rural schools. The most obvious of-course being to donate funds and I’m sure the project will be only too keen to facilitate that donation. One part of our schools support project is to build school kitchens so that the kids can get at least one good meal a day. You can even select a company that supports a project or species that is close to your are bringing in funds and with that a local realization that we must conserve and preserve the wilderness areas to maintain the tourism industry. There are plenty that do and in that way more of your money will be channeled into conservation. Having said that. relax and be at home. Conservation is a broad term that has many aspects.

ask your safari operator how you can help. which is absolutely wonderful. Next we had to arrange to fly it all back to Africa. sports equipment. And here I can’t praise enough British Airways and Virgin Atlantic who always agree to fly donated ‘goodies’ out to Africa free of charge. which on this occasion was a big mistake. asked to meet me as she had some ‘goodies’ for a school we support. We have been very fortunate with our guests making donations and sending over all sorts of goodies for the schools we support. Alarm bells started to ring when I she asked what size car did we have. Walking out into the car park we saw that she had a small van full of ‘goodies’ for us to collect. Although we do sometimes come unstuck as a result of their generosity…There was an occasion recently when a lady who had been on safari with us and knew that I would be in the UK just before Christmas. books. On Track Safaris means more to me that just a commercial venture. It’s humbling to see how people want to help.before you leave home. dvd’s or whatever that would be put to great use in Africa. . I will never know. For example rural schools are nearly always in need or pens. We stay in touch with all our guests and so we arranged to meet her at a motorway service station as we travelled to see family. How on earth we shoe horned it all into our compact little hire car. it is the conduit by which we help to support our conservation and community work as well as providing a unique and exciting African adventure for our safari guests. What makes your safaris different? Please forgive my indulgence in promoting my own safari company here. When we’re in the UK we tend to hire a small even compact car. You may well have children who have outgrown clothes. Although my wife Carol did spend the rest of the journey with her nose pushed against the windscreen. pencils etc.

But to go back to the question (which is something I am asked frequently). but more than that. We wanted to break through the tourist rhetoric and get to know the real African bush. For example.. Of-course we wanted both those things. or if you would like to visit one of our community projects. Everyone hopes to see the infamous big five when on safari (Rhino. we want you to gain an insight into the real African bush. and of-course soak up the atmosphere. We prefer small groups of less then six persons. to understand what a leopard track looks like and how it is just like a fingerprint. . We specialize in wildlife conservation safaris to Africa in support of wildlife conservation. or what the barking noise you heard during the night meant (alarm call of a bush buck. I suppose the best thing is to explain why we formed On Track safaris and then what we actually do. we found that we were always left wanting something more than simply being shown animals and nice accommodation. sights and sounds of Africa. Lion. This means that we can offer a personal service and flexibility to cater for any specific requirements and needs that you may have.. we had already enjoyed many standard African Safaris ourselves. Leopard and Buffalo). Whether your preference is just general wildlife or something more specific. And so we formed On Track Safaris to do exactly that. who knows a predator is around). but also to go a little further. We aim to provide all those things (mother nature permitting). Elephant. When my wife and I had the idea to form a safari company and help to raise money for conservation. While enjoyable. whatever you prefer we'll do our best to provide.. or be hands on or sit back and let us take the strain.

And even more. This gives you flexibility to find the best flight deal. Don't worry about the time of your arrival. We will be waiting for you on arrival in Africa. We know that its important to be able to plan your safari costs and avoid any hidden extras. it's all part of the service. Of-course a safari wouldn’t be a safari without enjoying the quality accommodation and fantastic venues that are included in each of our tours. Meet and be involved with conservationists. we don't use a third party transit service. we don't believe in hidden extras. we will meet you at any time or date to suit you. you will be met by one of our safari team and your safari starts then. we provide opportunities for you to be involved with our work in conservation and particularly with Leopards. help to set trail cameras to monitor the nightly happenings. or just simply take time to sit viewing an Elephant understanding its behavior and the herd dynamics. where possible we provide an all-inclusive price and any additions to that one off price are clearly shown on your . Quite simply.

Let us know what you want from your Safari and together we can make your time with us an experience that will provide memories to last a lifetime. .itinerary.

Will Fox CEO. On Track Safaris Chairman. My wife Carol deals with all .co. but if there are any further questions you have or advice that I can offer. If you decide to visit all the better. so please send her an email mailto:carol@ontracksafaris. I hope you will visit Africa on Safari and enjoy this magical and she’ll get an answer back to you asap.Foot Note I hope the information provided has been helpful. Protecting African Wildlife (PAW) Conservation Trust www.ontracksafaris. then please feel free to fire away.