Choosing the right luxury safari

If you’ve chosen to go on a luxury safari for your holiday, you’re certainly in for some exciting sights. The early mornings and dusty journeys will be worth it when you spot that elusive creature or catch nature in action in a way you would never have managed at home. The appeal of safaris lies in their dangerous feel; even though they’re extremely safe, being in such close contact with animals that would otherwise seriously harm you is thrilling and addictive. That doesn’t even cover the wonder of witnessing nature in its most primitive element, reminding all of us where we’ve come from.

Many people don’t realise that there are a number of choices to make when going on a safari. Here’s a quick guide as to which safari you might want to choose when booking your holiday.

1. Traditional Safari

This will be your opportunity to spot the “Big Five”, otherwise known as lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes. Many people head on safari anticipating spotting these elusive and thrilling species; if that’s your aim, you will definitely want a traditional safari with guides who will have some idea as to where these animals can be found. There are certain countries where you’re more likely to spot particular animals; white rhino are most readily found in South Africa, but large herds of elephants are more common in Botswana. Uganda or Tanzania are perfect if you’d rather spot some playful gorillas or chimpanzee.

2. Mobile Safari

A mobile safari simply means that you’ll move along with a camp each day. Depending on how much you’d like to spend, you’ll be setting up your own camp or it will be set up for you before you arrive. At the higher end of the cost scale, you’ll have a normal bed, an en suite bathroom with a shower, and even a mobile bar. At the lower end, you’ll use private camp sites and communal facilities, which are normally still perfectly clean and convenient. Mobile safaris really allow you to see a lot of Africa if you’re willing to spend some time “roughing it” in the wilderness. If you’d like to follow a particular herd of animals, especially during seasonal migration, this is the best option for you. Otherwise, a mobile safari is similar to the traditional safari experience.

3. Walking Safari

If you’d like to get closer to nature than an ordinary safari will allow, you may find it worth your while to choose a walking safari. You’ll cover less distance, of course, but walking through the African plains, slowly creeping up on wildlife, will really bring you back to your hunter-gatherer roots and you’ll find your senses come alive as you learn to feel in tune with the landscape. Being exposed to the wild is an amazing feeling that you just won’t get in a vehicle and is something that everyone ought to experience once in their lives. Most walking safaris take place in Zambia, where they were introduced by Norman Carr, but they are slowly becoming more popular in other regions of Africa.

4. Self drive Safaris

If you’re not too bothered about viewing specific animals in the wild, you may find that a self-drive safari is the perfect choice for you. You’ll hire your own vehicle and set off on your own, without a guide; this is great if you want to stick to a schedule or just do whatever you’d like without being restricted by someone else’s timeline. South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park offers these self drive safaris, which can give you an amazing opportunity to try and find a few of the big five on your own; however, there are no guarantees, so this is best suited to the frequent traveller who doesn’t need to cram everything in one visit.

No matter which safari option you choose, a luxury safari holiday is truly an experience you’ll never forget. You may just find yourself longing to head back to Africa again and again; we know we do!

Greg Fox is a Director at luxury travel specialists Mahlatini.

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Comments (3)

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  1. John says:

    The walking safari does sound tempting. I have never been on a safari and have no real impulse to do so in the future. However, others have shared their safari experiences with me. I remember clearly that one of my former managers felt very exposed in the Serengeti, when he realised that the 4×4 he was travelling on could break down and leave them in the open. Of course on foot this feeling would be with you nearly all of the time.

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    Surely they had a contingency plan in place? When we went out in a 4×4 in the Serengeti, we had radio contact as well, so they could have easily called for assistance. Plus I would imagine that if the vehicle hadn’t returned to camp by a certain time, they would know something was up and come out looking.

  3. John says:

    Paul, They probably did have plans in place to ensure their safety. However, there is no such state as perfect safety. As the sun set he realised that a human being is very exposed out there. Only in a group with functioning vehicles and / or weapons, is the risk reduced to acceptable levels.

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