There are many factors to consider once you decide to head out on a luxury African safari, and this was exactly the research rabbit hole I found myself in last year when I decided that this was the type of trip I wanted to embark on for my one year anniversary.
Safari’s come in many different shapes and sizes, and they are certainly not all created equal. This particular post is going to focus more on the indulgent side -- the safari experience that will blow your socks off from the moment you touch down on the private runway, until your last encounter with wildlife you’d never imagined you’d be able to get so up close and personal with.
If you are in the process of deciding where you should go, when you should travel, and what you want your safari to look like, my hope is that this will help guide you in making the best decision for your own Luxury Safari experience.
Type of Accommodations
Whether you want the luxury of a suite with its own private plunge pool, or the romance of sleeping under canvas in one of the many tented camps - you will be assured of a wonderful and unforgettable safari experience at many private lodges across Africa.
A private safari lodge gives you the opportunity to have up close viewing opportunities with an experienced and knowledgeable guide, wonderful accommodations, and all-inclusive rates.
You might hear the phrase “tented camp” and think that this type of accommodation might be a step up from camping -- but fear not. The tented camp can definitely be a luxury experience if you find the right one.
*While both game-lodge safaris and tented-camp safaris have their own charms, I would generally recommend a tented-camp safari if you only have one night. If you have a few days, go for a game lodge.
When choosing a country for your luxury African safari, the most popular destinations are Botswana, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.
There are definite differences in the various terrains. In places like Kenya and Tanzania, you’ll experience vast plains teeming with herds of animals. In South Africa, it is more a case of often seeking out animals in the bush. Before you think that’s not as exciting, it definitely has it’s thrill. Your vehicle driver/guide knows exactly where to find the animals and when they do, it adds to the thrill of discovering them.
Another thing to consider is whether your lodge is inside a private conservatory or is part of a National Park. Private conservatories offer a more exclusive experience because you are able to escape the crowds and experience the wilderness without encountering a ton of other vehicles.
Only the game viewing vehicles belonging to the lodges situated in the conservancy or reserve are allowed to drive on the land, and many times are restricted to 2-3 vehicles at any one wildlife sighting.
Compare this to heading out to see the Great Migration in the Masai Mara and you might share your experience with 50 other vehicles at the same time.
Time of Year
The Great Migration is active in Tanzania’s Serengeti from November to July and in Kenya’s Masai Mara from August to October.
Botswana is a year-round destination though popular in September and October when rainfall is at its lowest in many areas and game viewing is best.
In South Africa, it is advisable to visit during the dry season, roughly between April and September, when permanent waterholes attract animals and the vegetation becomes thinned out.
One thing to keep in mind -- Even Africa’s top luxury safari camps and lodges will have an off season or quieter period, ask your Travel Advisor what the difference is between high and low season – usually there’s very little and you might get a better deal on your luxury safari if you are able to book outside of peak season.
Every person has their own idea of what they want from their luxury safari, and it’s important that you share that dream with your travel advisor so they can help guide you to the best experience for you! With all the safari’s out there, my goal is to help you get rid of the overwhelm and send you off on this trip of a lifetime. Contact me if you’d like to chat more about your trip!