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24 Hours on Safari – Is It Really Like This?

27-Apr-2022

Lions, elephants, 5am alarm calls …where did you experience an African safari?

Oh, you didn’t go on a safari yet? Africa’s wilderness is disappearing. Wild animal populations are decreasing. Will you go on safari before it’s all gone?

Of course, an African safari is difficult to imagine. It’s not the same as a city break or family beach holiday?

What animals will you see? Is an African safari camp comfortable? Will you be trampled by elephants?

We know you have many more questions for this type of holiday and we’re here to answer them individually. As an overall introduction, this is what 24 hours on an Africa safari will look like.

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A 5am Alarm Call!

Safari accommodation is far more luxurious than most people realise. This is Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania.

What’s that sound? Yes, your guide is waking you up at 5am! Sure, he’s brought coffee and croissants but this is supposed to be a holiday!

What’s that other sound? Oh, it’s a herd of elephants near the camp!

Good safari camps are as comfortable as good city hotels, but they’re designed to maximise your connection with the wild.

The Morning Game Drive

Sunrise is the best time to see the big cats, such as this lion in Tanzania.

Early morning starts are normal on safari because wildlife is most active in the cool morning hours. The best animal encounters are usually in the two to three hours after dawn, especially of the big cats.

A morning game drive is an adventure in search of rare and unique sights. Wrap up warm, watch the savannah come to life, be guided by the natural world.

We always recommend upgrading so you have a private vehicle for your group. This means the guide will tailor the drive to what you want to see. Like a cheetah. Or stopping by a lake to drink another coffee next to some hippos.

Second Breakfast & Downtime

Safari doesn’t stop when you’re at the camp. This is a common sight at Belmond’s Eagle Island Lodge in Botswana.

By mid morning it’s getting hot. Animals are retreating to the shadows. It’s time for you to feast on a second breakfast, relax on your verandah and lounge by the pool. Safari camps offer a level of space and privacy beyond almost anywhere else in the world.

Now is also time for grazers to be out grazing. You will see herds from the camp – zebra, gazelle, kudu, buffalo, an antelope you’ve never heard of before.

If you have a two-stop safari, this is when you’ll do the transfer, probably by light aircraft.

Siesta or An Optional Activity

Time to relax? This is the view from one of Londolozi’s Private Granite Suites, in the Sabi Sands, South Africa.

It’s midday and now it’s really hot. Most people on safari take a siesta now.

Or you can do an optional activity, such as a game walk, cycle or horseback ride. These “adventure” activities are safest when large and dangerous animals are dozing.

Your guides have lived alongside these animals their entire lives. They’ll keep you safe.

Afternoon Safari Activity

It’s never just one animal. On a game drive you’re surrounded by them, like this in the Masai Mara.

Mid to late afternoon brings another safari activity, typically a game drive. You explore new areas, in search of animals you haven’t seen, and probably stop at a beautiful viewpoint for sundowners.

This is the wild and there are no roads. The drives can be a little dusty and bumpy. It’s not like a transfer in an air-conditioned Mercedes S-Class! But it’s not uncomfortable.

Back at the Camp

Just because it’s a “camp| doesn’t mean it lacks facilities. This is Namiri Plains Camp in Tanzania.

Take a warm shower. Have some me time. Enjoy the amenities.

Safari doesn’t stop after dark. You’re back at the camp, sitting around a fire, sharing stories with your guide. Animals are all around you. You hear them. You see them at the floodlit waterhole below.

Dinner is big when you’re on safari. You eat well and go to bed early. You sleep to the sounds of the wild.

A 5am Alarm Call

The global giraffe population is down 40% in the last 15 years. Will you experience this?

On a first safari day you see famous sights and tick them off your list. By the fourth day you realise it’s impossible to see everything.

Because what you experience will be different to what everyone else has experienced before. Safari has no exact program. It’s comfortable. It’s wild. What you see might not even exist a generation from now.

Here’s the 5am alarm call. Are you ready to go again? Of course you are.

So…where will you go on safari this year? Botswana? Rwanda? Tanzania? Somewhere else?

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