5 Tips For Your Travels To Africa
You want to travel to Africa and you are excited about the adventure of Africa and seeing and doing everything! You want to climb Kilimanjaro, view the Victoria Falls, Safari into the Serengeti, taste the best South African wines and you want to get close to the ‘Big 5’, but you only have 2 weeks. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but that is impossible. Africa is a huge continent and the traveling within Africa can be very slow and difficult. When you look at a map and you can run your finger across the map and link location to location it appears close and all very possible. Yet in reality it is not that easy. The roads are bumpy, the flights don’t go to every capital city and the buses are old and no one seems to be in a rush. Why can it not be done, when it is easy at home? Well, TIA! This is Africa! Travel in Africa is an adventure and you need to allocate more time to your holiday.
Or – prioritise and do your research! When people tell me they want to got to Africa and they want to see everything I ask them to think about Africa carefully and what are the top 10 things they want to experience in order of importance. Then I work out a safari that matches their dream.
1. ‘I really want to see lions and the Big Cats!’
In my opinion for Big Cats there is no better location than East Africa. With less than 20,000 wild lions in all of Africa you want to go to the place that has the highest density. The Serengeti and Maasai Mara Ecosystem has just under 4,000 wild lions. That is about 20% or the entire wild lion population in Africa. If you want to see lions and Big cats, then the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara in Kenya are the best places to visit.
2. ‘I really want to see elephants, they are my favourite African animal!’
Some reports suggest that in the drier months in Botswana and Zimbabwe there could be 100,000 elephants that have migrated to these two countries looking for food and water. Last year it was reported that there are as little as 370,000 wild elephants left in all of Africa. If you love elephants and want to see mum’s and babies and those massive elephant bulls, the Okavango Delta, and Chobe National Park, in Botswana and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe are the prime locations to enjoy elephants.
3. ‘I really want to see the Mountain Gorillas!’
You saw the movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ and you want to get up close and personal with Mountain Gorillas and be able to stretch your hand out and touch a gorilla. You may not be able to reach your hand out and touch a gorilla but you can definitely get very, very close. However, it is not cheap. The price of a permit to get up close and personal with a Mountain Gorilla is very expensive. For a 1 hour permit it can cost $1500usd in Rwanda, without accommodation, transport or anything else. However, it is cheaper across the border in Uganda, about 50% cheaper. It can also be cheaper in the DRC. What is the best thing to do? The DRC is a very dangerous location and will you have insurance coverage if you travel into this country? Do you want to visit the same location as Dian Fossey and the location of “Gorillas in the Mist”? Then you need to head to Rwanda. How will I get there? The gorillas are found in the Virunga Mountains and is transected by 3 countries and getting to these gorillas can be an adventure. It is easier to travel into Rwanda, but the cost is higher. Uganda is the preferred location but the travel is more challenging and will affect the cost. The right answer to this adventure is not that simple and you need to get the right information to make the best decision. You need to do some research or speak to a professional to get the most cost effective tour.
4. ‘When is the best time to travel to Africa?’
This depends on what you want to do and which parts of the continent you want to visit. There is a reason that accommodation and activities are cheaper during the off season. It is called ‘off season’ for a reason. Do you want to do a safari into the Maasai Mara and be stuck in the mud, or driving in the rain? Probably not. When you do your research into travel to Africa you need to consider the weather. Don’t just look at the price.
5. There are a few things I recommend you should consider when you decide you want to travel to Africa:
- Do a wish list and prioritise your list.
- Do the research on distances and ease of travel.
- Research the weather.
- Take your time. Why travel to 3 National Parks and spend 6 days doing it. If you have limited time why not spend more time in one park and really explore it.
- Speak to a professional. Get some good advise. It will make your travel easier and more enjoyable.
- Don’t just listen to a travel agent. Did they travel there or just read it from a brochure?
- Do your research.
- Do your research!!
Remember traveling to Africa is the best thing you will ever do, if you do it right. For most it is a once in a lifetime experience. Make sure you do your research and do it right!