Lions, tigers, birds, cheetahs, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and leopards are just a few of the many animals you’ll see if you take an African Safari.
When you hear ‘African safari’, what do you think of? Do you think of miles of grassland with the big 5 in the background? Or do you think of a meet-and-greet experience with the locals, where you can get to experience a new culture? Whatever image you form in your head when you hear African safari, one thing is for sure: it is everything listed above – and much more.
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, an African safari is a way to go. But, what do you really know about a safari? It pays to know the ins and out of African safaris, so you can take full advantage of what could be in store for you.
The history of the African safari
First off, “safari” actually means “journey” in Swahili. In the past, ‘safari’ meant hunting for game. But today, the word strikes up a different meaning, as ‘safari’ now refers to a travel experience where you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with African wildlife and nature. African safari’s involve seeing wildlife (particularly the Big Five), plus experiencing the African culture. As a matter of fact, most African safari’s today have their own accommodations right on site where you can sleep overnight among the wildlife getting a full 24, 48, or 72-hour experience.
What you need to know about African safari’s
African safari’s involve plenty of opportunities to experience the wildlife in Africa from a unique viewpoint. Some safari’s even offer to hold a lion or tiger cub for a fee. But as well as being able to touch one of the big cat cubs and seeing much wildlife (including elephants, hippopotamus, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, various birds, leopards and, of course, lions ), you can also learn about the different tribes and cultures of Africa.
Africa’s ‘Big Five’— the buffalo, lion, elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros — the term “big five” was coined by big game hunters (not safari tour operators), and it refers to the difficulty in capturing the large animals, mostly due to how ferocious the animal is when cornered and shot at. Most visitors’ head out on safaris to see if they can catch a glimpse of the Big Five. The leopard is the toughest of the Big Five to see, they are very skittish as they are solitary wild animals and are likely to run and hide when they detect an approaching. Animal sightings are not guaranteed, but the best time to catch them is right before the sun rises. Take the first safari tour offered in the morning ( usually 5:30 am ) and give yourself the best chance to stop the Big Five. The lion and the leopard are easiest to find right before the sun comes up because they are nocturnal animals – they roam and hunt during the night and escape the extreme daytime heat by seeking shade and resting during the day. It is important to keep ears and eyes open as safari guides rely on their passengers just as much as they do their own for spotting game.
African safari’s come in various packages and you can build your own. If you’re planning a couples trip, singles trip or a family trip, then you can look for a package that appeals to you – complete with accommodation, lunches, game drives and much more. Many African safari’s offer standard game experiences and you can add-on depending on your needs.
At the end of the day, going on an African safari could well be the most exciting travel experiences you have. Full of adventure, animal sighting, African culture and more – and it doesn’t have to be a challenge to arrange, either.
If you’re on the fence about your next vacation, take a good look at an African safari, it is a trip I guarantee you will remember for a lifetime.
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