Updated: Mar 30
Don't be fooled by super cheap deals or things that are seemingly too good to be true. If a company is offering a 100% guarantee for an animal sighting then they are not a trustworthy company. No safari company, no matter how experienced, can give guarantee a sighting when dealing with truly wild animals. Here are a few other things to keep in mind while booking and experiencing a safari...
Large groups are often a cheaper option for guided tours but come with several downfalls:
• You are never going to get the best photos, not only will there be people in the way there are so many people wanting a different angle and the driver can never please everyone.
• You can't ask questions, with so many people the guides will often find it hard to talk to everyone often leaving you with unanswered questions or missing out on what information the guides are telling you.
• Working with wild animals is unpredictable and it's not uncommon to have two sightings happening at once in completely different areas. Small groups will often allow you to choose where to go but this rarely happens with larger groups.
Giraffes, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Looking through the lens
As a photography lover, I understand the urge to capture every moment of your trip, and while I am not discouraging or shaming people who take photos on a safari I will advise people they shouldn't spend the whole time looking through their camera lens.
Here are a couple of ways to make sure you get the balance right:
• Get your settings ready before you set off, this way you're ready to take a snap when the action happens rather than worrying about the photo being blurry. Especially at sunrise/sunset, the lighting changes quite rapidly so it's best to check your settings every 15-20 mins.
• Make every photo count. This is a key example of quality over quantity, it is every photographer's worst nightmare to look back at their photos only to find them all useless.
• Don't take the same photo a hundred times. A lot of time on a safari is spent waiting..and waiting...and waiting. If you do find yourself waiting around or looking at a sleeping animal then each of your photos is going to be identical so take the shot and then sit back and appreciate your surroundings.
Buffalo Herd, Kruger National Park, South Africa
All day game drives
All-day game drives are often advertised as getting more for your money. Now in principle, this makes sense:
'More time on a drive = Higher chances of a sighting'
However, you are much better trying to focus your drives when the animals are most active so do your research and if there is a specific animal you want to see then try and find out their daily habits. This can help reduce the endless hours of waiting that people forget happens on a safari.
• Don't be afraid to tell your guide if there is a specific animal you want to see.
• Night drives - why not experience a whole different animal kingdom and take a night drive. Not only will you see a whole different side to the animals you might also get a look at some of the nocturnal animals that the majority of people never see.
Bengal Tiger, Ranthambore, National Park, South Africa