5 important considerations for your first trip to Africa

By Catherine Soares de Melo  |  Last updated at 16 October 2019, 07:15
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One thing we come across often, is how travelers sit down to start planning their dream vacation to Africa but don’t have a very strong idea in terms of where to begin, or which countries to consider exploring. Granted, there is a huge amount to narrow down, and things can quickly become a little overwhelming.

This is when the expertise and knowledge of an Africa expert, particularly someone who is living locally and who has travelled the continent extensively, can be very useful as they will guide, advise and steer you…and even add a sprinkle of magic to your once in a lifetime adventure!

Not only are we referring to saving you from arriving in the middle of a rainy season, or booking the incorrect camp in relation to the movement of a migration, we’re also referring to the possibility of upgrades, surprise mimosa stops mid-hike, private candle-lit dinners and charming outdoor bubble baths, as well as everything else you could ever imagine possible…

When approaching an expert to begin planning your trip, here are a few key thoughts to bring to the table, which will help to narrow down which country will best suit you in Africa, in order to streamline your planning experience…and ultimately, the quality of your holiday!

Consider which time of the year

Once you’ve decided on a set of dates, your Planet Africa safari specialist will be able to relay a variety of information in terms of what is accessible in relation to the month you are thinking of travelling, where the best areas are to visit at that time, which ones should be avoided, whether it will be busy or quiet, what the weather/climate will typically be doing, how the rates are affected by the season etc. Of course, if you have flexibility, it’s worth noting and will allow you to have the luxury of options!

Budget 

It’s a great idea to research the price of the camps and lodges in the area that you are visiting (or we can give you an indication of the range) and then decide on what you are comfortable with investing for your trip. Often travelers are reluctant to divulge this sort of information but it will only help in the long run! When an agent knows exactly what they are working with, they can be sure to include every possible excursion and experience, and the best quality accommodation to fit the budget specification…It’s all part of the design work to give you the best bang for your buck!

Realistic expectations

This is a great one when being ‘on the ground’ in Africa – it’s extremely beneficial to keep an open mind. Things might be a touch more laid back than what you’re used to back home, and there may be real differences in terms of Wi-Fi access, road conditions and general infrastructure etc. Just keep in mind that this is a unique, if not once-in-a- lifetime experience and each day, while vastly different to what you’re used to, is precious and what you have spent months planning for and building up to. What else is there to do but soak it up and enjoy, for exactly what it is!

Travel Insurance

This is something that we strongly recommend for each and every traveler to arrange, prior to setting off. From ash clouds, to airport strikes, being snowed in before you’ve even left your country, to everything in between, arranging comprehensive cover for your holiday allows peace of mind in terms of the “what if’s”, and should any unforeseen events take place.

Luggage and packing

Two words – Pack light! You’ll be hopping from national park to national park in small Cessna caravan planes, speeding across dusty plains in open top Land Rovers, and walking through terrain your shoes have never encountered before. You won’t want to be weighed down with huge amounts of luggage – normally a 15 kilogram per person restriction is in place for the airlines that operate between the safari parks

Author

Catherine Soares de Melo

Catherine Soares de Melo

Born in Cape Town, Catherine, our Senior Safari Specialist, has spent a lifetime exploring Africa.
Find out more about the TrueAfrica team.

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