Going on an African safari is an entirely unique experience. It’s unlike any other holiday, which means people tend to have a lot of questions. And unfortunately, sometimes getting answers can be a struggle.
There is no one single authority on the African safari. Instead, there’s both an overwhelming amount of information and not enough specific information. That’s why at Brave Africa, we’re making it our mission to answer all of your frequently asked questions (FAQs) about an African safari.
Common African Safari Questions
We want to provide you with a one-stop resource that provides you with a basic overview of what it’s like to go on safari and how to plan for your first African safari.
What is an African safari like?
Every day on an African safari is an adventure. Each moment is a new experience that’s unique for that single moment in time. No two animals are the same, and animal behavior is always changing. As for the scenery, you’ll experience everything from sweeping savannahs to lush marshlands, dense forests, and arid plains.
As for what it’s like to actually go on safari, let’s break it down.
- Most African safaris are multi-day experiences. At massive public parks, such as Kruger, you can do what’s called a day safari (start a little after sunrise and end before sunset), but if an African safari is your dream vacation, this isn’t what you want. Seven to ten days on safari is most common, and that includes two to three locations.
- You’ll stay at a lodge or camp in the bush. This means you’ll be in a remote location in the African wilderness accessible by car or air. How luxurious your room is, depends on your budget and operator.
- Every day you’ll go on game drives to see the animals. Most African safaris take you on twice-a-day game drives (3-4 hours in the morning and 3-4 hours in the afternoon). These game drives can happen in open-air or enclosed vehicles (this depends on where you go on safari and your operator). And it’s during these game drives that you leave your camp/lodge to drive around the bush and find animals.
- It’s an adventure, not a zoo. The animals are not waiting for you. You have to go out and, with the help of your professional/local guide, find the animals.
- An African safari is all-inclusive: African safaris are not cheap, but the price includes all meals, game drives, guides, room, and board. Often, all drinks (including alcohol) are encompassed in the price as well.
At Brave Africa, you can enjoy a 7-day or 10-day Botswana safari holiday in either two or three locations in the Okavango Delta. We also take guests on all-day game drives, which means you’ll spend 12 to 13 hours with the animals in the bush instead of six to seven hours. Our camp is comfortable and luxurious with large tents, plush mattresses, private bathrooms (with flushing toilets), and a professional camp staff that takes care of all your needs.
What’s a day on safari like?
Every day on safari is different—you’ll never experience the same wildlife or scenery—but there is a schedule you can rely on. We’ll outline what a day on safari is like with Brave Africa and all-day game drives. This differs from the traditional safari schedule, where you spend three to four hours in the middle of the day back at camp.
Sample Brave Africa safari schedule:
- 5:30AM: Wake up around sunrise for a light breakfast prepared by our team and time to get ready for the day.
- 6:00AM: Start your all-day game drive. Your guide will look for fresh animal tracks from the night before. At first light and during the cool morning hours, animals are most active.
- 9:00AM: Take a short break in the bush for coffee, tea, juice, and snacks. If you see incredible animals, morning tea will be pushed back or enjoyed earlier. It’s up to the animals and the guests.
- 12:00PM: Your safari guide will find a beautiful location in the bush underneath the shade to enjoy a bush lunch. Lunch is a full meal, including alcohol (if desired), prepared by our chef.
- 1:30PM: Continue your afternoon game drive and your search for animals.
- 6:00PM: Take another short break at sundown for a snack and alcoholic drinks at sundown. This is your chance to enjoy the sunset and last-minute animal sightings before it gets too dark.
- 7:00PM: Arrive back at camp as it grows dark. Either take an early shower or wait until after dinner.
- 7:30PM: Enjoy a delicious chef-prepared meal that pays homage to both local and continental cuisine. Our chef will meet any dietary restrictions you have.
- 9:00PM: Enjoy time around the fire, reminisce about your day, spend some time gazing at the star-speckled beauty of the night sky, and then head to bed early for another full day tomorrow!
Where should I go on an African safari?
Africa is not a country; it’s a continent! And it’s massive. There are so many great countries and locations for safari—Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe (just to name a few)—and they all offer unique experiences.
- South Africa is home to the most well-known safari destination in the world: Kruger National Park.
- Kenya and Tanzania are where enthusiasts go to see the Serengeti and The Great Migration.
- Namibia is known for pristine deserts, sand dunes, and unique wildlife.
- Rwanda and Uganda are best known for gorillas.
- Zimbabwe offers safaris and Victoria Falls.
Then, there’s Botswana. It’s a lesser-known safari location known for the Okavango Delta. The experience is all about untouched wilderness, luxury camps and lodges, incredible wildlife, and fewer crowds. Also, Botswana has almost double the number of elephants of any other country in the world—around 130,000. It’s where you go on safari if you are “in the know.”
In the end, where you choose to go on safari is up to you. We suggest you do your research carefully and choose the location that fits your needs and wants. Some areas are extremely crowded, whereas others, you pay for privacy. It’s completely up to you.
How do I choose an African safari operator?
If an African safari is on your list of dream holidays, you know that it can feel like an impossible task to choose the right African safari operator for you. The right or wrong operator can drastically impact your entire vacation, so it’s important to choose wisely.
First, you need to decide your budget. Typically, this is a couple of thousand dollars (per person) at the minimum. And we do not recommend a “bargain safari” mindset. This can get you into trouble and make you feel like you wasted your holiday.
Instead, decide what you need to make your African safari worth it, and then choose the safari lodge or camp that fits your needs. To help you make your decision, answer these key questions:
- What luxury amenities do I need? Is WIFI a must? Do I need flushing toilets, mattresses, daily laundry, premium alcohol, etc.?
- What type of safari vehicle do I want? You’ll spend most of your time in the safari vehicle, make sure your operator offers a vehicle with the features you want, such as technology charging stations, drink refrigeration, open-air, etc.
- How well-trained are the staff? You’ll interact with your safari team regularly, especially the guide and camp manager, make sure they receive good reviews.
- How important is food? Not all safari operators have a chef or create inspired meals that you’ll love.
What are safari guides, and why do they matter?
A safari guide is your host in the African bush. They have spent years studying everything there is to know about the wildlife, plants, safety, and scenery. They are experts in their field and can make or break your safari experience. They’ll track the animals, answer your questions, explain what you’re seeing and experiencing, and ensure everything goes off without a hitch.
A great African safari guide will:
- Ensure your safety during every step of your journey.
- Consider the wildlife for a sustainable and eco-friendly safari experience.
- Take you on walking safari to see the wildlife up close and personal.
- Track wildlife using footprints, excrement, sounds, and more.
- Wow you with their knowledge of the bush. You can test them against any guidebook.
- Provide you with incredible hospitality.
- Share their experience as a local in the area.
- Take you off the beaten track for the chance to witness the extraordinary.
- Keep even kids entertained and safe in the bush.
At Brave Africa, we have two exceptional guides with immense experience.
- Tabona Wina has been a safari guide for 11 years, and for the last two years, he was a VIP guest guide. He has distinguished himself as someone who always delights his guests and provides a quality experience.
- Moses Teko has been a safari guide for the past 12 years, and a bush guide trainer for two years. He’s known his meticulous attention to detail and for specializing in children’s safaris.
How much does a safari cost?
In general, a safari is not cheap. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, and it is priced accordingly. The cost of your safari can also vary greatly, depending on its location, when you go on safari (low season, shoulder season, or high season), how luxurious it is, and how long you go on safari.
- A low-end African safari starts at around $300 a night per person.
- A mid-level African safari costs around $600 – $800 a night per person.
- A high-end African safari costs $1,000 – $1,300 a night per person.
- An ultra-luxury African safari can cost more than $2,000 a night per person.
These prices typically do not include the cost of your international flights or the bush flight costs between camps, which are another $200 – $400 per person per flight.
Brave Africa is a mid-level African safari that costs between $500 and $750 a night/person depending on the season you choose to visit Botswana.
How do I budget for an African safari?
If you are willing to spend more than $7,5000 per person, you can enjoy almost any type of African safari experience, except for the most luxurious accommodations. However, if you have a budget of around $3,000 to 5,000 per person, you’re going to have to make some decisions on what you MUST have and what you are willing to give up.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If possible, spend at least six nights on safari. Three nights is not enough time to really soak in the African safari experience. So, if you have to stay somewhere more affordable for more time, do it.
- Location can be key to cost, but it can also be key to an enjoyable experience. More affordable locations are also far more crowded. You might be in a line of cars to see an animal, and it may feel more like a zoo. The more private and remote your wildlife experience, the more you’ll have to pay.
- Time of the year can greatly impact your budget. There are typically three seasons with three costs. You can save as much as $100 per person per night by changing your trip dates.
- Low season is December – March and is the most affordable.
- Shoulder season is April, May, June, and November, and costs in the mid-range.
- High season is July – October and is the most expensive.
- Save money with a mobile safari. A safari lodge is like a luxury safari hotel that remains in a permanent location. You fly/drive to the lodge, stay for a few nights, and then fly/drive to your next location. Lodges are more expensive and have added transfer costs (which can be $300 – $400 per person for a bush flight). On the other hand, a mobile safari is a luxurious camp that moves with you between locations. It’s more affordable because there is less overhead for the operator and you don’t have to pay for additional transfers.
What’s the best month to go on safari?
The best month to go on safari depends on what you want to see, experience, and do. Every month offers something different for visitors. And in general, most safari destinations can be visited year-round. However, the weather does change each season, particularly when it comes to rainfall and thus game-viewing.
So, here’s what you need to know.
- January & February: These are the two wettest months of the year; you have a good chance of getting rained on. However, the vegetation is green, flowers are in bloom, and water is abundant. These months are incredible for bird watching, many migrations are in full swing, and many antelope give birth so predators can be abundant.
- March: This is the greenest month of the year, water is high, but rain is less likely. Some areas may be inaccessible due to too much water, but this also means animals can be found concentrated on dry land. This is also birthing season for many animals.
- April & May: These two amazing months offer warm days, cold nights, and little rain. It’s great weather with beautiful green scenery, fewer tourists, and more affordable pricing.
- June & July: These two months offer flawless blue winter skies, warm days, and cold nights. Game viewing is exceptional because the foliage is sparse. Don’t expect a lot of greenery (vegetation is beginning to yellow and die), and book your trip in advance as these months are popular.
- August, September, & October: These are the three most popular months to go on safari. Days are hot and dry, and nights are sultry. There’s lots of sunshine and amazing game viewing. In fact, these are some of the best months to have spectacular animal sightings. However, this is high season, so prices are at a premium, and availability is limited.
- November & December: These two months welcome the first rains of the wet season. The weather is hot and humid, with lots of mud and periods of heavy rain. However, this is an excellent time for newborn calves and migrant birds.
Is an African safari safe?
When you go on an African safari, you are dealing with wild animals and remote regions. This is not a zoo. Everything is untamed and unexpected. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t safe.
From the moment you begin your safari, you’ll be given rules and guidelines that you’ll need to follow and listen to at all times. It’s about respecting your safari guide, respecting the animals, and being smart.
- Listen to the advice of your safari guide at all times. They understand animal behavior and will know-how and win to approach animals and what to do in every situation. Trust your guide to take care of you.
- Do not leave your tent at night without supervision. After dark, you will always have an escort around your camp or lodge to keep you safe.
- Do use the provided safety gear (including an air horn) if you need to call for help at night when you are inside your room. This device is there for emergency purposes only.
- Do not wander around alone just because you do not see any animals nearby. Your safari guide or camp staff need to check nearby areas for your safety.
So, is an African safari safe? Yes, it is. Your safari operator will always put your safety first, so as long as you listen to their guidance, you should have nothing to worry about.
How long should I go on safari? How many days do I need?
Three days is not enough time to really enjoy an African safari. It’s barely enough for a taste. Instead, we recommend planning at least seven days and six nights on safari. This will allow you to visit at least two different locations, which is important, and truly immerse yourself in Mother Nature.
The truth is that the more time you spend on safari, the more time you’ll have to see something truly amazing. Remember, National Geographic documentaries are filmed over months, if not years. They spend weeks upon weeks at a time with nature to capture their amazing pictures and movies. You cannot expect to spend just a few days on safari and see it all.
Is an African safari worth it?
Yes. It’s entirely worth it. An African safari will be an experience that you’ll never forget. However, to make sure that you don’t spend above your means and that you get the most for your money, we recommend carefully planning your trip to get the exclusivity, scenery, animals, and experience you want.
What that means is choosing the right location, the right operator, the right guides, and the best time of the year to go on safari. And, most importantly, focus on the game drives! You can pay top dollar for a premium resort and have a lack-luster experience if they don’t focus on amazing game drives.
Check out our blog, “Is an African Safari Worth It?” for all the details!
Are safaris bad for the animals or the environment?
Safaris are CRITICAL for taking care of the environment, promoting sustainability, and animal protection. Safaris bring in money to the communities where they operate and encourage conservation and taking care of the environment. Also, many safaris go above and beyond to donate to conservation within their countries.
Without African safaris, there would be more poaching and fewer reasons for the government to spend money on conservation. Just be sure to choose a safari operator that cares about their impact on the environment.
At Brave Africa, we focus on being eco-friendly by using solar power, providing guests with personalized metal water bottles and filtered water to reduce plastic, and reducing our waste. We also do not have any permanent structures. We go, set up camp, and then pack everything up again, leaving behind only footprints and taking away only memories.
Plus, we donate $50 or $35 per guest to a conservation-focused nonprofit to promote eco-tourism.
How do I plan an African safari?
Planning an African safari is NOT as difficult as you think. It can be intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. You can contact the Brave Africa team ([email protected]) at any time with your questions, and we’ll be glad to help you out. You can also reach out to a travel agent, such as Hills of Africa Travel, to get help planning your safari. They work with guests all the time to plan their dream holiday.
However, before you call, it helps if you can answer a few key questions.
- What countries are you interested in?
- What is your budget and how much wiggle room is there to fit your dream?
- Do you want to do anything else while on the African continent beyond going on safari?
- We love visiting Cape Town, South Africa, and seeing the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, just as an example.
- When do you want to go on safari? Most people plan their safari at least six months in advance because spots fill up fast!
- What type of camp or lodge experience do you want? There are safaris under canvas (our favorite) or ultra-luxury lodges ideal for that perfect Instagram photo.
If you need help planning your African safari post-COVID, check out our Book with Confidence policies.
What should I wear on safari?
Choose safari clothing that is comfortable and practical. You will be spending long days in an open-air vehicle with lots of dust, heat, sun, and potentially rain. Worry less about being fashionable, and more about wearing clothes that make sense. There are a few things to keep in mind.
- Wear clothing in neutral colors: beige, brown, and green. Do not wear camouflage, but do not worry if you wear blue, red, purple, black, or white. Just try to avoid very bright colors and patterns, and you’ll be okay.
- Wear layers that you can take on and off as the weather changes. It is typically cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon, and cold again at night. Bring jackets or wear layers that you can take on or off as you need.
- Take advantage of daily laundry. At Brave Africa, we offer daily laundry service, so you don’t need to pack a lot of clothes. Three to four outfits are more than enough, even for a ten-day trip.
- Plan for sunny days. Botswana has more than 300 days of sun a year. Bring sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat for the sun.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots. You will need to walk through nature, and there are bugs, dust, thorns, and bushes. Hiking boots or solid walking shoes will protect your feet.
Can kids go on safari?
Yes, kids can go on safari. In fact, they can have an amazing time and learn so much. Family safaris are a great idea. However, age and maturity are factors.
Most safaris only accept kids who are at least seven years old for their safety. They need to be able to follow directions, sit in a car for long hours, sleep in a tent at night, and remain calm and quiet when required.
To ensure you have the best African safari experience with your kids, be sure to choose an operator who is set up for families. At Brave Africa:
- We offer a large family tent that can fit up to four people.
- Our chef can make exclusive children’s dishes such as meatballs, fish and chips, chicken nuggets, pizza, and pasta.
- We offer families the exclusive use of a safari vehicle so you can go as slow or as fast as your kids want.
- We offer Junior Guide activities, especially for kids. Your kids will learn:
- Tracking and survival skills
- How to handle our safari vehicle (with supervision—of course)
- Wildlife art drawing
- Botswana sling shooting
We also have a one-of-a-kind Brave Africa passport that we created so your kids can collect stickers to commemorate their safari experience.
What animals will I see on safari?
There are so many animals you can see on safari. In Botswana, there are 163 species of mammals and 550 species of birds. Botswana also has almost double the elephants of any other country—over 130,000. There’s almost no limit to what animals you might see.
You could see all of Africa’s Big Five: lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinoceros. You could also see 23 different types of antelope, including impala, red lechwe, kudu, wildebeest, waterbuck, sable, and more. Other animals you might see include:
- Wild Dogs
Check out our blogs: “Best Animal Sightings with Brave Africa” and “Incredible Botswana Safari Sightings: Lion VS Hyena.”
Are there any questions we haven’t answered? Let us know in the comments!