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!
Ready for your sunrise safari game drive!
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.
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.
Tabona Wina (left) and Moses Teko (right)
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.
To stay safe while on safari:
- 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.
Brave Africa uses solar power for environmentally-friendly charging.
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@example.com) 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?
- 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.
Brave Africa Passport with collectible stickers!
Collect stickers and check off animals throughout your safari.
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!
Game Drives are the most common African safari activity. They are how you go deep into the bush to see the animals, and it is the focus of most safaris. But did you know that there are other unique African safari activities that can enrich your experience?
You do not have to spend all your time in a vehicle while on safari. You can experience the beauty, tranquility, and awe-inspiring majesty of Moremi Game Reserve, the Okavango Delta, and Chobe National Park in a variety of ways.
8 Unique African Safari Activities
In Botswana and with Brave Africa, eight amazing African safari experiences can help you enjoy the widest breadth of landscapes and wildlife possible. They will make your safari worth it!
Let’s take a look at what they are and how you can enjoy them.
1. Walking Safaris
On walking safaris, your guide will take you off the beaten path to explore the bush on foot.
Walking safaris are a back-to-basics approach to safari. You leave the car and follow your guide into the bush on foot. This way of exploring Botswana gives you a far deeper and more intimate connection with the landscape and the animals.
A walking safari is not about spotting a lot of wildlife. It’s about experiencing nature in a more personal way. During your walk, you’ll discover a new kind of peace and connection with the bush. You’ll listen to the wind as it rustles through the trees, birds calling to each other, and more that you’d never notice in a vehicle.
On a walking safari, you can also track animals through areas a vehicle could never go. Your guide will make sure you are downwind and then take you right up to a herd of elephants, a pride of lions, or an obstinacy of buffalo.
Don’t worry; the chances of finding yourself in a scary situation are rare. Walking safaris are only completed by Level 3 guides who have the experience and training necessary to keep you safe.
A highly qualified Level 3 guide is an expert in tracking and animal behavior. They know when and how to approach animals, where to walk, and how to handle almost any situation. On top of that, your guide is always armed on a walking safari.
This is a “just in case” measure that is available as a last resort if something goes wrong. However, neither of our Level 3 guides have ever had to fire their weapon in a combined 20 years of guiding.
How to Schedule a Walking Safari
When you book a safari with Brave Africa, we automatically include walking safaris while in Khwai. To ensure a walking safari is on your to-do list, let us know during the booking process so we can plan appropriately.
2. Mokoro Safari (Canoe Safari)
A mokoro safari is a peaceful and unique way to explore Botswana’s bush.
The most serene, sublime, and unique African safari activity is the mokoro safari—dug-out canoe safari. It is like no other experience in the bush and offers a fascinating way to explore the beauty of Botswana up close and personal.
Only available in the Okavango Delta, a traditional mokoro safari is absolutely enchanting. You’ll take a journey through reed-lined channels in a handcrafted canoe, propelled with poles and guided by local experts.
From the vantage point of the water, everything becomes larger and grander. Trees will tower overhead as you glide in relative silence through the peaceful waters. With no engine noise, you’ll be able to hear everything from the croak of the smallest frog to the grunts of hippos, bird song, and watery footsteps.
The biggest joy of a mokoro safari is how you take in the surreal and stunning beauty of the Okavango Delta. While seeing animals is possible, it’s more about the peace that you’ll enjoy.
How to Schedule a Mokoro Safari
At Brave Africa, we offer mokoro safaris in Khwai and Xakanaxa (Moremi Game Reserve). It is included in the price of your trip. All you have to do is let us know that this is something you would enjoy, and we’ll schedule your trip at a suitably scenic location.
3. Boating Safari
A boating safari takes you through the Okavango Delta via vast waterways.
Another type of water activity is the boating safari, which takes place on a motorized boat. This is a great African safari activity for exploring the vast waterways of the Okavango Delta and going where vehicles can’t.
There are over 17,000 square kilometers of pristine wilderness—including a labyrinth of channels and lagoons—in the Okavango Delta. And Boating safaris are a classic way to see as much as possible while enjoying game viewing and birding from the water.
How to Schedule a Boating Safari
Boating safaris rely on high water levels. If the water is too low, the boats cannot go out. If a boating safari is important to you, we recommend going out during green or shoulder season, when there’s more water around.
We offer boating safaris only in Xakanaxa (Moremi Game Reserve), and they are subject to weather and availability. Let the Brave Africa team know that you are interested in a boating safari when booking so we can schedule your trip accordingly.
4. Night Drives
On this particular night drive, we encountered a pride of lions enjoying a kill. The red light ensured we didn’t disrupt their vision.
Most of the time, your game drives will take place between sunrise and sunset. However, when we are in Khwai, you’ll have the opportunity to go on night drives. This unique African safari activity keeps you out after the sun has set to explore the bush in total darkness.
Equipped with a spotlight, your guide will drive around the bush and point out creatures that you’ll rarely see in the light of day. There’s an opportunity to see bushbabies, porcupines, pangolins, aardvarks, springhares, honey badgers, and more.
How to Schedule a Night Drive
Your Brave Africa guide will automatically take your car out on night drives while you’re in Khwai. However, it’s always a good idea to mention that this is something you’d enjoy while on safari so that we know to plan appropriately.
5. Khwai Village Visits
A traditional building that you can see during a Khwai Village visit.
Visiting Khwai Village is one of the highlights of going on safari in Khwai, Botswana. It’s one of the things that makes this area so unique. The local villagers actively manage and run the Khwai Concession through the Khwai Development Trust, having transformed their old hunting grounds into an area for eco-tourism.
You can go on a tour of Khwai Village to see first-hand how communities live, speak to villagers, and learn about their traditional way of life. You’ll learn a little about local bushman culture as well as basket weaving within the African community. And all proceeds from tourism in the Khwai Concession go directly to helping the local people and local projects!
How to Schedule a Khwai Village Visit
We need to communicate with the village in advance of your visit to ensure that the community is available for guest visits. When you schedule your safari with Brave Africa, mention that you would be interested in a Khwai Village visit and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
6. Bread Making Over the Fire
Fresh bread is delicious and well worth the effort.
If one day you feel like sticking around camp for a little while, you can learn how to bake a fresh loaf of bread over the fire. Working alongside our chef, you’ll discover what it takes to transform the fire pit into a working oven. It’s a technique that’s been perfected in Africa over the years, and if we say so ourselves, it’s delicious.
How to Schedule Bread Making
If you’re feeling unwell one day or you want to plan some time off in the middle of your safari, you can ask your guide about bread making. As long as we have time to plan with our chef, and it’s not on a camp move day, we can set up a fantastic bread making experience.
On a clear night with no moon, Botswana’s night sky is a heavenly sight.
Unsurprisingly, the night sky in Botswana is spectacular. You are out in the middle of nowhere with little to no light pollution. What that means is that you can witness a dizzying array of stars. It’s an awe-inspiring sight.
On nights with little to no moon, you can stay out late to see the Milky Way really shine! Our guides can give you a lesson on stargazing with a telescope and special laser pointer. If you’ve never seen the sky in the southern hemisphere, or even if you have, stargazing in Botswana’s bush is jaw-dropping.
How to Schedule Stargazing
You can stargaze anytime while on safari with Brave Africa. Almost every night offers amazing cosmic splendor. However, if stargazing is high up on your list, your guide will take you out on the best night possible when clouds are unlikely, and the moon is dark.
8. Junior Guides
Collect stickers and check off animals throughout your safari.
Kids on safari can get bored. The good news is that, at Brave Africa, we’ve crafted a bunch of Junior Guides activities to keep your kids entertained. These unique African safari activities are kid-specific and designed to teach your kids a love of nature and animals. We want to help them discover respect for Africa and all it has to offer.
Our Junior Guides will learn:
- Tracking and Survival Skills: They’ll learn how to explore and survive the African bush from our expert guides, including how to identify and follow animal tracks, understand wildlife spoors, make fire by friction, and the medicinal uses of plants.
- Safari Vehicle Skills: With parent approval, your kids can sit on our guide’s lap and learn how to drive through the bush. In addition, they’ll learn how to use the vehicle radio to communicate with camp and run the spotlight at night to find animals in the dark.
- Wildlife Art: If your child is an artist, they’ll love our wildlife art and drawing opportunities. Our guides will find a beautiful spot in the wild with animals nearby and then give them a chance to draw what they.
- Traditional Botswana Sling Shooting: Slingshots are very valuable tools in the African bush, and they’re lots of fun for kids. Our expert guides will teach your kids all about sling shooting and give them a chance to practice their skills on cans.
- Brave Africa Passport: We’ve crafted a one-of-a-kind Brave Africa passport for your kids to commemorate their entire safari experience. They’ll collect stickers for every animal, activity, and camp they experience on safari.
How to Junior Guides
If you have kids, we’ll automatically schedule your family for Junior Guides activities throughout your trip. As parents, you’ll have full control over what you’d like your kids to participate in and what you’d like to skip. We’ll work with your family throughout your safari vacation to make sure everyone leaves happy.
More Amazing Safari Experiences
Enjoy a safari from above either via helicopter or hot air balloon.
All of the unique African safari activities we mentioned above are included in the price of your Brave Africa safari. All you have to do is let us know which experiences you are interested in, and we will do our best to make it all happen.
However, there are some extra safari experiences that are available for an additional fee. Brave Africa or your travel agent can help make these possible.
- Helicopter Flights: There are a few operators in the Okavango Delta that offer scenic helicopter flights so that you can witness Botswana from the air.
- Hot Air Balloons: From April to September, you can go on a hot air balloon safari at darn. It’s one of the best ways to get a 360-degree birds-eye view of Botswana.
- Horse Riding Safaris: Only available for experienced riders, there are a few operators who offer safaris by horseback.
- ATV Safari: In Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pans, you can experience one-of-a-kind ATV safaris.
None of us could have guessed what 2020 would bring. At Brave Africa, we were expecting a full year of amazing safaris and wonderful guests.
Things have not gone as planned, but that’s life. The good news is that we’re still here, and we will continue to be here in 2021 and beyond. Our team is still doing well, and we’re preparing for the future of African safaris—whatever that may look like. And, believe us, it’s worth it!
So, how can you plan your African safari after the coronavirus?
The African Safari After Corona
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the travel industry. In the short term, it’s completely shut down all travel with worldwide lockdowns and stringent restrictions across the globe. In the long term, people are going to think about traveling differently.
Suddenly, all travelers are going to have to consider what’s safe and what’s healthy before choosing a vacation. And it’s not just about the end destination. You have to get there, and plane travel has never been ideal.
What does the African safari industry look like after corona? It’s different.
Seeing the beauty of an African sunset is just one reason to go on safari after coronavirus.
Africa is, of course, ready and waiting for tourists to return. And while right now might not be the best time to travel, it is a great time to plan for the future.
If you’re willing to take a leap of faith and plan your dream African safari, you could take advantage of some major deals, flexibility, and pricing cuts. In fact, most safari operators are making it so there’s little to no consequences and only benefits to booking now.
5 Questions to Ask Before You Plan Your African Safari After Corona
There are just a few questions you need to ask before you plan your African safari after coronavirus.
1. Where do I want to go on my African safari?
Botswana is home to more elephants than anywhere else in the world—130,000 at last count.
First, you need to decide what country you want to visit for your African safari: South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, etc. Each country offers unique experiences, amazing wildlife, and beauty.
During normal times, you couldn’t go wrong with any country—though we’re biased toward Botswana, of course—but these are not normal times. Instead, you need to consider your destination based on:
- The impact of the coronavirus
- Travel ability
- Safety guidelines
For most people, South Africa is the gateway to Africa. Almost everyone flies into Johannesburg as a launching point for the rest of the continent. It’s the most common destination. That means that, until South Africa opens up its borders to tourists, getting anywhere in Africa could be difficult.
As of May 27, 2020: South Africa has had 25,937 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 552 COVID-19 related deaths. Starting on June 1, 2020, the country will move into Level 3 of their coronavirus response, which will open up much of the economy. However, travel will not open until Level 2 or Level 1, for which there are no current timelines.
Countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe are almost completely dependent on South Africa’s reopening to restart safaris. Until that time, travel for safari is going to be difficult if not impossible.
As for safety, you might want to consider going on an African safari after coronavirus in a location where the pandemic had very little impact. For example, in Botswana, there have only been 29 cases of coronavirus recorded and one coronavirus-related death.
Keep an eye on the World Health Organization (WHO) for the latest travel advisories.
2. When do I want to travel?
There is no bad time to visit Botswana. You’ll have incredible animal viewing in every season.
Depending on where you choose to go on your African safari that will help make your decision in regards to travel. Right now, most African countries are still closed to tourists and outside travel. Until borders open back up, you won’t be going anywhere.
While it’s difficult, if not impossible, to predict when you can go on an African safari after coronavirus, that doesn’t mean you should completely write-off 2020. If you are willing to push back your dates toward the end of the year—August and later—there is a chance that you could be one of the only people on safari.
Some experts are predicting that there could be a start to normalizing life at the end of 2020, and there could be nothing better than being on your own in the wilderness—just you, your guide, and the animals.
If that still seems too risky for you, you can plan your safari for 2021, instead. Just be sure to book early and quickly. Since many safari-goers who had planned to come out in 2020 had to push back their dates until next year, availability is becoming tight. If you want to get your preferred dates, you should book as soon as possible.
And if you don’t know when to plan your African safari after coronavirus in 2021, check out our blog, “When Should You Visit Botswana? Botswana by the Month.”
3. Are there any special deals, discounts, or policies for going on a safari after coronavirus?
Brave Africa has special coronavirus deals that you’ll want to chase down.
As we’ve said, the world has changed, and the African safari industry has changed with it. We understand that it’s a brave new world out there, and we’re doing our best to keep up with the times.
With how unpredictable the future is at the moment, many African safaris are doing what they can to offer travelers peace of mind and confidence when booking their safari. Not only are there revised cancelation and reschedule policies for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, but there are also some incredible discounts you can take advantage of.
For example, at Brave Africa, for a limited time, we are offering:
- Once-in-a-lifetime pricing for any 2020 safari
- 2020 and 2021 Book with Confidence promotions
You can learn all there is to know here. But here are the highlights:
Our once-in-a-lifetime rates mean that guests who book a 2020 departure may enjoy a High season safari this fall for less than the price of low season. The price reduction saves the guests over $5,000 for a party of two!
- Book with confidence. The deposit is only $400 (7-day itinerary) or $600 (10-day itinerary) to hold their spot for the entire party. It covers our own non-refundable costs for campsites—that’s it.
- Book now; pay later. The remaining balance is not due until 30 days prior to departure.
- As long as we get 30 day’s notice, guests can reschedule for any available date through December 31, 2021—any reason; no penalties.
- If rescheduling for another date in 2020, there will be no difference in costs.
- If rescheduling for 2021, guests rollover 100% of their reservation credit AND get a further 10% bonus towards their rescheduled booking. (As an example, if a party of two pays $8,000 for a 10-day itinerary in 2020 and reschedules for 2021, they will have $8,800 available in credit towards any available 2021 itinerary).
We designed this 2020 Book with Confidence policy so that, on a worst-case scenario, the most that guests’ risk is the $400 or $600 deposit if they completely walk away without going on their safari between the day they make the booking and December 31, 2021. Otherwise, if COVID-19 spread, vaccine delays, or any other circumstance forces guests to postpone their travel dates, they may roll over at least 100% of their investment into a new travel date for the next 19 months!
- Book with confidence. The deposit is only $400 (7-day itinerary) or $600 (10-day itinerary) per person to hold their spot (deposits are usually 20%-30% of the entire reservation).
- Book now; pay later. The remaining balance is not due until 60 days prior to departure.
- As long as we get 60 days’ notice, guests can reschedule for any available date through March 31, 2022—any reason; no penalties.
Again, even though we are cautiously optimistic that everyone will return to a new normal by 2021, we want to minimize the stress from the uncertainty of the future. Worst-case scenario, guests lose a deposit much smaller than industry-standard if they completely walk away without going on their safari with us. Otherwise, even if COVID-19 or other life circumstances delay their original travel date, guests can roll over 100% of their investment into a new travel date through March 2022!
4. Is the safari operator taking the coronavirus seriously?
Brave Africa has social distancing built into our safari with a maximum of 12 guests and 6 tents.
Going on an African safari after coronavirus means that you will have to travel responsibly in the future.
While there’s no definitive information about how risky it is to travel on an airplane during the pandemic, we do know that airports, TSA, airlines, and tourism gateways will all do what they can to decrease infection risk once the world starts traveling again. A key will be avoiding crowded settings as much as possible.
The good news is that going on an African safari is a guaranteed way to get away from crowds while remaining safe. Especially if you choose to safari in a place like Botswana’s Okavango Delta, you can expect the crowds to be small. Most safari camps and safari lodges in the area have a low maximum number of guests, tents, and vehicles.
For example, at Brave Africa, our safari camp’s maximum capacity is six tents (12 guests) at a time. Your safari vehicle is also maxed out at six guests (two guests per row—no occupied middle seat). This means that we’re already ideally set up for social distancing on vacation.
On top of that, because we are a mobile-tented safari, our main tent and vehicles are open-air, which greatly diminishes your risk of getting an airborne infectious disease—such as coronavirus.
But that’s just the bare minimum. If you want to feel comfortable going on an African safari after coronavirus, you also want to ask what the safari operator is doing to increase their health and safety measures. At Brave Africa, we’ve implemented additional processes and procedures, including:
- Increased availability of hand sanitizer.
- Masks available to use as-needed / desired.
- Enhanced staff training on safety and health protocols.
- Heightened cleaning and hygiene processes.
- Our team will carefully wipe down and sanitize vehicle armrests, seats, and handles after every game drive.
- All shared surfaces at camp will be cleaned and sanitized between uses.
- Sanitization of hard surfaces during daily guest tent cleaning.
In addition, every Brave Africa guest will receive a Health Amenity Kit upon arrival. This kit includes a mask, a personal hand sanitizer, and a personalized water bottle.
5. Is there any reason not to book my African safari now?
Brave Africa is waiting to welcome you on safari!
Finally, you need to really ask yourself if there’s any reason not to book your African safari right now?
With extremely low deposits required, flexible rescheduling policies, and great discounts, now is the ideal time to book your dream vacation. If you’re willing to go with the flow, change your plans as required, and go on safari sometime in the next 18 months, then there’s no reason to delay.
Many of the special safari deals and offerings are only available for a limited time. Once travel gets back to normal, so too will the booking policies of most safari operators.
Also, if you have been watching the news at all, you know how stir-crazy everyone has gone. When travel resumes fully, we can only imagine how busy things could get for a little while as everyone tries to get away from home. If you book early, you will have your choice of dates, locations, operators, and more.
PLUS, by booking early, you could really help out safari operators who are struggling right now. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the safari industry, including conservation efforts.
By making the commitment right now to go on an African safari in 2020 or 2021, not only do you enjoy the benefits of the coronavirus deals only available for a limited time, you are also saying that you care about the African wildlife and are willing to commit to protecting it.
When you book a safari with Brave Africa, we donate $5 a day per guest to various charities dedicated to conservation.
Going on an African Safari After Coronavirus
There’s no reason not to go on an African safari after coronavirus! And there has never been a better time to plan for your dream vacation. Just be sure to choose your destination, safari camp or safari lodge, and timing carefully.
To visit Khwai Concession, you must travel to Botswana’s Okavango Delta and to the outskirts of the world-famous Moremi Game Reserve. It’s an enchanting area, most well known for the winding Khwai River. Offering a wildlife-rich patchwork of lagoons, shallow flooded pans, woodlands, and grasslands, Khwai Concession has a little bit of everything.
Without a doubt, it’s one of the most scenic areas of Botswana. And it’s a must-visit location for your safari in the Okavango Delta. There’s a reason why all of our safari packages take you to visit Khwai Concession.
1. Abundant Wildlife
Khwai is a predator-rich area known for having high concentrations of all types of wildlife. It’s an excellent location for viewing lions (in March 2020 on one of our safaris, guests saw more than twenty lions throughout their trip, including three kills), leopards, wild dogs, cheetah, and more. There’s even a hyena den, which makes it possible to see pups here.
Beyond predators, Khwai is one of the best places in the Okavango Delta for elephants. The beautiful Khwai River draws in healthy populations of elephants, buffalo, giraffe, red lechwe, impala, hippo, zebra, kudu, and more.
It’s difficult to go any stretch of time without running into some type of wildlife when you visit Khwai Concession. In particular, this is one of the go-to locations in all of Botswana to see wild dogs!
2. Impressive Birding
The Khwai Concession is known as the raptor capital of Botswana. You can find more than twelve species of eagles hanging out near the water, including the African fish eagle, bateleur, tawny eagle, martial eagle, and brown snake eagle.
And that’s just the start of the birding in Khwai Concession. Malachite kingfishers love the river, as do southern yellow-billed hornbills, cuckoo hawks, slaty egrets, rosy-throated longclaws, bee-eaters, and lilac-breasted rollers. It’s a birding wonderland with hundreds of species just waiting to be discovered.
Khwai Concession is home to excellent birding opportunities.
3. Incredible Landscapes
Khwai is an incredibly beautiful area with many diverse landscapes. In a single game drive, you can enjoy marshes, lagoons, forests, grasslands, and more. These ever-changing landscapes are essential for the wide variety of wildlife you get to enjoy.
And the beautiful Khwai River rules over it all. It flows through this vast 1,800 km of land, creating an exceptional water source for migrating animals and powerful predators. There is always a high concentration of game along the river.
Visit Khwai Concession for incredible landscapes you’ll never forget.
4. The Flood
If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary about Botswana, you know the flooding of the Okavango Delta is one of nature’s most incredible spectacles. When you visit Khwai Concession, you get a front-row seat to the annual flood cycle and how it affects everything.
Every year, the Angolan rain floods down through permanent swamps and rivers upstream to transform Khwai. Between June and August, Khwai River is filled with nutrient-rich floodwaters, which brings incredible game viewing.
5. Khwai Village
Khwai Village is one of the highlights of the Concession and one of the things that makes this area so unique. The local villagers actively manage and run the Khwai Concession through the Khwai Development Trust. They transformed their old hunting grounds into one of the best-managed conservation areas for eco-tourism. They actively protect the environment and manage the Concession.
There are also potential tours of Khwai Village that can be arranged with us before your safari. If you’d like to see first-hand how communities live in the area, speak to villagers, and learn about their traditional way of life, a visit to the village is a must.
All proceeds from tourism in the Khwai Concession go directly to helping the local people and local projects!
A traditional building that you can see during a Khwai Village visit.
6. Private Game Reserve
When you visit Khwai Concession, you’re visiting a private game reserve. Why does this matter? Not only does it provide a more intimate wildlife experience, but there are also specific opportunities and activities exclusively available outside the main parks (Moremi Game Reserve).
For example, Khwai Concession does not have hard open and closing times (sunrise and sunset). Instead, you can stay out on game drives as late as you want or get started as early as you want. This gives you more flexibility.
We’ll talk more about the benefits of a private game reserve in reasons seven, eight, nine, and ten.
7. Nature Walks (Walking Safaris)
In Khwai Concession, you can go on nature walks with your safari guide. These unique walking safaris allow you to see the African bush in a whole new way. Your guide will carry a gun just to be safe (our guides have never had to fire their guns in more than 20 years in the bush) and take you on a walk to get up close and personal with some of your favorite animals on foot.
These walking safaris are only possible because the Khwai Concession is on private land that allows you to be more adventurous. Just make sure you go on a safari with Level 3 guides, like our Brave Africa guides, or you won’t have the necessary qualifications to be able to do this.
Our president and expert safari guide, Tabona Wina, taking a guest on a private walking safari.
8. Mokoro (Boating Safaris)
The Khwai River also makes this area a great location for mokoro safaris. This tranquil and idyllic safari activity places you in a two-person, dugout canoe to get a look at the Okavango Delta in an entirely new way.
Your mokoro guide will propel you through the calm waters of the Khwai Concession (staying in shallow waters) to get you up close and personal with incredible wildlife and the natural beauty of your surroundings. It’s a great safari activity for relaxing and focusing on the lush scenery that Botswana has to offer.
9. Night Drives
After the sun sets, Africa’s wildlife does not go to sleep. In fact, many things start to wake up and explore. When you visit Khwai Concession, you have the opportunity to see life after dark on a night game drive.
Since there are no closing times in Khwai, you can stay out with your Brave Africa safari guide long after the sun sets to keep exploring the wilderness via spotlight. This unique safari activity offers an entirely different experience that can be rather eerie and awe-inspiring.
It’s a thrilling experience that gives you the opportunity to see animals and sightings that are rare during the day. Discover porcupines, civets, bats, bush babies, owls, and more. It’s terrifying, fascinating, and exciting all at once.
There’s even an opportunity to stop in the bush under the stars for a quick lesson on the sky in the southern hemisphere.
On a clear night with no moon, Botswana’s night sky is a heavenly sight.
Khwai Concession also provides you more freedom on your game drives. In public parks, such as the Moremi Game Reserve, off-roading is not allowed. The parks require all guides and guests to drive only along pre-set paths, which can get you almost anywhere but can limit you when animals are just out of reach.
In Khwai Concession, you don’t have to worry about that. If the path turns right but the lions when left into the middle of a field, your Brave Africa guide can take your vehicle off-roading to get you as close as possible to the action.
Don’t worry, we still care for the environment and are very careful not to cause harm, but the ability to leave designated tracks and explore deep into the wilds gives you more possibilities than ever to find the wildlife wherever they may be.
Brave Africa’s safari vehicles can handle almost any kind of off-roading, including going through deep water.
11. Great Camp Sites
The Khwai Concession also offers some great campsites. We have a few of our favorite spots, which are completely private, and offer incredible views. You’ll go to bed, wakeup, and eat meals right on the Khwai River where animals regularly come to drink and relax.
At our Khwai campsites, we often have a resident hippo who provides a backdrop to camp. And at any given time, you could have breakfast or dinner with a herd of elephants, impala, zebra, wildebeest, red lechwe, buffalo, and more. Not to mention the soothing tranquility of running water.
Elephants visit our campsite in the Khwai concession and give our guests an amazing wakeup from the comfort of their tent.
12. Visit Anytime
As we’ve talked about before, there’s never a bad time to visit Botswana. It all depends on what you want. And that’s especially true when it comes to visiting Khwai Concession.
Thanks to the Khwai River, there’s always water here, but never so much that you can’t drive around and explore. It’s a great location to visit in wet and dry season and every time in between.
The region is especially well known for huge herds of migrating elephants all year long.
Is an African safari worth it? We’re definitely a little biased—okay, we’re a lot biased. We run a safari in Botswana, so of course, we think it’s the best vacation idea ever! But we know that we don’t speak for everyone. So, we’ll try to break down what it’s like to go on an African safari and then let you decide if an African safari is worth it for you.
Safaris Are Expensive: What Do You Get for the Price?
Dollar for dollar, African safaris are probably one of the most expensive vacations you’ll ever have the pleasure of going on. In many cases, a high-quality African safari can cost as much as a car ($5,000 to $50,000 USD). So, is it worth the price? What do you get for the cost of an African safari?
Most African safaris are all-inclusive. This means that the nightly price for your lodge/camp covers everything else while on safari, including food, game drives, and most of the time, alcoholic drinks. The good news is that an African safari isn’t Disney World. Once you pay for your hotel, you don’t also have to pay for park entrance fees, meals, and more. So, you can more easily budget your safari upfront and know what you’re getting yourself into. At Brave Africa, your all-inclusive safari cost includes:
- All meals, snacks, and in-house beverages (including local beers and wines)
- All-day game drives
- Additional safari activities, including mokoro, village visits, walking safaris, etc.
- Daily laundry services
- Road transfers between locations/camps while with Brave Africa
- $50 or $35 nonprofit donation per guest
Along with the high cost of an African safari, you can expect exclusivity. Safaris are off the beaten path. You won’t be in the middle of thousands of tourists at the Eiffel Tower or pushing your way through crowds at Hobbiton in New Zealand.
A safari is a different experience that is really about you, the animals, and nature. The value of an exclusive African safari experience cannot be overstated. It’s a chance to truly get away from it all: turn off the cell phone, disconnect from WiFi, say goodbye to people, and get in touch with Mother Nature. The key is choosing an African safari experience that focuses on exclusivity.
In March 2020, Brave Africa went out on safari with just a single guest—for a highly private and personalized experience.
Ask about how many people the safari operator puts in each vehicle. Budget operators will stuff ten people or more in a vehicle, which means your dream safari could wind up with you in the middle seat—very uncomfortable and disappointed. Some camps might also pack in the tourists to make more money. If you’re going on safari for exclusivity, ask about the size of the camp.
Note: Botswana’s safari tourism model is fewer tourists and better experiences. At Brave Africa, our vehicles max out at six guests (two per row) and six tents (12 guests total at camp and two safari vehicles).
You Can See Animals in a Zoo: What Makes a Safari Better?
Beyond price, the next question many guests have about whether an African safari is worth it has to do with the experience. You can see wild animals in a zoo, what’s so great about an African safari? How much better is the experience, especially when animals are not guaranteed. Let us start by saying the experiences are NOT comparable at all.
An African safari is an adventure. It’s your chance to see animals in their natural habitat. This makes all the difference. Animals on a safari are engaging. They eat, walk, play, fight, chase, run, and interact in a thousand different ways. This means that you can see the same type of animals every single day and every time it’s a new experience. Natural animal behavior makes a huge difference.
And then there’s the variety of wildlife. Yes, a zoo has all types of animals from all over the world, but the difference of an African safari is that the animals are all together. You can sit in your safari vehicle and watch elephants right alongside hippos, impala, zebra, and wildebeest. And in the next second, you can run across lions or wild dogs.
You never know what type of wildlife you’ll see on your African safari, but every day, every hour, it will be something new. Just make sure you choose an exceptional location for your African safari where wildlife is plentiful. Not all destinations are created equal.
For example, Botswana has almost double the elephants of ANY other country in Africa—over 130,000—along with 163 other species of mammals, including the usual suspects: lions, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, wildebeest, zebra, rhino, etc. The country is also home to more than 550 species of birds, including many rare and endangered species you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. And if you’re worried about going on a family safari with kids? Don’t be.
Beyond the wildlife, an African safari is about pristine and stunning landscapes. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy Mother Nature’s most impressive theater on a breathtaking scale. It’s about exploring vast swaths of wilderness where everything is raw, rugged, and stunning. Africa boasts a vibrant ecosystem with everything from dusty red deserts to lush swamplands, sweeping floodplains, expansive savannas, and vibrant forests. You’ll drive through rivers, explore lagoons, have lunch at elephant watering holes, hike rocky outcrops, and more.
Brave Africa’s vehicles can handle almost any terrain, including water.
The landscapes on an African safari will enchant you as much as the wildlife. And the best part is that you’ll get to enjoy these gorgeous landscapes without worrying about crowds—if you go to the right safari locations. Regardless of where you choose to go on your African safari, we can almost guarantee you’ll be talking about the beauty of nature for years to come.
What You Need to Know About Going on Safari Before You Book
If you want an African safari to change your life or be “the best trip you’ve ever taken,” not just any safari will do. You have to be VERY careful with what you book, otherwise it won’t be worth the hype.
For example, when two of our co-founders went on their first safari in South Africa, they had a small budget and had to choose a location and camp based on what they could afford. And while the experience sparked their love for safari, it wasn’t until they returned and went on safari in Botswana with a larger budget and more research that they had the trip of a lifetime.
Saying you want to go on an African safari is like saying you want to go on a hike. It can mean a thousand different things depending on what you want, where you go, and who is in charge of your safari.
So, if you want to make sure your African safari is worth it, pay attention to these five safari tips.
Choose the Right Location (Country and Region)
Forget about the name. You might have heard about Kruger and the Serengeti the most because they are well-known safari locations, but that doesn’t automatically make them the best. Most of the time, it’s the lesser-known parks and locations that offer a better experience with fewer crowds and more wildlife.
After all, animals don’t like to be around people so popular is not always better. For example, Botswana’s Okavango Delta might be a lesser-known safari location, but the experience is far superior to the crowded national parks in South Africa. In Botswana, you’re more likely to have untouched wilderness and wildlife that are not used to cars. It’s not a zoo experience at all. You’ll go off-road and hunt for the animals in order to get that once in a lifetime picture.
It’s crucial that you do your research about all the different safari areas in Africa and then choose the destination that best fits your needs and wants. And don’t forget to choose the right timing for your safari! Not all months are the same.
Pick the Best Safari Lodge or Camp for You
Your African safari experience will vary greatly depending on the camp, lodge, or self-drive experience you choose for your trip. Do you have a tight budget that will limit where you stay or are you willing and able to splurge for some luxury experiences? The bargain safari mindset isn’t the best.
The truth of the matter is that an African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people, and so planning to do it right is essential. If you want a picture-perfect African safari that exceeds all of your expectations, you need to choose a safari lodge or safari camp that fits what you want.
There are a few things to consider.
- What luxury amenities are essential to your happiness? Do you need flushing toilets? Is WiFi a must? Are you willing to sleep on a cot, or do you want mattresses? Are you comfortable in a luxury tent, or do you need a lodge? Do you need daily laundry services?
- What features does your safari vehicle offer? Beyond the camp, you’ll be spending most of your time inside your game drive vehicle. How nice are their vehicles? Are they new? Do they have charging options, refrigeration, windows, open-air, etc.?
- How good are the staff? Unlike a big chain hotel, the staff on an African safari play a huge role in your experience. You’ll interact with the staff regularly, especially the guide and camp manager, so you want to choose a safari camp where the staff receive good reviews and are focused on customer service.
- How important is the food? Not all African safari operators have a permanent chef on staff to create inspired meals that you’ll love.
Brave Africa is an all-inclusive and exclusive mobile lodge focused on providing quality experiences.
- Do you want to change operators between locations or stick with the same operator, guide, staff, the entire time? A mobile lodge, like Brave Africa, offers a consistent experience for guests even while changing safari locations. A traditional lodge requires you to pay for transportation—usually via plane—to get to each new destination.
- Is caring for the environment important to you? There are many environmentally-friendly operators who use solar power, reduce their plastic use, and give back to conservation efforts.
- What is their game drive experience like? We’ll discuss this more in a little bit, just remember the entire point of an African safari is to see the animals and get out on game drives. Don’t focus so much on the luxury of your tent that you neglect the most important element: their focus on wildlife viewing.
Get to know Brave Africa’s camp experience here.
Ask About the Quality of Your Guides: It Is Essential
Tabona Wina is Brave Africa’s co-founder and head guide with over a decade of experience in the bush.
A safari guide is essential to a great experience. You might think that you can get away with a lower budget by self-driving, but we can almost guarantee that the money savings won’t be worth it. A safari guide is an expert tour guide by 1,000! Their knowledge and passion for the animals and nature will be what makes or breaks your experience.
They are responsible for:
- Finding the animals,
- Telling you about what you’re seeing (it’s the difference between watching a National Geographic special with the voiceover or completely silent),
- Getting you to the remote locations,
- Keeping you safe,
- And more.
You’ll spend nine to twelve hours a day with your safari guide. They will end up being one of your best friends on your trip and will 100% make your African safari worth it. Without a great safari guide, you might as well head to your local zoo and walk around yourself.
Read more about the importance of safari guiding here.
Focus on Game Drives: That’s What You’ve Paid Big Money For!
The ENTIRE point of going on an African safari is to go on game drives. Only when you’re in the safari vehicle and driving away from camp in search of animals are you actually experiencing the value of your safari. People often forget that the purpose of a safari is to offer the BEST wildlife experiences and not just luxury camping.
For example, when the Points Guy went on his safari in Tanzania, he ended up VERY disappointed because while he paid top dollar for a luxury camp, the game drives failed to deliver. This ruined his entire trip and made his African safari not worth it.
Creature comforts are only one piece of your safari. If you unknowingly compromise your African safari experience by asking for WiFi and forgetting about game drives, you won’t be happy in the end. Think of game drives like going to a theme park.
For most of us, we wake up early, get to the park at open, spend the entire day at the park riding as many rides and enjoying as many experiences as possible, and then only leave the park as it closes. The goal is not to waste a second of our theme park ticket because it’s expensive, and we want the most bang for our buck.
On most traditional safaris, game drives only happen in the morning and evening for three to four hours each outing. This means that—in the middle of the day for four to five hours—you’re sent back to the hotel to wait. The theme park (wilderness) isn’t closed at this time; you just don’t get to enjoy it.
This reason is why we created Brave Africa. When our co-founders went on their first safari, they were disappointed by how much time was spent at camp and how little time was spent out with the animals. So, at Brave Africa, we do ALL-DAY game drives. This means, from sunrise until sunset, you are out on safari to see the animals.
We maximize your chances to see something incredible and experience all that Botswana has to offer. After all, we believe if you’re worried about how much money it costs to go on safari, your money should at least go toward what you care about most: the animals.
Spend Enough Time on Safari
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you plan enough time for your African safari if you want it to be worth it. If you can only spend three to four days on safari, it’s probably not worth the travel and cost. While even a day is amazing on safari, it’s the extended time out in the bush that makes the biggest difference.
Since every single day and hour is unique on an African safari, the more time you have to explore and see what the wildlife has to offer, the better. Three days is barely enough time to get a taste of what an African safari is truly like. Instead, we recommend planning at least seven days and six nights on safari. This will give you enough time to truly immerse yourself in Mother Nature.
If you love animals and adventure, then you need to give yourself the time required to experience it. Remember, National Geographic documentaries are filmed over months. Their photographers spend weeks at a time in the bush to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot. You can’t expect to go out in a few days and see it all.
Check out our 10-day safari adventure if you want to maximize your experience.
Final Thoughts: Is an African Safari Worth It?
Is an African safari worth it? Where else will you see mating lions? Certainly not in a zoo.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you. Only you can decide if the experience is something you will enjoy. Just make sure you do your research before you plan your trip. Since an African safari is not cheap, you do not want to make the wrong decisions and end up regretting it.
Feel free to reach out to us or an experienced travel agent to get all your questions answered. The only way an African safari is not worth it is if you book the wrong trip for your expectations.
If you’re anything like us, you’re already bored of being stuck in quarantine. Although, in Botswana, our stay-at-home orders are fairly recent—extreme social distancing began on April 2, 2020, at midnight—our team members in Colorado have been on lockdown much longer (almost three weeks now).
And since it seems like we’ll be here at least until the end of April, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some of the ways we’re staying entertained during COVID-19. We recently shared a blog about much of Brave Africa’s fun online safari content during this time, but we’re not the only ones stepping up our online game.
There are many safari lodges, travel agencies, photographers, and other content creators that are going above and beyond with their great safari content right now.
Here are eight of our favorites from:
- Hills of Africa Travel
- Wilderness Safaris
- Africa Adventure Consultants
- Savanna Lodge
- Wild Eye
- Brave Africa
1. WILDwatch LIVE
Every day, &Beyond is bringing Africa’s animals and stunning landscapes directly to your couch through WILDwatch LIVE. Twice daily, on YouTube and Facebook, you can tune in for a three-hour game drive in Kruger National Park in South Africa.
The game drives are streamed (in real-time), so viewers have the opportunity to experience exactly what a safari is like. You’ll witness a spectacular diversity of wildlife and landscapes while also gaining valuable insight from professional guides.
WILDwatch LIVE is a fabulous way to satisfy some of your wanderlust. Tune in daily:
- 6:00 am – 9:00 am CAT
- 15:30 pm – 18:30 pm CAT
2. Singita Virtual Game Drives
Singita is also live-streaming virtual game drives every day. You can tune in on Instagram and Facebook for a live glimpse of what’s going on in the bush.
The difference here is that the videos they offer are short and take you directly to their best sightings. You don’t have to watch for minutes or even hours to witness the best of the best. Instead, you can scroll through dozens of videos with clips of lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and more.
3. Hills of Africa Travel – Daily Safari Puzzles
Every day, Hills of Africa Travel shares a new safari puzzle on their Facebook page. We originally got the idea for our own #WednesdayPuzzle from them, but they take it to the next level.
Every day, they share a new, awesome puzzle of the unique, adorable, and stunning animals you can find throughout Africa. There have been puzzles of springbok, bushbuck, baboons, vulture, penguins, elephants, and many more.
Each puzzle is a great five to ten-minute distraction while you’re stuck at home with nowhere to go. We think it’s great safari content.
Wilderness Safaris is offering wilderness lovers a unique way to remember Africa by sharing their favorite wilderness poetry. On their blog, you can find incredible poems written by their guests and staff that will inspire you to fall in love with nature all over again. They’re also asking readers to share their own poems using the hashtags #IDreamOfAfrica, #WildernessPoetry, and #WeAreWilderness.
Beyond poetry, Wilderness Safaris is also lining up a bunch of riveting stories about the African bush. Stay tuned to their social media to see what they’re up to.
The Africa Adventure Consultants are taking their Facebook followers on an #ArmChairAfrica safari every day with great content. Not only are they sharing amazing photos and videos from safari, but they’re going further with other ideas to keep you entertained.
For example, they’re offering great safari content, such as:
- Book recommendations
- Interviews with experts
- Fun activities (learn to draw a gorilla)
- And more.
6. Savanna Stay@Home Safari
The Savanna Lodge, located within the Sabi Sand Reserve in South Africa, is sharing daily videos of their Savanna Stay@Home Safari. Already, there are 12 episodes that viewers can enjoy, covering everything from lion sightings to cheetahs, buffalo, elephants, leopards, and more.
Each episode is between 10 and 20 minutes in length and is led by an expert safari guide. The videos are shared on YouTube and provide viewers with an incredible safari experience from the comfort of their phone or computer.
7. The Wildlife Photography Podcast
If you’re looking for something to listen to while you work, take care of the kids, or just relax on the couch, the Wildlife Photography Podcast is a great choice! Hosted by Gerry van der Walt, it provides all sorts of great information, insight, and stories about going on safari in Africa and wildlife photography.
You can find discussions, interviews, Q&As, and more. All told by Gerry, a specialist photographic safari guide, educator, public speaker, and co-founder of Wild Eye. We especially enjoyed the short 11-minute episode about tracking a lion on foot.
He’s posting regularly during the coronavirus pandemic, so tune in!
8. Brave Africa Safari Content
On Brave Africa, we’re trying to share a lot of fun, interesting, and engaging content, during COVID-19. We’ve got a little bit of everything, including short #virtualsafaris that take you into the bush for a little bit. We also are sharing:
- Downloadable coloring pages for kids. Find them all here.
- #PuzzleWednesday with animal puzzles to put together online. Find them here.
- Pinterest pins on all things Brave Africa, safari, and Botswana.
- Regularly updated blog with news, stories, images, and videos.