Planning African safari can be overwhelming especially for a first-timer. This is because many first-timers do not have any idea on what to wear on safari, what to pack, safari safety, etc.
Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions for your information.
1.) When is the best time to go on safari?
The best time to visit Africa depends on the focus of your safari. For lovers of animals, the dry season is the best for taking game safaris as sparse vegetation makes game viewing easier. This is also the time when animals gather around permanent waterholes. On the other hand, the wet season is best for lovers of bird-life and those eager to see baby mammals.
2.) What are the entry requirements?
You require a passport that is valid for six months after your return home date and a visa. Nationals of certain countries do not require visas (depending on the country they are visiting). Holders of American passports, for example, do not need visas when entering Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. It is advisable to confirm with the embassy of the country you intend visiting for the latest entry requirements.
3.) What heath precautions should I take?
(a) Malaria – Most African countries do have occurrences of malaria, although your chances of contracting the disease (which is transmitted by a small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes) are quite low.
However, it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers in the evenings and by sleeping under treated mosquito nets. It is advisable to consult your doctor before and after your safari.
(b) Yellow Fever – This disease has been reported in 43 counties, mostly in Africa, including DRC Congo, Angola and Tanzania. All visitors from any of the affected countries are required to present a valid certificate of vaccination against the disease. It is advisable to consult your travel agent about this requirement.
(c) Billharzia – This disease is common in many lakes in the southern half of Africa. It is easily diagnosed by blood test and effectively treated with biltracide. Taking this test is advisable after any African safari where you may have toured lakes or rivers.
(d) Tsetse Flies – These are large flies residing in certain low lying and humid safari destinations such as the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Tsetse flies bites can cause sleeping sickness and you should take precautions (such as wearing light colored clothes) to lessen the chance of being bitten by them.
5.) Is African safari safe?
While traveling, you should always be alert although dangers are negligible so long as you listen and follow the advise of your guide. Never get out of your vehicle unless you are sure about your safety.
Remember African animals are some of the world’s most dangerous. Stay away from elephants even when in a vehicle and above all, it is safe to assume all water holds some crocodiles.
6. ) What should I bring with me on safari?
It is advisable to keep your luggage to the basics for your trip. Neutral colors are best for your clothes as animals do not spot these colors. Avoid black and deep blue colors as they attract Tsetse flies plus they absorb the African heat.
You may also need to carry a hat and something warm for the evenings. It is also recommendable to bring with you a good camera and some binoculars (this is a must as views can be distant).