Many first-time safari-goers have lots of questions as their trip draws near. The Trip Preparation page for our Zimbabwe, Botswana & South Africa Adventure has great information on what to expect during the safari portion of your trip in Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. In the meantime, we want to share with you what a typical safari looks like, bearing in mind that the structure of your days will vary by lodge. We also share some safari-specific tips that will make your adventure comfortable:
A Typical Safari Day
The Thrill of the Search
With years of experience, Discovery Tours driver-guides have learned where animals tend to congregate. This is the best insider knowledge you can have that will give you the strongest chance of seeing incredible creatures in the wild, but like all things wild, it would be foolish to guarantee consistent sightings. One thing is certain though: the thrill of any African safari is in the search. And the parks you’ll visit are graced with breathtaking wildlife, from elephant to giraffe.
Rise and Shine in the African Bush
Wildlife is most active in the early morning hours, so we’re sure to get out and explore as soon as we can. On some mornings, we even squeeze in a game drive before breakfast, then return to our camp or lodge for a satisfying meal.
Break for Lunch & Siesta
During full-day game drives, your driver-guides prepare a picnic that you’ll enjoy out in the bush. There’s something truly special about savouring a hearty meal while scanning the plains for elephants or giraffes in the distance. If we’re only out for the morning, we return to the resort or lodge for lunch. Often, we spend a few hours here to avoid the hottest part of the day – it makes for a great opportunity to catch up on your diary, sort your photos or just relax in a spectacular setting.
Close the Day with a Sundowner
It’s a long-held safari tradition: sharing a drink in the bush with fellow adventurers at the close of a thrilling day. Our driver-guides know the most magical spots to break out the eski and mix some drinks or uncork a bottle. After lingering over a drink or two, we return to the camp or lodge and perhaps visit with fellow travellers around a roaring fire.
Helpful Safari Tips
1. There’s no need to buy a new wardrobe. Unless bright and vivid colours are the only hues that hang in your closet, you probably have what you need for safari. Wear earthen tones during game drives; and if colour is a must for you, best to keep it muted.
2. Don’t fear the mosquito. The malaria mosquito is nocturnal. Even then, they don’t like moving air, so keep the ceiling fan blowing in your room. And remember that most bug-repellant clothing doesn’t breathe, so use spray instead.
3. Repel the tsetse fly with your wardrobe. Navy blue and black attract the tsetse fly. Consider this when packing clothes, hats, shoes, socks, everything. Or, just see Tip #1.
4. Be a welcome guest, not a loud and smelly one. Remember that we are guests in the animals’ home. During safari, avoid making loud noises, eating, or other behaviour that will distract the animals. And because animals’ senses of smell are so strong, leave your perfume and cologne at home.
5. Protect your skin. The sun can be strong in Africa year-round, and you’ll spend a good amount of time out on the open plains. Pack plenty of sunscreen and apply it liberally and often. One bad sunburn can ruin your whole trip.
6. Take a break, and bring your humility. Alas, the savannahs and forests of Africa do not have porta-loos. When we stop for bathroom breaks, men retreat behind one shrub and women behind another. Be prepared.
7. Don’t over-vaccinate. Typically, malaria and yellow fever shots are all you’ll need. See your doctor or travel clinic 4-6 weeks before your scheduled departure.
8. Bring cash for visas. Zimbabwe requires a visa for entry into the country. The cost is $30 U.S. cash. You may purchase it at the Victoria Falls Airport upon your arrival.