“Your Adventure is Waiting”
This is the primary activity to view wildlife. At many safari destinations, wildlife have grown accustomed to the presence of vehicles with little to no sign of being disturbed. Your photo opportunities will be tremendous. Most camps offer two game drives a day. Some offer all day excursions, while others are fortunate to offer night drives. During night drives, spotlights are used to locate nocturnal wildlife. Guides take special care not to shine a light directly into the animal’s eyes and avoid illuminating game typically seen during the day. Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is exceptional for spotting leopard after dark. Aardvark, honey badger, pangolin, cerval, porcupine, caracal, and many other creatures add to splendid nighttime viewing opportunities.
Walking safaris were pioneered in Zambia by the legendary Norman Carr. Other countries have adopted this model along with the stringent standards expected of guides in the industry. Walking is a great way to truly feel the essence of the bush. There is no engine noise to drown out the sounds of nature. You get to learn how to track and appreciate all the little things not seen from the seat of a vehicle. Typically, you do not get as close to wildlife as you would in a vehicle; nor should you. An ethical guide will try to keep a safe viewing distance from wildlife in an effort to keep you safe and to prevent frightening or threatening an animal.
Boating – There are several opportunities for boating safaris. High quality game viewing from motorboat, canoe, or a mokoro (flat-bottomed, dugout canoe) can be found in Botswana and along the Zambezi River in Zambia. Enjoy a beautiful morning or late afternoon as you silently drift pass herds of wildlife and see the bush from a whole new perspective.
Other – Other activities offered are hot air balloon rides, fly camping, and cultural visits. Hot air balloon rides are a romantic way to experience the bush and highly recommended if you are visiting Africa on honeymoon. Float silently over herds of game as the sun works its way above the eastern horizon. Land in the middle of pristine wilderness and be treated to a private, champagne breakfast.
Fly camping is definitely for the adventure minded and one of my favorite activities. Fly camping involves sleeping out in the bush under the stars with a mosquito net as your “tent”. It is very safe and you will be accompanied by an armed guide or ranger to monitor the camp while you sleep. Listening and feeling the roar of nearby lions reverberate through your body is one of the best wild experiences in the world.
Cultural visits are an important opportunity for you to learn about other cultures and to see the benefit wildlife viewing tourism has on local communities. The people you will meet are incredibly friendly, proud of their heritage, and very willing to share their stories. Take part in a volunteer project or learn about ways sponsorship has given children access to quality education and opportunity.
If you are visiting during peak season, I highly recommend booking a private guide and vehicle during your stay. This really allows you to go at your own pace and to experience a safari on your terms. Costs vary up to $600 a day, with an average cost approximately $300 a day.