Yesterday I started bookmarking African safari web sites on my computer. Oh man, there are a lot of them. This is not going to be easy. We are going to have to modify the process we use to choose our next destination.
It is not 100% but we are quite sure that an African safari is not something we want to attempt to do on our own. At least not the first one. There are too many unknowns for now. How do you find a hotel on the great plains of the Serengeti? Can you set up a tent anywhere? Do lions or elephants even care about personal space and will they leave you be? What do you do if you find yourself in the middle of a civil war? Are there really bandits in the middle of nowhere? Are there restaurants or street food vendors on the edge of veld where you can sit on the balcony and watch the great migration of the wildebeest? Anyway, you get the idea. The number of variables is great and supposedly the tour companies that specialize in safaris should have most of them figured out.
What we have figured out is that we are going to have narrow down the number of safaris that interest us. A number of the tour operators’ sites offer help on ‘How to Chose the Right Safari for You.’ Each of them has questions and answers to the questions posed. Of course the answers are set to steer you towards their particular services. I compiled a list of questions from the sites (sans answers) and added a few of my own. Debbie and I will attempt to answer the questions and at least narrow the options available.
Questions (in no particular order)
1. When? What year? What time of year? Considerations: weather, are there events we want to take in, when are the crowded times, when are the animals likely to be seen, is the migration of the wildebeest important?
2. Where? What part of Africa interests us? What country?
3. What do we want to see? Are animals the main focus? Does the landscape enter into the equation?
4. Dangers? political instability, bandits, disease.
5. What type of safari? guided, walking, self drive, river, horseback, fly-in, mobile, primate, balloon, or any combination of the above.
6. What standard of accommodation? luxury hotel type, luxury tents, camping, fixed location, mobile.
7. Visit National Parks or Private Game Reserves?
8. Size of the group?
9. How much time do we want to dedicate?
10. Do we want to follow a set itinerary, a totally customized trip or a hybrid?
Two of our friends are also researching travel destinations and it may be the four of us that strike out on this African sojourn. It would be fun to have some company, but they are also just in the very preliminary stages of their planning next trip so we will see how things pan out.
Pondering these questions will take some time. In the interim I will try to cull a few of the bookmarked sites and earmark them for a closer look. I of course will not stop adding new ones. There is oh so much information out there.