For many, a Safari is a once in a lifetime experience, some of whom have waited their entire lives for a week or two's holiday. There are many things to consider when booking your ultimate adventure, but here are 3 ways you can maximise your life changing experience.
1. Minimise Your Expectation
It is so easy to get carried away with what you might expect to see and experience that when it doesn't happen, disappointment is almost guaranteed. It is important to understand that although there are many destinations that offer incredible experiences and phenomenal game viewing, nature is nature and nothing can be guaranteed. By going with the approach of whatever happens happens, and by being open to everything on safari, from the biggest mammals to the smallest birds and insects, you will leave your safari not only more educated, but will also enjoy the entire experience so much more.
2. Patience is Key
Every heard of the term "African Time" or "This is Africa"? When travelling through Africa this term becomes very evident early on during your travels, especially if you're coming from a first world country. Everything just operates a bit slower in Africa, but one has to embrace it and just go with the flow, you are on holiday after all. Losing patience or trying to speed up the process simply won't help and in fact, might just make the situation worse.
As much as patience is vital when travelling through Africa, it is even more important for wildlife. It is easy to have a misguided expectation or interpretation of what a safari is all about, especially when looking at wildlife documentaries where its all action squeezed into a 45 minute video. The reality is a lot different, with hours of patience needed to witness different animal behaviour. Big Cats like Lion, Leopard and Cheetah and great examples of this, with the majority of the day spent flat on their backs with the occasional tail flick the only sign of life. Your patience however, will be rewarded more often than not if you spend a good amount of time in sightings. Encourage your Guide to spend more time with an animal and maximise your viewing opportunities.
3. Trust your Guide
Whether you are travelling with a Private Guide or by yourself with your local guide, it is vital that you put your trust in them. Your Guide spends many, many hours in the field and has your best interest at heart. There is nothing more rewarding for a guide that to predict animal movement and having it unfold right in front of you. Of course, it is nature and it is impossible for your guide to make the correct call or predictions all the time, but more often than not he/she should get it right.
If you have any specific requirements or would like a specialist Guide (photographic, birding, astronomy) advise the camp or your travel agent to ensure that you get maximum value out of your safari.
I hope these 3 elements will help you maximise your next safari adventure!
Until next time...