Tips for surviving your African Safari

You are planning your African Safari and excited to see it all. Here are some of my notes on how to make the best of it.

  • Don’t be rushed.
  • Don’t drink too much. Overlanding often gets a bad reputation for a “boozing” holiday, but we made sure our passengers got their moneys worth, and that is through a sobering and scenic experience.
  • Get up early, stay up late. You can sleep anywhere in the world (that goes for drinking too), so make your time under the African sky count. No better way than actually enjoy looking at it. Watch every sunrise. Watch every sunset. You will see many shooting stars too. I promise.
  • Early signs and symptoms of malaria are very similar to that of a hang over. Although clinics in Africa are well equipped to deal with malaria, it is best to avoid confusion all together. Also, take the meds required to stay safe.
  • Cows, goats, donkeys – they are all over the road. Busses too. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to the road (and potholes).
  • Be environment and social conscience – we all want to safe the world, but by handing out pencils and money everywhere you go, you are adding to the problem. Tourism changes lives, and not always for the better. Read up and join forums to see how you can make a valuable change, not just a shortlived, feel good attempt to ease your own conscience. Good tour operators will also point you in the right direction.
  • Animal petting zoos and so called ‘sanctuaries’ should be well researched before supported – if you still need convincing, watch Blood Lions
  • Be flexible to change your route. This might not be possible if you are in an organised group, but it pays to stay an additional day or two in a spot you like. Take a detour. There are surprises around every corner.
  • Come back soon

Africa is to be taken in slowly. One sunset at a time.

“Joseph’s face was black as night

And the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes

His path was marked

By the stars in the Southern Hemisphere

And he walked the length of his days

Under African skies” – Paul Simon

The romantic African dream is to travel in your 4×4 or motorcycle, and do it yourself. If you can, go fot it. I know a lot of people that have – here is one. If that is a little out of reach, I can highly recommend joining a tour with a trusted tour operator. I worked for Nomad Adventure Tours – their trips accommodate all sorts of budgets and cover different routes depending on your time and needs.

I am happy to answer any questions on the work I did and trips we took. Shoot away in the comments below.

You might also enjoy Life as a girl guide – Overlanding

More pictures of Zanzibar here and of Namibia here

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