So many people have asked me how to plan an African Safari trip. It sounds like a hard to to plan with lots of details, but actually it was the easiest trip I've ever planned!
Here are some Q+A about African Safaris!
Q: How would I even begin to book an African Safari?
A: It’s super easy! You just need to book a Safari Lodge and they will handle the safaris for you. The lodge will give you the option to take two Safari trips each day. They’ll tell you when to meet in the lodge lobby, and even offer a wake up call if it’s early in the morning!
Q: Where should I stay?
A: For first time Safari visitors, I recommend the Reserves of Kruger National Park in South Africa since it’s the easiest to access. The Reserves are better than the actual National Park since you can get so much closer to the animals! We stayed at the Jackalberry Lodge in the Thornybush Reserve and can’t recommend it enough. Our game drive driver was super knowledgable and we saw the Big Five on our first drive! He took the jeep off roading so we could find a leopard. It was unreal. The staff there treated us like family, and we actually cried hugging everyone goodbye at the end.
Q: Where would I eat when I go for a Safari?
A: Most Safari Lodges are all-inclusive for food and drinks! The Jackalberry Lodge provided us with 3 hot, fresh meals every day and it was actually the best food I've ever eaten anywhere in the world. The chef even know I was a vegetarian when we arrived, so she had special meals for me all week!
Q: How do I get to my lodge from the airport?
A: Most lodges will help you book transportation. If you're going to only be driving during the day, you can also easily rent a car and drive. My recommendation is to fly into the Kruger Airport and rent a car there. If you arrive at night, a scheduled transfer is a better option.
When we visited our first time, we used a company out of Boston called Audley to book our flights, car transfers, car rental and some of our lodges. Hailey is a South Africa specialist at Audley and she coordinated a private transfer pick up from the Kruger Airport for us since it was dark on our arrival, and then she coordinated another transfer to a rental car location near our first lodge so that we could pick up a car and drive ourselves around by day for the rest of the trip. Driving around Kruger Park was actually so cool.
Q: What is the difference between the South African Reserves and Kruger National Park?
A: This is something we didn't know until going. The Reserves are north of Kruger National Park's and actually way more impressive than Kruger itself.
We did a safari in both the reserve and Kruger, and were honesly underwhelemed with the safari in the National Park. This is because the safari drivers in the Reserves are able to drive more freely through the bush, while in Kruger Park the drivers are forced to stay on the roads.
It's also SO much more croweded in Kruger Park, so when a lion ventures near the road, 50 other safari vechicles are all fighting to get a front row view. It felt really touristy and honesly rude to the animals since it's so hectic and crowded. When we did a safari in the Reserves, there were only a few other vehicles in the bush at the same time, so we had amazing views every time.
I still recommend visiting Kruger Park, but definitely skip the safaris there and just rent a car to drive around yourself.
Q: What should I expect from a Safari?
A: The morning safari will begin before sunrise and you’ll stop for coffee and nibbles in the bush toward the end. The afternoon trip will start a few hours before sunset and get back just after dark, and they’ll bring adult beverages for sunset.
Q: What if I need to pee while we’re on a Safari?
A: If you need to use the bathroom, they will bring you back to the lodge, or you can opt to save time and wander into the bush if you're in the Reserve. But chances are you’ll be too excited to think about your bladder 😂
Q: Is it super hot on a Safari?
A: It was rather cool when we went! If you’re going on a South African Safari, remember they their winter is in the mid months of the year. We went in a July and the weather was perfect! We bundled up in the mornings and after sunset. The lodge provided us with blankets and hot water bottles for game drives. Mid day was warm enough to sit by the pool! Look up what the weather will be in the specific area for the time you’re visiting.
Have more questions? Message me on Instagram! @Nikishootsstuff