Planning any holiday can be a intimidating task, but planning a Safari can be one of the hardest travel holidays to plan. You are most probably going to base your decision on the usual variables - climate, activities, children and equally important budget. And African Safari holidays cater for them all!
There are plenty of operators out there to help you plan your perfect African safari holiday so that is not something that I generally worry about, what I tend to focus on is - where in Africa?
For me, the decision is usually between East and South Africa - each have their own unique beauty that attracts me, I tend not to stay in the one place for too long.
Some of the main regions that I would certainly try get to are Somalia, Ethiopia and probably most of all Tanzania. Tanzania is home to the Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and of course Ngorongoro conservation area - perfect for all of your wildest safari dreams!
Southern Africa is made up of nine regions including Eastern Cape, Free State Limpopo and Western Cape.
One of the highlights for anyone visiting the Southern Region of Africa, is heading over to the Krueger National Park - home to the big five of Africa's finest animals.
Timing and Resting
You had really want to think about timing, plan when and where you are going to be traveling and how many days are you going to spend of Safari? Safari is a tiring experience, lots of waiting, lots of travelling and lots of sunscreen! Three or four days on Safari is normally quite sufficient, so I would then be taking a couple of days rest before heading to the next one, remember that you may be traveling quite the distance, so it is important to plan a rest now and again!
Where to Stay
Accommodation comes in all shapes and sizes, and this will largely be factored into cost and of course, the experience. I tend to try to make the best of it, get a real feel for the rough and tumble of a Safari so I often opt for tented accommodation.
Each of the park offers various Safari holiday, boating, walking, night and day and or driving Safaris. These, primarily, depend on which region that you are visiting - each will follow specific rules of what they offer. Make no mistake though, there is always plenty to see, it may not be that big cat lurking in the bushes, or the enormous elephant stomping down the plain, but you might catch a glimpse of a Cape Cobra!
I have given you a couple of tips, but it is of course best to speak to a specialist about your next safari holiday. There is so much choice, so many wonderful places to see and so much to do! Africa is home to some of the most amazing game reserves in the world, the people are simply fantastic - very welcoming and of course they are always delighted about tourists!
As much as I love Africa, there are of course some tines when things aren't all rosy - I can pretty much guarantee that you are going to be wealthier than most of the individuals that you are going to encounter. Most of the locals are fantastic, welcoming and generally very honest, but this can't be said for everyone!
Keep cash, cameras, phones and valuables in a sensible place! I certainly would be tempted to remove any particularly expensive jewellery - let's face it, most game animals are not particularly bothered about your Armani watch, but a petty criminal may have slightly different views!
Simple safety principles go a long way, and always take a Safari with a guide!
James King, the author is this article is a blogger and a travel enthusiast.