What to Expect on SafariNovember 9, 2017
A safari adventure in South Africa might be one of the most thrilling experiences in a traveller’s life with each day being a new and exciting experience. You might see different animals on the morning and evening runs, but each spotting will be unique and magical. It doesn’t get much better than being able to observe a wild animal in it’s natural habitat.
South Africa is well known for its abundance of wildlife, so on a safari trip here you are very likely to see the ‘Big 5’ during your stay. What is the Big 5, you ask? It’s the category of animals that are considered to be the most dangerous to encounter on foot. The African lion, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, and white/black rhinoceros make up this category, and I was lucky enough to see all of them in just the first day! Apart from these, you can expect to see a variety of other animals, including exotic birds, giraffe, zebra, hippos, hyenas, and monkeys. I was actually got to see two cheeky monkeys mating right in front of the truck! They clearly had no shame…
After your international flight to South Africa, you can expect to take a second transfer to your safari lodge. After my 11 hour flight from London, I had to take a tiny propeller plane to the middle of the bush to reach my hotel. I’ve never been on one of these before so the pilot let me sit next to her in the front seat. Although it was only an hour flight to the savannah, I was shitting my pants the entire time.
When we touched down at the Singita air strip, our safari guide was there waiting in his open-roof LandRover truck to take us to the hotel. I wasn’t expecting to see any animals on the very first drive to the hotel, but boy was I wrong. Within the first five minutes, we got surrounded by a heard of elephants! I was instantly in awe of the entire safari experience, and my adventure hadn’t even begun yet.
When we got settled into the hotel, our safari guide sat us down and told us what to expect for our twice-daily game drives. Here’s what we learned:
- On a typical safari, you will embark on two game drives per day; a morning ride at 5:30am and an evening ride at around 3:30pm.
- Each ride will have a duration of about 4-5 hours.
- The reason for these times is so that we would avoid the mid-afternoon heat. Imagine being stuck on an open top truck in the middle of the savannah getting cooked by the scorching African sun?! (By 12pm, temperatures rose all the way up to 104 degrees!)
- You must remain in the truck at all times unless your guide instructs you otherwise. It is common for the guide to stop for a break so you can stretch your legs or have a snack.
- You should avoid wearing bright colors or bright whites as it can be distracting to the animals
- When approaching animals, you must try to keep quiet and allow them to act in their natural habitat without disturbance.
- The animals think of the safari vehicle as one whole object, so they do not fear that there are humans observing them.
- The weather can change at any time so it is important to pack layers to put on or take off.
It is unbelievable how close you actually get to the wildlife. Some of the animals walk right up next to the truck and get close enough to touch! My first ever safari trip exceeded all expectations. This was definitely an experience I will never, ever forget and I can’t wait to go back!