Going on a safari in Africa?
A wildlife safari in any country across the African continent is on the bucket list for many of us. It fills us with feverish anticipations about encounters with wildlife. However your actual safari experience may be completely different from what you ever imagined it to be. That’s one of wonders of travelling. It will never cease to surprise you.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind when preparing for your very first African safari.
Plan your finances
You’ll have to estimate your travel expenses and have foreign exchange handy before you set off to travel. However having cash in hand can be quite risky in any country. Hence the best option is the usage of a international prepaid travel card. Ensure you choose a card with exchange rate lock facility, so that you can save money from forex fluctuations. Also check if you can make ATM withdrawals, POS and online payments without exorbitant charges.
Although Africa is a hot continent, the temperature variation throughout the day is known to be quite dramatic. In order to escape the temperature dips and rises, it’s good to dress up in layers. You’re most likely to be heading off very early on most safari days. The early morning game drives usually start well before dawn. A scarf and a beanie hat are excellent accessories to have on a morning game drive. Go for light and warm clothing such as fleeces, sports jackets, hoodies, so that you can peel off one by one after the sun comes up and the temperature starts to increase. Be prepared for a chilly mornings and unbearable heat during the day. In the evening when the sun sets, the temperature will start to drop again, although it’s unlikely to be as cold as the mornings. You’ll want to bring a couple of layers of clothing for the evening drive too.
Don’t forget your binoculars
You may not have thought of this. A trip without binoculars will ruin the safari trip for which you’ve spent a good amount of money. So invest in a mid-range pair of binoculars to massively enhance your safari experience. There’s no denying, it’s a sheer thrill to see a lion or an elephant at just few meters distance. However it’s still better if you having a pair of binoculars in hand, as it will take you so close to the magnificent wildlife that you’ll feel like you can touch them.
Manage your expectations
Many first time safari travellers assume that they’ll see all the big five game (African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, and Rhinoceros) on their first trip. But with nature, nothing is guaranteed. When we watch our favourite nature shows in the comfort of our homes, it’s easy to forget that the film crews often camp out for weeks, if not months to capture those spectacular safari shots. So do your research on the perfect season for seeing the animals in the respective country or region.
Know your baggage requirements
Read the instructions about packing and the things needed, provided by your safari operator. In cases, when you’re travelling into the wilderness, you’ll be getting to your safari accommodation in small spaces with luggage restrictions. There is very likely to be weight limitations. Don’t take hard shell suitcases because soft bags fits and accommodates much more in smaller spaces.
Get professional support
There is no such thing as independent travel in the bush, and when you are metres away from a lion you’ll be very grateful you’re not there on your own. You need a reputable travel agent who will lead you to a reliable safari operator. Don’t mess around in the attempt to save a buck here or there. Nature can be extremely tough. In some cases your safari experience will depend on the skills and the experience of your guide and the travel company he or she works for. So do your research and read the reviews of the safari tour company, it will be worth it.
The safari industry has more than its share of fraudsters ready to snare new safari travellers. Hence do a thorough research and be vigilant before making any payment.
Keywords: foreign exchange, international prepaid travel card, exchange rate
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