After everything we have been through, we deserve something exciting and totally different, like an African safari vacation! Elephants, leopards, and lions. Oh my! Wouldn’t that trip be enticing? But because Africa is very different and could somehow be dangerous, you must be aware of all the amateur mistakes you might do, and completely avoid them. To have a smooth African safari experience.
read on to learn about the 8 rookie mistakes we did so you don’t have to
1. Not doing enough research
If the Big Five game is on your travel bucket list, then you must know that not all African safari tours are equal. You have to be very aware of what you are booking. In other words, you must do your homework and understand the differences till you find the one that meets your goals and expectations. Remember that you get what you pay for, from the kind of vehicle, the number of guests, and the personalization of the experience.
2. Picking the wrong clothes
Have you noticed that everyone on an African safari would be wearing a “safari” outfit? Well, it’s not necessary to wear that, but it’s important to pick the right colors to blend with your environment in order to not distract the animals. The best colors to pick are neutral, like beige and olive green. And it’s important to avoid black and white because they are considered “dangerous” colors. Blue should also be avoided because it could attract the tsetse flies and other unpleasant insects.
3. Taking the wrong clothes
In an African Safari’s documentary, you don’t usually see how the warm weather drops unexpectedly at night. So yes, pack your t-shirts and shorts because during the day, it will be burning hot and the sun would probably give you one of the best or worst tan of your life, depending on your skin. Also, avoid packing anything fancy because most roads are dirt roads, which would be flying around. At nighttime, you would probably get chilly if you kept wearing the day’s outfit, so a few sweaters and long pants would be great for those chilly hours.
4. Ignoring the guides
When you are anywhere in the world, you can explore by yourself without the need of an expert because it wouldn’t be as dangerous, but when you are on an African safari, guides are a necessity. Their knowledge and expertise make all difference to the safety of guests. Being a rebel on a safari may bring you some fun, but it wouldn’t last, so make sure to listen carefully to them and follow their instructions. Or, you will end up facing cultural misunderstandings and dangerous animals. Trust us when we tell you that you don’t know best. Your guide had extensive training and been through enough situations to protect you and give you an amazing experience.
5. Not respecting the locals
Before making a step toward the African safari, you have to learn about the local culture. Keep in mind that the locals could be the main reason you would fall in love with the land. Same as you, they are also not used to your lifestyle, so make sure to respect theirs. For example, you might come across a few locals with an interesting choice of clothing. Before you take a picture, make sure you have their permission first. You will instantly earn their respect and show your appreciation.
6. Forgetting bug repellent and sunscreen
The temperature you will be exposed to depends on the season you travel in, but even if it isn’t as hot, it’s necessary to wear your sunscreen -and reapply during the day. You must know that these locations are also home to many dangerous insects, and your chances of getting a mosquito-borne illness is pretty high. Plus, you don’t really want to be dealing with the discomfort of having a ton of itchy mosquito bites. This is why you need to check with your doctor a few weeks before the African safari starts to learn about what is recommended for the particular area. You will then have enough time to get prescriptions, like malaria pills.
7. Expecting the comforts of your home
The lodges and hotels in African safari destinations can be gorgeous in terms of quality and design, but it’s important to realize that it’s also a remote area. So be open to the charm of lodges, wait for solar water to heat up in the shower, and forget about some of your daily essentials like the blow dryer.
This will also be a great opportunity to disconnect from the internet and connect with real-life because Wi-Fi and connectivity will often be patchy. This African safari an adventure, a chance to live wild experiences and teach you more about yourself, other people, animals, and the planet. Don’t waste it looking for the best area to connect your phone!
8. Stay behind your camera
The things you will be seeing are too interesting not to snap photos of, but you need to find the balance between memorizing moments and actually living them. An African safari could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and remembering it through pictures only would be sad. Put that camera away and live every moment by smelling, seeing, breathing, and feeling the trip in real-time. If it’s only about the pictures, just google “African safari,” and you will be blessed with unlimited access to great photos.