March 30, 2020

A Spotlight on African Safaris ~ A Life Changing Experience

Lunch with the Wildlife!

There are few experiences as exhilarating and life-changing as going on safari in Africa. It is not just a vacation, it is a magical experience you won’t forget: – you will take something with you when you leave, and some part of you will stay behind. These photos will give you some idea of the experiences you can have.

I have been asked about safety when on safari many times and as someone who spent 15 years visiting various safari spots in Africa at least twice a year, I can assure you that if you have a professional guide and follow his or her recommendations, you will absolutely be safe. Additionally, most animals such as the cheetah and elephant are quite docile. However, you should always have a deep respect for the animals and remember they are wild. Never approach them without the expressed knowledge and approval of your guide, and do not challenge or disturb them in any way. I have on many occasions stood quite close to a herd of elephants and even near a pride of lions and they barely paid attention to me, but I stood quietly and did exactly what the guide told me. This ensures a mind-blowing experience while remaining safe.

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There are a plethora of reasons a trip to Africa should be not just on your bucket list, but should be number one on that list. When you mention vacation or getaway to most people, they imagine a tropical beach location, with you having a tall drink with a little umbrella on top, while soaking up the sun and staring at the waves. Hawaii or Cancun comes to mind and why not! It is gorgeous and moreover, if you live in the USA, you could travel to the nearest beautiful beach quite easily for a quick long weekend, and there are so many options! However, a trip to Africa is something completely different. There is no shortage of breathtaking moments, tons of adventures to participate in and unrivaled beauty. The colors are beyond description! Oh, and soaking up the sun with a tall cocktail in hand? Absolutely! 

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The landscapes of Africa are vastly different from one country to another. From the untouched pristine land with rich vegetation ideal for grazing herds in Southern Africa to the miles and miles of swirling sands and granite rocks of Namibia, or the great plains of Tanzania; the landscapes of this continent will sear themselves in your mind. The savannas, woodlands, stunning mountains and crystal clear waters are beyond the imagination. Which of these you choose to see (or see first), will depend on your specific interests and taste but I do I recommend that somehow, you see them all. You will not regret it. Just think of the incomparable insta-worthy selfies and pictures that will have your family and friends green with envy, and leave you with unforgettable memories of a once in a lifetime adventure… surrounded by unique landscapes and spectacular wildlife. We will explore them all in this series so that you can have the knowledge to make an informed decision when you contact Amber to book your safari. 

lodge okavango lodge botswana

Keep in mind that all safaris are not created equal and if you have never been on one, you will not be aware of just how different they are. Each country and even game lodge or tented camp, has a unique appeal and I believe that there will be one that will lure you more than the others, as each has its own features and attractions. Some will tell you that going to Masai Mara to see the great migration is THE best experience ever and make no mistake, it IS incredible. You will see the largest and most spectacular movement of animals spanning an impressive circular and scenic trek as every year, over a million wildebeest and thousands of gazelles and zebras make their way between Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park. Others will suggest that you should spend time trekking with the gorillas in Rwanda, and that too, is a profound experience. 

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Over the span of many years, I have at one point or another travelled to each and every safari spot and thoroughly enjoyed them all. Besides, where other than in the Okavango do you have cocktails waiting on a tree stump while on a wildlife spotting canoe safari! 

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If you are a couple considering a safari for your honeymoon, click here and read my previous post about safari weddings and honeymoons, and then talk to Amber about the various options that will suit all your specific interests. You have a choice of luxury game lodges and/or tented camps and even these vary from utilitarian to luxury, and glamping really is a thing! I have seen tented camps that are almost as luxurious as a 5-star hotel! Lodges can also range from basic to lux – it all depends on the camp and the experience you want to have.  

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While both game-lodge safaris and tented-camp safaris have their own charms, your choice would depend on your preferences. If you are able to, I would try them both just for the experience. Some of the more luxurious camps have one or more open air “treehouses,” or skybeds, where you can spend the night. While a treehouse is not for everyone, there really is nothing quite as magical as sleeping under the stars, while listening to the lions roar in the distance. Some of these are only a single night option at tented camps and game lodges. Usually, you will get dropped off before sunset, and get picked up early morning for a game drive. Some treehouses overlook a waterhole where the game come to drink at sunset, and you can hear the animals wandering below you during the night. Again, you will be totally safe but it is still incredibly exhilarating! You will be living in your own Out of Africa movie scene!

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Many safaris have kid-friendly options but there are some that don’t allow kids under six years old. Some game drives can take up to three or four hours, so if you want to go on a family safari, be sure to take that into consideration. On the other hand, taking your children with you on safari where they have many learning opportunities about conservation and how other cultures live, will be priceless. The guide’s experience ensures that you and your children get a wealth of knowledge about the animals and a chance to spot them. Kenya and South Africa are probably the best Countries for a family friendly safari, where you can fully customize your experience to ensure that everybody has a great time. If you can find a lodge with a nanny service, you should be able to leave your children in their care so that you can go on that game drive, if you so choose. Otherwise consider properties that offer family-friendly activities and animal encounters. Giraffe Manor in Kenya is a great option for families and is very kid-friendly but more about that when we throw the spotlight on Kenya/East Africa. It is always best to discuss your needs with Amber to ensure you find the perfect place.

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Some of my best moments in Africa has included spending time with and learning how the locals live. Safaris with a cultural element can be quite eye-opening and will totally round out your safari experience.

locals on safari

If you prefer to travel in groups, or you are a solo traveler, Amber can assist you with an unforgettable itinerary. With stunning landscapes and enchanting wildlife, there are only a handful of experiences that are on par with an African safari.

Amber creates personalized vacations for cruises, resorts, tours, groups, and conferences and of course African Safaris. She is a military veteran and LGBT friendly. You can call or text her at 469-465-5754 or e-mail her at EnchantedVacationTravel@gmail.com to plan your next Enchanted Dream Vacation! Her website can be found here

Pictures courtesy of Great Safaris, Glendale USA.

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Warmly, Batyah

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