What to Expect on your Luxury African Safari | Frequently Asked Questions

What to Expect on your Luxury African Safari | Frequently Asked Questions

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African Safari Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re imagining, planning, or about to live your greatest African adventure, we’ve got those burning questions answered! Each of our guides and travel ambassadors share their answers to your African Safari frequently asked questions!

Imagining your African Safari Adventure

When is the best time of year to experience an African Safari?

As much as I love summer in the African wilderness, the dry winter months ‘May – August’ are the optimal months across Southern Africa as temperatures are pleasant, insect life (including mosquitoes) is non-existent, vegetation is thin, grass is low and, as a result, its easier to locate and view the wildlife. As these are ‘zero rainfall’ months, prey species are localized around permanent water sources and their attendant predators are never far.

East Africa has two distinct rainfall events (to be avoided!) – the long rains (March/April/May) and the short rains (November/December). Furthermore, the predicted location of the migration (month by month) should always be taken into consideration in the planning process.

-JD Dunn

What is the best duration for an African safari vacation?

10 -14 days. Less than ten days and you feel cheated after such a long journey. More than 14 days can get tired. It’s intense! I prefer leaving before the party is over, wishing I could have more.

-Malcolm Ainscough

When is the best time to view the Great Migration?

June / July and August are considered to be the best time to view the migration. By June, the herds begin to spill across the murky pools of the Mbalageti and Grumeti rivers. Although not quite as dramatic as the northern crossings, there’s plenty of drama in store as the crocodiles prepare for their annual wildebeest-banquet. Rutting season is also underway and the plains are alive with testosterone-fuelled males chasing their chosen ladies.

In July the survivors continue to the northern Serengeti. The treacherous waters of the Grumeti may be behind them, but worse is in store in the shape of the great Mara River. The river itself winds through the north-western Serengeti before twisting into the western Masai Mara in Kenya and viewing is good in both countries. Depending on rainfall, the crossings can begin as early as June or as late as August.

By August, the river crossings are well underway. Plunging into the waters of the Mara River, the wildebeest must survive the snapping jaws of the Nile crocodile before dodging the lion lying in wait on the other side. Marabou storks and vultures flock to the river to feast on the fallen and game viewing is dramatic, bloody, frenzied and sensational. Book early!

I must add that the above is only an indication, as it has been increasingly difficult to predict where the herds will be, as there have been significantly fluctuations in their movements over the past few years due to shifting weather patterns and climate change.

-Jos Evans

We have never been to Africa before, what would you recommend for our first trip?

I highly recommend that your first trip to Africa should focus on a South African itinerary. Over the years, and through much experience in Africa we have designed the perfect South African safari itinerary which ‘ticks off all the must see boxes’.

Beginning in Cape Town, The Mother City and capital of South Africa, you will experience the rugged mountain ranges, coastal plains and learn about it’s rich history. Ending in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa and home of the Apartheid Museum. In between, you are treated to two incredible safari camps where you will be treated to two game drives per day. It’s not complete without a stop at Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. This itinerary is ideal for the first time safari traveller!

-Julie Allen

When is the best time to go to Africa?

The answer is, “ When the time is right for you! This is probably the MOST frequently asked question as everyone wants to know when to travel at the optimum time. “ Africa is so vast, there are various climates and places we can go that will be great at almost any time of the year . Each season does have it’s own special benefits. Temperature, weather, special events and the best times for viewing wildlife are all factors we consider, so it depends on what you want to see and do.

Seasons are opposite of the Northern Hemisphere and the dry season winter months of May – October will be milder temps and cooler evenings in Southern Africa. It is a popular time for a Safari vacation to be sure, since animal populations are easier to spot with less lush vegetation and animals congregating around water sources. Both May and September are great times to go in both Eastern and Southern Africa; a bit less traveled, and cooler temperatures, so many people enjoy these fall and spring months . Namibia can be a tempting destination from April – October. The summer months of December- March are the green season, and can be beautiful with lush vegetation though quite warm, especially in Southern Africa.

Many people like to go during the December holidays, so it is high season and a very popular time to go, but note it can be quite hot with high rates to match the season, even with rainstorms. It is a special time to visit to see the Migration in Tanzania the southern Serengeti as this is when so many Wildebeest and Zebra have their babies. The Migration is year- round but to see these animals on the move and crossing rivers can be a rare treat, and the best chance to see that would be late July – early September. Every year this event can be unpredictable to view, as Nature will have Her own calendar! Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda is year -round but Jan- Feb and June – September are cooler months in these highland areas. So the best time to travel really depends on what you want from your African Adventure and we will be sure and guide you to the best time of year for you!

-Lynn Hogan

Where do I begin if I want to plan a trip to Africa?

Travel to Africa may sound overwhelming at first. The first and most difficult decision might be how to limit the possibilities! Unlike packaged Safari trips, we work closely with each traveler to customize your personal ideal trip plan & suggest the best options based on our teams’ vast experience and connections. We start with your interests & type of experiences you are looking for. Do you prefer a remote Safari camp or an exclusive lodge with all the amenities? Or a mix of both ? Are you planning a family Safari, a honeymoon or a group trip with friends?

We take into account the amount of time you can travel, your ideal dates and your budget considerations to craft the perfect amalgamation of a journey tailored to you. We are experts at advising which countries to visit for the time of year you want to travel and we will guide you in designing a trip that showcases Africa’s incredible beauty and diversity. The opportunities are endless but the best way to begin is to let us know what you’re seeking. We can then provide a very detailed itinerary and set you on your way to imagine your dream trip

-Lynn Hogan

How do I get to Africa?

International flights to the continent of Africa need to be well planned to maximize comfort and minimize connections- and we are here to advise! You are traveling tens of thousands of miles half-way across the world and you will need to plan to depart 2-3 days prior to your trip commencement in Africa, so this should be considered this part of your journey. You want to arrive fresh & acclimate quickly to get the most out of your Safari experience.

Once you’ve finalized your trip plan, we can discuss flight options. Carriers such as Emirates, United, Delta, Ethiopian, Qatar and British Airways all provide flights with connections to regional carriers depending on your destination. Do you have mileage points? We can refer you for assistance too. Want to break up the trip? We can set up a pre or post extension to your journey so you can relax along the way. All in all it should be as smooth as experience as possible to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

-Lynn Hogan

We're considering an African safari, which countries should we visit?

Africa is an enormous continent and, in the interests of a ‘travel-friendly’ experience, it’s advisable to visit a single region on any particular safari.

In the case that this is your first safari, I feel that a Southern African itinerary offers both the perfect introduction to Africa as well as the most comprehensive wildlife experience. You’ll be likely to encounter many (if not all) of Africa’s iconic species (a number of which are not commonly seen on an East African itinerary) across a diversity of landscapes. As an added bonus, the gorgeous city of Cape Town and the legendary Victoria Falls fit seamlessly into this itinerary too! (South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana)

Your second safari (as I’m more than confident that you will return!) should focus on East Africa (Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar) as you’ll now posses a far broader understanding of the wildlife and will attain a greater appreciation of the unique nature attached to these bucket list experiences, particularly the Great Wildebeest Migrations and Mountain Gorilla trekking. In short, an East African safari is more ‘specialist’ on many levels.

-JD Dunn

Do you recommend including a tented destination in our African Safari?

Definitely. There’s nothing like sleeping in a tent, however luxurious. When the lions roar at night, they sound like they are under your bed!

-Malcolm Ainscough

Preparing for your African Safari Adventure

What if I have an emergency that prevents me from taking my trip?

A trip to Africa is a considerable investment, that is why it is highly recommended to purchase a travel insurance plan. Most plans will cover you for trip costs if you or an immediate family member has a medical emergency or accident that prevents you from taking your trip. Although most policies don’t offer coverage related to government -restricted travel bans , they do offer assistance while traveling should illness or injury occur, job loss, trip delay or lost baggage among other benefits. Even pre-existing conditions are covered if plans are purchased within 21 days of your trip deposit. We are happy to provide you a quote for insurance once your trip is planned and help process the policy for you or answer any questions you may have about protecting your trip investment.

-Lynn Hogan

How many days should we set aside for our African safari?

I find that 12 to 14 days on the ground in Africa is the optimal length of a typical safari. This allows sufficient time to experience all of the highlights within two or three countries of a particular region without feeling limited or rushed. As many hours are spent on safari vehicles (on evening/morning) game drives extending beyond 14 days introduces the risk of ‘jeep burnout’!

-JD Dunn

If I decide to cancel my trip is my deposit refundable?

At the time of booking we require a 25% non-refundable deposit to confirm your itinerary. The deposit we receive is paid immediately to the lodges, camps, hotels and air transfers that we, acting as your agent, book on your behalf. This ensures that your booking is guaranteed since in many occasions we are booking at least a year into the future. The remaining balance is not due until 75 days prior to travel. Due to the non-refundable deposit policy we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance.

-Julie Allen

Do I need a visa to travel to Africa?

The requirement of having a U.S. passport valid for 6 months is applied across all the countries in Africa. Your passport should also have at least 3 blank pages marked ‘Visa’. Please understand that African visas approval for your trip is going to take awhile, so give yourself at least 1-2 months of lead time.

South Africa

South Africa visas are not needed if you do not intend to stay longer than 90 days However, due to Covid 19, the South African government will be bringing in a visa requirement, please check with your agent.


You can obtain a visa on arrival for the cost of $ 30 per person, or you can apply for one online in advance. The system for ‘visa on arrival’ in Rwanda is very efficient and we have no hesitation in recommending you get your visa on arrival in Kigali.


You can apply online for an e-visa, or you can obtain it upon arrival, however, the queues can be lengthy so we advise applying in advance online for your visa. Cost of a single entry visa is $ 51 per person.


You can apply online for an e-visa, or you can obtain a visa on arrival, however, the queues can be lengthy so we advise applying in advance, online, for your visa. The cost is normally $50, although it can cost as much as $100, so please take enough cash to cover both amounts.


No visa is required for U.S. citizens for up to 3 months stay. Again, this may change due to Covid 19 so please check with your agent.


No visa is required for U.S. citizens for up to 3 months stay Zambia. Zambia African visas application forms can be obtained online for the visa on arrival. The cost for a single entry visa is $50 per person.


You can obtain a visa on arrival. The cost of a single entry visa is $ 30 per person. If into Livingstone and then transferring to Zimbabwe you will need to obtain a KAZA visa on arrival, for the cost of $50 per person. This will cover your for both Zambia and Zimbabwe and is valid for one month.


Please note: if you elect to purchase a visa on arrival, it is recommended that you have the correct amount of cash available in small denominations, as requiring change may cause further delays. Most countries also accept credit payment for visa on arrival.

-Jos Evans

What are the best months for a safari in South Africa?

The best time to visit South Africa’s parks is from May to September. This is the Dry season and animals congregate around the available water sources and rivers. As this is winter, mornings and nights are cold. The bush is also much drier and visibility is better. May and September are wonderful because it is less cold and, especially in September, the wildlife viewing is excellent.

-Jos Evans

Should I be worried about Malaria in Africa?

Only of you’ve got it. And you won’t get it because to get it you don’t need any old mosquito: you need a FEMALE ANOPHELES mosquito (which is rare) that seeks only YOU out among everybody here and even then that female needs to have previously got the parasite from an infected person and there are hardly any people in camp anyway so…if you really, really want malaria, you have to try really, really hard. Plus, you’re on the drugs anyway. So….no.

-Lloyd Camp

Living your African Safari Adventure

Will we experience a "kill" on Safari?

This is, arguably, the most common question I receive, most often delivered by a visibly excited guest salivating at the prospect of our first game drive into the unknown and, to be honest, I’m not surprised! What could possibly be more exciting than witnessing a pride of lions tackle a powerful buffalo or a cheetah tear across the grassland ‘hot on the heels’ of a herd of impala!

And, the answer is…..maybe! It’s all about timing. We’ll need to be in the right place at the right time and, even then, most hunts end in failure. That being said, all predators are intrinsically opportunistic and will seldom forego the prospect of an unexpected meal! The more time we spend with the predators (particularly whilst they’re on the move), the greater chance we’ll have.

It must be said though, that focusing on ‘seeing a kill’ or finding one particular species will only detract from your overall wildlife experience. Sit back, immerse yourself in the African wilderness and let nature write the script. The most incredible sightings of my career to date have taken place when I least expected it.

-JD Dunn

Are we safe on the open safari vehicles?

Yes! Although many wildlife species pass close to the vehicles, they have absolutely no interest in the vehicle (or in the occupants thereof!) beyond that of occasional mild curiosity, elevation or shade!

It’s all about trust. Our safaris are conducted within the confines of protected national parks in which hunting is non-existent and, as a result, the wildlife have developed a deep trust for and acceptance of the vehicles. The predators don’t view the vehicles as potential prey but rather as a strange, foreign entity – one that they don’t fully understand but which poses no threat to themselves or to their young and the presence of which can therefore be ignored.

This is a phenomenon that has been achieved over many decades of sensitive viewing, the results of which allows the finest wildlife experience on the planet.

-JD Dunn

Do you have any tips on packing for an African Safari?

  1. Normal, comfortable fitting, neutral coloured clothes are what you need to be taking with you. Light, strong, breathable garments are ideal, especially the ones that have moisture wicking properties, either synthetics or cotton.
  2. Bright coloured clothing should be avoided and white clothes will show up dust and dirt. Khaki, brown and olive colours top the list. Red and white makes you very conspicuous to the wildlife especially on a walking safari. If you are going to be spending most of your time in the safari vehicle then the colors really don’t make that much of a difference.
  3. Don’t take blue or black clothes especially to Eastern Africa. This is due to the tsetse fly (or tzetze) which is attracted to dark colours and can give you a nasty bite as they feed on blood just like mosquitoes. Safari destinations where the flies are commonly encountered are Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. You will rarely find them in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
  4. Pack something warm. Although the days in Africa can be blisteringly hot the temperatures will sometimes drop sharply at nights and in the early mornings. This is especially important if you are going to be travelling in an open sided safari vehicle. Pack a jersey, pullover or safari jacket. If traveling in Southern Africa in the winter months (June – Sept) I would also recommend a beanie, gloves and a scarf as well.
  5. Don’t go without a safari hat. Safari hats are essential to ward of the African sun and protect you from sunburn. Even a short exposure time is long enough to get burnt during the heat of the day. Always pack a good sunscreen with a high SPF factor (at least 30 – 50)
  6. Packing in your heavy walking boots is unnecessary, unless you are doing a walking safari. Simple lightweight safari shoes/trainers (non white) or sandals/sports sandals are more sensible.
  7. Don’t pack too much safari clothing. You will not need more than 2 or 3 comfortable short sleeved safari shirts and the same amount of long sleeved tops. There are laundry facilities available at most game reserves and parks in Africa, unless you are going to be really roughing it, either done by the lodge or yourself. Also pack 2 or 3 (each) comfortable shorts and long trousers. Long trousers and a long sleeved safari shirt can be worn at night to stay warm and protect from mosquito bites and safari vests are great to carry all the essential gear with you.
  8. It’s important to pack essential and valuable items in carry-on luggage when you board a flight including a set of African safari clothing, otherwise you will be left with only what you are wearing if your suitcase disappears.
  9. Don’t pack too formal. Most safari destinations have a very relaxed dress code for dinner so there is no need to pack formal dress, ask if you are unsure.
  10. Don’t forget to bring your safari sunglasses. The African light can be harsh and you’re going to be spending a lot of time staring into the veld looking for, and at wildlife, so a pair of polarizing shades will stand you in good stead and give your eyes a bit of a rest. A good pair of Binoculars is important (one per couple is sufficient).

-Jos Evans

What are the tipping suggestions?

Please note the below are guidelines only. Gratuities are at your own discretion and are not compulsory.

Waiters and Drivers

10% of the fare or bill

City Guides

Private transfer $5 per transfer vehicle

Private half-day tours $20 per tour

Private full-day tours $40 per tour

On Safari

Guide $20 per couple per day

Butler: $15 per couple per day

Tracker: $10 per couple per day (not all the camps will have a tracker)

Lodge/Camp General Staff $15 per couple per day

-Jos Evans

Are there Snakes in Africa?

Yes, and if you see one, please call me immediately, because we seldom see them!

-Lloyd Camp

What will we eat on Safari?

Delicious fresh produce presented either via haute cuisine or the best home cooking!

-Malcolm Ainscough

Is a Safari Safe?

When you go on Safari in Africa you will in remote pristine areas completely in the wild. In fact, your guide will remind you at the start of your Safari that the animals you will be observing need to be treated with respect. You will have rules to follow about remaining in the vehicle, maintaining quiet behavior at a wildlife sighting, staying calm near animals and leaving your tent or lodge rooms at night. If you follow the advice of your expert guides who are all well trained in animal behavior you will be perfectly safe.

In fact, statistics show that out of the millions of Safari adventurers, it is extremely rare that anyone is ever injured, and if they are, it is because they ignore the basic safety procedures or are not with expert guides trained to spot when an animal feels distress. You are more likely to be unsafe driving your car on the way to the airport than you would be on a Safari. Animals do not see a vehicle or a tent as a threat, therefore they ignore it as something not necessarily of interest. All the camps that we will recommend to you have absolutely impeccable reputations for safety with top guides, who can respond appropriately to any situation in the bush, so you can just be there to enjoy the amazing spectacle and feel the incredible bond to Nature itself that this experience draws out.

-Lynn Hogan


Sharing Africa with Pride since 1992