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Our guide to choosing a Safari, one of the most popular holidays for gap year adventurers of all ages!

Whether you are a relative youngster planning a gap year, a twenty - thirty something deciding on a career break or an over 40s traveller, for those that have never been on safari it can be daunting choosing from the sheer range of safari holidays on offer. Type in Safari Holiday on Google and you may get over 17 million results, visit a Travel Agent and you will probably come out with a lot of brochures for a huge range of countries in Africa. So, where do you start - well you could read our guide to the perfect safari holiday for our tips - hey, it is a start at least!

  1. Decide where you want to go – most popular safari holiday destinations include: Masai Mara, Kenya; Serengeti, Tanzania; Ngorongoro, Tanzania; Okovango delta, Botswana; Kruger, South Africa; Etosha, Namibia; and Chobe, Botswana. Lesser known but fantastic sites include Mwalangajie elephant park, Kenya; Matopas, Zimbabwe; South Luangwa, Zambia; Bwindi forest, Uganda; Loango, Gabon; Hwange, Zimbabwe; Tsavo, Kenya; Addo Elephant Park, South Africa; Namid desert, Namibia.

  2. Think about when you want to go – Remember to check what season your preferred destination will be in for both comfort levels and also catching the annual wildebeest migrations. (July to October). You may have more luck seeing game during the dry seasons.

  3. What animals do you want to see on safari – all the Africa Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard - stems from the olden days of big game hunting) or do you want to spot slightly more obscure animals? If you have limited time and want to ensure you do see all the Big Five, the Masai Mara, Kenya ;Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania; or Kruger, South Africa are good choices. For more satisfaction but more time spent searching, Etosha in Namibia or the Serengeti are fantastic choices. If elephants are your thing, try Mwalangajie in Kenya or the Okavango delta in Botswana. For chimpanzees, the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania is the best place to go. Finally for the elusive yet magnificent black rhino, the Ngorongoro Crater or Chobe National Park in Botswana is your best bet.

  4. What sort of luxury do you value – safaris range from camping out under the stars through to fully inclusive luxury 5 star lodges. South Africa has an abundance of luxury camps and East Africa has a lot of budget camps to cater for the influx of backpackers travelling through.

  5. How involved do you want to get – there are all kinds of ways to enjoy your safari. Take the comfort of the 4x4 for maximum chance of seeing game. More adventurous options include on horseback or on foot. The beauty of riding horses is wildlife cannot spot you so you may get a look closer before they (if they do!) move off. Walking in the bush is not for the faint hearted but it is tremendously exciting and you gain a new respect for the wilderness! Guides are extremely knowledgeable so you are in safe hands. From foot to sky, there is also the option of travelling by hot air balloon if your budget can afford it.

  6. Finally – and more importantly – look at the tour operators credentials. Do they employ local people? Do they have any form of ethical travel guidelines? Do they have tour operator credentials e.g KATO - Kenya Association of Tour Operators, TATO - Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, SATSA - Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, TASA - Tours and Safari Association of Namibia, ATTA - African Travel and Tourism Association.

However you choose your safari holiday and wherever you choose to go, going on safari is one of those things everyone must do in their lifetime. Good luck!

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