Going on safari for the first time can feel daunting – but the reality is anything but, especially when you’re staying at one of the best safari lodges on the continent. We get asked lots of questions, often very similar in nature. Here are some of the most popular queries, answered.
When is the best time to go on safari?
Africa is an enormous continent with a huge amount of diversity, but most safari destinations are year-round, with some seasonable changes. Rains can make game spotting more difficult, so aim for the dry season if possible. Shoulder season – between the wet and dry – is also a great time to travel, as you’ll often get good weather whilst avoiding the crowds and peak season rates.
When is the Great Migration?
The Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya is year-round, but the dramatic river crossings – which are often what people want to see – usually take place between June and October. This is a very popular time to travel to the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, so please book ahead!
Where can I see the Big Five?
You can see the Big Five in lots of safari destinations, but the best place for an almost guaranteed sighting of the Big Five are South Africa’s Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Elusive, shy leopards are always the tricky ones, but in the Kruger and Sabi Sands, these cats are well used to safari vehicles.
Is safari ok for families?
Yes, safaris are amazing for families. Certain areas are better for young children, so make sure you consult us before you set your heart on a destination or lodge. You may want to choose a malaria-free area for younger kids, in which case South Africa is your best option. Some lodges do have minimum age restrictions too, so this may also determine where you stay.
What is included?
Luxury safaris are nearly always all-inclusive. The per night rate includes your accommodation, food (all meals and snacks), drinks (soft drinks and alcohol, though premium spirits and non-house wine will usually be extra), game drives and most other activities, such as guided walks. Spa treatments are usually at an extra cost. Transfers (by light aircraft or road) are usually extra, too.
What should I tip?
Tipping is a sensitive subject, because it is always at your own discretion. As a general guideline and per person, tip your guide around US$15-20 per day; your tracker/ranger $10 per day; around $10 per day for other staff (to be divided up by the lodge); and transfer drivers $5. If you’re in a family, you needn’t tip that much per person. Obviously you can also tip more if you feel like a lodge or a certain person deserves it.
You can often tip on card, though cash is preferable. Use local currency if possible – if not, use US dollars.
Will there be Wi-Fi?
These days most lodges will have Wi-Fi, though it’s less common in places like Botswana where the camps are very remote. Don’t bank on a strong connection in any case.
If you’re more in the market for switching off, check out our list of Wi-Fi-free camps.