Everyone goes on safari expecting the wildlife experience to be the most significant part of the adventure, and wildlife sightings surely are unforgettable. However, the wildlife is only part of a fantastic story our travelers like to call "the trip of a lifetime." Here is a list of only some of the delightful things you'll find on safari; you'll need to add to the list with your own!
1. FORM CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CAMP STAFF
In addition to your safari guide with whom you'll spend days and dine, you'll also have the chance to meet the people who host you in camp. Many of them come from the surrounding communities, and will enrich your understanding and appreciation of their country.
2. LIONS SEE YOU AS PART OF THE VEHICLE
Like a surgeon, a good safari guide will inspire your complete trust from the outset. The first thing he or she will tell you is that if you remain seated, the animals will not perceive you as anything more than part of the vehicle. It's an astonishing feeling to have a male lion five feet away from your open vehicle!
3. IT'S A 24/7 SAFARI IN A COMFORTABLE TENT
There's nothing like lying in a cozy, comfortable bed and hearing the nighttime sounds of the African bush just outside your tent. The complete silence is punctuated by the sounds of lions, hippos, or hyenas - a symphony unique to Africa. Rest easy: with your tent's attached bathroom, there is absolutely no reason for you to leave your tent.
4. SUNDOWNERS (SAFARI COCKTAILS)!
During each evening game drive, your guide will find a scenic vista, and offer the adults their choice of cocktails and younger guests a soda and a snack as you watch a stunning sunset. You'll want to take this tradition home with you!
5. HOT WATER BOTTLES = WARM HOSPITALITY
If you don't use a hot water bottle at home, you'll have a new appreciation for this old-school favorite. June and July are winter months in Africa, and guests are thrilled to slip into pre-warmed bed sheets at night, or to find a hot water bottle thoughtfully placed on their vehicle seat as they head out on an early morning game drive.
6. LATE NIGHT LIGHT SHOW
The stars are so bright and numerous when viewing them in the dark African sky that you'll immediately want to start orienting yourself, except it can be very difficult without the trusty Big Dipper. Instead, you'll want to get familiar with the Southern Cross, and explore a completely new and wonderful night sky.
7. THE MORE CAMERAS & BINOCULARS THE MERRIER
Everyone wants to take the photo of the leopard in the tree, and no one wants to pass the binoculars back when they've finally been trained and focused on a subject, so make sure you have enough to go around among your family.
8. WHY THE SMALL STUFF IS HUGE
You're looking for the elephants and giraffes while your guide looks at footprints on the side of the road. Recognizing spoor, broken foliage, and other clues is key to spotting wildlife. A good guide will familiarize you with the roles of the plants and insects that contribute to the complex ecosystem
9. MORE THRILLING THAN AN AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE
Your guide is in contact with other guides by radio throughout your safari. When a particularly significant sighting is on offer - like a leopard, for example - expect your guide to hit the gas, speeding over dirt roads to get there before the wildlife walks away. It's a wild ride in every sense!
10. DON'T FORGET TO PACK YOUR APPETITE
You'll be served four generous meals a day (breakfast, brunch, high tea, and dinner) plus snacks on game drives. Camps do a remarkable job preparing world-class meals in the remotest of locations, and menus are prepared with consideration to American and European palates, while exposing guests to some local favorites.