African Safaris: A Guide

What’s not to love about going on safari? A whole continent of cool animals (Elephants! Real live elephants!) that beautiful African landscape and all that sunshine – Lion King isn’t my favourite film for nothing. It certainly makes a change from lying next to a pool drinking your fifth Margharita (because that would be such a chore). But did you know that there’s all sorts of different kinds of safaris? You do now. Here’s our rundown…

Walking Safari

elephants safari

Sounds obvious, and it kind of is. You’ll walk in game rich areas, accompanied by an armed and experienced guide. The safaris usually use temporary bush camps or sometimes permanant loges as a base – you’ll head out in a car to some of the area, but once you’re there, you’ll be making use of them long limbs God gave you. Walks range from simple trails not far from camp to “fly camping” with backup crews and full on backpack-totin’ expeditions! The best walking safaris are generally thought to be in the Luangwa and Zambezi Valleys in Botswana.

Why they’re great: They give you the chance to really get to know the land you’re in without the use of cars or pollution! Plus, you’ll get to know one place in detail rather than a lot of places less well – and they tend to be cheaper, too.

Mobile safaris

lions safari

Mobile safaris make use of 4×4 vehicles usually to take in larger areas or a variety of different habitats in once single trip. The large distances between the prime spots in Botswana and Namibia make mobile safaris the preferred means for covering these destinations. More often than not, the driver is a fully qualified professional guide which means that some of the better stop-over points will include some time exploring on foot.

Why they’re great: They offer you flexibility, giving you the chance to experience a wide range of accommodation options and take in large portions of land and the different creatures that inhabit them!

Fly-in Safaris

safari plane
Image by Flavia FF

Want to see as much as humanly possible in as short amount of time as possible?! Consider a fly-in safari. The pilot will often serve as a guide too and your accommodation will generally be of the swankier variety than other kinds of safari. Fly-in safaris are regularly done in Botswana and Namibia, as well as Kenya, combining the Mara with Laikipia, the Northern Frontier District and the North Coast.

Why they’re great: No fuss, minimal time, maximum viewing! If you’ve got money on your side, and want to see the top spots, a fly safari might be your dream ticket…

Canoe Safaris

Canoe safari
Image by Dr_Flash

These are a popular choice when it comes to experiencing Africa’s wilderness and big game. Several of the large African rivers are run by canoe but it’s the lower Zambezi that really dominates when it comes to this method. You’ll make use of islands and river banks for temporary overnight camps – these kinds of safaris are easily combined with walking safaris!

Why they’re great:
It’s a unique way of seeing some incredibly scenery, and feels like you’re really getting to grips with nature!

Self drive safaris

driving safari
Image by jonrawlinson

This is the most flexible type of Safari that you’ll find. You hire a vehicle, plan your route, book accommodation and explore the region however which way you please! Bear in mind that you have to do a lot more research yourself for these kind of trips and it’s probably best to undertake them if you’ve done at least one guided safari before.

Why they’re great: Put simply – freedom! You can do what you want, when you want – no boundaries!