So it’s been on your bucket list for years and you’re finally going to take plunge. We spoke to Wendy Buckley, founder of Africa Safari Experts to demystify some of the most common misconceptions when trekking into a safari adventure. She has more than 40 years experience as a travel advisor, lived and worked in the Zambian safari camp and gives us real insight into what to expect.
What are the odds of getting pounced in the truck by a Lion, Panther or any other species of roaring primates?
‘Animals born where safaris are common have, over many generations, become habituated to the presence of vehicles with people on board.” Wendy says. Highly skilled safari guides who implement strict safety standards are the ones you are looking for with federal accreditation.
What vaccinations and precautions do I need?
‘There are places in Africa that are free of malaria so you can enjoy the amazing wildlife without the need for anti-malarial medication,’ says Wendy. ‘Vaccinations for typhoid and hepatitis A and B are generally advised”
Flights to Africa are really long
Direct flights to South Africa take 11 hours from Perth and 14 hours from Sydney. Safari camp destinations are a 3 hour drive or 1 hour flight away.
I can’t live without Wi-Fi and safaris are out of network service areas.
‘Wi-Fi is available at the majority of camps, lodges and hotels we work with,’ says Wendy. ‘Hiccups with technology do happen from time to time, but that can happen anywhere you might travel.’
African safaris are expensive.
Depending on camps and lodgings, fully inclusive nightly rates help determine the right package for you that’s best inline with a budget you’ve set for yourself. Additional incidentals (ie. tipping, excursions add-ons) should be factored in.
Africa isn’t safe
Africa is a vast continent and some areas are best avoided. However, in 2018 the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Morocco, and Malawi as safer than the U.S. ‘Major national parks and tourist attractions are protected and managed by experienced tourism operators in co-operation with governments who are committed to the safety and enjoyment of every traveller,’ says Wendy.
Safaris are not a good option for single (particularly female) travellers
The group experience of safaris, meals, visitation to local school and various charity project sites opens lots of insightful discussions with fellow travellers in a tour group.
Kids will be bored
‘A safari provides a really rich learning experience for families, whether the children are very young, primary school age or in their teens. There’s nothing like experiencing the magical African bush and seeing leopards, giraffes, elephants, lions and the great migration of wildebeest. Kids can also visit rural villages and see how they are contributing directly to the protection of wildlife and local communities. Children love having adventures with their families and learn so much too,’ says Wendy.
Safaris don’t cater for people with a disability
‘Many of the lodges we work with cater for travellers with a disability, providing access onto the safari vehicle, private guides and vehicles, accommodation and access to public areas. Simply contact us as early as you can in the planning process and we’ll help make your safari dream come true,’ says Wendy as it will vary from tour operator to tour operator.
Safari camps are uncomfortable
The expertise of your travel planner will unlock a range of options from natural camping to glamour camping in amazing locations overlooking rivers, bush, plains and watering holes, with the sounds of the African wildlife night and day. Facilities typically include private bathrooms, full size beds with duvets, power and Wi-Fi, and fans.