Get Ready for Safari Trips
No matter which outfitter you travel with, the daily drill is much the same: an early wake-up call (tea or coffee?) for a sunrise wildlife viewing ("game") drive (about two and a half hours) followed by a big breakfast, and late in the afternoon another two-and-a-half-hour game drive (with a stop for "sundowner" cocktails) followed by a big dinner.
The middle of the day offers leisureusually with options for a swim, nature walk, or bird-watchingand of course lunch. Some lodges and camps offer night game drives or visits to nearby villages. Most mid-range to high-end safaris in East Africa offer the optional dawn balloon ride followed by a champagne breakfast.
The Standard Drill
Game drivesthe highlight of the safarialso follow a standard drill. No matter the size of your tour group, you'll drive with only a few people, mostly by pop-top minivan in Kenya or 4WD vehicle in Tanzania and southern Africa. You'll see your fellow lodge guests on the road, for everyone will be game driving at the same time. Drivers communicate game sightings to one another. That increases your chances of seeing, say, a pride of lionsand five or six other minivans as well. Especially in East Africa you may sometimes feel that you're watching wildlife in a parking lot.
Some travelers complain of the crowds, but Kenya's Mara and Tanzania's Serengeti constitute the greatest wildlife habitat on the planet. If you really can't stand sharing it with other people, the answer is a pricier custom tour featuring luxury tenting, private camps, or country houses, and visits to some of East Africa's underused national parks and reserves.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication