Safari from A to Z

This is an A to Z safari guide with important information, which animals you can expect to see, and other safari tips.

A

  • Afraid? It can be scary to be close to wild animals. I trusted our safari guide, and didn’t feel scared. However, make sure to let the safari guide know if you’re scared. He’ll then move further away from the herd or explain to you about how to read different signs from the animals.

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  • Adapter? Check if you need to bring a travel adapter or if you can borrow one at the camp.

B

  • Buffaloes look like huge cows to me. I think they have the cutest faces though! We were lucky and saw a huge buffalo herd walking down to a water hole to drink. And we were able to watch them drink, quite close by.

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  • Birds can also be seen, but we weren’t that impressed by them, since we were on safari for the big animals.
  • Boring to sit in a safari vehicle for hours? No, not at all. It’s really exciting to drive around, not knowing what we’ll see next.
  • Bonfire dinners were an excellent way to relax after a long day of game drives and adventures.
  • Binoculars is very useful to really study an animal or see something far away.

C

  • Check list? Yes, it might be a good idea to write a check list for your safari trip. Often you’re far away from stores or supermarkets, which makes it more important to remember everything you need. We had the option to buy a few things in the camp, but don’t expect to have that option.
  • Colored clothes? It might be a good idea to bring neutral colored clothes. And safari is not a place to be fashionable. You’re there for the adventure, not to look pretty.

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  • Camouflaged clothes? It’s not a good idea to use military colored clothes on safari – in many places only the military are allowed to use that type of clothes. You might even be arrested for it!
  • Camera is important. If you have a great zoom to your camera – bring it with you! GoPro might also be a good idea.
  • Charging options? We had to charge our cell phones and cameras in the main building. It wasn’t a problem – we charged our stuff when we had breakfast or dinner.

D

  • Dead animals can be sad to see, but that’s how nature works. You can end up seeing a kill happen or a dead animal being a delicious meal to other animals.

E

  • Elephants are beautiful animals. I totally fell in love with them. They are so amazing! We had a close encounter with an elephant during one of our game drives. We ended up being really close to a solo male elephant who wanted to show us that he was the boss!

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  • Expectations – It’s easy to have expectations in advance of which animals you hope and think you’re going to see. But these are wild animals. There’s never any guarantees. You just need to appreciate the animals that you actually get to see.

F

  • Freezing easily? Remember to bring wool clothes if you’re on safari during the winter months. It can get really cold, especially in the morning.
  • Food was not allowed to bring to the tents because of the animals. We didn’t starve though. A snack in the morning, breakfast, lunch and dinner were served. Excellent food every day!
  • Flashlight can come in handy when you’re walking to your tent in the dark after dinner. Or if you’re wondering if a spider is visiting your tent..

G

  • Giraffes are so cool! And tall! We managed to take some great shots of giraffes in the sunset on our first game drive.

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H

  • Hippopotamuses were the most boring animal that my travel group saw during our safari days. I guess we thought they were a bit plain. And they hide under water – you often only see their heads.

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  • Hyenas are cooler. We only saw a few – when we enjoyed an outside bonfire dinner one evening.
  • Hand baggage on your long-haul flight? It might be a good idea to pack some clothes in your hand baggage, especially if you’re transferring to a domestic flight as well. It’s not easy to enjoy a safari trip if the airline forget your bag somewhere along the way..
  • Hats/caps – either a safari hat or a cap is useful when you’re driving around on dusty roads. It protects from the sun as well, which is a bonus.

I

  • Impala is a beautiful antelope. We saw a lot of them during our game drives.

J

  • Jacket? Yes, make sure to bring a jacket if you’re traveling during the winter months. I actually bought a new jacket just before we traveled, but I decided not to bring it. Did I regret it? Oh, yes I did, every day. I ended up borrowing a wool sweater that my boyfriend was smart enough to bring with him.

K

  • Kudu is also an African antelope that you’ll see a lot of.

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L

  • Leopards are amazing animals. We enjoyed an evening game drive just hours after we arrived at the safari camp. And we saw a leopard! They said that it was quite rare to see a leopard, which made us really appreciate it. It was a surreal moment to see the leopard laying there annoyed by a fly.

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  • Lions are scary, but so beautiful. We saw male lion a bit later in our safari experience. A fellow safari group had a flat tire and had to stop, only meters away from the lion. I would have been so scared!

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  • Layering – It’s smart to use layers of clothes when you’re on safari from early morning. That makes it easier to remove clothes when the temperature is rising as soon as the sun goes up.

M

  • Morning person? We were woken up at 5:30 AM and had to be ready for our morning game drive at 6 AM.
  • Mosquitoes can be annoying. Bring a spray or other mosquito protection.

N

  • Night time can be scary. It’s pitch dark, and we were not allowed to walk around alone after dark. We knew that there were animals out there – we could almost feel them standing there, ready to attack us. But they didn’t and we were always safe.

O

  • Open car – you’re driving around in an open car, which is cold in the winter and cooling in the summer. It makes it easy to see the animals, but might be a bit scary if you’re close to a herd of elephants or buffaloes. I loved it, and felt quite safe. I trusted our safari guide, who I knew had loads of experience.

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P

  • Packing tips might be useful for new safari travelers. I’ll make sure to add a blog post with packing tips later. We went on safari in July/August which is winter time in South Africa.
  • Power bank – if you don’t have access to power outlets where you are, bring a couple of charged power banks.

Q

  • Quitting in the middle of a game drive is not possible. Don’t stand up in the car, don’t make loud noises, and don’t panic.

R

  • Rhinos look really cool. South Africa has both white and black rhinos. Don’t let the name confuse you – they’re both grey. We saw a few rhinos, but they got scared when they saw our car. We managed to take a few nice photos of them anyway.

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S

  • Sleep? Yes, I actually slept really well. We enjoyed long days with two game drives and a late dinner, which made me so tired. I fell asleep as soon as I laid my head down on my pillow. And I didn’t wake up until our ranger knocked on our tent wall at 5:30 AM.
  • Safety rules are important to follow when you go on a safari trip. Pay close attention to what the safari guides say!
  • Sunglasses are important. It’s not easy to spot the animals when the brightness of the sun is blocking your view.
  • Sun screen/block must be remembered as well. Especially for the summer months.
  • Small bag – can come in handy when you need a few essentials with you on the game drives.

T

  • Tracker – you’ll sometimes have a tracker with you on game drives. He will read animal tracks, look at feces and find other signs of animals being nearby.
  • Tented camp accommodation might be different from what we’re used to. It’s so fun to wake up to a herd of buffaloes running outside the tents, wondering if they’ll run over you. And a bit scary as well. It actually happened with us one morning. My boyfriend woke up by the noise. I was in a sleeping coma and didn’t quite understand what happened.

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U

  • Umbrellas? No, they will scare the animals. Bring a poncho and a hat or similar instead, especially if you’re there during the wet season (October-April).

V

  • Visiting your neighbors in the darkness was not allowed in our camp. We had to be walked by our safari guide for safety reasons. He always carried a large flashlight and a rifle.

W

  • Wild dogs were difficult to find. We enjoyed a bonus game drive for a couple of hours in the morning of our last day at the safari camp. We didn’t see anyone, though.
  • Walkie talkie – the rangers carry a Walkie Talkie to communicate with their colleagues. When someone spot animals, they let everyone else know.
  • You might also see a wilderbeast – or gnu as it’s also called.

X

  • Xtra luggage? (I know, a bad one. But trying to find something that starts with a X is difficult). Remember to check the baggage policy of the airlines. And check with the safari camp as well. Some prefer backpacks over suitcases.

Y

  • Yolo – you only live once (I know, another bad one). Enjoy the safari experience, and try to relax. Trust the safari guide and his skill of reading the animals. He won’t put you in any danger on purpose. He’ll read the signals of the animals and remove you from the situation if an animal feels aggressive or nervous.

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Z

  • Zebras may not be as exciting as other animals, but it’s different when you see them in the wild and up close. Zebras are cool. But are they white with black stripes or black with white stripes?

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my little safari from A to Z guide.

Have you been on safari? If yes, please link to your blog and I’ll make sure to read it. 

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