While East Africa is now a year-round destination, some months expose you to more dramatic wildlife experiences or better climatic conditions than others.Some lucky travelers can travel anytime. But others will be limited to specific travel windows like Christmas time or the summer. The time frame you can travel may influence which country you decide to visit. However, budget may play an even bigger factor as we shall see shortly.
When determining your budget for land arrangements, remember to take a quick look at an online flight booking engine to get a general feel for air prices. A very general rule of thumb is to plan about US$2000 (per person, round trip) which may be less or more depending on a lot of factors. Generally round trip flights from the USA or Canada to Nairobi (NBO) or Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania (JRO) will be the best value, compared to the generally more costly path to and back from Botswana, for example. For travelers on a limited budget, ways to save include staying in budget accommodations, choosing a low season or “shoulder” season time frame, shortening your trip (in Tanzania, you can see the highlights in as few as 5 days), choosing a group tour versus a custom safari, and so on.
Not every game reserve has cheetah, or mountain gorillas, or wild dogs, etc. nor do they necessarily allow the same experiences. For example, some wildlife areas offer optional hot air balloons, while others allow night game drives, and still others might offer unique encounters with native people and tribes. Some travelers love traveling in small planes, others do not. Certain travelers will want a wilderness experience, while other travelers may not be so concerned as long as there is good wildlife around.
Many travelers are perfectly OK with big lodges, while others are seeking more intimate, smaller properties like luxury tented camps.
4. Pick a travel style for your safari: In step 2, you calculated a general budget, per person. Now you can compare/contrast that with a preferred style of travel. In Africa, you have a lot of options with accommodations. Among the typical options:
Most of our clients choose the mid-range tented camps and lodges when traveling to East Africa, preferring the quality and value they represent. Mid-range tents and lodge rooms feature private lodging, private bath, full beds, and electricity – all the core creature comforts – while the general décor and amount of space is more utilitarian compared to higher priced luxury and elite lodges and camps.
Also, while accommodations play a large role in the overall style, another factor to consider is whether a private safari or a scheduled group safari is better for you? A private safari is ideal for keen photographers and travelers with specific travel windows whereas group safaris are often less expensive and a great way to meet people.
5. Decide which region/country is best for your trip:
By now, you have done a fair amount of self-scouting. This information can help you narrow down the region and/or country and/or parks and reserves that are best for you. When you have limited time, choose only one country as this will save you time and money. For example if you have only ten days to travel only take one country and within a safari route that will not take much of your time traveling.
6. Pick a Tour Operator:
Picking a tour operator often comes down to 4 key questions: can they help me with what I want? Are they experts? Do they provide good value? And do I like working with them? The good news is working with Tanius Limited settles all 4 questions.
Service is what separates the good and the bad and we pride ourselves on being very good.
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7. Book your trip and flights.
Be prepared to pay a deposit, usually around 20% to 40% of the trip fee to start out. Final payments are usually due 60-90 days depending on the company (with us, it’s 30 days). The full cost of air would be due at the time of booking. Because this is such a big trip, it’s wise to book the land and air in tandem. With us, you are welcome to book air on your own (using frequent flier miles, for example)
Final preparations before your trip.
Before you travel, you’ll want to be sure you have a number of key details in order:
Get travel insurance:
Deposits are often non-refundable, as is at least part of your international air, so purchasing travel insurance is a great idea, and for remote safaris, like in East Africa, insurance is mandatory (for purposes of emergency evacuation). Rates vary based on age, length of trip, and trip cost.
This packing list is just a recommended guideline for your reference. Everything is optional for you to choose from.