Ask the Experts - July
This month's question comes from Robert in Shepperton, Middlesex:
“I’m looking to go on my first safari but with so many options it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve got two weeks, would ideally like to visit two countries and we want to be sure of getting some great images to take away with us.”
The Experts recommendations:
Paul Goldstein, Exodus
If images are the most important issue here it will cost, there is no way around this. One of the biggest pitfalls on safaris is booking something that looks great but then finding you are crammed into a minibus with six other people and whistling around from pillar to post without the most valuable commodity of all: time.
Unless you are booking a photographic safari with a proper well-known guide, you are best to book a vehicle to yourself. Much better to do two or maybe three parks maximum in two weeks, I would suggest Kenya or Tanzania, no need to do both - just unnecessary travelling.
Make sure you ask the correct questions: What is my vehicle (if not an open sided 4WD, forget it)? Do I have control on how long we will be on game drive? Can we start as early as we like? Are the guides properly qualified (both countries have badges of qualification)? Is my accommodation a small ethically run camp or monstrous large concrete lodge (check Trip Advisor)?
Decide also which species you really are after - this will give you a far better chance of some really memorable images. Finally, this is NOT something you will only do once. The Mara or Serengeti this year then perhaps South Luangwa in Zambia the next. It gets into your blood, one visit is NEVER enough, especially if done properly with sufficient research.
Steve Hornbuckle, Senior Travel Consultant & Safari Expert, Trailfinders
Two weeks is a good amount of time and while it would be easy to suggest a trip to East Africa with its iconic parks and abundant game I think you would be better served heading further south, away from the crowds and into the ‘Real Africa’.
South Luangwa National Park in north eastern Zambia would be a great starting point with its large herds of elephant, healthy prides of lion and the densest concentration of the elusive leopard on the continent. The park has many varied habitats and is the birthplace of the walking safari, a great way to get up close and personal with some of the residents.
From here a flight south will take you to one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, where you can experience the ‘Smoke that Thunders’ up close, along with a range of adventure activities.
Across the mighty Zambezi River in Botswana is Chobe National Park where you will search for animals on land and from the water before finishing your trip in the wetland paradise that is the Okavango Delta, cruising the channels in your traditional dugout canoe, or mokoro, in the jewel in Southern Africa’s crown.
Alison Osborne, Sales & Customer Service Consultant, Imaginative Traveller
If you have two weeks to spare, this trip includes the best national parks of East Africa and an unparallelled opportunity to spot the 'big five' (elephant, rhino, leopard, buffalo and of course, lion).
Highlights of this tour are:
This tour is available from £790.00 per person plus a kitty of USD$775.00 payable on day one of the tour. The tour is great value for money including 11 nights camping, 2 nights Hotel and 1 night in dorm style accommodation as well as 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 12 dinners.
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