By Mark Thomas Walters
Going on safari is an increasingly popular way to spend a vacation, and with good reason. For those who want excitement and thrills from a trip away, and who want lots of great stories to tell, a safari really is ideal. Everyone loves nature and wildlife, and what better way to experience it than on a safari?
The following is some practical information and advice on selecting and preparing for an African safari...
Tour Operators : Look for positive reviews and testimonials before paying any money to a safari tour operator. Find out where they operate from. Ideally you want to choose one that has offices in both Africa and your home country. Be prepared to spend some time shopping around as prices vary substantially. Safaris can be all inclusive or 'pay as you go'. It is often easier, and can be less expensive, to do all inclusive, air, lodging transports, meals etc.
Passports And Visas : Most people think that they can just turn up at a country and be let in, but this is not always the case. Find out whether you need a visa to gain entry in to the country where you are going on safari. The official tourism website of the country should tell you what you need to know. Err on the side of caution and ask your tour operator to confirm anything that you are unsure about. If you do need a visa, it is not normally a problems to get one, but the process will take at least a week, so apply a few weeks before departure to be on the safe side.
Immunizations : Most insurance companies do not pay for travel immunizations but they will refer you to travel clinics. Not only can these clinics make sure that you are properly immunized, they will also be able to offer advice on traveling safely. They will let you know if the water is safe to drink, if mosquitoes will be a problem, etc. As well as immunization shots, you might want to stock up on medications for diarrhea and insect bites.
Type Of Accommodation : Luxury accommodation is generally available if you want it, but authentic safari 'back to basics' accommodation is more common. If you want a 'real' safari experience, and want to do more than just day trips around the fringes of the wildlife reservations, then you will have to sacrifice some home comforts. A common approach is to spend the first and last couple of nights in a plush hotel, and then to sleep under the stars for the rest of the vacation.
Weather : It is essential to read up on what to expect weather wise before packing your bag. If you pack the wrong type of clothes then you will regret it for the whole of your trip. There can even be huge climate differences in different parts of the same country on the same day, so be sure to research this thoroughly. Whilst the days probably will be scorching hot, the nights will probably be quite chilly.
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