Are you planning to go on a safari tour on your next big holiday?
Safaris can be a lot of fun, and seeing wildlife up close is an experience you’ll never forget. Not all safaris are created equally so to make sure you have an excellent safari experience, you need to book the right safari and guide.
But, how do you know which to book? Here are a few tips about what to look for in a safari tour and guide as your research and plan your safari adventure.
1. Book an Ethical Company
When deciding on a safari company, one of your top concerns should be choosing an ethical company. To find out if a safari company is ethical, look online to see what other people have said in reviews. See if there are comments about how the employees are treated, how the safari company leaves its campsites, how they operate game viewing drives? On the company’s website find out what conservation methods the company believes in and employs: it’s vitally important that a safari company operates responsibly and respects the wildlife and local communities.
2. The Guide’s Skills
When choosing a safari company, one important thing you want to find out about is how the company trains its guides. When it comes to spotting wildlife, the guide is perhaps the most important factor, searching for and finding the wildlife for you, as well as keeping you safe. Often animals and birds are hard to see, which is when your guide’s expertise comes into play. Ideally, a safari guide has graduated from some type of wildlife college, has received extensive training on leading safari tours and/or has many years of guiding experience.
Exceptional guides have qualities such as forbearance, tolerance, punctuality, calmness, and the most important of all, complete respect for the wildlife, always maintaining a safe distance. An exceptional guide will never fail in this regard. Your guide will take you on a memorable safari; with their attention to detail and insight, you’ll sometimes be surprised by the sightings of often unseen wildlife species. Guides will also keep you from making mistakes that might get you in trouble and help make your stay safer by sharing their experienced advice.
3. Knowledgeable Safari Guide
Knowledgeable guides know how to spin a tale, keep you entertained and impart their wealth of knowledge. Safari guides do seem to have an Encyclopedia for a mind, don’t they? One can readily see them sharing fascinating facts with visitors, which is an important part of the safari experience. There are many things that set apart a great safari guide from a good one. Primarily it’s the extensive knowledge a safari guide has gained from years of experience together with a great rapport with visitors. The experience isn’t limited to finding the ideal wildlife for you or taking you to places with frequent animal sightings, it goes much deeper.
A knowledgeable guide will help you differentiate between the different species of animals while their keen eye can spot rare species in the thickest of wilderness. When you first see a hyena, it can be difficult to identify the species – is it a spotted, stripped or brown hyena? There are nine subspecies of giraffe – can you tell the difference between the Angolan giraffe, South African giraffe and Maasai giraffe? What about the endangered African rhino species – what is the difference between white and black rhino, and it’s not the colour of their hides as they are all grey!
4. Guide who Speaks Your Language
Sometimes the language barrier can take away half of your good choices. In such cases, it doesn’t matter how great a guide you find, you need to make sure that your guide can speak at least one language that you understand. Otherwise, the entire safari trip will turn out into a game of charades! A safari guide will almost always speak English, and if there is another language you require, check with your safari operator as they can often book a safari guide who speaks other languages.
5. Check Online Reviews
Online reviews will be your best friend when it comes to choosing the right safari company for your needs. You can typically find online reviews on Google My Business and Trip Advisor as well as others. Additionally, you can reach out to specific companies for reviews and testimonials. It’s worth reading reviews about the guides when doing your research, it will give you a great insight into the experiences you can expect when it’s your turn to spend time with the guides. Guides are often referred to in traveller reviews as they are such an integral part of a safari experience.
It’s also a good idea to look into whether or not the safari company has any certificates or awards to verify their level of quality, such as a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. In addition,
6. Keep Comfort in Mind
Comfort may be the farthest thing from your mind when booking a safari tour. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re going to be spending quite a lot of time in a game viewing vehicle, often under the beating heat of the sun. A good safari guide will go above and beyond to provide you with the best service, making sure you are comfortable along the way.
Find out what kind of vehicle you’ll be in – is it air-conditioned, open-sided or with a pop up roof, are window seats guaranteed, how many people are on a vehicle – you’ll want to be able to move around comfortably within the vehicle and with fewer people, the better spot you’ll have for taking photos of wildlife.
Your safari guide will make sure you are happy with all these aspects so you have the very best experiences on your adventure.
Are You Ready for Your Safari Tour?
Now that you’ve read this article, you should be better equipped to research your perfect safari holiday.
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