05h00 - Wake up! Wake up!.. It’s an early start
As the first slivers of sunlight begin to slip beneath the long shawl of night, you’ll be awoken by the chorus of songbird - and the shocking realisation that it’s a 5am wake-up call (6am if you’re on summer safari). The sun’s coming up and the animals are on the move.
...Don't forget to pack your hat and mittens. You might be on safari but we can promise you this - it's mighty chilly at 5am in Africa.
05h30 – The best game viewing is in the morning
Meet your ranger and tracker, who, having experienced many grumpy people at such unearthly hours, will come prepared with tea, coffee and freshly baked muffins or scones. Having devoured the treats, you’ll head out on a 4X4 safari vehicle. Fear not, your fleeting morning lethargy will soon be replaced with a mix of anticipation and enticement - the best game viewing is first thing in the morning.
06h00 – Cameras at the ready
Eyes wide and fingers wavering over your shutter button, you’ll spend the next few hours bounding over the grassy sun-drenched terrain. In hot pursuit of anything that moves on legs, hooves or slithering scales.
09h30 – Breakfast time
With the sun now well and truly pelting down on the terrain, and warming the hot turf beneath your feet, safari vehicles start returning from game drives. Stomachs simultaneously rumbling, guests are greeted with a hearty, well-deserved breakfast.
11h00 – Frankie says relax
You’re now heading into the hottest part of the day, so it’s time to make like a great African antelope and relax. In fact, this is what the majority of safari fauna will be doing, so save yourself the bother of seeking hidden wildlife in African shadows and enjoy the amenities offered by your lodge. There may be some cultural activities, or an inviting pool awaiting your arrival - with plentiful drinks and snacks of course.
(Elephant Camp, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe)
13h00 – Lunch is served
After lunch there is more time to relax and soak up the splendour of your surroundings.
16h00 – Sunset
As the African sun begins to ease away and shadows form across the bushveld, guests and rangers meet for afternoon tea before an evening Game Drive.
16:30 - Safari Time!
Darkness falls and the predators begin to stir from a day of easy slumber. Equally, in preparation for a night of kiss chase (it's actually kill chase), their prey start to awaken also. With a majestic African sunset as your backdrop, animals become more active and nocturnal animals get ready for the night’s hunt. Your tracker is upfront looking out for tell-tale tracks and animals.
18h00 – A party for night animals
As the sun finally succumbs to a cloak of darkness, your ranger will pick a good spot for a sundowner where you will pause to watch the last droplets of sunset, accompanied by some cocktails and refreshments. A real safari tradition! Now that darkness encapsulates the savannah, your tracker and guide use a powerful spotlight to catch sight of any roaming animals. Most likely, the critter’s eyes will reflect in the spotlight. With a lot of skill and a little good fortune, you might just bear witness to an elusive African leopard, as well as sunset hunters such as lions.
19h30 – Dinnertime. Or is it?
The timing of dinner depends on your safari! If there’s lots happening on your safari, your dinner can wait.
20h00 – Dinner and a nightcap
At most lodges, there are a number of places to enjoy dinner and, weather dependant, the camp manager will select the perfect venue. Your ranger usually joins his now biggest fans for a celebratory dinner. Be warned, the camp fire stories have been known to continue into the early hours. Tall or otherwise, they go down particularly well with a nightcap. Or three. The more luxurious lodges offer you the choice of having dinner in your room. And finally you get to retire to your suite for some peaceful sleep before the next exciting day….which starts at 5am of course.
(Moditlo River Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa)