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Everything you need to know about your time spent on safari.
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.
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 morning lethargy will soon be replaced with anticipation - the best game viewing is first thing in the morning.
Eyes wide and finger wavering over your shutter button, you’ll spend the next few hours bounding over the grassy sun-drenched terrain and in hot pursuit of anything that moves on legs, hooves or slithering scales.
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 rumbling, guests are greeted with a hearty, well-deserved breakfast.
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.
After lunch there is more time to relax and soak up the splendour of your surroundings.
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.
Darkness falls and the predators begin to stir from a day of easy slumber. With a majestic African sunset as your backdrop, wildlife 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.
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.
The timing of dinner depends on your safari! If there’s lots happening on your safari, your dinner can wait.
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 for some campfire stories. Tall or otherwise, they go down particularly well with a nightcap. The more luxurious lodges offer you the choice of having dinner in your room. Then retire to your suite for some peaceful sleep before the next exciting day….which starts at 5am of course.
Ready for your African Safari?
You bet! Read more about Africa here.
8 reasons Africa is a must-see destination.
VIDEO FROM HOUSE OF TRAVEL