If you love the idea of an African safari, but aren’t sure if the stories you’ve heard are fact or fiction, read on
Wendy Buckley, founder of Africa Safari Experts, has more than 40 years’ experience as a Travel Advisor and has worked as Camp Manager in a remote Zambian safari camp too. Here’s her round up of 10 common myths about safaris, along with the reality based on her own experience.
1. The lions (or other animals) might jump in the truck with you
‘Animals born where safaris are common have, over many generations, become habituated to the presence of vehicles with people on board. Africa Safari Experts only recommends operators who employ highly skilled safari guides and staff who implement strict safety standards, so our clients can relax and enjoy their safari experience knowing they are in the safest of hands,’ says Wendy.
2. You need a lot of medication and/or vaccinations to travel to Africa
‘There are places in Africa that are free of malaria so you can enjoy the amazing wildlife without the need for anti-malarial medication,’ says Wendy. ‘Vaccinations for typhoid and hepatitis A and B are generally advised, but we recommend contacting your medical practice for more information.’
3. Flights to Africa are really long
You can fly non-stop from Perth to South Africa in just 11 hours, or from Sydney to South Africa in 14 hours. From there, your safari camp destination could be as close as a three-hour drive or one-hour flight away.
4. There’s no Wi-Fi on safari
‘Wi-Fi is available at the majority of camps, lodges and hotels we work with,’ says Wendy. ‘Hiccups with technology do happen from time to time, but that can happen anywhere you might travel.’
5. African safaris are expensive
Africa Safari Experts offers safaris ranging from lower budget to super luxe.
‘Our camps and lodges offer a fully inclusive nightly rate which is prepaid and helps clients manage their budgets effectively. Any extras such as tipping and excursions are discussed when we put together your holiday.’
6. Africa isn’t safe
Africa is a vast continent and some areas are best avoided. However, in 2018 the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Morocco, and Malawi as safer than the U.S.
‘Major national parks and tourist attractions are protected and managed by experienced tourism operators in co-operation with governments who are committed to the safety and enjoyment of every traveller,’ says Wendy.
7. Safaris are not a good option for single (particularly female) travellers
‘Safaris can be perfect for single travellers. The combination of morning and afternoon safaris, all-inclusive meals in camp, and excursions to local schools and NGOs, gives guests plenty of shared experiences and lots to talk about with their fellow travellers. Our safari guides and lodge staff are friendly and welcoming and go out of their way to make sure everyone feels comfortable and gets the most from their holiday.’
8. Kids will be bored
Children of all ages are fascinated by wildlife and there’s an African safari to suit every family. Africa Safari Experts offers walking safaris, family-friendly small group tours, accommodation at child-friendly lodges with pools, kids activity programs and meals, and more.
‘A safari provides a really rich learning experience for families, whether the children are very young, primary school age or in their teens. There’s nothing like experiencing the magical African bush and seeing leopards, giraffes, elephants, lions and the great migration of wildebeest. Kids can also visit rural villages and see how they are contributing directly to the protection of wildlife and local communities. Children love having adventures with their families and learn so much too,’ says Wendy.
9. Safaris don’t cater for people with a disability
‘Many of the lodges we work with cater for travellers with a disability, providing access onto the safari vehicle, private guides and vehicles, accommodation and access to public areas. Simply contact us as early as you can in the planning process and we’ll help make your safari dream come true,’ she says.
10. Safari camps are uncomfortable
If you travel with Africa Safari Experts you’ll be staying in comfortable lodges or glamping (glamorous camping) in amazing locations overlooking rivers, bush, plains and watering holes, with the sounds of the African wildlife night and day. Facilities typically include private bathrooms, full size beds with duvets, power and Wi-Fi, and fans.
For more information, enquiries or bookings visit: africasafariexperts.com.au
Africa Safari Experts is an independent affiliate of Main Beach Travel Australia a Virtuoso member