How to Prepare for Your Safari {Africa}

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How to Prepare for Your Safari {Africa}

Safari Vehicle

Unlike South Africa’s open-air vehicle, Tanzania has closed pop-up roof Land Rovers. Below was our off-road 4×4 Land Rover vehicle. You can’t drive anything less than a Land Rover in Africa. The roads in Africa are in bad conditions – the worst I’ve ever seen. There are many unpaved, rocky, and uneven dirt roads. We witnessed a truck that turned over due to the roads and probably poor driving. I was surprised they drove so fast on bad roads.

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The vehicle was equipped with a fridge in the back, power outlets, and even steel bars throughout to hang on to during those bumpy car rides. We had plenty of leg room and space for our luggages. It fits up to 8 passengers total.

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Everyone says hi (jambo in Swahili) to each other in Africa, even when we were in the cars. I swear our driver knew everyone. Here’s a picture of him saying jambo to other drivers and tourist, it made me smile every time. People in Africa are so nice and friendly!

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We hired a private safari guide/driver. He was such a great guy and you can tell he was passionate not only with animals but also his career. We felt very safe with him and he taught us everything we needed to know about animals, culture, and the history of Africa. We’ve hired private drivers before in different countries and he was the first honest person we’ve met. Most drivers we’ve hired have brought us to places to get a commission off of what we purchase, but not our driver from Africa. He didn’t take us to any places until we asked him to. We enjoyed his company so much that we invited him to dinner with us on our last night in Africa. We’ll never forget him and hope to continue our friendship for years to come! He agreed to hike Mount Kilimanjaro when we return. Let’s hope that day comes true sooner than later :). Stay tuned!

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Food

There are no restaurants in the parks. Your hotel will provide you a boxed lunch to take with you during your game drives. You can request breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. One morning we had a very early (5am) morning game drive and had breakfast in the wild :)! A box lunch usually consists of a fruit drink, sandwich, fruit (apple or banana), boiled egg, and sweets (muffin or yogurt). I would suggest packing snacks for your long drives. Our drives ranged from 5-8 hours long. We packed beef jerky, candy, and energy bars. There are a few rest stops where you can buy snacks as well.

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breakfast

Be Aware of Tsetse Flies

tsetse-nafaThis was the biggest downside of our trip. Out of all the places we’ve traveled to, I got eaten the most in Tanzania. Something in my filipino blood that they enjoyed so much. Make sure to bring insect repellant! Tsetse flies are prevalent during your game drives in Tanzania especially in the Serengeti plains. They are the size of a bee, very quick, pesky, and hard to kill. They have no mercy and will come right up to you especially if you wear the wrong color. Click here to read about what to wear/not wear on safari. They’ll bite you even through your clothes and will try to figure out a way to get inside your pants. One snuck inside my pants and bit me. I felt in on my knee and squeezed the blood sucking thing to death…bloody gross! 🙁

Safety on Safari

Like any wild adventure, precautionary rules must be taken seriously especially on safari. Believe it or not, animals are scared of you! So when you hear stories on the news that a tourist from Africa was dangered, it’s NOT always the animals fault. We were never threatened by animals except for when we attempted to get close to the elephants (and that would have been our fault for not following the rules).

Here are some safety tips to follow:

  1. Keep your windows and doors closed at all times
  2. Don’t yell or make loud noises to distract the animals
  3. Keep all body parts inside the vehicle
  4. Don’t throw anything or feed the animals
  5. Keep your food stored (look out for those sneaky monkeys)
  6. When using the restroom (third world style), stay close to your vehicle AND keep your door open in case you need to jump in
  7. Stay inside your vehicle unless instructed by your guide that it OK to get out!
  8. Listen to your guide
  9. Always stay close to your guide especially on a walking safari
  10. Keep your voices down
  11. Keep your technology (camera, GoPro) close to YOU not the animal

Tips on Safari

This is a list of tips we came up with from based on our safari experience as well as what our safari guide shared with us.

  1. Don’t ask your guide to drive/walk closer to the animal, you are at a distance for a reason!
  2. Keep yourself entertained (sometimes you won’t see an animal for a few hours)
  3. Don’t complain that you didn’t see a killing
  4. Don’t complain that you didn’t see the Big 5
  5. Don’t say “I’m bored”
  6. Don’t complain about your boxed food
  7. Do buy your driver a drink or snack when you stop for a bathroom/snack break
  8. Even if you are not as excited as your guide when spotting an animal, fake it! Your guide will appreciate it.
  9. Keep your eyes wide and open…don’t give up. I spotted a Cheetah and her cubs playing in the grass 🙂
  10. Tsetse fly warning: keep your shirts and pants tucked, leave no holes open or else they will sneak through and bite!
  11. Bring wipes and tissue to wipe off the dirt, dirt, and more dirt
  12. Help your guide spot animals, he/she doesn’t have 6 eyes.

Need help on what to pack on safari? Click here to read about my advice.

P.S. Have you been on a safari? What other tips could you provide? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below even if it’s just to say hello :).

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