Establish that your booking agent has personally visited the areas and properties they are recommending to you
One of the best ways to gain good value for money, while maintaining high-quality guiding and exclusivity, is to travel outside the high season. These times will vary from country to country and even from camp to camp. A specialist tour operator will be able to help you with this. Though game viewing is usually easier during the dry season, increasingly this is becoming less predictable. Plus, the presence of camps in more remote areas, and the fact that many now stay open throughout the year, means you can enjoy an interesting and fulfilling safari at technically the ‘wrong’ time of year.
Decide what wildlife you want to see (not all parks offer all species), what kind of wilderness experience you want and what sort of camps you are looking for. Most importantly, pick places which get the balance of bush and comfort just right, have a proven conservation ethos and which employ excellent guides who really know their stuff.
Take your sense of adventure, disconnect, and don’t even think about Wi-Fi. Put your phone and watch away, take as many photos as possible and immerse yourself in nature, culture and in new experiences. These are memories that will last a lifetime… the rest will still be there when you get home.
If you are concerned about your arrival after a long-haul flight, why not consider a VIP meet-and-greet service at the airport? They’ll meet you at the bottom of the aircraft’s steps and hand-hold you all the way through passport control, customs and on to your awaiting transfer at arrivals.
Consider whether you want to go as part of a group or travel individually. Group safaris can offer a price advantage; they can also be activity-oriented and therefore attract like-minded travellers (such as specialist birding or photographic groups). Travelling individually offers more flexibility. The ultimate luxury is to reserve a private vehicle, which gives you full control of how much time to spend at game sightings.