Having visited over 200 safari lodges and written several books on the subject, roving African safari expert Carrie Hampton is the perfect person to take you by the hand and lead you towards your first game experience with this Africa safari guide.
I was a safari newbie once too and never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get to visit more than 200 safari lodges in southern and east Africa. It all started in the Masai Mara, Kenya, where a vague connection of my father’s owned a hot air balloon company. No-one had told me this exciting piece of information, so when Mr Balloo (true!) said “I’m sending you to the Masai Mara to stay with the pilot”, I had no idea what he was talking about. My introduction to Africa turned out to be hot air ballooning every day for three months watching the wildebeest migration come and go on the plains of East Africa!
Naturally I fell in love with Africa, and when I visited Cape Town the following year it felt like home–as if I’d found my geographical soulmate–so I stayed. That was 20 years ago. If you haven’t been on an African safari, you might think one is sufficient and “seen one elephant, seen them all!” But any Africa safari guide will tell you otherwise.
One Safari Is Never Enough
I was warned that “Africa will get in your blood and you won’t be able to leave” but thought, “I’ve travelled all around the world, why should Africa become more than a once-off visit?” Little did I know! I can’t tell you exactly why your first African safari won’t be your last, all I can say is that you get hooked without even realising it. After all, it’s not on your bucket list for nothing! Something inside you is saying you must visit Africa and witness its wildlife and that something is going to trigger the craving to return. Or, like me, you may just stay!
Which African countries to visit and which safari lodges to stay in poses impossible choices; there are hundreds to choose from. That’s why this Africa safari guide is here… to give clarity and to lead you along the path towards achieving the ultimate safarichic travel experience.
There’s so much safarichic in South Africa alone that any Chic Collection choice is a great one. Try a combination of several lodges in different reserves, all of which will give you a five-star experience:
South Africa is the most sophisticated safari destination in Africa, where over and above exceptional animal encounters, you can expect super-stylish interiors, gourmet food and fine wines.
Heading north, you will tend to find luxury in somewhat wilder climes, like Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe, Chinzombo in Zambia’s remote South Luangwa, Singita Serengeti camps in Tanzania, and Fairmont properties in Kenya. This northward trajectory takes in the chicest safari lodges with an edge over all the others in the area. You don’t have to visit them all at once because as we know, you will be coming back!
Since you are reading this Africa safari guide, you will undoubtedly be coming on an African safari soon, so here are a few things to prepare for the Essential Safari Suitcase.
You can see yourself on safari now; staring into the golden eyes of a leopard in a tree, marvelling at just how enormous elephants really are and admiring a lion’s perfect camouflage in the dry grass. But can you see yourself walking in Big 5 country? Did you know the Big 5–lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo–are so called because they are the five most dangerous animals to hunt? Once wounded, they will turn from hunted to hunter and not stop until they have had revenge or died trying.
A walking safari never seeks to put you in danger and is usually a lesson in basic bush survival and looking at the small stuff. The most experienced walking guides in Africa can be found in the South Luangwa of Zambia, where the Chic Collection offers Chinzombo Safari Lodge; part of a legendary family-run operation. Africa is not a scary place to them; they can read the bush like you read a book. It’s easy for people who’ve been on safari before to forget the anxiety of heading into Africa for the first time.
What Kind of Safari You Really Want?
Answer these questions on this Africa safari guide, and you’ll be one step closer to your perfect safari:
– While no safari is expected to harm you, what is your comfortable adrenaline level from 1-10?
– What are the top six animals you HAVE to see?
– What safari destinations have been on your mind: Okavango Delta, Kruger Park, Serengeti, Victoria Falls…..?
– What is on your bucket list that you could include on your African safari: helicopter flight, hot air ballooning, horse riding amongst game, canoeing in rivers with crocodiles and hippos, elephant-back riding, walking with cheetah, tribal dancing.
– Who’s coming with you and what needs do they have? A safari for a family with children will be quite different than for a honeymoon.
– You’ve passed all the hurdles to knowing what you want out of your first safari and what to pack. All you have to do now is book it!