The Feeling of Safari- My Recent Trip to Botswana & Zambia

The Feeling of Safari

By Dania Weinstein

Those seeking safari are usually in want of a few key things: incredible animal sightings, diverse activities like game drives and mokoro rides, and beautiful scenery – be it rivers, savannas, or waterfalls. And while these things are all incredible, and certainly a joy to experience, safari is about so much more. Safari, to me, is a feeling – something that you cannot see in a photo or describe to a friend.

I just returned from Botswana and Zambia, another incredible adventure for the books, and my dozenth (or so) visit to sub-Saharan Africa. This trip was highly anticipated, as my previous visit was a whole year ago (which in pandemic times feels more like 10 years). As soon as I stepped off the plane in Maun, and felt the warm breeze on my face, I nearly cried. It felt like reconnecting with a part of myself, the part I only seem to find when I’m on a African safari.

My African Safari Experience

On safari, waking up at 5:30am is not a chore (especially when accompanied by a friendly “knock knock” and cookies!). Something about the warm 6am wind feels so familiar; it’s gentle, calm, and peaceful. Every now and then when I’m walking my dog in the early morning in LA, I feel a similar breeze and it transports me right back to the bush.

The chirping of birds are a constant soundtrack. My first morning on safari is always one of my favorites – listening to the call of mourning doves while sipping my coffee at the campfire. It awakens something in your soul you didn’t realize you needed.

Whether a chilly June wind or a January post-rainfall breeze, the air is fresh and smells amazing. As you drive through the forests and flatlands, you pick up scents of wild sage and basil. When you go to your tent at night, after an evening of swapping tales with fellow safari goers, you smell the campfire on your sweater.

Highlights of My Trip

Seeing a lion or leopard on game drive is thrilling. But my favorite part is just before the sighting. Our guides are so incredible, they read the landscape like a book. From the tracks, broken branches, smells, bird calls, they pick up on the whole story and reveal it to us piece by piece so we can be part of the mystery. Tracking animals gives you a whole new appreciation for the expansive wilderness, and makes you realize how many stories are unfolding at any given time, only some of which we are lucky enough to observe.

You feel so safe and cared for by incredible staff which often become friends. You are pampered with soft beds and delicious food at gorgeous properties. But still, you are on an adventure. Canvas tents, campfire breakfasts, thrilling animal encounters, and enlightening conversations with new friends all contribute to this moment, this adventure. That’s the magic of safari – it’s thrilling yet comfortable all at once. The unfamiliar feels familiar. I think that’s why most of us end up coming back for more, to get that feeling one more time

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Our Top Tips For An African Safari

Getting set to embark on your first African safari? In this blog, we provide some of our top African safari recommendations. We’ll never forget our first African safari, and we’re pretty sure, you won’t either.

Dress Accordingly

Not only is wearing a safari outfit a lot of fun, but the fact that one is dressed in khaki and other earth tones also serves a functional purpose. Safari attire is purpose-built and manufactured to be as comfortable as possible while still blending in with the surrounding environment and being able to withstand the elements of the African wilderness. You should wear clothes that are suitable for the surroundings of the safari.

If you intend to go on bush walks, since you will want to conceal any strange colours from the wildlife you may encounter, It is highly recommended that you bring along a sturdy pair of safari boots in case you plan on doing any bushwalking.

Prepare to Wake Up Early

On a African Safari, wildlife is most active early in the morning and in the evening. These are the times when the temperature is cooler. You will find that most safari game drives take place in the morning, late afternoon or evening. These are prime game-viewing times.

Getting up at the crack of dawn and grabbing a cup of coffee on the go are both normal activities for the morning. Evening game drives are our favourite since they begin in the middle of the day and are followed by a refreshing gin and tonic at the finish.

Pack a Pair of Binoculars

To recognise birds or determine what kind of animal is off in the distance, you either need excellent eyesight or a reliable set of binoculars. Because the majority of us do not have the eyes of an eagle, we believe that having a good pair of binoculars is essential when you’re on a safari.

We strongly suggest that you get a pair that is of sufficient quality to last for more than just one trip.

Pack Your Camera

There are a few considerations that need to be made prior to selecting the most suitable camera for a safari. It’s likely that you’ll be photographing a range of subjects, from animals to landscapes.

The higher the quality of the zoom, the more impressive the photographs will be of the animals. If you want to take beautiful images, you need to select a lens that enables you to get close-ups of creatures that are out of reach, such as a lion in Africa that is resting a considerable distance away. Choose a camera and lens combination that will enable you to record the details that cannot be seen by the naked eye alone.

Ask Questions

Our guides are proffesionals and are skilled and experienced when it comes to wildlife and the landscape in which they operate in. Displaying any level of interest makes for a more enjoyable safari experience and will likely make your guide very excited. Any traveller on an African safari should gain new knowledge and a deeper understanding of the African animals that they observe as the trip progresses.