This post was written by one of our clients, who recently returned from her first safari. She wanted to share some of her insights.
My mum and I had been planning to visit Kenya for a couple of years, and had been trying and trying to find the right trip for us. We found Safari&Beach and handed over the planning to them, and we’ve just got back from the trip of a lifetime. This is what we learned along the way, from our own experiences and what other people said…
When I started planning to go to Kenya, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to see and do. When I gave this information to the team at Safari&Beach they created an itinerary that covered everything, including things I hadn’t even thought of. I told them I wanted to see “everything”, and that’s what they gave me.
Planning a safari isn’t like planning a quick package holiday, there’s a lot more to it. Using specialists who are experts in safaris meant everything was thought about, everything was simple and easy, we were looked after every step of the way, and we got to experience a more authentic safari than many of the people we met while we were there.
Having never been on safari before, we had a lot of questions. The team at Safari&Beach had so much knowledge at their fingertips that we always felt we had the information we needed. We followed the ‘guide to what to wear on safari’ advice, and I can see why everything in there is mentioned!
A lightweight scarf would be my top pick for best thing I packed – it kept me warm in the chilly mornings, kept the sun off me during hot afternoons, and worked as a great face shield when things got a bit dusty. Highly recommend. And the sports bra – ladies, if you need decent support, a sports bra is really a great idea. Some of the roads are incredibly bumpy, and you’ll be grateful for the stability!
Obviously you don’t want mosquito bites (or any other sort of bite), so take high quality insect repellent and wear long sleeves/trousers in the evening to reduce the risk. But don’t get paranoid about bugs. If you’re taking every precaution, you don’t need to keep worrying.
There was a day when I got slightly overcautious because there were lots of bugs around, and for a moment I found myself focusing on that rather than the amazing sights all around me. I didn’t get bitten – and I’m very prone to it – and spending time worrying didn’t achieve anything.
One thing that amazed me – in a great way – was how closely we were able to see a lot of the animals, including the big cats. But there were a few times where they were further away than is easy to see with the naked eye.
Many of our guides had binoculars they were willing to share with us, which was fantastic. But if you’re in a vehicle with multiple people, all wanting to have a look, passing them around means you don’t get long to enjoy the crisp, clear view.
If you do take your own, which saves having to share, I’d recommend choosing a pair that’s fairly light in weight. You can get some impressively good ones that aren’t huge and don’t weigh a tonne, which is important when you’re holding them up for ages.
We had some incredible guides – their knowledge is epic, and they’re delighted to share information. They also know exactly what they’re doing. So if they get closer than you expect to the wildlife, trust them. We got much closer to big cats and a herd elephants than I ever thought possible. But they also held back for solo male elephants, and were ready to speed off when a buffalo was taking a little too much interest in us. They won’t put you at risk, so relax and enjoy the show!
If you’re of a nervous disposition, you might want to focus on the horizon when hitting some of the more rocky areas of terrain. Some of the areas where we crossed dry riverbeds were relatively alarming – you can’t imagine how someone could drive through them. But the drivers are extremely skilled, so there’s nothing to worry about.
I travel a lot, but the safari was like nothing else I have ever done before. I saw so much more than I expected, experienced more, and enjoyed every second. So, don’t forget in all the planning and preparation to get really excited. Seeing herds of elephants in their natural habitat, watching lions snooze in the shade, enjoying epic landscapes dotted with antelope – it’s inspiring and breathtaking. I can certainly see why people come back time and time again. In fact, I think it’s time to start planning my next adventure!