So, here’s my first advice – and that is to NOT GO if anything on this list may apply to you:
- If your body will have trouble with bumps! On this past safari in particular we had some slick roads and we were rocking in our 4 X 4 Toyotas more than usual. Please remember you are almost always off on dirt roads that normally are not that well maintained, so you can expect the “African massage”. Our last groups were all up for the ride and said it was better than Disneyland or a roller coaster.
- If you have trouble with dust. You will be amazed at the volume of dust coming your way at times – obviously with more during the dry season.
- If you can’t handle early mornings and long days. The best game viewing is before things get too hot, so often we’ll head out at around 6:30 am and some days we travel all day – so you could be in a vehicle for 10-12 hours. Most days have a break and are for shorter travel or safari durations, but we do have some extended days. On long days we do stop for restroom breaks and will pack a lunch. These trips are pretty busy.
- If you are impatient or demand perfection. Africa runs at its own speed and while mostly very organized, you need to be OK with the odd vehicle break down, flat tire or need to get pushed after being stuck. Flights are rarely late by much, but last minute changes are common. There is also a comradery between drivers – if someone else needs help, your driver is likely to offer their services. It might be you that needs some assistance. I always advise clients to just get in the mode, relax and go with the flow. There may be times when you might see a much simpler solution to a problem! I try really hard to keep my sense of humor.
So – if you’re OK with the above, and you are still interested then the next step is to find the right itinerary and comfort level for you.
Here are the questions you need to answer for me to help you:
How much of the trip do you want it to be about the animals versus city and culture?
Do you want this to be private for you and your family or friends or are you OK sharing with other soft adventurers like yourselves? Ideally you have 6 people in order to maximize the value for the cost of the vehicle and driver/guide, but many are happy to pay more per person to have complete control of your experience.
How long do you want to go on this trip?
Do you want to add other destinations on route (ie. Europe, Dubai, Egypt, etc.) to break up the flights and/or do you want to extend your trip in Africa with time in places like Zanzibar, Victoria Falls or other nearby countries? Perhaps you’d like to do some add-ons like a gorilla trek in Uganda or Rwanda (you need to be in very good physical shape to do this) or want to relax on the beach for a few days, or see more places not on your chosen tour.
How luxurious do you want to make this?
You can experience Africa in various styles.
Are you looking for prime time with little concern on budget or are you OK to look at low or shoulder seasons?
This last trip East Africa had a lot of rain in its dry season, so we can only hope that the norm is what you actually get as climate change has been very extreme lately.
Are you interested in flying between destinations to save some time and often not repeat what you’ve already seen?
If you drive in and fly out or vice versa you see it all once. It’s less expensive to drive both ways but you need to be prepared for more of those longer traveling days.
Tell me about your personality please.
If you’re a bit more on the impatient side, then I am likely going to suggest a faster pace trip – or would you prefer more time in each place, etc.
Are you comfortable traveling to Africa without someone like me going along with you?
It’s not as scary as you might think going to this part of the world. Things are well organized and while I need to warn you that things can go off-schedule, you likely find that your fear of arriving and traveling here is less stressful than you might think. With our preferred safari partner Twiga Tours (and Canadian tour operator Tourcan Vacations) things are pretty darn easy and you don’t need someone like me holding your hand. If you arrive in Nairobi, as example, there is a representative there for you as soon as you get out of the jet-way and are at the terminal gate before customs and baggage claim. Millions of westerners go to East Africa every year and they do know how to take the stress away from a special vacation like this. You may prefer going with me or one of our escort hosts, but these trips are only offered every few years.
How busy do you want to make this trip?
If you take the usual itineraries to see the best of Kenya, Tanzania or both you are moving around a lot with 1 to 2 nights usually at each location. We can create a custom safari (which normally takes 2-3 business days to provide to you) especially if you want to slow this down, or are good with less diversity.
Who’s going with you?
I can tell you with great confidence that if your family or friends who are soft adventurers like you, it will be one of (or hopefully THE) best vacations of your lives. It is an amazing place to bond with ones you love in life. You really can’t escape very far from each other!