If you and your family or partner are planning a big, once-in-a-lifetime holiday, you might be having some trouble narrowing down where you want to go. Should you explore the sights of Japan? Niagra Falls? Grand Canyon? There are hundreds of locations around the world that are on plenty of bucket lists, but one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring things you can experience is a safari. Like viewing the world from space, seeing these creatures in their natural habitat and being exposed to nature’s wildness can inspire a sense of protectiveness and care for our planet. So, if you’re on the fence about a safari trip, below you’ll find some reasons to get online and start booking as well as some top tips for things to remember once you’ve booked.
- It’s a huge learning experience
If you’ve been keeping up with game-changing TV over the last few years, you will be aware that there’s been many wildlife documentaries (presented by the unflagging national Treasure that is David Attenborough) detailing the way climate change and single-use plastic has been impacting the environment. Not only will you learn about animals in real life, but it might not be an option forever so it’s worth the trip for what could be a very precious experience.
- Kids will love it
This sounds like it might not be a family-friendly trip, but safaris are a great way to tick all the boxes for a family holiday. Most children are absolutely thrilled at the prospect of spotting animals that they’ve only seen previously in animated form, while you can enjoy some grown up conversation and sightseeing as they look for lions. Experienced tour guides will know what to point out and be veterans at keeping kids occupied and entertained on their guided tours.
Remember though, there are often long flights involved in going on safari. Some airlines are fab with the small ones, but it’s always worth having entertainment you can draw on at a moment’s notice – especially if you’re limiting tablet and/or screen time.
It can be a long flight even for the adults too! If flying isn’t something you’re keen on, why not plan a layover that you will also enjoy? If you can’t get a direct flight anyway, why not make the most of having to stop – even if it’s just for a few hours?
- And it’s not just for kids
It has been proven that nature can relieve stress and anxiety and therefore have a positive effect on mental health. A safari trip will allow you to completely escape, leaving behind the concerns of daily life and experiencing complete escapism. It really is a perfect way to recharge your batteries and get a fresh perspective.
It can be easy to get caught up in spotting specific animals and end up feeling disappointed if you can’t tick them off your list. But actually, just spending a few hours absorbing the incredible landscape you will be surrounded by, noticing the fauna, the insects, passing birds, can be just as restorative as the excitement of seeing a wild animal. Make sure you allow time for the full experience and take it all in.
- Look into your holiday thoroughly
It’s always fun to do some research before you go away – finding out what the unmissable local delicacies are, where you can find the best bars and restaurants, which tours will give you some great insights into the place you’re travelling to – all this is part of the fun of planning a trip. When you’re thinking about going on a safari though, it becomes much more exciting. Not only will you be experiencing a different way of life that’s well worth researching to fully complement your trip, but you can investigate what animals you might expect to see, as well as places that you’d like to visit. Most guided tours have elements of flexibility and you can always discuss things with your guide and ask if there’s anything you are particularly interested in.
- Your guide is there for you
Your guide will have your back and don’t be scared to ask them questions. No matter how irrelevant it might seem, you don’t want to go home regretting the missed opportunity of tapping into your guide’s knowledge and experience. Not only will they be able to help you with your sightings, but they will also probably have some amazing stories to share with you! And don’t be afraid to ask your guide to pause. If you think you’ve spotted something in the long grass and you aren’t sure, asking them to stop for a moment while you work out whether you’re looking at some leaves or a lion is all part of the fun.
- Prepare yourself
You will have looked into safari trips and tours when planning your holiday, but it’s also a good idea to pack your own guidebooks that are specifically related to the reserve you’re visiting. You won’t miss out by stocking up on area-specific knowledge. Ensure as well that you check about vaccinations. It’s important that you make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe whilst travelling. If you aren’t sure (and this is something it’s a good idea to get advice on, rather than do the internet research yourself), ask your medical practitioner in plenty of time. It can take a few weeks to book in and have the vaccines come into effect so prepare for that and don’t leave it to the last minute.
A safari trip can open your eyes to new experiences and give you a totally new perspective. Being, not just close to, but actually within nature is a truly inspirational thing to do and this is a holiday that you will never regret. Plan appropriately and do your research and you will have the holiday of a lifetime.