Top Tips For Going On Your First Safari

We all need something to look forward to and although at the moment we can't travel, some normality will return in the future, so today I have a guest post on the subject of travel from the lovely Micaela. Micaela combines her love for all things digital and all things creative with a career in digital marketing alongside running her UK lifestyle blog Stylish London Living. Micaela has been blogging since 2012 and loves sharing new experiences, products and her passions with her readers.

Last year my sister and I took a holiday that we’d been meaning to take for a long time; a Safari. I love animals and the idea of seeing lions, hippos, zebra etc up close in the extraordinary African reserves was very exciting. 

In all the excitement, however, I didn’t really take the time to read up on what to expect from a Safari and I admit, wasn’t really prepared! Today I want to tell you a little about my experience and some top tips in order to make sure that when you go on Safari you will be more prepared than I was!

We booked ourselves onto the Cheetah Safari from Somak Holidays. We chose this itinerary based on the accommodation ratings, value for money and of course, the areas for the best wildlife spotting opportunities. The Cheetah Safari was made up of 7 nights exploring across Kenya, starting at Nairobi airport and travelling across the country exploring some world famous reserves. We stayed in several places:

We started with 1 night at the Aberdare Country Club, then moved onto 2 nights in the Ashnil Samburu Camp were we really felt as if we were among the wildlife at Ashnil Samburu with the monkeys running around the camp and elephants coming right up to the fence which was amazing. We loved being able to look out over the waterhole at the Serena Mountain Lodge during our 1 night stay before moving onto 1 night at the luxury accommodation at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge and finally 2 nights Ashnil Mara Camp in the Masai Mara which was the perfect last stop on the Safari – we saw lots of amazing animals here and loved the friendly and relaxing atmosphere which is just what you need after a long day of game driving.

When it comes to highlights from our trip, we had so many great experiences. Our main reason for going was of course to see the awe-inspiring wildlife and we were blown away, especially the elephants at Ashnil Samburu and seeing a Cheetah and her three cubs up close on the Masai Mara.

Another aspect that we hadn’t considered before going on our Safari was the rugged terrain of Kenya! Although some of the roads were relatively smoothe, a large number are nothing more than bumpy dirt tracks with ditches and potholes, or only half made so we frequently found ourselves thrown about in our seats, despite being in a large 4x4 Land Cruiser! We may have had the odd bump and bruise but the experience really wouldn’t have been the same without it!

Lastly, we loved the whole atmosphere of the trip, our driver and everyone at the Camps was so friendly and eager to make our stay comfortable – not forgetting our Safari companions, there were 6 of us in our car, who made the perfect Safari family.

Now, here are some top tips for preparing for your first Safari.

Our first mistake was to pack our usual sized suitcases - just because you are allowed 30 odd kg doesn’t mean you have to take that much with you. We quickly realised that having a big case was going to be a bit of a trial, especially because we had to fix 6 visitors and a driver’s worth of luggage into our cars along with us! Take a smaller case. Don’t overpack. The camps all offer laundry services and keep in mind most of your time will be spent in your car either in the reserves or travelling between them so you won’t need serious outdoor footwear which is heavy and space hungry.

As I mentioned, most of your time will be spent in your vehicle, especially when driving between reserves which can be 8 hours apart! I recommend packing some sort of entertainment to keep you from getting bored. I downloaded a few audiobooks which kept me going.

Accept the fact that you are going to be bitten by all manner of insects and come prepared – think repellents and bite creams, I suggest long pyjamas which you can tuck into bed socks to avoid getting bitten at night, a onesie might be the best option! Many of the camps are made up of glamping style tents so no matter what you do, bugs are probably going to get in. Don’t forget to organise anti-malaria pills and other vaccinations before travelling.

Seeing as I mentioned the tents, it’s worth considering who your Safari buddy is. Luckily, I went with my sister who I am pretty close to, so the limited privacy didn’t bother us too much. Take note - the shower and bathroom facilities are often just cubbies inside the tent with glass doors and no ceilings! 

Another thing you will have to accept is that you will probably have a funny tummy at some point on the trip – I am vegan and only drank bottled water but still had a dodgy tummy at the end of our trip. Stock up with anti-diarrhoea tablets and remember to keep yourself hydrated. Make your own rehydration drink with bottled water, a little salt and a little sugar.

On a Safari it’s all about the animals and shooting amazing photos to take home and make your friends jealous! Invest in a telephoto lens for your camera to avoid disappointing photographs. Although some animals do come really close to the vehicle some, such as leopards, you may only see from far away and up high in trees. I only bought my telephoto lens the day before we left for Safari and I am so glad I did. I got some fantastic photographs of the wildlife that I will treasure forever. Here are a couple of my favourites.

1 comment

  1. Wow you got some fantastic shots! I was interested in your packing tips about traveling light - I wouldn't have considered that you don't need that much.