Safari 101: What You Need To Know Before Going On An African Safari – Part 2

Following Part 1, here comes Part 2 ūüėČ

Are there certain precautions I should take during the safari?

  • You should always stick to the park rules so you wouldn’t bother the animals in their natural habitat, cause any damage to the ecosystem, or¬†get harmed or eaten by an animal (seriously).
  • If you are going on a self-drive always drive slowly, and do not make any noise to not scare the animals away, and to not bother them¬†in their natural habitat, remember that you are sort of intruder
  • If you are going on a night safari, never direct the flash light to the animals’ eyes as it will cause instant blindness, and irritate them
  • If you are going on a guided safari, inform your guide that you want to see all animals, not only the big five
  • Don’t even think of feeding the animals
  • Depending on where you are; don’t get your body, your head or your arm out of the vehicle as there is a fine number of safari-goers who got injured or even killed.


How comfortable/uncomfortable is it?

In Southern Africa being in 4x4s is comfortable, and highways are highly maintained, however in East & Central Africa roads are bumpy, and not very well maintained, and going from one park to another comes at a cost, can become a challenge, and a major time waster, but in both cases you will have to wake up very early probably at break of dawn if not earlier, so you’d get to witness the best¬†lighting.

8758806737_f383d7ca5a_zA lion at Kruger Park by Violator1

What is the best time to take photos?

Shortly after¬†break of dawn, and shortly before sunset which are known in the world of photography as the golden hours. You could also do photography at anytime of day, however it’s best to avoid midday as the sun is pretty harsh, making the photos over-exposed.

6947581005_aa9687de3b_zPhoto courtesy of Jack Zalium

What are the different types of safari?

4×4 or mini-van safari, walking, trekking,¬†self-driving, helicopter, hot-air ballooning, paragliding, micro-lighting, cycling, & elephant¬†back riding. Elephant safari is an exceptionally cool experience, as when you are on the back of an elephant, its¬†smell would cover the human smell, making the animals not scared to be close to the elephant, well to you, so you really get an up, close, and personal experience with animals.

2412612885_e2a6e9780e_zMicrolighting over Victoria Falls In Zambia by Ray Morris

What should I pack?

  • Sunscreen (a.k.a. sunblock)
  • Sun glasses
  • A hat
  • T-shirts
  • A pair of shorts
  • A pair of long pants
  • A rain jacket
  • A warm fleece or a warm jacket
  • Mosquito Repellent (like Off)
  • A camera with extra batteries -you might have very limited access to electricity
  • A guidebook specially when going on a self-drive, you have no idea how cool it is when you spot an animal then look at your guidebook to know the name of this animal, and some brief about it
  • A pair of sneakers
  • A pair of easy to¬†put on¬†shoes -in case the toilets are outside the hut you’re sleeping in
  • A torch or a headlamp -used when there is no electricity, or if you need light while sharing rooms with other people that you don’t want to disturb
  • Medications, and malaria pills

gadgets - blog

And what to wear?

  • During the day: Basically a t-shirt, shorts or long pants -Iong pants are preferable specially if you are not a fan of crawling creatures like me-, and a hat
  • At night: you will definitely need long pants to lessen your chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes, and a warm fleece


What kind of food are we going to be served?

Usually African or International cuisine, and if you have special dietary requirements you can tell the agency you’re booking with, or the lodge¬†-vegetarian, halal, vegan, etc.

7852026050_3fd72271f8_zPhoto courtesy of George Redgrave

What are the entry requirements of African countries?

Most African countries do not require entry visas from Egyptian Passport Holders, or you get your visa upon arrival for a fee that is usually paid in U.S. Dollars –always check with the relevant embassy or consulate before you leave.

You must carry the following documents –also check with the relevant embassy in case other papers are required;

  • A passport that is valid for up to 6 months
  • 2-3 passport photos
  • Return flight tickets
  • The address or addresses of your accommodation
  • Yellow Certificate -explained below

What are the required vaccinations/immunizations?

You will need to get some necessary vaccinations to set your feet in certain African countries, that’s why it’s necessary to ask at Vacsera what are¬†the required, or advised to take vaccines in the country/ies you are visiting. In some countries the first thing you’d be asked once you step a foot is your Yellow Certificate which proves that you have received your yellow fever, and tetanus shots.

In order to be be effective you should receive your shots at least 10 days before departure. Some examples are: 

  • Yellow Fever -required
  • Tetanus Shot -required
  • Cholera -mostly advised
  • Typhoid -mostly advised
  • Hepatitis A -mostly advised

Malaria Pills

There are several brands, so you should ask a reliable pharmacist who wouldn’t just sell you the most expensive brand, while a cheaper brand has the same effect, and the dosage differs from a brand to another, however you usually take it a week before you travel and a couple of weeks after leaving the malaria zone.

4092914530_97262bd71b_zPhoto courtesy: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers

Is it ok for kids and elderly to take those vaccinations and malaria pills?

Kids from age 1 can take the vaccinations, and the malaria pills as well, but with reduced doses, as for elderly they should consult their doctor.

Who should go? Can kids and elderly go?

Yes, both can, however it’s a once in a lifetime experience, therefore it’s better to take your kids while they are totally aware of what they are seeing, also be aware that there are so many rules that you & your kids should stick to, so having young kids might¬†make the trip very hard to enjoy.

18024003064_fd1f7afea7_zElephants having a dust bath by Martin Heigan

Where to get those vaccinations?

  • All vaccines are available¬†at Vacsera’s 13 branches; whereas 10 are in Cairo, one in Alexandria, one in Monofeya, and one in Kafr El-Sheikh, except for the Yellow Fever & Tetanus shots as explained below.
  • As for the Yellow Fever Shot & Tetanus where you get the Yellow Certificate, this should be taken at governmental clinics; there is one near Giza Courts, and another one close to Cairo Airport. For more information call¬†02 35720451/322.

How painful are they? And do they have any side effects?

All are tolerable, just like any regular shot, except for the Cholera that would make your arm swell, make it a bit difficult to move it. As for side effects, this specific one would cause fever, and fatigue, so you’d be required to take an antibiotic.

14343406606_39e63a9298_zA heartwarming African sunset by Martin Heigan

Bonus Tip: You can always finish up your trip spending a couple of days on the beach; so in Kenya for instance you can go to Lamu or Mombasa, while in Tanzania you can head to Zanzibar, and so on.

Coming up next; find out how to add a beach escape to your safari

Stay tuned!…

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