Is it advisable to go with a tour group or can I do it myself?


Is it advisable to go with a tour group or can I do it myself?

It all depends. For a first visit to Africa – unless you’re young, adventurous & traveling as a backpacker – my advice would be to go on a customized trip or a small group safari. You really have three main options (and may opt to combine two or more of these):

a) Fully independent fly-in safari

For the independently-minded, savvy traveler, this is the way to go. You decide – in consultation with your African destination specialist – how long you want to stay in particular areas & lodges and choose the activities you like, whether it’s game-viewing, walking, water activities, culture & history, bird-watching, etc. A single guide does not usually accompany you all the way, as you go on game-drives and other activities (such as mokoro rides or foot safaris) with knowledgeable local guides, attached to the camp. The fly-in safaris are quite sociable too: even though you are not part of a group as such, you meet up with interesting people at the various lodges, where meals are often taken together and there is ample opportunity for socializing. For those reasons these trips are suitable for single/solo travelers as well.

b) Join a small-group safari (scheduled departure).

These safaris, which range from luxury fly-in trips to more basic, ‘Adventurer’ safaris, are for people who enjoy the camaraderie of traveling with a few other like-minded people and who appreciate the many advantages of having a professional guide on hand at all times. Sharing the experience often makes it much more rewarding & having a guide to identify birds, trees & mammals can make all the difference. The cross-country safaris are also ideal for single travelers of either sex. Overland guided safaris can be tailor-made for private family groups or friends who’d like to travel together. The ideal group size is from six to eight.

If you will enjoy the group experience, if you do not mind an occasional long drive to get from one area to the next, and are looking for a broadly educational trip (not just big game!), you will enjoy the overland safaris. Standards of accommodation varies: even on some of the more expensive trips there is some mobile tented camping involved. However, you get close to nature, you are usually the only people in the camp, and you have a guide who can answer just about any question you may have.

c) Self-drive safari

The more cost-conscious traveler may consider a self-drive safari in South Africa, or Namibia. These two countries (and especially South Africa) have an excellent road & air network, which makes it easy to get around quickly and relatively safely, without having to resort to 4-wheel drive vehicles. Just plan your trip carefully & book well in advance, especially for the July & December holidays. Please note: South Africa – and also Namibia – have poor road safety records and road deaths there are amongst the highest (per vehicle-miles traveled) of any country in the world. Keep in mind that you are most likely to be injured in a road accident, than through any other activity, in Africa or practically anywhere else. We do not recommend extended driving around the major cities in South Africa, or long-distance travel cross-country. Night-driving should be avoided.