Choose a Safari - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Travelling
The safari can be one of travel’s greatest experiences. However, without careful planning you can waste a lot of money. So what’s the best way for you to do it? There are a number of options, in fact far more than I first thought when I started to plan our own trip. Do you want to go by foot, boat, horse or vehicle? Do you want to get closer or higher or even work up a sweat along the way? Well read on and check out all the different ways you can tour some of the wild regions in Africa.
The most established safari type is the game drive. This is an expedition in search of animals by vehicle, accompanied by a driver and a guide or one driver-guide. However, not all vehicles are equal and the type can affect your experience significantly. The least favoured option has to be a 2WD minibus with sliding windows. Your view will be restricted, even more so if you don’t have a window seat and you won’t be able to go off-road. A better choice is a hatch top 4WD, these have solid sides, but the roof pops off so you can stand for unhindered views. Best of all are open-sided Land Rovers that have been specifically modified for safaris. They generally carry no more than ten people and may have tiered seats so those at the back can see over the heads of those in front. They have no sides whatsoever, so you’re completely exposed to the bush with great views all round.
The advantages of this type of safari is that it is available over the whole region. Vehicles especially the 4WDs can cover wide areas and if in radio contact with other vehicles, they can head to reported sightings. Vehicles can get close to wildlife, while keeping you safe. Anyone, no matter what age or fitness, can join a game drive. The disadvantages are that unless you pay for a private game drive, which is expensive, you will be sharing the vehicle. This might compromise what you get to see as the interests of the group must be factored in. It is a sedentary experience as there is not many chances to get out to stretch your legs. Typically most safari camps usually run two game drives a day, one starts pre-dawn and the other mid-afternoon; they normally last about three to four hours.
If you like riding then exploring the bush by horse, led by a skilled and experienced guide is a good option. You might gallop along dry riverbeds, canter amid a herd of zebra or face an elephant’s mock charge. There may also be chances to try other activities, such as mustering cattle or swimming with your horse. Accommodation varies from very luxurious lodges to basic tents. If you take a mobile tented safari then your home follows the horses.
So where is the best place for this? Botswana is a classic choice, especially around the Okavango Delta. Here you have the chance to splash in the waterways on quality horses. The rolling dunes in Namibia, offer options for beginners, though the experienced might fancy the Namib Desert Ride, a challenging 400km expedition across the Namib. There are also good horseback safaris in South Africa. If you decide on either Kenya or Tanzania then you may have a chance to ride with the Great Migration.
The advantages of this type of safari is that it is a very natural way to do this. It’s possible to get very close to wildlife, from an elevated vantage. There are also options for novice riders in areas where there is no dangerous game. The disadvantages are that to undertake a horseback safari where the Big Five are present, you need to be an experienced rider. You may need to handle a nervous horse in a dangerous, high-pressure situation where a fast exit may be required. You also need to take your own riding hat and buy a wide-brimmed cover for extra sun protection.
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