How To Plan for Your First Africa Safari?

How To Plan for Your First Africa Safari?

Plan for Your First Africa Safari can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. There are so many factors to consider, such as where to go, when to go, how long to stay, what to pack, and how much to spend.

Fear not! To help you plan your first safari, we will walk you through everything you need to know to plan the safari of a lifetime. Below are answers to the common questions asked by people planning to on a safari.

How Do I Plan My First Africa Safari?

It can be tough to figure it all out on your own especially if you’ve never been on Africa safari before.  To help you prepare in every possible way, we have organized a step-by-step guide to help you prepare in every possible way.

Step 1: Choose Your Destination

The first step in planning your safari is deciding where you want to go. There are several countries in Africa where you can go on a safari like Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and many others. Each country has unique experiences and wildlife, so it all comes down to your interests and budget.

In East Africa where we operate, the most popular attractions are savannah wildlife, birds, and primates, especially gorillas and chimps.

If you’re interested in seeing the Mountain gorillas, Uganda and Rwanda should be your top choices. The Serengeti in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, and Akagera National Park in Rwanda are excellent places to go if you want to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo).

If all you want to do is relax and soak up the sun, the coastal region offers the perfect tropical escape. Tanzania’s coastline along the Indian Ocean offers breathtaking beaches in Zanzibar, Pemba Island, and Mafia Island while Kenya has Diani Beach, Watamu, and Malindi. So, whether you seek gorillas, the Big Five, or the Great Migration, East Africa ensures you won’t miss out on the allure of the beach.

Step 2: Determine Your Budget

Factors like accommodation, transportation, park fees, and activities come into play here. The budget for your safari will depend entirely on where you want to go and the type of experience you’re looking for.

Setting a realistic budget for your safari will help you choose an experience that fits within your financial means which is also memorable and enjoyable.

Step 3: Decide on the Type of Africa Safari

Safaris come in various forms, including game drives, walking safaris, and even hot-air balloon safaris. Decide what type of experience you’re looking for and choose a safari package that aligns with your preferences. If it’s your first safari, a classic game drive is a great way to see a wide variety of wildlife without stepping so much out of your comfort zone.

Also, the choice of travel style will significantly shape your overall experience and the way you explore the wilderness. You can choose to travel with a group or privately with a personalized experience. Group safaris offer a cost-effective option as the expenses are shared among the participants and are more environment-friendly compared to private safaris.

Step 4: Choose where to stay on your First Africa Safari

There are many options available for safari accommodation from luxury lodges and tented camps to budget-friendly campsites. The type of accommodation you choose will depend on your budget and the type of safari experience you want.

If you want a luxury safari experience, then a luxury lodge is the perfect option. These offer spacious rooms or tents with en-suite bathrooms, gourmet meals, and amenities like swimming pools and spa services.

On the other hand, if you’re on a budget, then a basic campsite or budget-friendly lodge is a great option. These lodges offer basic facilities, such as shared bathrooms and communal areas, but they provide an authentic safari experience without breaking the bank.

Step 5: Book Your Africa Safari

Once you’ve chosen your destination, determined your budget, and where to stay, it’s time to book your safari.

Booking your safari with a reputable tour operator will help you have a stress-free and enjoyable experience. They will handle all the logistics, such as transportation, accommodation, and activities, so you can focus on enjoying your safari.

This is where we come in. Our team is always ready to design your safari while prioritizing your interests and budget. Our safaris are all-inclusive tours that include accommodation, transport, guide, and activity fees. We take care of all the details for you.

Step 6: Prepare for Your Africa Adventure Safari

As your Africa safari date approaches, make sure you’re adequately prepared for your adventure. These final preparations include various aspects of your safari, from packing and vaccinations to money and insurance.

It’s also a good idea to research the local customs and etiquette of the country you’ll be visiting, and learn a few basic phrases in the local language. Finally, make sure to have all the necessary travel documents, such as passports and visas.

Step 7: Enjoy the Experience

When you have finally made it to your Africa safari destination, embrace the experience. Listen to the sounds of the wilderness, marvel at the sight of elephants roaming freely, and cherish every moment spent in nature. Remember to respect the wildlife and follow the guidance of your guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable safari experience.


What does a typical day on an African safari look like?

A typical day on an African safari is a blend of adventure and relaxation, with many opportunities to see amazing wildlife and beautiful landscapes.

Most safari days start early in the morning usually before sunrise depending on the activities you will participate in. This is because wildlife is most active during this time making it the best time for wildlife viewing.

You will then head out for game drives or gorilla/chimp tracking. These usually last a few hours. Thereafter, you will return to your accommodation for brunch or lunch, depending on the time. This is a perfect time to relax, unwind, and perhaps take a nap to escape the heat of the day.

In the afternoon, you may have the option to go on another game drive or participate in a different activity, like a boat cruise or guided walk in the local community, depending on the location. This is another opportunity to explore the area and see more wildlife.

As the day comes to an end, you may enjoy sundowners, traditional performances from the locals, or stargazing. It’s a great time to reflect on the day’s adventures before heading to bed and preparing for another day of Africa safari.


What to pack for your first Africa safari

Packing for your first Africa safari is exciting! Here are some essential items to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.


  • Lightweight, neutral-colored clothing (long-sleeved shirts and pants) for sun protection and camouflage during game drives and trekking.
  • T-shirts and shorts for warmer weather.
  • Sweater or jacket for cooler mornings and evenings.
  • Comfortable hiking boots for bushwalks and hikes.
  • Sandals or flip-flops for around the camp.
  • Swimwear for lodges with pools or for water-based activities.
  • Hat with a wide brim to protect your face and neck from the sun.
  • Rain jacket or poncho for unexpected rain showers.


  • Daypack or small backpack for carrying essentials during game drives and other
  • Sunscreen to protect yourself from the strong African sun.
  • Insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other insects.
  • A good pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Binoculars to help you to get a closer look at the wildlife.
  • Camera to capture your safari memories.
  • First-aid kit with essential supplies like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  • Personal toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion.
  • Cash: While most lodges will accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for tipping, souvenirs, or unexpected expenses.
  • Portable power bank to recharge electronics while on Africa safari.

Optional items:

  • A flashlight might be helpful for early morning game drives or navigating the camp at night.
  • Universal adapter to charge your electronic devices.
  • Guidebook to help you learn about the wildlife you’re likely to see in your Africa
  • Ziplock bags for keeping your belongings organized and protected from the sun and water.

Traveling with Children on your first safari

Traveling with children on your first Africa safari can be a memorable experience for the whole family. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your safari adventure with your kids.

Choose a family-friendly destination and accommodation

Some safari destinations are more suitable for children than others, depending on the wildlife, the activities, and the facilities. You may also want to look for accommodation that offers kid-friendly amenities, such as swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, or babysitting services.

Pack wisely and lightly

Packing for a safari can be tricky, especially when you have to consider the needs of your children. You will need to bring clothing and footwear that are comfortable, durable, and suitable for different weather conditions. You will also need to bring essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, sunglasses, water bottles, snacks, and medications for the children. However, you should also avoid overpacking, as you may have limited luggage space and weight allowance on your flights and transfers. Try to pack only what you really need and leave some room for souvenirs.

Prepare your children for the safari experience

Africa safari can be an exciting and educational opportunity for children to learn about nature and wildlife. However, it can also be challenging and unpredictable at times. You should prepare your children for what to expect and how to behave on a safari. For example, you should explain to them the rules and regulations of the park or reserve, the dos and don’ts of interacting with animals, the importance of respecting the environment and the local culture, and the potential risks and dangers of being in the wild. You should also encourage them to ask questions, express their curiosity, and share their feelings during the safari.

Make it fun and engaging for your children

Africa safari can be a lot of fun for children if you make it engaging and interactive for them. You can do this by involving them in the planning process, letting them choose some of the activities or destinations, giving them a camera or binoculars to use, playing games or quizzes along the way, reading books or stories about the animals or places you visit, or creating a scrapbook or journal of your safari memories. You can also look for opportunities to expose them to new experiences, such as meeting local people, trying new foods, or learning new words or phrases in another language.


Tipping on your first Africa safari

Tipping on your first Africa safari can be confusing especially if you are not familiar with the local customs and expectations.

First of all, tipping is not mandatory, but it is highly appreciated and expected by lodge staff and guides who work hard to make your safari memorable and enjoyable. Tipping is a way of showing your gratitude and recognition for their service.

The amount of tip you give depends on several factors, such as the quality of service, the duration of your stay, the size of your group, and your personal preference. When tipping, it is advisable to use the local currency as foreign currency may be difficult for staff to exchange.

Remember that tipping is a personal choice and a gesture of appreciation. You should not feel pressured or obligated to tip more than you can afford or more than you think is fair.


Essential Travel Information for your First Africa Safari

Visa Requirements: Make sure that you research the visa requirements for your destination and that you have the necessary visas before you travel. Some countries offer visa-on-arrival for certain nationalities, while others require visas to be obtained in advance.

Travel Insurance

We recommended getting comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and evacuation in case of emergencies. Make sure to read the policy carefully to understand what is covered and what is not.

Health Precautions: Check with your healthcare provider or a travel clinic to see if any vaccinations or medications are recommended for your destination. Malaria and yellow fever are prevalent in many safari destinations, so consider packing insect repellent to prevent insect bites and getting a vaccination before traveling.

Currency and Payments: Familiarize yourself with the local currency and exchange rates before you travel. It’s a good idea to carry a mix of cash and credit/debit cards for payments, as some places may not accept cards or have limited card facilities.


Check with your mobile service provider about international roaming options or purchase a local SIM card upon arrival for access to data and calls. Alternatively, consider using messaging apps or Wi-Fi for communication while on Africa safari.

Cultural Etiquette: Learn about the local customs and cultural norms of your destination to show respect and avoid inadvertently offending. This includes appropriate dress, greetings, and behavior in different situations.

Wildlife Viewing Etiquette: When observing wildlife, follow the instructions of your guide and adhere to park regulations to ensure the safety of both yourself and the animals. Avoid making loud noises, getting too close to the animals, or feeding them.

Environmental Responsibility

Practice responsible tourism by minimizing your environmental impact during your Africa safari. This includes disposing of waste properly, conserving water and energy, and respecting wildlife and their habitats.

Most Trending Uganda Safaris and Tour Holidays Updated 2024, 2025