When you’re on your first safari, it’s hard to know what to expect, and to be fair, once you’re in the bush, each day varies hugely, depending on what’s happening. In some camps, particularly in the remoter areas of Zambia and Tanzania, where game viewing is taken very seriously indeed, meals will be held for hours if you suddenly stumble upon something spectacular. However, there is a general pattern to a day on safari which works with Mother Nature, and runs something as follows.
Early in the morning you’ll be woken for the first game drive, walking safari or if you’re lucky, balloon flight of the day. In most of the camps and lodges we use your wake-up call with come with tea or coffee (African, naturally) and you’ll tumble out into the bush. Wrap up warm- even in the tropics it’s chilly this early on. You’ll spend a few hours watching the wildlife, perhaps a lazy leopard stretching as the sun rises, or a family of warthogs trotting through the grasses. Then you’ll return to camp for lunch and a snooze during the heat of the day.
Later on it’s time for tea (chances of going hungry on safari are extremely slim), before heading out on your afternoon game drive. As the temperature cools, the animals become more active again, and hopefully you’ll see something wonderful before the sun falls too low. Then, seemingly a fixed point in each safari day, comes the sundowner. Wherever you are, be it perched on the front of your landrover with a cool beer, or beside the campfire in your luxury, the world pauses for half an hour as peace settles over the dust. Afterwards, depending on where you are, you’ll either do a night-drive (great for spotting leopard and other nocturnal animals), or be whisked back to camp for a quick shower, stargazing around the campfire, and dinner.
There are some variations on this, particularly in South Africa, when the routine’s adjusted to fit the chilly winters, and in Northern Tanzania, where the vast distances involved often mean a full day spent out in the bush, but this should give you some idea of what to expect.
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