Activities on an African safari. There is a wide range of activities available on your safari in Africa. Virtually anything you can imagine is available. Most safaris focus their activities around game drives since they are the most convenient and effective way to see wildlife. If your goal includes something less obvious, such as a safari on horseback, following wildlife with a Bushman guide, or doing a walking safari, let us know and we can assist in organising your ideal safari.
Many of our guests enjoy a range of activities. However, for the true wildlife fanatic, your safari can consist entirely of game drives – the beauty of a custom-planned safari is that we can tailor the activities to precisely what you desire.
The more common safari activities are listed below. If there is a specific activity you are interested in, but that is not listed below, such as a multi-day walking safari, please ask us as almost any activity is possible.
The primary activity of most African safaris is game viewing by 4WD. Game drives allow you to cover a greater area to increase your chances of sighting birds and mammals, and they often allow you to get very near to them without disturbing them. It is not uncommon for a lion to relax in the shade of your car or an elephant to browse so close you could nearly touch them, in areas where animals have become accustomed to game vehicles.
Experienced guides will lead game drives and describe the habitats you pass through as well as the behaviours and habits of the animals you encounter. Depending on the destination and type of safari you are doing, they can sometimes be accompanied by a tracker. Game drives are often conducted early in the morning (about 6 a.m.) and late in the afternoon (around 4 p.m.). Afternoon game drives frequently include a stop in the bush to toast the sinking sun with “sundowners” (alcoholic beverages, but non-alcoholic equivalents are always available) and snacks. And, depending on where you camp or lodge is located, you return just after dark, for dinner.
Night game drives are available in several African safari destinations. The guide uses a spotlight to illuminate the area surrounding your vehicle and allow you to experience the bush at night, when many nocturnal animals are most active, such as leopards, lions, hyena, bush babies, gentets and civets re most likely to be seen. Night drives also provide an excellent opportunity for stargazing.
Bush walks are a terrific opportunity to explore the bush in a manner that a 4WD cannot. They are not available at all camps/lodges, so if you are keen to do a bush walk, it is important to ensure that you let them know when you speak to one of our safari specialists.
When on foot, the animals you see will be more wary, so you cannot approach as near as you would in a vehicle. On the other hand, coming up on a lion, elephant, or buffalo on foot is unforgettable. Walking through the bush, feeling the ground beneath your feet, looking for tracks and signs, learning about the plants, trees, insects, and smaller creatures is a magnificent wilderness experience.
A guide, who is generally armed, leads all bush walks. They can be done as an alternative to or as a short diversion from a game drive. In some safari destinations, like Zambia, you can even walk from camp to camp on an African safari. The lengths covered will vary, but will normally be no more than five miles done at a leisurely pace over three to four hours, with stops for water, food, interpreting tracks, taking photos, and honing your wildlife abilities.
Mokoros, Canoes, and Boats
Exploring the bush by water is another great way to experience Africa’s untamed splendour.
Boat excursions are popular but not available in all safari destinations. There are some great options in Southern Africa where you have the Okavango Delta and Chobe River in Botswana and the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Boats range from small craft that may take you close to animals or to a favourite fishing spot to larger vessels that offer leisurely scenic cruises with meals and drinks. Canoeing is a terrific method to get close to Africa’s wild locations and may be done as a day trip or as a multi-day expedition. Canoeing is popular on the Zambezi River and the waterways of the Linyanti and Savute wetlands. Another fascinating method to experience the bush is by mokoro, a traditional dugout boat poled over shallow waterways that is a speciality of Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
Africa has a beautiful range of traditional cultures. Whilst it is possible to have cultural interactions in Africa, as a travel business, it is important that these experiences are authentic.
For a glimpse into a tens of thousands-year-old way of life, visit the camps of traditional hunter-gatherers like the San of southern Africa or the Hazda of Tanzania or the villages of proud pastoralists like East Africa’s Maasai and Samburu. Visits to communities along your safari route or urban neighbourhoods like Soweto in Johannesburg can also provide a glimpse of contemporary Africa.
Numerous Other Activity Options
There are other exciting ways to experience Africa, such as horseback riding, hiking, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, mountain biking, helicopter, snorkelling, city tours, great dining, wine tasting and simply relaxing.