Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ – 4 adventure travel stars (rounded up)
Today the word safari generally refers to an overland journey with a purpose of observing wildlife. Many people naturally think of Africa when they hear the word safari, but there are different kinds of safari adventures all over the world from Africa to Alaska in the USA, and they’re all awesome.
You see the rating above, but forget it. This is a five star adventure travel experience if there ever was one. The criteria used to give it a four-star rating is valid, but forget the risk, skill and physical factors for this one because those criteria vary with the type of safari you choose. So, those ratings are a general average.
There are many varieties of safari adventures, so I’m going to list, and briefly explain, some of the more popular ones. They differ where comfort, safety and physical conditioning are concerned. And make sure you know what kind of safari clothing to take on your expedition.
Here are three of the basic types where vehicles are used.
The permanent camp: You’re based in a permanent location and you walk or drive to view the wildlife.
Multiple permanent camps: You move between different permanent camps from one place to the next either by vehicle or light aircraft.
The mobile camp: You will move between temporary campsites each night.
Here are some different safari variations.
Luxury safaris: You get some pampering, but you pay a pretty high price for it.
Fly-in safaris: The aircraft are needed to transport you to some remote locations, and you get some excellent low-flying wildlife viewing opportunities along the way.
Walking safaris: You will spend most, or all, of your time trekking through the bush with an armed guide. You’ll get closer to the wildlife, but it’s more dangerous as well. Here’s a perfect example of the five-star experience.
Overland safaris: These are mobile safaris with no frills.
Self-drive safaris: The do-it-yourself version of the safari where you drive your own vehicle through a place like a national park.
Marine life safaris: This is the type you’ll find in places like the Galapagos Islands with all the sea critters in the ocean and on the beach.
Some other variations include the horseback, elephant ride and canoe safaris. There are certainly other types of safaris, so a quick search on the Internet might help you find something not listed here.
If you haven’t already seen it, here’s an incredible video taken on in Kruger National Park in South Africa. If you’re fortunate you may see something like this when you’re on safari.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars
As you can see from the descriptions above, the risk factor depends on the type of safari adventure you choose. A self-drive safari in a national park has low, if any, real risk. Even if you have a mechanical breakdown the chances are good that you can get help pretty quickly.
On the other hand, the risk factor can easily hit five stars if you’re on a walking safari where you can stumble onto lions and tigers and bears… oh my. That can get a bit dicey.
So, I’ll average this one out at three stars.
Skill & Physical Factors
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars
Like with the risk factor, the skill and physical factors will vary greatly depending on the type of safari you choose.
A luxury safari that caters to your every desire and chauffeurs you around the countryside in comfort doesn’t take any skill and requires little, or no, physical exertion. That might get one star.
However, trekking through the bush on a budget safari may require significant physical effort and some skill negotiating patches of difficult terrain. That could easily rate four or five stars.
I’m going to average this one out to three stars as well.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 adventure travel stars
Imagine driving around a bend on a remote Kenyan dirt road in an open air vehicle when you spot a couple of lions on the hunt and they spot you. They’re only about 30 feet away and they freeze while your driver comes to a complete stop. That’s a close encounter you’ll never forget.
How about trekking up the side of a mountain in Rwanda and suddenly finding yourself in the middle of a community of gorillas? They move around you as if you’re one of them and curious young gorillas approach and look at you like you’re the animal on display. I can tell you from personal experience what a thrill that is.
Safari adventures are some of the most exhilarating experiences you could ever hope to find, and there’s one to fit just about any budget. You owe it to yourself to make a safari your priority. And take the family with you. This is good, clean family fun at its best.
Popular places for Safari Adventures
So you want to go on a safari and you’re wondering where to start looking. Here are some of the best safari destinations in the world. Take your pick.
By the way, the notes in parenthesis are generalizations and not a complete representation of all you’ll see.
- Alaska (bears, and more)
- Botswana (elephants, and more)
- Galapagos Islands (marine life)
- India (tigers)
- Kenya (big game)
- Madagascar (lemurs, and more)
- Mozambique (elephants, monkeys, sea life)
- Namibia (big game)
- Rwanda (gorillas)
- South Africa (maybe the best variety of African wildlife)
- Tanzania (big game)
- Thailand (elephants)
- Uganda (gorillas, chimps)
- Zambia (big cats, and more)