Some tips for your Africa Tour

If you are planning to visit Africa on a nature type tour anytime in the future, you may wish to follow some of these tips. This list is by no means complete and there are many others (government sites, your travel agent, your doctor) who can, and should, also give you some advice.

1. Choose your experience carefully. This, you may think, goes with saying. Well, consider how many nights you want to spend where. When will you need a bit of a rest. Travel can be long and rough. Also consider where you want to spend time to really take in the experience. Don't be shy to spend three nights in a place. Much rather do only three or four locations, enjoying each very well. This doesn't leave room for poorly chosen places, so choose well.

2. Buy a field guide to birds before you go. You don't like birds? Well, I am convinced that after a little while in Africa you will go home birding. It is so nice to have a little knowledge before hand. I always study up locations I will visit and prepare for what birds I may see there. It makes the whole experience a lot more fun for me. If you really don't like birds, then use mammals rather. But regardless, I think that a little homework about a place makes the experience richer. Good bird field guides would include Sasols Birds of Southern Africa for (you guessed it, southern Africa) and Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa (Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe.)

3. Take binoculars. You don't need to be a hot shot birder to need binos. It helps so much with game viewing. Wild animals are shy on the whole and often hidden away a little in the bush. If you really want to enjoy wildlife, take a good pair.

4. You are going to expect me to say the same for a camera, but I'm going to say just the opposite. Take a simple point and shoot, and don't try to photograph wildlife at all. Just take a picture of where you were and personal memory shots and leave the hassle of lugging around a heavy camera. Of course this is not for everyone. Some wouldn't consider traveling without there can even be their reason for travel. But it can be liberating to be free of it.

5. Go to places where the guides really know their stuff. I can't think of anything worse than spending a lot of money traveling somewhere for a nature experience and then not getting a good guide. If you have traveled in Namibia and have either had a good or a bad experience with guides, please let me know.

6. Mix it up. I have found that their are many people these days that go to a luxury lodge half way through, and then spend some of the trip camping. When I worked at a top end lodge, it was getting difficult to guess at the demographics of our guests. It's a new trend in Africa. People mix up the accommodation to maximize the experience. I have especially found this with South Africans who are doing a couple Africa trips a year.

I hope some of you find this helpful. For more questions, let me know by email, or leave a comment on the blog.
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