Africa is an ideal destination if you're after an adventure holiday, however for the novice explorer, not knowing what to expect can prove daunting! Follow these expert tips for a successful African safari.
With many travellers having never set foot on the world's second-largest continent, a few handy tips would never go astray. Aurora Expeditions' Africa Expedition Leader and Naturalist, Dr Liz Pope, shares her top 10 safari tips for the ultimate African adventure.
The first thing you should pack is a good pair of binoculars! You may not need them for some of the bigger and bolder wildlife, but to catch a glimpse of the more elusive - think lion, leopard, cheetah - you may need a little help.
Leave your whites at home. Not only will they most definitely get dirty, white is the worst colour to wear on safari as it stands out the most to wildlife. Avoid other brightly coloured shirts and opt for brown or khaki instead. This way you'll hopefully see the animals before they see you!
Choosing when to go can be very important. However, there are some regions that offer year-round viewing, such as Botswana's Chobe River. It is home to an outstanding density of resident game all year round, making it one of Africa's most productive regions for game viewing at any time of the year.
Be nice to your guides. Don't pressure your guide into getting closer or going faster. They are trained professionals and are the experts at reading wildlife and the landscape. Respect your guide and make use of their local knowledge, and the better the experience will be.
Not all safaris are the same. Depending on where you go will depend on what you see and the experience you have. For a unique safari experience try a river safari and wake up to the sounds of hippos and the sight of elephants grazing on the marshland from the comfort of your cabin.
Pack the mozzie repellent. Where there are animals, there is animal dung; and where there is dung, there are mozzies! Wearing light coloured (but not white), long-sleeved shirts and pants helps to avoid bites, but make sure you also bring a strong repellent such as DEET.
Wear in your shoes! This is one for every travel experience, and Africa is no exception. You MUST wear in your shoes before you take them on holiday! Blisters are soul (and sole) destroying and can make a really great trip, terrible.
Stay inside the vehicle. It is hard not to want to lean out the window to get that little bit closer for a better look or for the sake of a better photograph, but NEVER lean out of your safari vehicle.
Put your camera away and enjoy the experience. Unless you make a living off your photography, don't make the mistake of sacrificing special moments for a photograph – put the camera down occasionally and enjoy the beauty of the open landscapes that simply cannot be captured in print or on screen!
Get your boosters. There is nothing worse than getting sick on holidays. Make sure you visit your doctor to check what vaccinations you may require for the countries you are visiting. And visit early as some vaccinations take longer to kick in than others.