Safaris are meant to be exciting and once in a lifetime experience, so everyone needs to make the most of it. Depending on the game reserve or park, safaris may offer different activities. Although vehicle and walking safaris are the most common but some offer bigger and better things such as canoeing, kayaking, or boating. However, timing is everything. You cannot expect to carry out activities when the sun is about to go away. Usually, activities take place early in the morning, as visitors have to return to their camps before sunset.
Furthermore, it is also the best time when you get to witness wildlife at its peak. Large animals will gather at permanent pools to quench their thirst while predators will either be seen relaxing or attending to their young ones. If you have set your eyes on a particular area for safari, then you should be aware of the activities offered. In this article, we are going to share some popular safari activities for you to consider.
Almost every game reserve or park offers game drives. Game drives are typically carried out in 4×4 vehicles with a ranger and guide accompanying the visitors. In some areas where there is water, you are allowed to catch fish but only to be returned back to water as killing them is not allowed. The guides are familiar with areas and know what time to visit so that the visitors could catch a glimpse of preferably large animals. Typically, game drives are conducted early in the morning or late afternoon when the temperature is comparatively cooler.
Bird watching may not be of your interest but you need to give it a chance. Bird species differ in different areas, therefore it is suggested that you visit between October and March. This is the time when you will get to witness most bird species with migrant birds also paying a visit.
Night drives are offered in some game reserves or parks but not all. These drives consist of a guide and ranger that uses a heavy-duty spotlight to spot nocturnal animals that come out in the dark. These animals otherwise could not be seen in light. Furthermore, it is made sure that other animals are not disturbed during the process.
Walking safaris are tiring, especially if you are a first-timer. However, the excitement is sure to keep you going. Walking safari is a great way to blend in with wildlife. Some guides may allow you to come close to animals but usually, a safe distance is maintained. Soon you will realize that you are a part of wildlife rather than a visitor.
Another great activity offered at safaris is guided walks. Guided walks are also offered with different camps and lodges, only if the walking distance is safe. Usually, Guided walks are conducted during daytime accompanied by a guard. This allows visitors to come in close contact with wildlife. Furthermore, it is conducted for a couple of hours and limited areas. The areas, which tend to hose predators such as Lions, leopards, and cheetahs are avoided.
While visiting game reserves or parks, you will come across huge water pools as well. So, wherever you come to find these pools, you will also find motor boats and related activities taking place. Although, boats are usually used to transfer visitors from one area to another but many safari operators tend to provide boating safaris as well. For instance, Lake Kariba, Selous GR, and the Zambezi River, etc. Since boating is a completely different experience, you shall witness wildlife in a very different way.
Hides are particular areas where you could make yourself invisible to animals and observe them peacefully. This way you are witnessing them carrying out wildlife activities instead of freaking them out. Furthermore, these hides keep a safe distance as compared to other activities such as walking safaris from wild animals that could pounce from the bushes.
Those who have experienced canoeing at safaris will swear by the fun and entertainment. Visitors are allowed to canoe on the Zambezi River, just above Victoria Falls. However, it is the Lower Zambezi that tends to be the most exhilarating. Here, you could go on a multi-day canoeing trip. You could put up your own tent and prepare food or go for the luxury option, which includes large tents and a chef/cook who prepares food for you. While canoeing makes sure that, you muster up the courage to come face to face with some crocodiles and hippos. Safe to say, that all canoe safaris consist of guides and accidents rarely ever take place.
Kayaking & Rafting
Kayaking & rafting is not for everyone and not everyone would prefer doing it while on a safari. You could kayak down the Orange River or raft in the Kunene River situated in Namibia. In addition to that, if you were to visit Victoria Falls, do try the white-water rafting. It is one of the best rafting experiences in the world.
Microlight & Helicopter Flights
While you are on a safari, chances are that you may transfer between camps in small chartered planes. These plane rides offer a splendid view of entire areas and landscapes. You would not want to miss this, therefore, it is suggested that you keep your camera ready. Micro flights offer something that other safari activities do not. The sun falling directly and reflecting over the landscapes and hills makes you feel like you are in heaven.
Mountain Biking & Quad Bikes
Most people think that safaris are nothing beyond canoeing or walking, they are wrong. Most safaris, offer quad bikes to let yourself go and have a once in a lifetime experience. For instance, if you are in Botswana, you could use some quad bikes and visit the Makgadikgadi Pans and spend some time in isolation. Furthermore, if you are in Namibia, quad activities are also offered by some Kalahari game reserves.
However, when it comes to mountain biking, very few game reserves offer them. Even if they do, you are always accompanied by a guide/ranger. These locations include the Mashatu game reserve, Zambia, Mihingo lodge, and several others.
Sound safari is something you might have never heard about before. Amongst all the activities you could do while at a safari, sound safari is the most unique. At a sound safari, visitors get to wear headphones and the guide directs the microphone towards the bushes. These are some powerful microphones that will pick even a coughing leopard. Furthermore, the sound is so clear that it feels like you are sitting right next to it. This is a fun activity, which gives you an insight into how different animals and reptiles communicate. If all else fails, this should definitely work out.
Safaris are an exciting experience, especially if it is beyond just vehicles and walking. Although people tend to include other activities as well such as elephant-back riding etc. but there is a reason we did not mention them. Safaris have ethics as well and elephant riding is one of them. People may like to get close to animals but it is never a safe option even in the presence of a guide. Furthermore, riding a majestic animal such as an elephant is disrespectful and demeaning. Therefore, while there are several other ways to make safaris worth it, make sure that you do it within the boundaries.