Booking a Safari for Your Africa Cruise? What to Know Before You Go
Have you booked your Norwegian Cruise Line Africa cruise vacation already? Now that it's official, you need to make sure you're fully prepared for your upcoming dream vacation. If you have plans of going on a safari while in South Africa, here are nine things you need to know before you go.
What You Can See on an African Safari
Understanding what you can see on your safari excursion is an important step in your planning. Otherwise, you may be expecting to see certain animals and end up seeing others. Africa is home to a vast variety of different animals, but not every animal lives all over the continent.
Many travelers are hoping to spot the "Big 5" while on safari:
- Cape Buffalos.
There are several different countries where you can see these animals, one of which is South Africa. If gorilla tracking was on your list, you'd need to consider adding on to your vacation and spending time in Rwanda, Uganda, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
What Time of Year to Do a Safari
Many people recommend doing a safari during the dry season, as water is in shorter supply and the animals are more likely to gather around the few waterholes. If you go during the wet season, it may be harder to spot these animals.
Also, some roads may be difficult to pass as they get flooded during the rainy season. Dry dirt roads are much easier for traversing.
Check the Details of Your Safari
You want to be informed on every aspect of your upcoming safari, which is understandable. Just make sure you are confirming the important details. These can include what time you are going, how long the trip will last, etc. Some safari rides are only a couple hours, while others are an all-day trip.
The best time of the day to see animals is typically early mornings or in the evening around sunset. Going in the middle of the afternoon doesn't automatically mean you won't see any animals, but it isn't ideal. Do your research ahead of time so you know what to expect during your safari and other Cape Town excursions.
Be Patient and Flexible
You need to be patient and flexible when planning a safari. There may be periods of time where you are just driving and you don't see a thing. These are animals in their wild habitat, so there is no guarantee you will see them. Sometimes you might, while other times it may be hours of driving on rough roads without much to see.
Listen and Obey all the Rules
One of the most important aspects of any safari is staying safe. If your driver and guides tell you to stay in the vehicle — stay in the vehicle. The rules are for your protection. The driver and guide will tell you how to behave — you shouldn't approach elephants quickly, get near a hippo in the water, or stick your hands outside of the car with a cat nearby. If your driver tells you to be quiet, you should listen. Every rule has a purpose.
Take Tons of Photos
Photographing moving animals in the wild can be tricky. Take more photos than you think you need, as the one you almost didn't take often turns out to be the best shot. Given that everything is digital and photos are saved to cards, you can always delete some shots later if it turns out you don't need them.
What Camera Equipment to Bring
When it comes to camera gear, bring the best telephoto lens you can afford. You want something at least 200mm or longer, as you won't be snapping the best photos with your smartphone. Ask whether or not you can bring a tripod. You won't need it for the ride, but when you stop and spot animals at a watering hole, you'll be glad you have one.
In addition, be sure to bring extra batteries or a portable charger. This is especially important for longer, all-day safaris. Don't forget an extra memory card or two as well.
What to Wear on a Safari
There is no need to go out and purchase a whole new wardrobe for your safari. You'll get dirty pretty quickly, so older clothes are better. Wear closed-toe shoes and dress in layers. Extreme temperature fluctuations are possible, so you want to be prepared for both hot and cold.
Resist the urge to wear camouflage clothing, which is forbidden in some countries because it denotes military. Windproof jackets are good, as are trekking pants. It's more about functionality than fashion.
What to Bring on Safari
Wearing a hat and bringing sunscreen are critical if you're going on safari in the hot afternoon, as is using a strong mosquito repellent with DEET. You also want to have a good pair of binoculars. If you have kids, get them their own pair. You should have a small backpack to keep everything in so it's easily accessible and you don't have to fumble through bags when an animal suddenly appears. Organized tours typically provide water, but it's best to bring some of your own drinking water too, especially if you are traveling with kids.
If you haven't booked your Africa cruise yet, consider Norwegian Cruise Line's 21-day African safari and Seychelles, which includes an overnight at Richards Bay and Cape Town in South Africa. Be sure to sign up with your e-mail for upcoming news and cruise deals to help save you money on your next Norwegian Cruise Line vacation.