The word safari is Swahili for travel, trip or journey. In the travel industry, safari refers to a type of travel that typically involves these elements:
At least one country in Africa
Extensive sightseeing, with an emphasis on wildlife sightings
An expert guide (although some self-guided safaris can be arranged, it is not recommended)
For animal and nature lovers, few types of travel are as rewarding as a safari. Many who have been will tell you that the countries of Africa connect with the human psyche like few other places... Africa is not a destination - it is a point of origin. An African safari is a trip like no other. On safari you come face to face with creation in all its glory, with nature at its most untouched. Few people come away from a safari the same as they first arrived. A safari is an opportunity to travel off of the beaten path, creating memories that last a lifetime. Like any specialized trip, the key to a successful safari is education, preparation and planning.
Guided safaris involve the presence of a trained, experienced guide who accompanies travelers (as a group or privately) throughout the itinerary. Guides are typically very knowledgeable about local animals, plants, and weather conditions.
A good guide will know the best locations for animal viewing, which saves a lot of time and makes the trip much more efficient. Many guides are trained botanists or zoologists and have a sharp eye for animals and plants that the untrained eye might miss. Finally, guides usually speak both English and the native language, a skill that will come in handy time and time again! (Be sure to check with your travel consultant to learn specifics about the guides a safari company uses). Guides are also charged with obtaining park and camping permits, in addition to setting up and breaking down any camps.
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