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7-Day African Safari Tours

It’s difficult to imagine any better way to spend one week than going on a 7-day African safari. There is so much for you to see, from the incredible wildlife for which Africa is famous, to the soul-stirring backdrop provided by Africa’s beautiful landscapes. With only 7 days to spend here, you’ll need to plan carefully. Do you choose somewhere you might see the Big Five, or do you just want to get up close and personal with an elephant? Are you planning to see the great migration, or are you a birder who has always dreamed of seeing the arrival of millions of birds migrating into Africa? Whatever it is, the chances are that Africa, the world’s leading continent for wildlife, can offer a safari that’s just right for you.

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7 Questions About 7-Day African Safaris

 
 

7 Questions About 7-Day African Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What can I expect from a 7-day African safari?

“What you can expect depends on what kind of safari you choose. You may only have 7 days on safari, but there’s still a lot you can achieve in a short space of time. In 1 week, you should be able to visit at least two different safari destinations, three if you don’t mind moving around a little more. If it’s a self-drive safari, you’ll be driving your own 4x4 vehicle. Although you’ll likely follow a set itinerary, a self-drive safari gives you plenty of freedom. One of the most popular ways to go on safari is as part of a guided group tour, where you’ll share safari trails and vehicles with other travelers. Small-group travel is a specialty for many tour operators in Africa. A third option is to go on a private safari, which means you’ll have your own guide and vehicles. Within each of these safari types, there are many different versions and variations to choose from. Will you be camping or staying in luxury lodges, for example? Will you be getting around by air or by road? And how much you’re willing and able to pay will also have a big impact on what you can expect from your safari.”

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Where should I go on a 1-week African trip?

“There are seemingly endless possibilities when it comes to where you can go on your 7-day African safari. For a self-drive safari, countries and operators in southern Africa, especially in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, are well set up in this regard, with lots of tour operators and campsites catering to those driving their own vehicles. For wildlife, most countries in East and southern Africa have incredible wildlife-viewing possibilities. If it’s all about the great migration, then you’ll want to focus on the Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya) and the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania). For watery landscapes and wildlife to match, it has to be Botswana’s Okavango Delta, or Victoria Falls (which straddles the Zambia–Zimbabwe border). For deserts, try the Kalahari in Botswana, Namibia or South Africa. And if it’s your first time on safari, you may want to focus on some of the iconic wildlife destinations, such as Kruger National Park (South Africa), Etosha National Park (Namibia) or Amboseli National Park (Kenya). For a quieter safari, try Zambia or Zimbabwe. For beaches, it could be Zanzibar (in Tanzania), Kenya or South Africa. As you can see, you have some pleasurable decisions awaiting you.”

2

What kinds of tours are available for a 1-week African tour?

“On a 7-day African safari, there are all types of safari tours that you can choose from. You could, for example, drive yourself around on a self-drive safari, join a guided group safari, or plan your very own private safari. Other possibilities, which can often be combined with these safari types just mentioned, include a budget camping safari, a luxury safari where you stay in high-end lodges and tented camps, a fly-in safari, a family safari, even a honeymoon safari. You might also find niche tours that include walking or horseback-riding safaris. Not all operators will offer every kind of tour, of course. But there are almost as many tour operators to choose from as there are different ways to go on safari, so take the time to look around and ask each operator what they can offer.”

3

Should I choose a fly-in or road safari?

“Both fly-in and road safaris have their pros and cons. Fly-in safaris are considerably more expensive than road safaris, but they’re a wonderful (not to mention, speedy) way to get around. With only 1 week, you don’t have a lot of time, so flying between your itinerary stops gets you places more quickly, meaning you can then allocate more of your time looking for animals and birds. Flying between stops also means you can combine getting around with a scenic flight where the views en route should be amazing. Then again, getting around by road is both cheaper and allows you to get an up-close view of African life that you just can’t get from up above. It may take longer to get from one place to the next, but you’ll be enjoying your own African road movie as you go.”

4

What is the best time of the year for a 1-week African safari?

“Any time is a good time to visit Africa. That said, different times of the year are better suited to different kinds of safaris. Visiting during the Dry season (which in most safari areas runs from May or June to September or October) usually means that the roads are in better condition and it’s easier to find wildlife because the animals are more likely to spend their time close to water. The downside of visiting at this time is that it’s most likely high season, with higher prices and many more visitors. Going on safari during the Wet season (usually November to April or May, although it varies greatly across the continent) can mean that there are some areas you can’t go to because the roads are too muddy or have been washed away. But for much of the rainy season, the worst disruption you may experience is an afternoon storm on some days. Advantages of traveling at this time include cheaper low-season prices and quieter safari trails with fewer visitors, and it’s usually a great time for birding. Millions of birds across many species arrive in Africa around November on their annual migration, and they often stay until April.”

5

How much does a 7-day African safari cost?

“As you can imagine, the cost of a 7-day African safari can vary greatly. In broad terms, a budget safari (where you’ll be camping and possibly helping out around camp with setting up tents, cooking etc.) will, for a 7-day safari, start at around US$100 or US$150 per person per day. At the luxury end of the price scale (where you’ll stay in luxury tented camps and lodges, and there’ll be plenty of people to look after your every need), prices start at around US$500 per person per day, and can go much higher. Factors that will affect the cost include where you’re going, what time of year you’ll be traveling, how many people you’ll be traveling with, what sort of accommodation you’d like, and what forms of transport you’ll be using. These are the main things to consider.”

6

Is 7 days a good length of time for an African trip?

“Any time you can spend on safari in Africa is time wonderfully well spent. Of course, a 7-day safari won’t be anywhere near long enough and you’ll end up wishing you could stay longer. Then again, I’ve spent months in Africa and still wanted to keep going! One week is certainly enough to give you a taste of the African safari experience, and you’ll be able to get to know a couple of carefully chosen safari destinations really well in that time. And when you’re out looking for wildlife, it only takes a few magical moments for an elephant to suddenly appear alongside you, or to see a family pride of lions, or to watch in awe as a cheetah races across the savannah chasing a gazelle. In 7 days, you can see and experience so much, certainly enough to fall in love with wild Africa.”

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