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African Day Trips

You could spend a lifetime getting to know Africa and still not see everything, but even a single day can create so many treasured memories. If you plan your safari carefully, making sure you choose a destination that enables you to make the most of your limited time, that day can be an incredible safari experience. You’ll get a taste of what’s possible, perhaps see some of the continent’s charismatic creatures, meet some of its people and immerse yourself briefly in its stirring landscapes. Yes, you’ll wish you had more time. And yes, you’ll never want the day to end. But Africa has a habit of capturing visitors’ hearts no matter how long you spend here. So get planning, and choose where you want that day to be.

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1-20 of 674 African one day tours and day trips

8 Questions About African Day Trips


8 Questions About African Day Trips

Answered by Anthony Ham

What are popular day trips in Africa?

“There are so many incredible day trips you can make in Africa that the problem usually is deciding which one to choose. It all depends on where you start your day. If it’s in Nairobi, then you’re in luck because Kenya’s capital has a world-class national park (Nairobi National Park) on its outskirts. If you’re in Arusha in Tanzania, then you could visit nearby Arusha National Park on a day trip. There are similar possibilities from Maun in Botswana. Elsewhere, your options will increase if you fly to your destination and back in the same day. Remember, however, that this will be expensive and you’ll likely be in the destination at the worst time for seeing animals (i.e. during the hottest part of the day). At the same time, you’ll also get great views and see more of the country from the air.”


What can I expect from a 1-day African safari?

“You can expect to have what could be one of the best days of your life, but you’ll also be left longing for more at the end of your 1-day African safari. A single-day trip usually means driving to a nearby park or reserve where you’ll drive around looking for animals, before returning back to where you started by the end of the day. What you see during the day will depend entirely on where you are. If you get up early and hit the road around sunrise, and if you don’t have to drive too far, you can make the most of your limited time, and maximize how much you can see. Depending on where you are, sometimes it can be better to make your day trip about a cultural encounter and spending time with the local people, rather than looking for animals that may be sleeping or sheltered from view during the middle of the day.”


Is it safe to book a day trip in Africa?

“Provided that you follow a few simple safety guidelines, there’s no reason why your day trip can’t be an extremely safe experience. One important rule is that you should never drive on public roads after dark. While this means that you will be limited in how far you can get in a single day, many of Africa’s roads are simply too dangerous to drive at night and the risk is never worth taking. Check with your tour operator to confirm that your day trip doesn’t include such travel. If your day trip involves seeing animals, this is also overwhelmingly safe, as long as you don’t leave your vehicle in areas where there are animals and as long as you otherwise follow all local advice, especially that of your guide.”


Is it possible to see the Big Five on a 1-day trip?

“I was once lucky enough to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) on a single afternoon’s game drive in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, right alongside Kruger National Park in South Africa. But this is extremely unusual, and takes plenty of luck. No wildlife sightings can ever be guaranteed, of course. And to see the Big Five in a single day would mean visiting a park or reserve where all five species are both present and commonly seen, and hoping for the best. The main problem associated with seeing the Big Five on a day trip is that you’re unlikely to be visiting the park or reserve at the best time of the day to see animals such as the Big Five. To have any realistic chance of seeing the Big Five in a single day, you’d need to stay overnight in or near the park or reserve, and head out in the early hours of the day and/or late in the afternoon when the animals are likely to be at their most active.”


Is a 1-day African safari worth it?

“An African safari day trip is definitely worth it, although, of course, it would be so much better if you could stay for longer. Provided you plan carefully, you could have a really wonderful day, one that includes a taste of Africa’s amazing wildlife, diverse people and jaw-dropping scenery. It will only be a taste, but I can think of no place I’d rather spend a day than exploring a beautiful corner of Africa. What you get out of the day and what you can experience will depend on how much planning you do. Make sure you speak to any prospective tour operators to find out what’s possible in the area close to where you’re going to be based. If your main focus is wildlife, then the need to plan is even greater. With such limited time at your disposal, you’ll want to make the most of every minute, and that means finding out the best places to see the animals you most wish to encounter.”


How much does an African day-trip safari cost?

“There is no easy answer to this question. Because it’s a day trip, you shouldn’t need to factor accommodation into your calculations. Prices can vary from one season to the next: a day tour in high season could cost almost twice the price for the same trip in low season. Another thing that will affect the cost of your day trip is whether you’ll be taking the trip with others (and therefore sharing the cost of any vehicle) or traveling alone. Other factors that will determine the price you pay include the type of vehicle needed to complete the safari, how far you have to travel in the day, whether you have a guide or you’re on a self-guided tour, and so on. As a bare minimum, expect to pay around US$100 per person for the day, but it could easily cost less or significantly more than this.”


What questions should I ask before booking a 1-day African safari?

“It’s always important to ask questions of your tour operator as part of your planning for any trip. But this is especially the case for a 1-day African safari. That’s because you have so little time and you’ll want to make the most of every single moment. Tell your tour operator what it is you’d most like to see. Is it animals? Are you looking to spend time with locals and learn about their culture? Do you want to spend your day looking at the beautiful scenery, or getting active? Armed with that information, your safari operator should be able to provide you with some options that best suit your needs. You should also ask for a detailed rundown of any day itinerary, one that tells you how much time you’ll spend getting to and from the destination compared with how much time you’ll spend in the destination itself. You should also query them on what meals (if any) are included and, of course, the cost of your day trip and what else it includes.”


What is usually included and excluded on a day-trip safari?

“What’s included on your day-trip package will likely vary from one operator to the next, so always read the list of inclusions and exclusions that are in your quote. As a general rule, the quoted cost of a day trip in Africa usually includes a guide (unless it’s a self-guided tour), vehicle transportation, fuel and lunch. Other meals may also be included, depending on what time of day your trip begins and ends. Drinks may be included, although top-shelf spirits are almost always extra; bottles of mineral water are usually part of the package. Because this is a day trip, it’s unlikely that any accommodation will be included in the price of your trip. And always check whether the entry fees to any parks or reserves you’ll visit are included. Among the things that you will usually need to bring yourself are sunscreen, a hat, your own camera and binoculars (although some high-end operators provide the latter).”