If there’s one type of holiday that’s virtually guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime, it’s a safari. That seems to be the unanimous opinion of the thousands of people each year who take safari holidays and can’t speak highly enough of their trip once they return home. But what is it about safari holidays that make them so special and so memorable? For many people it’s the wildlife, which is of course so different to what we’re accustomed to seeing in mainland Europe. Seeing the likes of lions, elephants and hippos in their natural habitat, and being close enough to take photos, is an experience you’re unlikely to forget. One of the best features of safaris is that they vary from country to country according to local customs and culture, and to the wildlife you’re likely to encounter. For a first-time safari experience, your best bet is choosing where safari holidays are well-established and the wildlife is relatively abundant.
The big cats
For many people, safari holidays without a sighting of at least one of the big cats just wouldn’t be complete. Leopards are in fact widespread across much of the African continent, and very adaptable to its different habitats. But the challenge of seeing them is that they’re active at night, and spend their days resting in trees, at which they are expert climbers. Lions are confined to a sweep of countries from the Congo to South Africa, and are prospering where they are protected. Cheetahs thrive in open country and Namibia is said to be the best country in which to see them, although following them at speed can be a challenge in itself!
Types of safari
Air safaris generally use internal flights to get you from place to place, which make them relatively expensive, although the views are spectacular. A camping safari holiday is based around a different (temporary) campsite each night, which may not be luxurious, but is best for getting ‘back to nature’. A compromise between the two is the road safari, where you’re driven between camps, which can be some distance apart, but with plenty of wildlife spotting along the way.
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