Going on an African safari is one of the best things you can do to guarantee that your trip will be nothing short of amazing. The only thing to avoid is making the following ten mistakes, which can lead to an experience you’ll never forget…for all the wrong reasons! Make sure that your next African safari meets or exceeds all of your expectations by staying away from these ten common mistakes travelers make when planning this type of trip.
1) Not knowing how long you’ll be there
One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning their trip is not knowing how long they’ll be in Africa. The continent has plenty of beautiful destinations, but only if you have time to explore them. Researching your destination before you go will help ensure you have enough time for both work and fun!
2) Being overambitious about how much you can see and do
Africa is a huge continent with many countries and regions, each with their own culture and history. Trying to see it all in one trip can be difficult, but you’ll get the most out of your experience if you try to cover as much ground as possible.
3) Not doing your homework before you leave
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when travelling is not doing your homework before you leave. It’s important that you find out as much as possible about the country and culture so you know what to expect and how best to navigate through it.
4) Being afraid of getting sick, bitten, or shot
While it is possible to get sick, bitten, or shot while traveling in Africa, the risk is actually very low. In fact, there are many more risks associated with traveling in North America. And if you are going to an area that is at-risk for malaria or yellow fever vaccinations, there are ways of preventing these diseases such as getting vaccinations and taking malaria prevention medication before and during your trip.
5) Ignoring visa requirements
Even if you are not planning on crossing any borders, it is still important to ensure that your passport has at least six months validity before entering the country. Otherwise, you will need an African visa which can take time and money. It’s also important to note that some countries require visas prior to arrival while others do not. Make sure you check with the embassy of the country you plan on visiting for more information before booking your trip.
6) Underestimating distances
To get the most out of your trip, it’s important to plan accordingly. Traveling in Africa is not like traveling in the U.S. The distances are much larger and it can take hours or days to drive from point A to point B so you don’t want to be stuck in the car for more than about 8-10 hours per day without stops for food, gas, or sightseeing.
7) Forgetting your travel insurance details
There are many things you may not think of when preparing for an African trip, but the importance of travel insurance cannot be overstated. The risks in Africa are so different than what we’re used to that medical expenses can quickly become astronomical.
8) Failing to check everything is in order before you leave home
Make sure you have all necessary visas and vaccinations before you leave home. If you are traveling by air, make sure your passport will be valid for at least six months from the date of your return. Check the expiration date on your international driver’s license or other identification documents if driving. Confirm with your airline that you have all necessary documentation for international travel (passport, visas, tickets). Bring any medical prescriptions that may expire while abroad, as it may be difficult to find replacements in some countries.
9) Renting the wrong vehicle or driving yourself instead of hiring a guide
Driving yourself in a foreign country, especially one as big and complicated as Africa, is never recommended. You risk getting lost or worse. Hiring the services of an experienced guide will save you time and money, and will maximize your chances of having a successful trip.
10) Ignoring local laws, culture, and customs
Africa is a big continent full of different cultures and customs. Make sure you know what you are getting into before jumping in head first. Ignoring local laws, culture, and customs will only get you in trouble. Make sure you do your research ahead of time so that you don’t get lost or make a fool of yourself in the process!