Africa is More Accessible Than You Think | Fauna Travel

Africa is More Accessible Than You Think

Baobab near Pafuri Tented Camp / Courtesy of RETURNAfrica

By: Scott Dubois, Fauna Travel Designer

We’ll address some common misconceptions and share some of our favorite safari values in Africa.

Many people think Africa is too remote of a destination to visit easily or is, at best, a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Nothing could be further from the truth. Traveling to Africa is no more difficult than anywhere else and even merits an annual trip for frequent travelers.

Below, we’ll address some common misconceptions and share some of our favorite safari values in Africa. It sounds cliche, but can you afford not to visit Africa? It’s the cradle of humanity and one of the last places you can experience wild megafauna on a grand scale.

Contact us to book any of the specials mentioned here. It’s best to plan your safari a year in advance or more to ensure you have the best pick of lodges.

Isn’t it far away?

There are now many flights to Africa from the United States, most of which are to South Africa. For example, you can fly direct to Johannesburg from Newark and Atlanta, and Cape Town now connects to Newark, Washington DC, and Atlanta. Kenya Airways also flies a direct route from Nairobi to New York JFK. Most of these take a little over 14 hours, about the same flight time as New York to Tokyo.

Will I be able to communicate with people?

English is an official language of most tourist countries in South and East Africa. People are most familiar with South African English, but a high percentage of the population in Zimbabwe and Zambia speak it conversationally. Even in places where Swahili is popular, like Kenya, around half of the population speaks English.

Is it safe?

Zambia, Botswana, and Nambia are rated as safer than most of Western Europe by the State Department

Staff at Pafuri Tented Camp / Courtesy of RETURNAfrica luxury safari
Staff at Pafuri Tented Camp / Courtesy of RETURNAfrica

Zambia, Botswana, and Nambia are rated as safer than most of Western Europe by the State Department, with South Africa and East Africa being on par with travel to Costa Rica, where Americans travel in droves. Of course, you should use standard precautions, because everywhere there are places you don’t want to wander around as a tourist. The safari reserves are exceptionally safe because there often aren’t other people around for miles. Plus, Africans are some of the most welcoming people you will ever meet.

Because safari guides are experts at what they do, dangerous wildlife encounters are extremely rare. Malaria is a concern in some areas, but there are malaria-free reserves, and prophylactic medications can be purchased before your trip.


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Can I bring my kids?

Of course! Africa is a great destination for family travel – a family safari will make memories that will last a lifetime. Post lockdown, many properties are now adding new family tents, and many offer kids’ clubs and childcare services. Children under the age of 16 usually pay a discounted rate of up to half off, while those under the age of three stay free. Different destinations will suit children of different ages, so contact us to find a safari that matches the unique needs of your family.

Isn’t it expensive to go on a safari?

The first thing to know is that most safari camps are all-inclusive. Food, alcohol, and activities come at no extra cost.

The first thing to know is that most safari camps are all-inclusive. Food, alcohol, and activities come at no extra cost. True, I often book the best luxury safaris in the world, which can cost over $2,000 per person per night in the most popular areas. However, I love many places in the $600 per person per night range. And if you want to visit cities and beautiful winelands, the exchange rate on the South African rand makes going out to eat a bargain right now.

Here are a few of my favorite safari values in Africa:

Zambia

Nsefu Camp in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia / Courtesy of Robin Pope Safaris

You can do a seven-night package in the fabulous South Luangwa National park, including safari lodges and bush camping for around $5000 per person in the shoulder season with Robin Pope Safaris. For around the same price, you could also camp and take a walking and canoe safari in the Lower Zambezi National Park with Classic Zambia in the high season.

Botswana

Mokoro canoe safari at Camp Okavango / Courtesy of Desert and Delta Safaris
Mokoro canoe safari at Camp Okavango / Courtesy of Desert and Delta Safaris

Because of its popularity and unparalleled wildlife viewing, Botswana is probably the most expensive country to safari in Africa. However, Desert and Delta runs camps that strike an outstanding balance between price and quality. We particularly like Camp Moremi and Camp Okavango, and seven-night packages in the shoulder season start around $6000 per person.

South Africa

Room at Mthembu Lodge at mFulaWozi Wilderness / Courtesy of mFulaWozi Wilderness
Room at Mthembu Lodge at mFulaWozi Wilderness / Courtesy of mFulaWozi Wilderness

When you look outside the central Kruger National Park area, prices tend to be more reasonable in South Africa. In far northern Kruger, Pafuri Tented Camp is a fabulous safari lodge with rates starting at $500 per person per night. The Madikwe Game Reserve along the border with Botswana also has incredible wildlife and a range of accommodations. Jaci’s Safari Lodge is a good option in that same price range. In KwaZulu-Natal, mFulaWozi Wilderness is a relatively new reserve, so the wildlife isn’t as acclimated to humans as in other areas. However, you can get a stunning luxury-level room at Mthembu and Biyela Lodge for only around $500 per person per night as well.

Uganda

Gorilla trekking in Uganda / Courtesy of Volcanoes Safaris
Gorilla trekking in Uganda / Courtesy of Volcanoes Safaris

Rwanda has become synonymous with the luxury gorilla trek, and rightly so – the lodges are fantastic. However, just across the border in Uganda, you can have the same incredible gorilla experience for much less. The permits cost only $600 per day versus $1500 in Rwanda. A seven-day gorilla safari, including a stay at Bwindi Lodge, will start at around $10,000 per person.

Contact us to start planning your journey into the wild.

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