We create tailor-made safaris to pristine wilderness areas in Southern and East Africa

March 19, 2023 8 min read

How to Book a Safari in Africa: A Comprehensive Guide


Embarking on an African safari is a dream adventure for many travelers, but proper planning is key to making the experience truly unforgettable. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential aspects of booking a safari, ensuring that you make informed decisions every step of the way.

1. Best Time to Go on an African Safari

The ideal time for a safari varies depending on the destination. Generally, the dry season is preferred for wildlife viewing as animals gather around water sources, making them easier to spot. However, the wet season offers lush landscapes and lower prices, with fewer tourists around.

Peak Seasons:

  • Southern Africa: June to October
  • East Africa: January to February, and June to October

Off-peak Seasons:

  • Southern Africa: November to May
  • East Africa: March to May, and November to December

2. Top African Safari Destinations

Dusty Boots Travel - Lion Pride at Vumbura - Okavango Delta Botswana - Wilderness Destinations

African safaris offer a wide range of experiences. Here are a few popular destinations and their top reasons to visit:


  • Witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti National Park
  • Explore the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage site and natural wonder
  • Visit Tarangire National Park for its diverse wildlife and vast elephant herds
  • Relaxing on the exotic shores of Zanzibar


  • Experience the Masai Mara, home to the Big Five and the Great Migration
  • Discover the unique landscapes of Amboseli National Park, known for its large elephant population and views of Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Immerse yourself in local culture by visiting Maasai villages and learning about their traditions
  • Consider the private conservancies for unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities


  • Explore the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the world's largest inland deltas
  • Exclusive safari experience, with unparalleled opportunities to spot the African wildlife
  • Botswana is home to some of the most exclusive safari experiences in Africa, not inexpensive, but exceptional
  • Enjoy unique water-based safaris in mokoros (traditional dugout canoes)
  • Visit Chobe National Park, known for its large elephant population and diverse wildlife

South Africa

  • Experience Kruger National Park, one of Africa's largest game reserves and home to the Big Five
  • Combine your safari with a visit to Cape Town and the scenic Garden Route
  • Enjoy malaria-free safari options in parks like Madikwe Game Reserve and Addo Elephant National Park
  • World-class accommodation and dining options


  • Marvel at the striking landscapes of Etosha National Park, including its vast salt pan and unique wildlife
  • Visit the desolate Skeleton Coast, with its shipwrecks and abundant marine life
  • Explore the towering red sand dunes of Sossusvlei and the ancient rock art at Twyfelfontein


  • A hidden gem that offers an authentic safari experience with incredible wildlife, stunning landscapes, and exceptional guides and lodges
  • Discover the untamed wilderness of South Luangwa National Park, known for its walking safaris and leopard sightings
  • Visit the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
  • Experience the remote beauty of Lower Zambezi National Park and its diverse wildlife


  • Enjoy excellent wildlife viewing in Hwange National Park, the country's largest national park
  • Mana Pools National Park offers a diverse range of wildlife experiences, from elephant encounters to canoe safaris along the Zambezi River
  • Get up close with the powerful Victoria Falls, shared with neighboring Zambia
  • Immerse yourself in the history and culture at Great Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage site

Don't hesitate to explore lesser-known destinations, like Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for gorilla trekking or Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park for both gorilla and golden monkey encounters, for a more off-the-beaten-path experience.

3. A Guide to African Safari Accommodation

Accommodation options on safari range from budget-friendly tented camps to luxurious lodges. Consider factors like comfort, amenities, location, and budget when choosing where to stay.

  • Luxury Lodges: Upscale accommodations with high-end amenities such as swimming pools, spas, gourmet dining, and private game-viewing decks. Luxury lodges often offer personalized service, expert guides, and exclusive access to prime wildlife areas.

Dusty Boots Travel - Kings Pool - Room View - Linyanti Concession - Botswana - Wilderness Destinations

  • Mid-range Lodges: Comfortable lodging with a good balance between cost and quality. Mid-range lodges typically feature private en-suite rooms or tents, a communal dining area, and knowledgeable guides. Expect a more rustic experience, with fewer amenities than luxury lodges but still providing a comfortable stay.

Dusty Boots Travel - Sungani Lodge - South Luangwa National Park - Room View

  • Authentic Camps: Basic tents and facilities for travelers on a tight budget. They offer an authentic safari experience at a lower cost.

Dusty Boots Travel - Time+Tide Mchenja Room - South Luangwa National Park

Consider the exclusivity and remoteness of an area and know the size of the property you will be staying in. The private reserves and concessions may be more expensive, but they really do offer exclusive safari experiences away from the busy tourist areas. The same goes for lesser known, but exciting safari destinations and countries, for example Zambia.

4. Estimating Your Safari Budget

Well planned African safaris are not inexpensive. Take into account the following costs when planning your trip:

  • Accommodation: Prices range from budget camps to luxury lodges
  • Transportation: Includes flights, transfers, and car rentals
  • Park fees: Entrance fees for national parks and conservation areas
  • Meals and drinks: Some lodges include meals in their rates, while others charge separately
  • Activities and excursions: Game drives, guided walks, hot air balloon rides, etc.
  • Travel insurance: To protect against unforeseen circumstances
  • Tips: For guides, drivers, and camp staff

5. How Long to Go on Safari

The ideal safari duration depends on your destination, budget, and personal preferences. We suggest spending at least 7-10 nights on safari and allocating a minimum of 3 nights per camp. This duration will enable you to fully engage with the unique landscapes, wildlife, and activities offered by each camp, including game drives, guided walks, and cultural experiences.

A 7-10 day trip allows ample time to relax and absorb the natural beauty of the surroundings. It also ensures that you can experience multiple destinations and a variety of ecosystems, maximizing your wildlife viewing opportunities.

In addition, staying for at least 3 nights per camp promotes a sustainable approach to safari travel. Longer stays reduce the environmental impact caused by frequent camp transfers and support local communities that rely on tourism. By spending more time in each location, you'll forge deeper connections with the people, wildlife, and landscapes, making your African safari a truly unforgettable and meaningful experience.

In summary, a multi-night stay in each camp is crucial for an immersive, unforgettable, and sustainable African safari adventure.

6. Safari Activities

While game drives are the main attraction on safari, there's much more to experience:

Dusty Boots Travel - Abu Camp - Elephant and Game Viewer - Botswana

  • Hot air balloon rides: Get a bird's-eye view of the landscape and wildlife from a hot air balloon. This unforgettable experience is popular in the Serengeti and Masai Mara.
  • Guided bush walks: Learn about the smaller aspects of the ecosystem, tracking animal signs and identifying plants, guided by experienced rangers or local trackers.
  • Cultural visits: Engage with local communities, visit villages or schools, and learn about traditional customs and lifestyles.
  • Photographic Safari: Africa is a photographer's paradise, whether you're an experienced wildlife photographer or a novice with a passion for capturing the natural world, a photographic safari in Africa is an unforgettable and life-changing experience that will leave you with a collection of stunning images and memories to share are treasure forever.
  • Birdwatching: With over 2,300 bird species in Africa, birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy identifying and observing a diverse array of birds in their natural habitats.

Choose activities that align with your interests and budget.

7. Modes of Transport between Camps

Getting around on safari involves various transportation options:

  • Charter Flights: Quick and convenient, but often pricey. Charter flights are ideal for covering long distances between camps, especially in remote locations.
  • Ground Transfers: More affordable, but can be time-consuming. Ground transfers allow you to witness the changing landscapes and possibly spot wildlife en-route.
  • Self-Driving: Offers freedom and flexibility, but requires careful planning, navigation skills, and adherence to park regulations. Self-driving is popular in countries like Botswana and Namibia.

8. Family Safaris in Africa

We encourage you to bring your children on safari to Africa. Our firm belief is that by providing hands-on experience of genuine conservation efforts to the upcoming generation, they will be inspired to take action and develop a deep appreciation for nature, wildlife, and biodiversity, ultimately contributing towards the preservation of our beautiful planet.

Dusty Boots Travel - Family Safari - Children and Safari Guide

Planning a family safari requires special consideration to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all ages:

Choose family-oriented lodges and camps

Select accommodations that cater to families, offering age-appropriate activities, child-friendly facilities, and trained staff experienced in working with children. Many lodges and camps have dedicated family units or interconnected rooms to ensure a comfortable stay.

Customize the itinerary for children

Ensure the itinerary is suitable for children's stamina and attention spans. Incorporate shorter game drives, interactive wildlife encounters, and educational activities tailored to your children's interests and age group. This can include junior ranger programs, bush survival skills, or visits to local schools and communities.

Prioritize safety and comfort

Safety is paramount when traveling with children. Choose reputable operators that adhere to strict safety guidelines and are knowledgeable about the specific needs of families. In addition, select accommodations and transportation options that prioritize comfort, ensuring a pleasant and stress-free experience for the entire family.

Engage children in conservation

Use the safari as an opportunity to teach children about the importance of conservation and the role they can play in protecting the environment. Encourage them to interact with local communities, rangers, and conservationists to gain insight into the challenges faced by wildlife and ecosystems, and to learn how they can make a positive impact.

In summary, a well-planned family safari in Africa can inspire the next generation to become responsible global citizens, fostering a love for nature and a commitment to preserving our planet's precious resources.

9. What to Pack

Packing efficiently is crucial for a successful safari. Key items include:

  • Lightweight, breathable clothing in neutral colors to blend in with the environment, such as khaki, beige, or olive green. Note, military type camouflage clothing is not recommended.
  • A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection
  • A high-quality camera and binoculars for capturing memories and observing wildlife
  • Insect repellent and malaria prophylaxis (if required)
  • A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste
  • Power adapters and charging equipment for electronic devices
  • Travel documents, including passport, visa, and travel insurance information
  • Warm clothing for cool mornings or evenings
  • Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots

10. Sustainable Safaris

Promote responsible tourism by supporting sustainable practices:

  • Choose eco-friendly lodges and camps that prioritize conservation and community engagement
  • Follow park guidelines, such as staying on designated paths and not disturbing wildlife
  • Reduce your environmental impact by conserving water, minimizing waste, and using reusable items

By making conscious choices, you can help preserve Africa's natural and cultural heritage for future generations. For instance, consider participating in conservation initiatives, like monitoring endangered species or planting trees, during your safari. You can also support local artisans by purchasing handmade crafts as souvenirs.

In addition, engage with and respect local communities. Learn about their customs, traditions, and the challenges they face in conserving their environment. This will provide a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of wildlife, ecosystems, and human societies, making your safari experience more meaningful and transformative.

11. Briefly touching on Travel Requirements

  • Most countries require a passport that's valid for six months beyond your departure date, and you may also need a visa.
  • Consult your healthcare provider about necessary vaccinations and precautions for your trip to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • It is essential to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy specific to your safari trip. A comprehensive travel insurance policy can provide you with the necessary protection you need in case of unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost luggage, or even natural disasters.

12. Book your Safari through a Travel Agent that Specializes in Africa

We would like you to help you plan and book your safari with Dusty Boots Travel. We are from Africa and Africa is our passion. We only work with the most reputable travel partners in Africa, those who make a positive difference in the local communities, nature, and wildlife. We choose travel partners that invest in conservation, in their staff and create home away from home experiences in some of the wildest places in Africa.

Every itinerary we create is tailor-made around you, your interests, budget, and time constraints. We love what we do and love to work with people wanting to explore magical Africa, be it a private wildlife photographic safari, family safari, luxury safari, horseback safari, overland safari, or your honeymoon.

In short, allow us to show you the Africa we love. Contact Dusty Boots Travel via emailInstagram or Facebook today to start planning your dream safari holiday.

Images by our travel partners Wilderness Destinations, Sungani Lodge, Time + Tide Africa, African Bush Camps, Isak Pretorius

Riaan van den Berg
Riaan van den Berg

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Dusty Boots Travel Blog

Dusty Boots Travel - Wildebeest Migration - Image by Isak Pretorius Wildlife Photography
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: A Comprehensive Guide

March 24, 2023 3 min read

Discover the magic of Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya with our comprehensive guide. Explore diverse wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant Maasai culture. Uncover must-see spots, safari tips, accommodation options, and best times to visit. Your ultimate resource for an unforgettable African adventure!
Dusty Boots Travel - Wild Dog in South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia: A Comprehensive Guide

March 22, 2023 3 min read

Discover South Luangwa National Park, Zambia's top safari destination, in our detailed guide. Learn about game drives, walking safaris, best times to visit, and lodging options for an unforgettable African wildlife experience. Boost your travel plans with expert tips and advice.
Dusty Boots Travel - Serengeti National Park - Wildebeest Migration at Serengeti Under Canvas with andBeyond
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: A Comprehensive Guide

March 21, 2023 3 min read

Discover the beauty of Tanzania's Serengeti National Park with our comprehensive guide. Explore its diverse wildlife, unique landscapes, and thrilling safaris. Learn about the Great Migration, best times to visit, and essential travel tips for an unforgettable adventure in this African paradise.