Safari holiday should be on everyone’s wish list of life’s greatest adventures. In Swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa, the word itself translates as “going on a journey”. Today it means taking the camera and going to the last place on earth where wildlife exists in its old abundance to reach out and touch the wild, to spend time in the sun and under the stars and come face to face with Africa’s wildlife, not behind bars but moving free as the wind across the savanah – these are what make this a holiday like no other.
But if you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime sojourn in the bush it has to be East Africa. Nowhere else are animals so visible as on the high plains of the Maasai Mara and Serengeti, and the land itself is quite something. To look down into the immense basin of the Ngorongoro Crater is like standing at the gates of heaven.
East Africa and Kenya in particular has a safari holiday industry that is backed up by an efficient tourist infrastructure with a dazzling choice of camps and lodges to suit all budgets and traveling by road helps keep the cost down and is a good way of seeing more of East Africa. This is, after all, where modern holiday safari was invented back in the twenties when there were no roads and accommodation.
It was the old-time trophy hunters who called Africa’s most dangerous game the Big Five: elephant, Cape buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard. Today, together with other charismatic species such as cheetah and the endangered wild dog, they sit at the top of most must-see lists. The big cats can be elusive and half the fun of a safari holiday is searching for them. Antelopes, zebras and giraffes are more abundant and just as beautiful. Don’t forget the birds, at least 1,000 species, or the “Small Five” (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, ant lion, rhino beetle and leopard tortoise).
Going up market opens up all kinds of possibilities, including direct flights into the bush by light aircraft that cut out long road journeys and game drives with expert local guides in open four-wheel-drive vehicles purpose-built for better viewing. Traveling with a professional guide can make a world of difference to your holiday. The elite few at the top of their game can charge a fortune per day, but it doesn’t have to cost you the earth since African Outback Wildlife Safaris employs only the best and most experienced driver guides that accompany you through out your holiday safari.