Our Blogs

Nine Tips for Planning a Trip to Africa

January 15, 2016 | Arnie Hydamaka

Here at Great Canadian Travel Company we pride ourselves on being the best at making your travel dreams come true – because we know a LOT about our destinations.  Arnie, our Man-About-Africa who has considerable knowledge about planning the perfect vacation to Africa, has some great advice to help you plan your trip.

How to decide where and when to travel to Africa

Ask yourself what is important. Do you want to see the Ngorongoro Crater and the migration of the wildebeest in Tanzania? Our prime time to take you there would be in January-March. You’ll see large herds of animals during this time of year, including the newborns!  For a short window of time, around late-July and again in mid-October, travelers can witness the drama of wildebeest and zebras crossing the rivers bordering Tanzania and Kenya.  Summer in Southern Africa (January –April) is on bargain pricing, so if it is Victoria Falls or Botswana that you’ve dreamed about seeing, you may want to visit during the same of year.  Botswana offers a completely different safari experience, fly in safaris with 2-3 nights in luxury camps, open vehicles for the utmost safaris experience.  In our Botswana adventures you typically begin or end at Victoria Falls, take in Cape Town, and have an amazing winter getaway adventure in southern Africa.

Again, ask yourself – what is important? Is it animal life? Scenery? Cultural aspects? Photography moments? Physical comfort level and relaxation? We can help you customize your trip to your needs and your budget.

Check out our Value Seasons

Value Seasons are off-season specials.  Take advantage of southern African travel to Botswana during their summer, which is January-April.  In Tanzania or Kenya off-season is in May.  There are fewer crowds, fewer vehicles out on safari, too.

Should you travel with children?

Many safari camps are attuned to having children around, and there are actually set departures based on children being there so they can get to meet and make friends with other children from around the world.  Most camps have age limits and requirements. We would be happy to help you plan the best trip of a lifetime for you and your kids.

Should you travel alone or with a group? 

Believe us, you won’t be dropped off in the middle of the African dessert with a map and a compass.  Individual travel simply means you pick your best date and we fit you into a safari package or program that departs virtually any day of the year you want to travel.  We call this Flexible Independent Travel (FIT). We start and end when you want to and you are looked after from the moment you arrive. While it is a little more expensive, you can have the exact adventure you are looking for.

Escorted group travel means you are traveling with other travelers, there is a set itinerary, and departures are on certain days.  Group size is normally limited to 6 guests per vehicle.

What to wear on an African Safaris

Arnie suggests the basics; long sleeved shirts, a shell that can repel some water, shirts and t-shirts, and for pants, zip off pants that can be worn as shorts or trousers.  Africa at times of the year can be cool, even cold, at night, so dressing in layers is important and a light fleece jacket or sweater will be helpful. Extra socks are always important.   When it comes to footwear, remember to be practical. Leave the high-heels and dress shoes at home. For your adventure you need a good pair of sneakers and/or low-cut hiking boots, even though you won’t be doing a lot of hiking.  A pair of open sandals that are water-safe is also a good idea. Laundry services are available and the hot midday African sun will dry clothes fast.

Be prepared for full days of adventure!

On African Safari your day starts early, even before sun rise, and bed time is usually around 10:30pm.  This may sound like a long day, and perhaps it is, but what a day of adventure. In the evening your day ends under beautiful star filled African skies with the sounds of animals in the distance. Connecting with nature has never been so wondrous.

Is there WIFI?

While some camps are becoming more Wi-Fi friendly, you should be prepared to be without Wi-Fi for a few days.  Hopefully being unplugged is part of the reason you are planning this incredible getaway.

What will I eat on an African Safari?

We can tell you this – you will eat VERY well.  The chefs are terrific! If you have specific dietary concerns please contact us and let us know how we can accommodate you.

Don’t forget to pack your….

  1. Africa is a photographers dream! Don’t forget to take your camera, camera batteries, spare batteries, universal adapter, and binoculars.
  2. If you are on medications, remember to bring them. The only vaccination that is required for some countries is yellow fever vaccination and malaria pills as a precaution.
  3. Packing your sunscreen, sunglasses, and your hat is always a good idea


Talk to an Expert – TALK TO US!

Planning a trip to Africa is not as easy as pointing and deciding. You really should speak to someone who has been there and who knows exactly what happens on each trip package.  That’s where we come in.  Give us a call and let us answer all of your questions.