When we go on an African safari we make a point of chatting to other visitors and over the past sixteen years we have compiled the following list of top ten motives people leave the comfort of their homes in order to travel to Southern or East Africa on a guided or self-drive safari.
If you have been on safari, or are thinking of going, see if your motive ties up with any of the ten that are listed below.
They are listed in order of importance:
1. Relaxation – People need to escape the stress of work and just relax. Some people relax at the swimming pool, read a book on the camp lawns, while others want solitude – the peace and quiet that you get at the Kruger bushveld camps or Kgalagadi wilderness camps. However you relax, recharging your batteries by breaking away from routine in an African national park is good medicine!
2. Photography – The ‘big-five’, ‘super-seven’ and ‘elusive-eleven’ are all exciting animals to photograph and your photos will provide perfect souvenirs for you to take back home. The Southern African parks of Kruger, Kgalagadi, Etosha and Pilanesberg are ideal game-viewing destinations as they all provide excellent opportunities for wildlife photography.
3. Nature – Some people go on an African safari for educational reasons such as to observe endangered species, documenting certain animals and plants or to see how many different birds and mammals they can see and tick-off.
4. Family and Friends – Many people have friends and/or family members scattered all over the world and going on a safari together is the ideal way to be together while experiencing wildlife and the wilderness.
5. Food and Culture – People want to experience different cultures and an African safari will expose you to many unique cultures, from the Himba tribe in Namibia and the Zulus in South Africa to the Maasai in Kenya. And don’t forget the many different foods! We have had delicious German food in Namibia; succulent seafood in Mozambique & Tanzania and tasted nearly every game animal in South Africa, of which elephant and impala were yummy.
6. Attractions – These could be natural attractions such as impressive landscapes like the Victoria Falls or luxury accommodation such as is found in the Kruger Park’s private lodges or the East African parks. Another attraction is the climate – when it’s snowing in Europe and America, Africa has sunny skies with balmy evenings!
7. Activities – Nature photo-tours, hiking, mountain biking, horse-back or elephant-back safaris and even conferences are activities that can enhance your safari experience.
8. Honeymoon – If you are getting married you want to go to a special place to celebrate and most of the southern and east African national parks provide the ideal setting for you. Most game reserves and rest camps have at least one private chalet that is perfect for honeymooners.
9. Spiritual – The African safari experience will affect most people and they should start thinking about life – appreciating what they have, thanking God for His many blessings and also pondering on questions like ‘where do we come from?’, ‘what is the purpose of life?’ and ‘what happens to us after we die?’.
10. Healing – People often visit national parks to scatter the ashes of a loved one as the place has special significance for them. The Kruger Park is one such popular place where you can combine a safari with the healing act of returning a loved one to nature.
So, you may identify with one of the reasons above or your motive may be a combination of the above points. Whatever the case, travelling on a safari can, and should be, an unforgettable experience.