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How can I Prepare to Go on Safari?

Some safaris are geared toward wildlife photography.
It can be thrilling to watch a lion hunt during a safari.
Safari tour companies offer various ways to view and photograph big game.
Travelers should book guides who have a reputation for both safety and being able to locate the animals they'd like to see.
Hammocks are among the suggested items some tour organizations list to bring on safari.
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  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2014
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A safari is a trip, usually to Africa, undertaken to view or hunt large game animals and other wildlife. In the past, to go on safari was specifically to take part in a hunting expedition, but in the modern age, it is much more common for safaris to involve photography or simply viewing the animals in their natural habitat. Preparing to go on safari can seem like a daunting task, but by breaking it down into manageable pieces, it becomes much less intimidating.

The first step is to determine what you want to do when you go on safari. Are you interested in taking a traditional hunting safari? Do you want to take photographs of specific wildlife? Are you interested in having a more authentic experience and staying in traditional villages, or would you prefer a more comfort-driven adventure with five-star hotels and luxury transportation? There are many different safari services available, and the odds are that you will be able to find a perfect match to your needs, but it is helpful to have your preferences well thought through in advance.

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If you are planning to go on safari with the intent of hunting game, make sure you are up-to-date on the laws regarding hunting in the country you are visiting. Most big game are protected species and are not available for hunting, but occasionally, unscrupulous safari organizers offer to take people out to hunt them anyway — something that is not only morally questionable, but also very illegal. If you know the basic laws regarding hunting and poaching in the region you are visiting, you will be aware if what you are doing may put you on the wrong side of the law.

If you are planning to go on safari to take photographs of big game, you have much more flexibility in the kind of animals you can target. Many safari tour companies offer packages that follow the traditionally hunted big game of historical safaris, but do so in order to capture the best pictures of these animals. If there are specific animals that you want to see, contact different safari tour organizers and have them give you an honest assessment of the likelihood you will find those animals on your tour. Most well-established tour agencies know the parks they operate in very well and are familiar with the habits of all of the major big game animals.

In order to ensure a safe and comfortable trip when you go on safari, it is highly recommended that you check with the State Department about the country you are planning on visiting. Pay close attention to any travel advisories and make a note of diseases that may be a risk. Consult your physician about shots you should get before departing and medication such as anti-malarials that you should take while traveling.

Most tour organizations offer suggestions on things to bring with you when you go on safari, such as bug repellent, clothing, good boots, a hammock, and other items that may be necessary in the climate and conditions you’ll be traveling in. Most tour organizations also offer a number of items for sale once you arrive in the country, in case you have forgotten anything or decide later that you have underpacked.

Ultimately, the most important step when preparing go on safari is choosing a tour agency that you like. Many travel books offer suggestions, and there are a number of websites featuring reviews of different safari agencies. Contact them on the phone or by email and determine whether you feel comfortable with them; a good safari agency should be able to address all of your concerns and questions and make you feel good about your trip.

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