By Claire Eastwood for Fathom | A safari vacation is unlike any other trip you'll take, so professional advice is more than welcome. Kenya-raised Claire Eastwood, a luxury safari consultant for dmAfrica (an on-the-ground fixer for bespoke travel services) shares her top ten safari travel tips.
Thinking about booking a safari adventure? Make the most of your once-in-a-lifetime trip with these ten tips:
1. Don't leave it to the last minute.
The best lodges are fully booked nine to twelve months in advance, and most luxury lodges only have a handful of rooms. If you're taking the whole family, you may need to book half the occupancy of the lodge.
2. Don't stress about wearing green.
Many safaris are incredibly chic. And while it's not a fashion show, it's not Jurassic Park either. Choose colors in sympathy with the environment, but don't feel obliged to deck yourself out in camouflage.
3. Talk to knowledgeable people before you book.
It's the best way to manage your expectations. Experienced travel agents can help you determine your comfort level in certain environments. Are you really comfortable in a tent? Do you need certain amenities like air conditioning? Depending on your answers, they'll help tailor the experience to your specific needs.
4. Spend a little more if you can.
Nobody comes home from safari wishing they hadn't gone for the extra sundowner. Splurging on safari upgrades your experience overall. It might get you access to private conservancies, night drives, or authentic cultural experiences.
5. Hop around.
Book one lodge for three to four nights tops. You can only go so far per day by car, so if you intend on covering large distances and seeing as much as possible, you'll need a few lodging options. Moving not only grants you a different dinner menu but also different views and wildlife as well.
6. Pamper yourself.
Many of the high-end properties now have spas — a spa-fari! A relaxing massage will get your body in tune with nature and bring you to new levels of bliss.
7. Don't be afraid to sleep in.
Treat yourself to a relaxing morning or two. Have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy a good book with a view looking out over the plains. Remember, you are on vacation.
8. Stay cool, naturally.
During the warmer months, a plunge pool isn't a bad idea. Take a dip after a hot game drive to get all the dust off.
9. Mind your volume.
There is nothing worse than game viewing with someone who insists on talking the entire time. Don't be that person. The animals are in their natural environment. It's important to be quiet. Excited is okay! Just be quiet about it.
10. Sleep outside.
If you're comfortable and if it's allowed, pitch a tent and sleep outside. Just like when Roosevelt used to do it. Truly Out of Africa.
Claire is a Kenyan-born, NYC-based safari consultant. She travels for the adventure. And the elephants.