Game Safari Info
The number one reason tourists visit sub-Saharan Africa is for a game safari. There is no better living than going on one of our African Game Safari Tours with Lion Dog African Safaris.
The Best Safari Parks and Regions In Africa
Our criteria for the very best safari parks and regions in Africa is that there be a high concentration of free roaming and diverse wildlife living in their natural habitat removed from development, in relatively safe well managed jurisdictions.
The top three parks and regions that meet this criteria are the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the Northern Park Circuit in Tanzania and the Southern Park Circuit also in Tanzania. Refer to map on right for location(s)
Game Safari Venues
There are a number of venue types that are available on a game safari, namely Permanent Tented Camps, Mobile Tented Camps, Lodges, and Bivouac Tent Camps.
Permanent Tented Camps are generally straight walled “Hemingway“ style canvas tents erected on a raised platform comfortably outfitted with varying amenities, proper beds with an adjoining washroom and shower. Plumbing and hot water is generally available however electrical power is available only intermittently. There would be a central complex where guests congregate for dinner and socializing. Permanent Tented Camps are available in the Mid-Range and Luxury priced categories. Food would be cooked to western standards.
Mobile Tented Camps are generally straight walled “Hemingway “style canvas tents erected directly atop the ground comfortably outfitted with varying amenities, proper beds with an adjoining washroom and shower. The plumbing is rudimentary such as bucket showers, and electrical power is available only intermittently. The reason these camps are called “Mobile” Tented Camps is due to them being re-located periodically in conjunction with the movement of the great migration. There would be a central mess tent where guests congregate for dinner and socializing. Mobile Tented Camps are available in the Mid-Range and Luxury pricing categories. Food would be cooked to western standards.
Lodges are permanent “brick and stick “structures with rooms and cottages, plumbing with hot water, and full electrical capabilities.
Lodges are available in the Economy, Mid-Range and Luxury price ranges. Food would be cooked to western standards and served in a restaurant setting.
Bivouac Tent Camping is usually small dome tents set up on a very temporary basis at special and public campsites by a “campie” who accompanies the tour. There would be fold out cots and bedding provided, and a very rudimentary drop toilet and bucket shower available. Meals are prepared by the campie cooking outside with meals served on fold out tables and chairs. Bivouac Tent Camping is available at the Economy level on the northern park circuit, and the Mid-Range level in the Okavango Delta Moremi and Chobe Parks. It’s an exciting way to safari and experience Africa totally off of the grid. There is something to be said about lying under a blanket of stars and listening to the wildlife at night.
Difference Between Fly-In Safaris and Drive-In Safaris
As the name implies, a Fly-In Safari involves that the travel party is flown into a Fly-In camp and the camp itself provides an open sided safari vehicle for the game safaris which are shared with the other guests staying at the same camp. Private vehicles are available upon request. Fly-In Camps are generally remote and offer multiple types of safaris such as driving safari with off-tracking , walking safari, boating and mokoro safaris, and some even have horse riding and elephant riding safaris.
Guests generally stay at the same Fly-In camps for several days going out on safari in the morning, returning to the camp mid day, and going back out on safari again in the afternoon , usually not venturing too far from the camp. There is more time to relax at a Fly-In camp which is why we consider Fly-In camps a more tranquil safari style. Fly In Camps are generally permanent tented camps priced at the upper Mid Range and Luxury pricing levels.
A Drive-In Safari is where a private party of clients are driven between venue locations in a Pop Up Roof safari vehicle partaking in a game driving safari as they go, eating box lunches, and only staying at a venue for one or two nights. Drive–In venues are generally more accessible and mainly offer driving safari only.
A lot more territory is covered with the Drive –In safari and is why we consider the Drive-In method to be more of a gypsy safari style. Drive-In venues can consist of permanent tented camps, mobile tented camps, and lodges. Drive-In safaris can be experienced at the Luxury and Mid Range pricing levels. Bivouac tent camping would also be considered another version of a Drive-In safari experienced at the Economy pricing level.
It is possible to combine Fly In and Drive In safari styles on the same tour.
Safari Guides & Safari Vehicles
Safari guides are generally the drivers, however not all drivers are safari guides. Lion Dog African Safaris (LDAS) retains drivers who are also professional safari guides that speak passable English, are very knowledgeable about all aspects of the wildlife and fauna, can spot and track the wildlife, can distinguish different bird calls, can convey information on their cultures, and drive all at the same time. A good safari guide will also be able to explain wildlife behavior and interaction that guests will simply not figure out on their own. The quality of the safari experience depends in large part on the competence of the safari guide, the type of vehicle that is driven, and the number of guests in the vehicle.
An open sided 4WD HDS safari vehicle is generally provided by the remote fly-in camps and most outfits in the southern part of Africa. The back row of seating is higher than the middle row which is higher than the front row. Camp guests would share the vehicle with other guests and remain seated most of the time. Sightlines are decent and the guests are able to have shared conversations with the guide however if the vehicle is completely full, conversations between guests themselves often ensue that prevents the safari guide from being fully engaged conversationally. Some safari vehicles in the Okavango Delta have a seat perched off the very front of the vehicle for a tracker to sit and look for interesting tracks to follow. Roof coverings can be installed on these safari vehicles for some protection from the elements however birders / twitchers often prefer the roof cover not be installed.
A 4WD HDS Pop up Roof safari vehicle is generally provided with the drive-in camps prevalent on the northern park circuit. The pop up roof is let up only while on safari and provides decent protection from the elements. The roof can be shut when tsetse flies are encountered. Guests would have the vehicle and safari guide all to themselves enabling constant and excellent communication. Guests are able to stand up even with the vehicle moving, and turn fully around for fantastic sightlines ideal for photography. A number of the newer models are being outfitted with battery chargers that allow device batteries to be charged up while on safari. Being that the guests are the only passengers in the vehicle, the guests have a lot of say as to the starting, stopping and arrival times for the safari a.k.a. doing Africa on your terms with our help.
Self-Drive Vehicles have many drawbacks including; the driver cannot take their eyes off the road and enjoy the scenery, dealing with breakdowns, vehicle rental and insurance, finding petrol, finding parking spots, getting and reading maps, getting permits and dealing with authorities, setting up camp, shopping, cooking, cleaning up, and they are an easy target for thieves. Self-drivers often times do not have the experience or knowledge on where to and how to spot wildlife and often end up attempting to follow professional guided vehicles who will thwart those efforts. Accident rates are high with Self Drivers. Lion Dog African Safaris does not accommodate self-drive tours.
Vans without the proper suspension and drive train, particularly with no roof coverings, severely diminish the safari experience. There is no need for communication to occur as these vans are often driven by a non-English speaking driver with poor safari guiding experience and schooling. These vans operate on a tight schedule and the driver will stop the vehicle only long enough for picture taking. The van is often shared with other passengers/strangers and room is very tight inhibiting movement and sightlines. Some people enjoy the opportunity of meeting others on a social level that the vans facilitate but do so at the expense of the game safari experience. Lion Dog African Safaris does not retain vans as safari vehicles.
Overland Vehicles are a military type bus that provide terrible sightlines and poor communication with the driver, particularly with the driver situated in a separate cab, as can be seen in pictures to the left. Overland Vehicles mainly cater to the Shoe-String budget traveler who has the stamina and patience to drive vast distances on the African continent, and is content with doing their own food shopping, cooking, cleaning up, and setting up camp. Some over lander operations may move the guests to better suited safari vehicles when entering the game parks however the safari vehicle conditions are usually less than ideal. Some people enjoy the opportunity of meeting others on a social level that the overland vehicles facilitate but do so at the expense of the game safari experience. Lion Dog African Safaris does not retain overland vehicles.