We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Safari

London, United...
Level Contributor
258 posts
5 reviews
Safari

Hi, I've always wanted to go on safari but not sure how to go about it? Am sure with it being a tailor made holiday, would love to stay in one of those private game lodges, that it isn't something you would book at Thomas Cook etc?

15 replies to this topic
Wayzata, Minnesota
Level Contributor
2,929 posts
31 reviews
1. Re: Safari

Hi Scarface,

Zambia an exceptional safari destination. I have been to almost every four star and above lodge in the country and the vast majority are wonderful. Best time to visit would be July-mid September. June and October are strong but October is HOT. To be very brief, at a minimum, I would combine at least one lodge in South Luangwa National Park with at least one lodge in Lower Zambezi. Consider 4+4 days as the minimum but your could spend 6-10 in South Luangwa easily.

There is quite a bit of talent in the UK to plan a safari to Zambia. Consider Chris McIntyre at Expert Africa. He writes the Bradt travel guide book for Zambia. John Spence would also be good (note: he moved to San Diego).

Good luck,

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond

ON, Canada
Level Contributor
14,674 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: Safari

We were in the same situation last year at this time ... wanted to do a safari but were at a loss as to where to start. Scrolling through the forum here for trip reports and other advice was a good start; safaritalk.net was really helpful (on that site, go to the link for Zambia Trip Reports and read through as many as possible to get ideas on camps, how long to stay at each, etc.), and the book that Craig mentions above (Bradt Zambia) is excellent too. Most camps have reviews here on TA, and that was another big help to me in making choices.

Zambia is a good choice for walking safaris (the camps that we stayed at offered both drives and walks - i.e. we did morning walks at some camps, but afternoon/evening were always safari drives. Hides are another feature that some camps have and others don't ... well worth it to stay at at least one camp that has them.

Very much agree with Craig to work with a travel agent who specializes in Africa (and one who is knowledgeable about Zambia - even better if they've visited the camps that you're interested in). Our trip was this past September - Lower Zambezi (4 nights), South Luangwa (8 nights) and Livingstone (3 nights) - an absolutely incredible trip!

London, United...
Level Contributor
258 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Safari

Briliant thanks for the advice. Knew I had to go to an Africa specialised travel agent, but didn't know of any as they seem more low key than the usual high street ones. Does anyone know of any of these retail shops in the Surrey area by chance? Would feel more comfortable talking with someone as well as researching.

Also going to be tough to choose where to safari as well as I fancied Tanzania, so I could also visit Zanzibar and possibly South Africa, for Cape Town.

USA
Level Contributor
63 posts
4. Re: Safari

I suggest you do some research first to narrow down what country you want to go to. There are a number of very helpful websites, my favorites being africatravelresource and expertafrica.

If you decide on Tanzania, you will probably do better to go with an in-country tour operator who will make all the arrangements and provide the vehicle and driver/guide rather than going with an operator based in England who will then subcontract the safari to someone in Tanzania. The TripAdvisor forum for Tanzania has a wealth of information including a list of recommended tour operators.

Jeff

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
Level Contributor
5,852 posts
5. Re: Safari

I've used Expert Africa for several trips to Zambia and also to Southern Tanzania. If you want to combine with Zanzibar or one of the other islands in Tanzania, the southern parks of Ruaha and Selous work very well. But for beach options with Zambia, you can also combine with lake Malawi. Where you choose will depend a lot on what time of year, what type of activities you are interested in (walking, photography, water activities, beach) and budget.

If you want to talk to people face to face, I'd highly recommend going to the Destinations travel show in London which is coming up at the end of January. There are usually quite a lot of specialist Africa tour operators there, and there's a program of talks which might give you some inspiration on destinations. Expert Africa have a stand there, and they also usually have someone there from Remote Africa safaris, who have camps in North and South Luangwa (Tafika, Chikoko Trails and Mwaleshi). I really like their camps and have visited several times.

Wayzata, Minnesota
Level Contributor
2,929 posts
31 reviews
6. Re: Safari

Great advice above. I do disagree that you need to do your own research if you are going to meet one of the aforementioned experts face to face. If you have the means to go on safari you may have very little time on your hands for a safari research project. As long as you approach the right company (Expert Africa is one) they will sit with you and go over everything you need to know. They will ASSUME you are contacting other companies to get competitive bids and their price will reflect this assumption. An expert safari company such as the ones we have mentioned will contract directly with the lodges and the price they offer you will be based on several factors but one of the factors will be the assumption that you are contacting other companies.

If you are time starved with regards to the research project, I suggest you gather the names of 2-3 Zambia specialists and call all of them for a 15 minute consult. Call back the one that you got the best service experience from and plan a safari with them. If you contact several and they all start making reservations for you then, based on the small size of the industry, they will all know you are working with other companies and this will work against you. Post the itinerary here for critique and then adjust it and confirm it. If you need more Zambia companies to contact just shout.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond

Wayzata, Minnesota
Level Contributor
2,929 posts
31 reviews
7. Re: Safari

Here is another option. I know this company and both their owners. I did not look at a map so have no idea where these locations are in relations to where you live. I can't emphasize the importance of only choosing 1 or 2 for the deep dive into itinerary planning.

Trish Berry

Owner & Africa specialist

Zambezi Safari and Travel Co. Ltd

Africa House, Poundwell Street, Modbury, PL21 0QJ, Devon

mail: trish@zambezi.com web: www.zambezi.com

phone: +44 (0) 1548 830059

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond

London, United...
Level Contributor
258 posts
5 reviews
8. Re: Safari

Wow thanks. I think I will definitely be going to the destination travel show in London to speak to experts. Hopefully by then I would have chosen the destination I would like to be going to.

Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
2,454 posts
346 reviews
9. Re: Safari

I've already done three safaris with Expert Africa, and will be taking a fourth with them next year. I can assure you that no other travel agency knows their product better than they do. Furthermore,as I can attest from experience they will do anything to assist you if you have any problems while on your safari. On all three of my safaris they came to my assistance when I needed it. Please let me know if you wish to explain at length the marvelous back-up support they offer their clients.

Wayzata, Minnesota
Level Contributor
2,929 posts
31 reviews
10. Re: Safari

africanman - what are the nature of these problems that cause you to need support from your tour operator while traveling each time you go to Africa?

Reply to: Safari
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about North Luangwa National...