Safari: how to choose between a self-guided tour, a group tour and a private tour?

The benefits of circuit and self-propelled

The group circuit has the advantage of offering affordable prices, while taking advantage of a guide’s expertise and most of the time open cars during the safari.

As for the private safari, it is tailor-made. “The advantage is that you are alone with your guide, and you lead your safari as you wish, with a guide. In addition, you have access to exclusive places, places far more remote, and suddenly you are less in mass tourismexplains Thibaud Cheminant, safari guide and founder of Kolokwe Safari.

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As for the car tour, even there the freedom is total. You can stay as long as you want to observe the animals. If you want to stay 5 hours in front of a tree and wait for a leopard to come down, that’s no problem! It is also the cheapest formula of the three side “there is no guide, only the rental car”.

The difficulties

For the private safari, the biggest drawback is its price, which is much higher than the other formulas.

“With the car tour, the problem that very often arises is the absence of a guide, so people have a hard time finding the animals, says Thibaud Cheminant. In addition, you are often in a rental car and these are closed vehicles, so there is not the immersive side that you have in classic safaris with open vehicles.

Also pay attention to safety. “The problem is that people can not interpret the language of the animals. Many also think they are in a zoo and get out of their vehicle. There are deaths every year because people have not followed the instructions, and were eaten by a leopard or attacked. of one elephant. You also have to have self-control, for example if an elephant charges the car. ” Finally, be prepared to deal with mechanical problems on your own, such as changing wheels in the event of a puncture, in the middle of nowhere.

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As for the group circuit, “You still need to be able to hang out with people you don’t know during your vacation!” In addition, there is a lack of flexibility in this type of travel, with imposed schedules and program. You will therefore not be able to do and go where you want.

How do I find the animals on a self-guided tour?

When you are on a drive-yourself trip without expert advice from a guide, it can be difficult to find the known animals.

“My advice is to leave early before sunrise, because that’s often the time when the predators come home from hunting. That’s where it’s coolest. That’s why we never go on safari between 9am and 3pm. We make them at sunrise until 9.00 am Or prefer the early evening, from 15.00 to 19.00, recommend the safari guide. Water points are also strategic places, especially during dry periods. There are fewer water points, so the animals are concentrating in the same place. “

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Which destinations should be preferred for circuits or drive yourself?

Some destinations are perfect for driving yourself. This is the case, for example, with Namibia, which has roads, and especially tracks, in good condition. Kenya is also suitable, as is South Africa. “It’s clearly the country that is suitable for drive-yourself: you arrive at Kruger Park, you pay your toll at the entrance, then you have a paved road. In addition, there are many animals in the park”, explains Thibaud Cheminant.

According to the safari guide, however, it is advisable to travel to Tanzania accompanied by a professional. “It’s still a track, over a huge territory. People do not necessarily understand the difficulty of the track, with animals around. There are still herds of elephants, herds of Lions… “

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As for Botswana, it is not recommended to drive yourself at all. “It’s a completely wild country, says Thibaud Cheminant. There are very few roads. There are a few small towns, but otherwise they are private reserves, without borders. So if you go through it alone, you are in areas where there is no network, on the field. If you collapse, you’re all alone in the middle of nowhere, so you better know your mechanics, and it’s populated by wild animals. To me, it’s a hostile environment, not at all suitable for driving myself. On the other hand, it’s my favorite destination, ideal to do with a guide! “

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