Mark Nolting, of the African Adventure Company, has put together a nice little article for USA Today with some good tips for anyone planning an African safari in the near future. He discusses some of the best places to go, what you should expect to pay, the best times to go, and much more.
Nolting notes that many African countries offer safari options, and each of them are a bit different from one another, but he recommends Botswana and Tanzania for the classic safari experience. Both countries offer impressive wildlife encounters, which are the hallmark of a safari, but they also have vastly different opportunities as well. For example, in Botswana, it’s possible to visit large wildlife preserves that limit the number of visitors, keeping the crowds low and limiting the impact on the environment. In contrast, Tanzania tends to have larger crowds but makes up for it with amazing scenery highlighted with the Ngorongoro Crater, Mt. Kilimanjaro and the endless expanse of the Serengeti,
Ecotourism and volunteer travel seem to be the trends for 2009 Nolting says, with travelers booking their stays in eco-lodges all over Africa, and donating some of their time to local projects or schools while they are there. Safari operators have picked up on thie ecotourism trend as well, and are now focusing on having a smaller impact on the environment, while still delivering the entire safari experience that travelers have come to expect when visiting the African bush.
Having visited Tanzania in 2007, I can personally attest to how amazing it can be. The amount of wildlife is unprecidented, and it was everything that I could have hoped for, and more. That said however, I went in April, which is traditionally the low-season, and it was still very crowded at times, especially in the Ngorongoro Crater. I can’t imagine what it would be like during the high-season. If you’re looking for more solitude on your travels, you may want to look elsewhere for your own safari. On the other hand, the Serengeti and Kilimanajaro are certainly worth the trip to Tanzania, and will provide you with many memories to last a lifetime.