Balsons Tour & Travel Limited has below types of available activities while on safari? Each of the activities listed below should go a long way to enhancing your safari experience. Grab the opportunity with both hands. Take a look:
1. Game drives and guided walks
Nothing new here….but I couldn’t leave out either of these now could I? After all, this is how most of you will experience your safari. It will be either from the back of a game drive vehicle or, where available, on a walk with a qualified guide.
- Game Drives
Game drives, in either open or closed (with pop-top) 4×4 vehicles are pretty much standard fare on all safaris – either as a shared experience with other camp guests or with your own driver/guide in a private vehicle.
They say that going on a game drive is like going to see the movie, but that taking a guided walk is like reading the book. Actually, I don’t know if anyone ever said that, but I think you get the idea. Walking is more about the smaller things (and the big things look even bigger on foot!).
- Guided Walks
Guided walks are generally also available from most camps and lodges where walking is allowed. Here I am specifically excluding walking trails which I will deal with in a separate post
Most walking on safari is done in the mornings with an armed (and licensed) guide, and generally for only a couple of hours as an activity option. Be warned: some walks offered are really only nature walks and are conducted in close proximity to camp or within. There are also walking trails and trails camps. In recent times the true walking trail, where you walk from camp to camp, has been dumbed-down somewhat. Now it mostly consists of a walking camp, from where the main focus of the safari is on walking (although game drives are also offered). Very few true walking trails remain. A slight variation is the fabulously down-to-earth walking safaris in Laikipia and Loita Hills in Kenya. Here, they will transport all your overnight camping gear by a string of camels (or mules) and local Maasai guides escort you across the open savannah.
Speak with Balsons Tour & Travel Limited Travel specialist about the type of walking safari you are looking for.
2. Canoeing / Kayaking / Rafting / Mokoros
The more adventurous amonst you should definitely consider any of these options. Each offers a totally unique wildlife experience. Imagine gliding silently downstream, navigating the channels and open water in search of wildlife, great birding, open skies and stunning sunsets. What’s not to like?
There are canoe safaris on the Zambezi River, above the Victoria Falls. But it is the Lower Zambezi (below Kariba dam) that is the home of the most exhilarating multi-day canoe safaris. From participatory (putting up your own tent, with food preparation) through to luxury camping (large tents and serviced – waiter/cook and camp staff). This is an exciting adventure activity that I highly recommend, although you will need to overcome any apprehension about crocodiles and hippos beforehand! All canoe safaris have experienced river guides and incidents are few and far between.
3. Boating (including Houseboats)
Wherever you find water you will find motor boats and boating activities on offer. Whilst boats are sometimes only used to transport guests to/from camp, many safari operators offer game viewing by boat. These are Okavango Delta, Selous GR, Lake Kariba, and the Zambezi River – to name a few. It offers a whole new perspective and will often allow you to get a lot closer to the wildlife than in a vehicle or on foot.
I will also include houseboats here too. They’re a fabulous alternative accommodation option that allows you to live on the water and find overnight locations well tucked away. A couple of the best locations are Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe and on the Chobe River in the far north of Botswana (and Namibia).
4. Balloon Safaris
In my humble opinion, some of the VERY best locations to enjoy a balloon ride are on safari. It’s one of the best activities while on safari. Balloon over the open grass plains of the Masai Mara or Serengeti.
5. Horse Riding
If you are an avid horseback rider, or even a competent weekender, to be able to get up close to some of Africa’s wildlife on horseback is possibly the ultimate thrill. If this is your fancy, you will need to seek out an established horseback safari operator with well-schooled horses and experienced guides. Good locations include the Laikipia, Chyulu Hills & Masai Mara in Kenya, Also, a number of lodges in Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Zambia & Zimbabwe.
6. Microlight and Helicopter Flights
Whilst on safari you may transfer between camps by small charter planes between game reserves (e.g. Samburu to Masai Mara in Kenya). These flights offer a wonderful view of these regions from the air and you should always have your camera at the ready. Fast shutter speed, min 1/500, and a polarising filter – if you have one. But if the opportunity arises, I strongly recommend a microlight flight or arrange a complete helicopter itinerary along the Great Rift valley in Kenya. Some truly stunning photographic opportunities and an exhilarating experience.
7. Quad bikes & Mountain biking
You might think there would not be place for either of these on safari. Wrong! They’re great activities while on safari! In certain locations quad bikes come into their own and are a wonderful experience.
8. Field Guide & Wildlife Courses
If you are passionate about Africa’s wilderness and wildlife, In addition, some safari operators encourage their regular clients to join their own annual ‘guide training exercises’ conducted at their respective camp/lodge. For example, in Kenya & Tanzania. Ask your Travel Specialist.
9. Sound Safaris
Everyone in the vehicle gets to put on a set of headphones to capture, and explain, the different sounds of the bush around you. Can you imagine…your guide picks up a call, swings the microphone in that direction,It’s a leopard’s rasping cough. You listen through your headphones to the amplified sound as clear as if it were sitting next to you! Wow. Or picture yourself, sitting quietly after dark, listening to the eerie night sounds all around you. You try to work out which nightjar it might be, which are crickets and which frogs…and then, wait, what was that? Brilliant and, by far, one of the best activities while on safari.
10. Photo Workshops
We all love to take photos on safari, whether it be with our phones or using the latest high tech DSLR. And we all need a bit of help, if truth be told (not you, of course!). So if getting better wildlife photos on safari is something you want to focus on, then Balsons Tour & Travel photo workshop is the answer. Generally, they range from 4 days to 2 weeks (photographic tour). They are accompanied by a professional photographer. These workshops offer practical photographic advice and an opportunity to review and improve your skills, whilst enjoying all the attractions of being on safari.
You will notice that I have not included “activities while on safari”, such as elephant-back riding or walking-with-lions. There are good reasons for this. Simply, it is wrong (on so many levels). I do understand that people have a strong urge to get up close and personal (touch and feel) with large, dangerous animals. However, it is, in my opinion, disrespectful, demeaning and misguided. The animals may appear well cared for, in good health and treated well but you have to ask yourself: should they be in captivity at all? Where do they come from? Where are they sent once they get too big or too difficult to handle? Wouldn’t they be better off in the wild?
- There’s So Much More
Whilst there are a good many available options for activities while on safari, not many safari camps/lodges can offer more than one or two. Mostly due to location. If you like the idea of any of these, you need to raise this with your balsons Tour & Travel travel specialist in the planning stages.
In this post, I only mention the available activities while on safari. I did not include scenic flights over the Victoria Falls. Nor did I include ‘birding’ which should be on everyone’s activity list on safari, and can usually be done whether walking, on game drive or ANY of the other activities. And yes, I am unrepentant in encouraging all of you going to Africa to take up birding – and the pursuit of our amazing feathered friends.
- The Safari Experience
These are just 10 of the top activities while on safari. There are many more. So much to see. Why not start planning your safari adventure now! Balsons Tours & Travel Limited is here to help. Contact us and we’ll get you on your way.