African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

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RooseveltG
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African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by RooseveltG » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:22 pm

Some seasoned travelers tell us that Africa was the best trip they ever took. Others have been unimpressed and are just as happy seeing animals in the zoo.

Would be interested in thoughts of those who have visited Africa. Is it worth it or mostly hype?

Thanks in advance.

Roosevelt.

livesoft
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:23 pm

Worth it.
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DEBTINATOR
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by DEBTINATOR » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:24 pm

The trek up Kilimanjaro was even better. Safari was terrific too.

financeguy88
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by financeguy88 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:28 pm

DEBTINATOR wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:24 pm
The trek up Kilimanjaro was even better. Safari was terrific too.
+1 to this. We did both as well, best vacation I’ve ever had and money extremely well spent. I recommend doing the trek first.

Lynette
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Lynette » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:28 pm

Africa is a large continent. Where are you thinking of going? Usually a safari is a visit to a game park. The accommodation can vary from luxurious to roughing it in tents. Sometimes the intent is to kill to animals and bring back photos and trophies for the admiring crowd back home. "Safari" is too broad a term. You need to define exactly where you are planning to go, what type of accommodation you expect and what you plan to do and how much you expect to spend.

Some game parks are small and in reality no better than a glorified zoo. Others are larger than some states here. You may or may not see the animals you expect. I grew up in South Africa and I think that some Americans do not differentiate what type of experience they expect. A few years ago I went with an African guide and some American tourists to the Kruger National Park. One lady was there for eleven hours and was pressurizing the guide to show her the "big five". As a child we used to go there for two weeks and the fun was to try to find the animals. Sometimes one got lucky, sometimes not. That lady would have been better off in a zoo.
Last edited by Lynette on Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:43 pm

We went to Mala Mala a decade ago. It was bested only by our trip to the Galapagos. Mala Mala is pricey, but worth it IMO. Bring the best camera you can get your hands on.

WhyNotUs
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by WhyNotUs » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:49 pm

Really depends on you. Are you more like the people who enjoyed it or the unimpressed?

I was really glad to have done it. We did not have much in the way of anticipation. Our first several days were at a luxury camp that was open to Krueger park. Our experience there was remarkable. Our lodging was near a watering hole and we could sit on our deck and watch animals. The drives were remarkable with a tracker and a guide making our experience almost too comfortable given the creatures that were a few feet away. The food and wine were gourmet and we used the spa and pool for relaxation. It was a splurge and a little tamer than we normally choose but I loved it anyway.

Then we went into the park and stayed in a SanPark cabin. It was a very down to earth change and we self-selected drives based on internet research. This was very enjoyable in that we were able to get a better feel for the scale and scope of the park and had to work a little more to see things. That for me was fun.

In Zimbabwe we had another luxury safari but I was kind of over it by that point. More of a doer than watcher but for a few days it was remarkable.
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by BUBear29 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:01 pm

Totally worth it.

We went to Tanzania and based our trip out of Arusha. Some very nice little resorts you can stay at. We hired a driver, cook and security guard. We toured Arusha National Park, camped out at Lake Natron, and climbed Ol Doinyo Lengai which is an active volcano on the edge of the Serengeti. We were then to go to Lake Manyara but were so tired from the trek that we flew to Zanzibar a few days early and enjoyed about 4 days at the beach.

I do not suggest climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai if you are not in excellent shape and experienced climber/hiker. It can be extremely dangerous.

I highly suggest Zanzibar and Stone Town. We stayed at an absolutely beautiful resort called Seasons Lodge. The owner was from Ireland and lived on site. Great guy.
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wilked
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by wilked » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:07 pm

Amazing

We did safari / Kili / Zanzibar. Best traveling I have ever done

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:11 pm

Lynette wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:28 pm
Some game parks are small and in reality no better than a glorified zoo. Others are larger than some states here. You may or may not see the animals you expect. I grew up in South Africa and I think that some Americans do not differentiate what type of experience they expect. A few years ago I went with an African guide and some American tourists to the Kruger National Park. One lady was there for eleven hours and was pressurizing the guide to show her the "big five". As a child we used to go there for two weeks and the fun was to try to find the animals. Sometimes one got lucky, sometimes not. That lady would have been better off in a zoo.
We have been on two trips to Southern Africa (SA and Namibia). In both cases we rented a car/truck and drove (among other things) through Kruger and Etosha National Parks on our own and at our own pace. We stayed in camps in or at the periphery of the parks. Nothing super luxurious about it (also not very expensive), but an awesome experience. I don’t know that I would enjoy a guided luxurious Safari experience as much.

When we came across a small herd of elephants at a watering hole in Etosha and I was able to take awesome (for my skill set) photos of a baby elephant face-planting into the dust and mud, it was definitely not a zoo experience.

I really enjoyed being in control, even though we actually never came a across lions in Kruger. It wasn’t about crossing off animals on a to-do list for us. And no animal was harmed during our safaris.

Can’t wait to go back. Like TomatoTomahto I consider our Africa trips and our Galapagos trip the highlights of our travel experience so far.

SomedaySoon
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by SomedaySoon » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:25 pm

Worth It. Did the trip with my wife several years ago... went to Arusha, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti. Camped in the Serengeti. Experience of a lifetime. Also trekked Kilmanjaro.

I think choice of tour company, and itinerary is key. You also need to have a spirit of adventure... it's not a cruise ship. Finally I'd only camp if others were really into it - the luxury lodges were much nicer and still gave an outdoorsy feel.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:31 pm

I was in Africa on business a couple of times a number of years ago. So definitely for me it was well worth the side trips to see several game parks including visiting the Kruger reserve in S.A. - a great experience and absolutely nothing like a zoo. Having said that, personally I would not travel all the way to Africa from the U.S. (and associated hassle, time, and expense) to do an African safari trip.

zlltt
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by zlltt » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:42 pm

People usually overrate their travel, since they had spent so much time and money.



I have a unique way to judge if it's a hype or really worth it, check the revisiting ratio.
More returning customers, the more worth it.

The rule is also good for restaurant.

What do you think?

Lynette
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Lynette » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:03 pm

@Travel Geek. Congratulations on researching, understanding and implementing your travel plans so successfully. My advice is to decide what you want to do, decide on your budget and then research, research, research. The local tour providers are aware that there is a market for tourism. I frequently went back to South Africa to visit family. I haven't seen this recently but at JFK, I used to come across Americans checking in their rifles for the "hunt". A friend of mine told me that a new game park had been created for hunters. The animal - usually lion - would be tranquilized with darts and the the big game hunter claimed his trophy. This was very expensive. Also don't be naive or fearful about crime. Just be careful if you go on your own.

So enjoy - I will likely return again some day with my camera. I want to go to the Victoria Falls again. It is possible to combine a visit to game parks with other site-seeing. I was not able to travel in most parts of Africa because of South Africa's Apartheid policies. I want to go to Zanzibar some day. Some of these countries have amazing scenery as well. I find it interesting to explore the cultures of the local places.

In the winter I was taking a class in photography and so I went to the local zoo. Granted it was winter but the lions were indoors and the only one I could find was a lazy one hiding behind thick glass. So there are zoos, and zoos, and game parks and game parks. I will not go back to this zoo but I will likely go to a game park again and combine it with other site-seeing.
Last edited by Lynette on Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pivoprussia
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by pivoprussia » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:18 pm

Roosevelt,

It definitely depends on you. The idea that seeing animals in a zoo is as good as in the bush in Africa is unfathomable to me. If that is you don't waste your time and money.

Africa was amazing. There is something so special, so primal about that continent that pulls you in. It is like no other destination. The cradle of civilization. You will feel "your world" is so distant, in the best of ways.

If you love animals, adventure and pick the right camps it will be one of the best experiences in your life.

It won't come cheap but it will be worth every penny if Africa calls you.

I went with a group headed by an Africa expert. She has been numerous times and delivered more than I could have imagined.
Here is her site: www.eyesonyousafaris.com. Her name is Julie.

A taste of one amazing camp:
https://singita.com/lodge/singita-pamushana-lodge/

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Alexa9
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:31 pm

Not worth it! Just watch the Travel Channel Bro! Buy yourself a big screen TV with that money. :mrgreen:

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:35 pm

pivoprussia wrote:It definitely depends on you. The idea that seeing animals in a zoo is as good as in the bush in Africa is unfathomable to me. If that is you don't waste your time and money.
This reminds me of those people who insist that they can’t tell the difference between Standard Definition TV and High Definition (1080p or 4K). To each their own.

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GerryL
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by GerryL » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:36 pm

I have many friends who have travelled to Africa, some multiple times, largely for the animal experience. Most are long-time zoo volunteers or employees. All have recommended the experience.

I have long debated going and think that perhaps by now I don't have the stamina for that kind of travel. Especially since I can't imagine travelling to Africa and not visiting a chimpanzee research field site, or at the very least a sanctuary (such as the one in Uganda). But those experiences are not part of the standard programs.

TravelGeek
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:36 pm

zlltt wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:42 pm
People usually overrate their travel, since they had spent so much time and money.
Is that based on a scientific study or your gut feel?
I have a unique way to judge if it's a hype or really worth it, check the revisiting ratio.
More returning customers, the more worth it.

The rule is also good for restaurant.

What do you think?
I think that is, frankly, not a good way to judge whether it was worth the money spent. I can afford to go to a restaurant many times and often revisit the same ones. They aren't necessarily the best restaurants either. Old habits or convenience play a role, too.

I (and I would think, most other visitors) cannot necessarily afford to go many times to Antarctica, but I don't think that when I do go I will be wasting my money (or overrating my experience). There is also the aspect of having only so much time to travel and so many places on my bucket list that I cannot necessarily go back to every place many times even if I really, really enjoyed it the first time. E.g., we went to Machu Picchu several years ago, and we really enjoyed the experience. I would love to go back. But it may not happen for a while or ever, because there are still many other ("similar") places we haven't been to.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

209south
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by 209south » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:39 pm

100% worth it. Bucket list. Must-do.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:36 pm

zlltt wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:42 pm
People usually overrate their travel, since they had spent so much time and money.

I have a unique way to judge if it's a hype or really worth it, check the revisiting ratio.
More returning customers, the more worth it.

The rule is also good for restaurant.

What do you think?
I think you're wrong. It can be a spectacular and unique experience and leave me ready for the next, different spectacular and unique trip. It's a big world out there with much to experience.

> Really depends on you. Are you more like the people who enjoyed it or the unimpressed?

Some people are regrettably not impressed by anything. I feel sorry for them.

2015
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by 2015 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:41 pm

Thanks to all who posted their experiences. A safari is on my upcoming trips list.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by 02nz » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:12 pm

Definitely worth it. There are ton of choices of where to actually do such a safari. I've done two, one in Madikwe game reserve, in northern South Africa near the border with Botswana, and one in a private reserve near Kruger. Both were great, but Madikwe was really spectacular in the sheer variety of animals one can see. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Lynette » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:28 pm

A minor point on terminology. Many people born in Africa, smile when Americans says they are going on a safari. When I was growing up in South Africa, a safari meant that one was going on a pioneering trek into bush country possibly on foot with a few African guides, food supplies and a few guns. The term safari would have been used for the explorers in the late nineteenth century or Europeans who went into "wild" territory where no white person had ever been before. We would not use the term safari for someone who is spending $10,000 for a two week stay in luxurious air-conditioned hotels, travelling in air-conditioned vehicles etc. etc. For most people we would say that you are going to a game park.

doneat53
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by doneat53 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:41 pm

I would like-in it to being able to go back in time and travel the great plains of the US when the buffalo were at their peak. It's worth timing it for the wildebeest migration. If you are into ecology, climate, and the natural order of things I highly recommend it for the animals. If you are into anthropology... seeing the third world can be life changing. Absolutely profound.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Erwin007 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:57 pm

zlltt wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:42 pm
People usually overrate their travel, since they had spent so much time and money.



I have a unique way to judge if it's a hype or really worth it, check the revisiting ratio.
More returning customers, the more worth it.

The rule is also good for restaurant.

What do you think?
Probably not a great metric to use. Too many unique travel experiences. We’ve been to some great places (China, St Thomas, Australia, multiple Hawaiian islands, etc) but are always looking for something new and different. Quite a bit different to spend $50-80 on a great meal somewhere repetitively than to spend $15,000 to go to China or Australia repetitively.

My sister and brother-in-law and neighbors (separately) went to Africa last year for safaris/game park experiences. Their photos and stories were phenomenal. We have added it to our list of things to do based on their experiences.

Edit: should have read the two other responses that basically said the same thing I did.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Deats1980 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:23 pm

We went to Kruger in our own car. From memory it cost something like $20 a day. It was very very cheap. We got to the park gates when they opened and stayed until dark. We did this 2 days in a row. Most of the tracks had nobody on them. We were often the only ones. Our car was surrounded by baby hyenas. We saw a lion fighting hyenas. Saw leopard cubs, cheetahs, spotted dogs at dawn. Saw so many animals. Elephants, rhinos, crocodiles etc etc. It was amazing. And it cost next to nothing. Also, we enjoyed it so much more as we were usually the only ones in the location where we spotted the animals.

Sure, if you are totally minted, go spend $5-10k on a safari. But you will get nothing more than a person paying $20 (in terms of wildlife). And you often have others with you, rather than being on your own. So, I don't see the point. Finding the animals for yourself is incredibly rewarding. Either way you do it - you need patience!

South Africa is a truly incredible country. Incredibly cheap and easy to get around. Diving, mountains, culture and all with European standards (roads, food, etc)

I have travelled to nearly 100 countries and spent the best part of eight years on the road (actual travel) and lived abroad since 2009. South Africa ranks right up there with anywhere else in the world.
Last edited by Deats1980 on Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

fujiters
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by fujiters » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:48 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:35 pm
pivoprussia wrote:It definitely depends on you. The idea that seeing animals in a zoo is as good as in the bush in Africa is unfathomable to me. If that is you don't waste your time and money.
This reminds me of those people who insist that they can’t tell the difference between Standard Definition TV and High Definition (1080p or 4K). To each their own.
I can tell the difference, but I prefer lower resolution. Once I can see pores and wrinkles on the actors, I find it more distracting than anything else.

For the folks who drove themselves, did you have any safety concerns? Perhaps I'm too paranoid, but the thought of breaking down or getting lost in the midst of lion territory makes me think a local guide might be warranted.
“The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.” -Benjamin Graham

Deats1980
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Deats1980 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:00 am

Deats1980 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:23 pm
For the folks who drove themselves, did you have any safety concerns? Perhaps I'm too paranoid, but the thought of breaking down or getting lost in the midst of lion territory makes me think a local guide might be warranted.
We got charged by a male elephant once. But I always kept the car in gear and was able to quickly move away. The danger comes when you have cars pulling up in a group and they box you in. This once happened when a herd of elephants crossed the road in front of us. We had cars pull up behind and there was no escaping. The mothers had their babies with them. Thankfully they just crossed the road and carried on. Honestly, both occasions were a bit scary. We also had a male lion shoot out of the bushes chasing a hyena.

Sooner or later another car will come down the track you are on if you break down. I can't remember if there was phone connection, but I think there was... NEVER get out of the car. Some people are so dumb. They have the windows wound down, or think it is ok to quickly step out of the car and take a photo. You have NO idea what is lurking in the bushes. There are designated areas where you can get out of your car and have a picnic. I would definitely do a self drive again.

And go in winter as a) it isn't so hot and b) the grass is much shorter, so it is easier to spot the animals

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Deats1980 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:03 am

fujiters wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:48 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:35 pm
pivoprussia wrote:It definitely depends on you. The idea that seeing animals in a zoo is as good as in the bush in Africa is unfathomable to me. If that is you don't waste your time and money.
This reminds me of those people who insist that they can’t tell the difference between Standard Definition TV and High Definition (1080p or 4K). To each their own.
I can tell the difference, but I prefer lower resolution. Once I can see pores and wrinkles on the actors, I find it more distracting than anything else.

For the folks who drove themselves, did you have any safety concerns? Perhaps I'm too paranoid, but the thought of breaking down or getting lost in the midst of lion territory makes me think a local guide might be warranted.
We got charged by a male elephant once. But I always kept the car in gear and was able to quickly move away. The danger comes when you have cars pulling up in a group and they box you in. This once happened when a herd of elephants crossed the road in front of us. We had cars pull up behind and there was no escaping. The mothers had their babies with them. Thankfully they just crossed the road and carried on. Honestly, both occasions were a bit scary. We also had a male lion shoot out of the bushes chasing a hyena.

Sooner or later another car will come down the track you are on if you break down. I can't remember if there was phone connection, but I think there was... NEVER get out of the car. Some people are so dumb. They have the windows wound down, or think it is ok to quickly step out of the car and take a photo. You have NO idea what is lurking in the bushes. There are designated areas where you can get out of your car and have a picnic. I would definitely do a self drive again.

And go in winter as a) it isn't so hot and b) the grass is much shorter, so it is easier to spot the animals

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Lynette » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:51 am

Deats1980 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:23 pm
We went to Kruger in our own car. From memory it cost something like $20 a day. It was very very cheap. We got to the park gates when they opened and stayed until dark. We did this 2 days in a row. Most of the tracks had nobody on them. We were often the only ones. Our car was surrounded by baby hyenas. We saw a lion fighting hyenas. Saw leopard cubs, cheetahs, spotted dogs at dawn. Saw so many animals. Elephants, rhinos, crocodiles etc etc. It was amazing. And it cost next to nothing. Also, we enjoyed it so much more as we were usually tithe only ones in the location where we spotted the animal
It sounds as if you had a good time. Its just a question of terminology. As South Africans we would say we were going to Kruger or such and such a game park not on a safari. As someone who has lived in the US for nearly forty years, I've found that many Americans do not have much knowledge of "Africa". The Europeans especially the Brits know far more about Africa as they were colonizers as there is still a British commonwealth which is the relic of the British empire. Prince Harry did a lot of humanitarian work in Botswana which is one of the more stable African countries.

In any event, research carefully, then go and enjoy the fantastic animals in their unspoiled environment.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by financeguy88 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:00 am

Deats1980 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:23 pm
We went to Kruger in our own car. From memory it cost something like $20 a day. It was very very cheap. We got to the park gates when they opened and stayed until dark. We did this 2 days in a row. Most of the tracks had nobody on them. We were often the only ones. Our car was surrounded by baby hyenas. We saw a lion fighting hyenas. Saw leopard cubs, cheetahs, spotted dogs at dawn. Saw so many animals. Elephants, rhinos, crocodiles etc etc. It was amazing. And it cost next to nothing. Also, we enjoyed it so much more as we were usually the only ones in the location where we spotted the animals.

Sure, if you are totally minted, go spend $5-10k on a safari. But you will get nothing more than a person paying $20 (in terms of wildlife). And you often have others with you, rather than being on your own. So, I don't see the point. Finding the animals for yourself is incredibly rewarding. Either way you do it - you need patience!

South Africa is a truly incredible country. Incredibly cheap and easy to get around. Diving, mountains, culture and all with European standards (roads, food, etc)

I have travelled to nearly 100 countries and spent the best part of eight years on the road (actual travel) and lived abroad since 2009. South Africa ranks right up there with anywhere else in the world.
Sounds like you had an amazing trip in Kruger and saw some really unique things.

Just to provide the other perspective, when we went the cars who paid $20 or whatever to go into the park had to stay on the main roads, and could only enter after 8am (or something like this) and had to be out by 5pm. Also they had to stay on the main roads. As part of staying at one of the lodges we could do game drives in the early morning and late at night. Also very rarely were we on the main roads — most of the time was spent offroading. As newbies to game parks it was great to have a guide and a tracker explaining everything everything as we drove along. Lastly it was very cool experience to watch the animals from our rooms. It was the most expensive trip I’ve done but it’s one of the few vacations I’ve done where I really want to go back again.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by blaugranamd » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:23 am

Yes go. If your only goal is to see wildlife in a preserve you might be disappointed. If you want to experience one of the most unique and wild continents then you'll be rewarded. Wife and I spent a month in Swaziland doing medical work and just seeing the cultural and ecological differences was worth it in addition to having rhinos size up our party on foot in a game preserve. :shock: next trip we're planning is Botswana to the Okavango Delta. Some amazing looking stuff there.
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:34 am

Some people prefer watching concert footage on YouTube instead of attending concerts. But I see your point. And I love zoos, by the way. I did Kruger in 1990 for a few days. Saw a big cat within minutes, but not much else thereafter. Still, it was OK. It would be nice to see gorillas in Uganda, etc., but it's probably a little too pricey for me, and over-touristed? I'd rather spend my time with African people than animals.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by stemikger » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:39 am

RooseveltG wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:22 pm
Some seasoned travelers tell us that Africa was the best trip they ever took. Others have been unimpressed and are just as happy seeing animals in the zoo.

Would be interested in thoughts of those who have visited Africa. Is it worth it or mostly hype?

Thanks in advance.

Roosevelt.
I never went, but Animal Kingdom in Disney World does a safari and it's pretty impressive. Plus, you don't have get all those shots. :D
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

Cash
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Cash » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:13 am

Deats1980 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:23 pm
Sure, if you are totally minted, go spend $5-10k on a safari. But you will get nothing more than a person paying $20 (in terms of wildlife).
I know you want to think that, but there is no way we would have been able to spot what our expert tracker was able to spot, especially during our night drives. The night drives were amazing. And like another poster said, you're able to leave the main roads and go to the animals rather than hope they come near you.

Jags4186
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:16 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:35 pm
pivoprussia wrote:It definitely depends on you. The idea that seeing animals in a zoo is as good as in the bush in Africa is unfathomable to me. If that is you don't waste your time and money.
This reminds me of those people who insist that they can’t tell the difference between Standard Definition TV and High Definition (1080p or 4K). To each their own.
SD was great until I saw HD, once I saw HD I could never watch SD. The same thing did not happen with 4k vs HD. Perhaps I'm becoming my father.

As for the OPs question, I've never been, but I know people who have and while they greatly enjoyed the nature, they didn't really enjoy the trip. Hope that helps!

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:20 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:16 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:35 pm
pivoprussia wrote:It definitely depends on you. The idea that seeing animals in a zoo is as good as in the bush in Africa is unfathomable to me. If that is you don't waste your time and money.
This reminds me of those people who insist that they can’t tell the difference between Standard Definition TV and High Definition (1080p or 4K). To each their own.
SD was great until I saw HD, once I saw HD I could never watch SD. The same thing did not happen with 4k vs HD. Perhaps I'm becoming my father.

As for the OPs question, I've never been, but I know people who have and while they greatly enjoyed the nature, they didn't really enjoy the trip. Hope that helps!
We usually fly coach, but this was one trip that we bumped to business class. We flew to London, stayed a few days, and then went to South Africa. Maybe next year we will go back.

TravelGeek
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:25 am

Cash wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:13 am
I know you want to think that, but there is no way we would have been able to spot what our expert tracker was able to spot, especially during our night drives. The night drives were amazing. And like another poster said, you're able to leave the main roads and go to the animals rather than hope they come near you.
It’s been sixteen years, but when we were at Kruger on our self-driving trip, the various rest camps offered night drives and day walking excursions for a small fee that nicely added to our experience. (we weren’t allowed to be outside the rest camps at night with our own vehicle)

I don’t disagree that the more expensive guided game drives / safaris are likely a more time efficient way to see a collection of animals. For us it wasn’t worth the cost differential, though. I don’t mind more “rustic” accommodations and food choices (a Four Seasons style “camping” experience isn’t exactly what I associate with the African bush); driving around Kruger for five days and finding animals on our own was more our style of travel.

The nice thing is that there are options for everyone. None of them is right or wrong.

stan1
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by stan1 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:31 am

I would only do such a trip if I was in an SUV with a driver, guide, and no other tourists. Lodging would not need to be luxury. I would not do it if I was in a bus or van with other people. Cost would be higher but sometimes a bargain is not a good deal. Fully independent might be an option too but I'm not that adventurous.

dknightd
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by dknightd » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:35 am

There is really only one way to find out. Do it.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm

Fourteen years ago I went to Tanzania for a week, on an organized wildlife-observation tour (plus Oldupai Gorge which I had long wanted to visit). It was my fourth of the seven continents. I've since visited the other three, an ambition I took up during the plane ride home.

I was careful to trade off cost and value. For example, the tour company offered a discount on the airfare, but the very same airline advertised a significantly lower price to the general public, at least on the day I pulled the rope.

It was worth it to me, and I'm happy I did it.

I don't know if it would be worth it to you.

PJW

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RooseveltG
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by RooseveltG » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:24 pm

Appreciate all the responses. For now, we are considering Tanzania.

Perhaps those who went to Africa were self-selecting, but almost no one I know regrets having gone, which is a strong endorsement for going.

Roosevelt.

PinotGris
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by PinotGris » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:42 pm

RooseveltG wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:22 pm
Some seasoned travelers tell us that Africa was the best trip they ever took. Others have been unimpressed and are just as happy seeing animals in the zoo.

Would be interested in thoughts of those who have visited Africa. Is it worth it or mostly hype?

Thanks in advance.

Roosevelt.
We have been twice to Tanzania. Absolutely worth it. I hate zoos. it is a sad place.

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Cycle
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Cycle » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:06 pm

I was in South Africa with some friends for an Ironman, so we went through Kruger national park as a side trip. It was pretty neat, but it is a lot of sitting in a car. We did 4 days in the park, with AC lodging and all safaris and walking trips it was probably $1200 for two people, but this was at a National park. In hindsight, I'd prefer to just do 3 and take an extra day in Cape Town.

We did a couple of the walking tours, which were amazing. Nothing like walking through the bush with black mambas in the vicinity. You can get terrifyingly close to the animals. We had a big group of buffalo line up in formation in front of us and they were banging their horns together to intimidate us. Its hard no to think of how Mufasa died in the Lion King at that time. The same day we were hiking 20 miles away the guides of a similar walking group were both mutilated by an elephant leaving the tourists to give aid and get help. https://africageographic.com/blog/kruge ... ff-member/.

I'd absolutely recommend doing a safari, but would spend a minority of the trip on that activity, at least in South Africa. Try to go during the dry season when the game congregates at water sources. I've heard from other travelers seeing the great migration is really amazing, which I think is in Tanzania.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Copper John » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:32 pm

Are you a lover of wildlife? Are you excited and stop and enjoy the moment when you encounter eagles, deer, moose, elk, bears here in North America? If the answer is yes, you are in for an over the top wildlife experience in the top safari destinations in Africa. I went on what I thought was "once in a lifetime" trip to Zambia some 20 years ago. After 20 minutes in camp, I was already planning on how I would be able to return.

I have returned almost every year since that trip to various camps all over Africa. My preference are small tented camps where game viewing takes precedence and camps that are located in non-crowded areas. I avoid packaged tours that have you moving every 1-2 days and have you staying at big lodges. Tented camps in general are nothing like camping in American tents in our National parks and will cost more than big lodges. They will offer you the opportunity to hear the sounds and smell the scents of the African bush.

If you do Tanzania stay away from packaged tours that pack you into min-buses and have you moving every 1-2 days.

Kidneydoc
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Kidneydoc » Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:50 pm

Worth it.

Went to Tanzania last year. Africa is a great way to escape it all. We had limited internet (a blessing in disguise). Skip Arusha National Park, as I would recommend extra days in Serengeti National Park. By definition, it is a expensive, small group tour (limited to size of a Land Cruiser 6-7 passengers max). Don't go if you get carsick as roads terrible, and mostly unpaved in the parks.

Definitely plan to go to Botswana/South Africa in the future.

Deats1980
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Deats1980 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:05 am

financeguy88 wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:00 am

Sounds like you had an amazing trip in Kruger and saw some really unique things.

Just to provide the other perspective, when we went the cars who paid $20 or whatever to go into the park had to stay on the main roads, and could only enter after 8am (or something like this) and had to be out by 5pm. Also they had to stay on the main roads. As part of staying at one of the lodges we could do game drives in the early morning and late at night. Also very rarely were we on the main roads — most of the time was spent offroading. As newbies to game parks it was great to have a guide and a tracker explaining everything everything as we drove along. Lastly it was very cool experience to watch the animals from our rooms. It was the most expensive trip I’ve done but it’s one of the few vacations I’ve done where I really want to go back again.
This is totally untrue and I am not sure who gave you this information? Maybe the people selling you the tour? Usually prices have to be justified by companies, sometimes by stretching the truth.

Facts:
1) All cars are allowed onto the dirt roads, that is where we spent most of our time. And that is where we saw most of the animals. Some roads you must have a 4x4, due to the terrain, so if you are driving a 4x4, no problem. But most roads were navigable without a 4x4.
2) We were allowed into the park before sunrise and left at sunset. I think we got in before 6am. I remember the sun coming up as we rounded a corner and nearly bumping into an elephant.

The night walks sound great. Seeing animals from your bedroom window sounds great. Worth $5-10k extra? Not for me. But that is just my experience. We saw all the animals without having to pay that. So I was happy to pay $40 instead of $5-10,000 and miss out on a guided walk. And you could pay for guided walks without staying in the park, from what I remember. We opted not to.

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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by Leemiller » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:44 am

We did a private safari in Tanzania. Worth it. Also, it was great to have a private tour so everything was on our terms. If we wanted to stop and just watch a cheetah family for two hours while we had lunch, we did. We passed by one tour bus with someone getting sick over the side on our way to see a leopard. Glad we didn’t miss it. Also, tip generously and be a gracious visitor.

financeguy88
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Re: African Safari: Worth it or Hype?

Post by financeguy88 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:54 am

Deats1980 wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:05 am
financeguy88 wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:00 am

Sounds like you had an amazing trip in Kruger and saw some really unique things.

Just to provide the other perspective, when we went the cars who paid $20 or whatever to go into the park had to stay on the main roads, and could only enter after 8am (or something like this) and had to be out by 5pm. Also they had to stay on the main roads. As part of staying at one of the lodges we could do game drives in the early morning and late at night. Also very rarely were we on the main roads — most of the time was spent offroading. As newbies to game parks it was great to have a guide and a tracker explaining everything everything as we drove along. Lastly it was very cool experience to watch the animals from our rooms. It was the most expensive trip I’ve done but it’s one of the few vacations I’ve done where I really want to go back again.
This is totally untrue and I am not sure who gave you this information? Maybe the people selling you the tour? Usually prices have to be justified by companies, sometimes by stretching the truth.

Facts:
1) All cars are allowed onto the dirt roads, that is where we spent most of our time. And that is where we saw most of the animals. Some roads you must have a 4x4, due to the terrain, so if you are driving a 4x4, no problem. But most roads were navigable without a 4x4.
2) We were allowed into the park before sunrise and left at sunset. I think we got in before 6am. I remember the sun coming up as we rounded a corner and nearly bumping into an elephant.

The night walks sound great. Seeing animals from your bedroom window sounds great. Worth $5-10k extra? Not for me. But that is just my experience. We saw all the animals without having to pay that. So I was happy to pay $40 instead of $5-10,000 and miss out on a guided walk. And you could pay for guided walks without staying in the park, from what I remember. We opted not to.
This definitely isn't untrue. We were watching a female lion and her cubs stalk a pack of buffalo close to sunset, one of the few times we were on the main roads. The tourists not staying at the lodge had to leave just as the action was heating up. Also most of the time we were on roads or paths in an off-roading vehicle that no normal vehicle could drive on, or we'd drive through deep mud or knee deep water. Sometimes we'd go off the roads through the high grass to get closer to the game. Perhaps somewhere in the park there are dirt roads that are open to the public.

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