We often get asked what a typical day on safari at a luxury lodge entails. If you’ve never had the privilege of experiencing one first hand, we hope this post of ours helps you to get an idea.
While no two days are the same, and every destination, lodge and guide give their own feel and ‘flavour’, there is a general format that you can come to expect. Let us paint a picture for you. Allow your imagination to run wild…
Early wake-up call:
As the old adage goes ‘the early bird catches the worm’. In the safari world this couldn’t be truer. The animals are most active during the cooler hours of the day, so an early wake-up is in order to maximise your chances of seeing some action. You’ll usually be woken up around 5 o’clock with a nice cup of coffee.
Up at the main deck, just as the first rays of sunlight are just starting to climb over the horizon, your guide will greet you and explain what the plan is for the morning activity (a general itinerary for your stay will typically be discussed upon your arrival at the lodge).
Depending on where you are in Africa, your morning activity will vary in length. In some countries, particularly in East Africa, you will often be out all morning, stopping off for a bite to eat. In Southern Africa it will often last around 4 hours before you head back to camp.
If you’re lucky, you might stop off for some light breakfast in the bush with a nice slug of Amarula in a coffee to round off the morning.
Examples of morning activities:
- Game drive
- Bush walk/big game walk
- Boating or mokoro safari
- Horseback safari
- Hot air balloon safari or helicopter
- Quad biking
- Cultural experience
Morning bush walk:
On the way back from your morning activity we recommend trying to get in a bush walk. It’s a great way to stretch your legs and really earn your breakfast. It’s also provides a fantastic opportunity to see the wild from a different perspective. Make sure to let your guide know that you are interested in a walk when you arrive.
If you didn’t eat out in the bush, breakfast back at camp is usually quite a hearty affair. A Full English while watching elephants drinking from the water hole in front of camp is surely everyone’s dream (or maybe just ours).
This is a great time to relax by the pool while reading a book and sipping a cocktail. You’re on holiday, it’s 12 o’clock somewhere!
From here you can roll back to deck for a light lunch before returning to lounge in the shade avoiding the African heat. This is the hottest time of the day and when the majority of the animals will be doing exactly the same. As Noel Coward once sang, ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’.
For those of you that can nap, a post lunch siesta is highly recommended. If not, enjoy a massage to pass the time.
Afternoon tea and game drive:
After a quick coffee to revive you from your day of indulgence, it’s time to head out into the bush again. Your afternoon game drive will often include a delightful pause for a sundowner. Don’t be afraid to tell your guide if you’d rather keep going in search of animals, or stick with the ones your watching.
My favourite trick if I’m very thirsty is to ask the guide to place the cooler box in reaching distance so you can sip your G&T while watching a leopard patrol its territory.
Once you arrive back into camp it will likely be dark. As such, you will be escorted back to your room by a security guard (please don’t be tempted to walk alone while it’s dark). Time to quickly freshen up before dinner.
Dinners on safari tend to be a jolly communal affair where you can regale the stories of your day. By the time dessert has been cleared away you’ll be ready for bed and pleasantly surprised it’s only about 9.30. Get some well earned rest, it all begins again tomorrow when the sun comes up.
If you’re lucky you might be treated to a ‘Bush Dinner’. This is where you eat out in the bush in a specially prepared area. This is a truly awe-inspiring experience as you can hear and feel everything that’s going on around you.
So there you have it – a typical day on safari. We hope that this has given you a slightly better understanding of what it’s like on one of our trips.