10 When to go on safari is the single most important question you need to answer for your client. Choosing an appropriate time to visit a country, or choosing an appropriate country to visit during a particular time, will make or break your client's holiday. Seasonal variations to weather, wildlife prevalence, insects and tourists, amongst other variables, will make huge differences to your client's enjoyment of their safari. Sending a family to Kenya in the rainy season will bring them back pretty frustrated, having seen little game and having had to entertain bored children inside as it pours outside. Game- viewing is possible all year round, but probable at only particular points during the year. Generally the best time for viewing game is before the rains come, when the land is dry and the animals are forced to the few dwindling waterholes which are left, and the grass is not too high to hide them from view. Whilst it can be very rewarding viewing wildlife during the breeding season, some animals tend to hide away to protect their young and are less visible to visitors. FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BOOKING YOUR CLIENT'S SAFARI In more detail, the following points are worth taking into account when deciding when and where to send your client on safari: PREVALENCE OF WILDLIFE Most countries will have indigenous wildlife. Check when is the best viewing time. For areas which operate on a rainy/ dry season cycle, the best time is often just before the rainy season starts. For areas which operate on a summer/ winter schedule, summer is often a great time to view wildlife as they enjoy the warmth and celebrate their young born in the spring. There are of course exceptions to the rule – many species of bird are best viewed in the rainy season, and marine life operates its own schedule entirely. SCENERY ( FLORA AND FAUNA) The natural environment will differ dramatically throughout the year; the rainy season may provide an outstanding backdrop in some places, but in others hide everything from view ( diving to see marine life can be difficult in the rainy season, for example). TEMPERATURE & HUMIDITY Temperature and humidity can affect the prevalence of certain wildlife, as well as making a potentially uncomfortable environment for your client. RAIN Dry areas are usually a good bet for wildlife viewing ( animals gather at dwindling water holes and are easy to spot; vegetation is lower and driving is easier), however some animals/ birds of course love the wet. WIND Wind can create a very uncomfortable environment for your client as well as for the animals. DUST When combined with wind, dust can create a pretty nasty environment. INSECTS Insects can cause significant discomfort; tsetse fly/ malarial mosquito are a particular concern for some travellers. Good insect repellent, the right clothing and malaria prophylaxis reduce the chances of being bitten or becoming ill. All good safari camps provide excellent mosquito nets and ' bug- proof' tents to prevent problems with insects and other wildlife. COST Prices in high and low season can differ dramatically, but price cannot be considered in isolation. Your client needs to weigh up the quality of the accommodation, and needs to have clear expectations if booking in the low season. TOURISTS The misconception that seeing other tourists on safari ruins the experience tends to be an exaggeration. Most game drives are spent without getting close to others in the area but occasionally when there is an unusual sighting or activity, like cats on a kill, there can be more than one vehicle in one place. If you are planning a honeymoon or romantic getaway the smaller, more exclusive safari camps/ lodges in more remote wildlife areas may be the best option. AND FINALLY – TIPS ON TIPPING Tipping is a sensitive subject often raised by your client that has no easy answer. Generally speaking US$ 10 to US$ 15 per person per day would be regarded as a generous tip, plus a tip directly to the guides of US$ 10 to US$ 15 per day spent with them, provided your clients have had an enjoyable experience. If the experience has been outstanding, adding 50% to these guidelines would generally exceed expectations. When should my client go on safari?
11 Directory of Safari Camps, Lodges & Resorts