As the busy summer season for travel has come to a close, it’s time to turn your attention to planning for next year’s adventure to Africa — or if your dates are somewhat flexible and you prefer a shorter planning horizon, we’ve been very successful in creating ‘last minute, dream of a lifetime’ trips. There are still three fabulous months to travel this year.
But for those of you with your sights set on travel in 2024, we want to encourage you to start the planning process now. While it may seem like it’s a long way off and you’ve got plenty of time to think about it, that’s not what your fellow adventure seekers are finding. The interest in safari travel to Africa continues to be super strong, driven by a combination of factors from pent up demand to the exclusivity of the safari experience to the ideal weather Africa offers to the appeal as a family destination – all making it a very popular choice for travelers seeking unique, customized, nature-based experiences. We don’t want you to be disappointed by not getting your first choice of safari camps and lodges, activities, guides and even flights.
The ideal timing for booking a safari to Africa can vary depending on several factors, including the specific destination, the time of year you plan to travel, your budget, and your flexibility. However, for high-demand destinations and peak seasons, booking 12 to 18 months ahead is a good practice to ensure availability and secure your preferred accommodations and travel dates. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
- High Season vs. Low Season: Africa’s safari destinations typically have high and low seasons. High seasons, when wildlife viewing is at its best, often coincide with dry, cooler weather. As seasons in sub-Sahara Africa are opposite of ours, it is also during our summer months. Low seasons, with fewer tourists and lower prices, are usually during the wetter, hotter months.
- Budget and Availability: Luxury lodges and camps in popular safari destinations tend to fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. These more intimate properties can generally only accommodate a maximum of 20 – 30 travelers per night. If you have a specific budget and want to stay at a particular property, booking early (12 to 18 months in advance) can help guarantee your first choice will be available. This is especially true when family rooms are required.
- Last-Minute Deals: If you’re flexible with your travel dates and accommodations, you might find last-minute deals during the low or shoulder seasons. Some safari operators offer discounts to fill remaining space closer to the travel date. So for travelers for whom short term planning has appeal, we’d be delighted to try and make that happen for you.
- Specialty Safaris: If you’re planning a specialty safari (e.g., gorilla trekking in Uganda/Rwanda or the Migration in June-July), it’s essential to book well in advance, as these experiences have either limited availability or are in particularly high demand, especially during the very busy summer months.
- Flights: Booking international and regional flights well in advance can often result in better prices and more flight options, which can be crucial for coordinating your safari logistics. While there are more carriers servicing the various routes to Africa, the affordable seats are selling out early.
- Travel Insurance: And last but not least, we continue to encourage the purchase of travel insurance that covers your safari and any potential cancellations or emergencies. Ideally, obtain this well in advance of your trip.
Perhaps more than any other adventure, an African safari is a personal journey. In our 30 years of safari planning, we discovered every traveler’s expectations of safari travel is different and they each dream of experiencing Africa in a different way. Our very personalized, tailor-made, step-by-step approach to planning safaris has evolved from our first-hand knowledge and many, many years of experience traveling in Africa. You probably already have a vision of your ideal safari. Our role is to help you refine that vision, and then to make it a reality. As you research and plan your safari, we strongly believe the process should start with asking the right questions. We look forward to sharing our passion for safari travel with you! Give us a call 800-700-3677.