African Safaris for First-Timers 🦒

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! How are your preparations for Halloween going? If you have school-aged children, you’re likely in a rush to prepare for costumes and parties – it’s a very busy time and the kiddos are excited! As a parent of older kids, I have many fond memories of Halloween and costume selection, including Scooby-Doo characters, aliens, pirates, and ghosts. Some costumes were homemade, and some store-bought but all memorable.

I’ve been receiving inquiries for African safaris and in fact have one on my own travel calendar. You’ll hear all about my trip and see my photos in future newsletters. While there, I’ll be posting on Stories, and you can follow along here: or

If you have a safari on your travel bucket list and are a first-timer, this newsletter will be a good start to educating you on what’s involved.

Read on for the scoop about African safaris for first timers…

Where to Safari?

A favorite itinerary for first timers to Africa takes you to Cape Town where you explore the Cape Peninsula and Winelands before visiting the stunning Victoria Falls, then finishing with safari in either Zimbabwe or South Africa.

However, the options are endless, and each trip is carefully tailored to your interests. What lights you up… water-based safaris, the Great Migration, giant sand dunes, local cultural experiences, unspoiled beaches, gorilla treks or see as many elephants as possible? Your trip to Africa will be exactly what you dream it can be.

💎 Hidden Gem Tip: If you’re already intrigued, you can schedule a chat with me here:

What’s A Typical Day on Safari?

There’s no ONE way to spend a day at a safari camp.. Depending on your itinerary, you may spend a whole day at camp just enjoying the surroundings, relaxing in the pool, or chatting with the staff.

F those days when you’ll be adventuring out on game drives, the day starts early and ends late, with plenty of excitement and delicious food in between. Here’s an outline of a “typical” day on safari:

5:30 am – Wakeup call with a knock – knock on your room’s door

6:00 am – Light breakfast in the main area

6:30 am – Depart for your morning activity/game drive

11:00 am – Brunch

3:30 pm – Afternoon tea

4:00 pm – Leave for afternoon game drive

7:00 pm – Sundowners & Dinner under the stars

After Dinner – Optional night game drive

Note – If you’re going on Safari with school-aged children, your itinerary will be customized to them and your traveling group.

💎Hidden Gem Tip: Like me, you may want to add a hot air balloon ride one day! Talk about a bucket list check ✔️

What Does ____ Mean?

Here are 5 terms about safaris to know when considering this epic trip:

Big Five — A phrase originally used by hunters to denote the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot — elephant, rhino, African buffalo, lion, and leopard. Now the phrase is used to refer to these same animals as the five key animals to find on safari.

Great Migration — While there are many migrations throughout the world, the term Great Migration is generally used to refer to the ongoing movement of huge herds of animals (largely zebra and wildebeests) through Kenya and Tanzania as they follow the food and water throughout the seasons.

Hide — A game-viewing hide or photographic hide is a structure that allows you to get up-close-and-personal with the wildlife while remaining hidden and safe. These can be elevated platforms in a tree, a sunken bunker, or similar, and they are usually located near a waterhole or other area frequently visited by wildlife.

Braai — In short, braai is a South African barbecue, a special feast that can last for hours, with meat cooked on wood (or charcoal). It is seen as a social event that brings together family and friends.

Sundowner — Sundowners, typically a cocktail enjoyed at sunset, are an integral part of the safari experience. Stopping the game drive vehicle in a scenic spot, setting up a makeshift bar, and having a snack and a drink while watching the stunning beauty of an African sunset … there is very little that can compare.

The Details

Along with my partners in who are experts in all things Africa, I will guide you through the many aspects to planning your first African safari including:

• Charter flight details and luggage requirements

• Packing guidelines, tips, and hacks

• Health precautions and vaccination requirements

• Visas and passport details

• Cell phone and cash/currency tips

• Photography and wildlife viewing tips

The planning process takes time and focus, and you are in experienced, expert hands when you book through Hidden Gem Travel.

Make your own Wanderlist for Africa! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you! Check it out here:

Inspired? Reach out to me now for 2023 and schedule a chat here:

Follow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: or Instagram:

Wishing you and your family continued good health,


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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.


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