A Typical Day on Safari

by Sandy Salle on February 19, 2019

We get a lot of questions about what happens on safari and the answer is always “it depends”. It depends on the time of year, where you are going in Africa, what time of day, etc. But the good news is that there is typically a schedule that each of the safari camps try to adhere to. They will also be the first ones to tell you that if there is a cheetah sighting that may keep us out later than usual!

Your day is going to start early, typically around 5:30am with a wake up call or a knock on your door and coffee. Dawn is the best time to see animals so you want to be out at that time. The game drive vehicles all come with blankets (and some even have hot water bottles!) but be sure to have hat and gloves and layers as when the sun comes out you will start to peel those layers. You will also get a light refreshment while on the drive which is usually hot coffee/tea and fresh baked goodies from the camp kitchen.

Early morning dawn is the best time to see the night time hunters – lions and leopards. We even saw where a female leopard had stashed her kill in a tree overlooking a dry river bed.

Animals like elephants, water buffalo and giraffe will all starting moving to waterholes to quench their thirst in the morning. Their reflections in the water in the soft morning light make for beautiful photos. Wild dogs will try to make a kill now before it gets too hot and exhausting to chase down prey in the heat.

When you return to camp between 9:30am – 11:00am you will have a cooked breakfast or brunch waiting for you. All the meals on safari are amazing and they can cater to special dietary restrictions if needed (we let them know ahead of time if you have any special requests).

Now it’s time to relax – swim in the pool, read, nap, enjoy a massage at the camp’s spa. Some camps offer guided nature walks during this time as well.

Between 1-2pm some camps will offer lunch depending upon when breakfast/brunch was served. I am here to tell you that you will NOT go hungry while on safari!

Around 3:30pm the camp will offer afternoon tea and treats as you prepare for your 4pm afternoon/evening game drive. As the sun sets, the animals will start to hunt and this is an excellent time to see a leopard and lions. The rhinos are out grazing and the elephants are looking to eat as well.

A major safari tradition is sundowners – drinks and snacks enjoyed halfway through the afternoon/evening drive at a favorite spot of your driver or tracker. This is a great time to get sunset photos too.

Upon your return to came around 7:30pm you return to a multiple course dinner and quite possibly a boma — which is a traditional open-air area around a warming campfire. The staff often sing, dance and drum in the boma before dinner. Be sure to have your camera set to “video” for this!

Depending on the camp, they may offer star gazing (this was one of favorite late night activities), listen to a lecture or enjoy a nightcap — all included at the safari camps. Most of us head to bed around 9:00pm as it is an early wake-up call again tomorrow to see what the new day brings.

Ready to book your trip? Call us right now at 1-800-940-9344 or email us at
hoainfo@hillsofafrica.com so we can begin turning your dream into reality with your African Safari.

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