Travelling can be addictive. Exploring new places and cultures will change your life. Now that may sound like hyperbole, but travellers know this to be true. The desire to keep exploring new and exciting places can be overwhelming. So it is entirely understandable to find yourself dreaming about your great South African safari lodge holiday knowing next to nothing about the destination and what it has to offer. South Africa is a wonderfully vibrant and diverse country with attractions to suit almost every taste. Cape Town, The Wild Coast, The West Coast and Kruger National Park are just a few of the highlights. Here are a few tips to ensure that you get the most out of your South African odyssey.
A good starting point would be visiting the South African Embassy (In London the South African High Commision is based at South Africa House on Trafalgar Square). There is loads of information available here. You can apply for your visa, and find out about any customs regulations. It also has information on mandatory shots, which are particularly important for those going on safari. It also provides you with some information on upcoming events.
We may be in the age of the Internet, but guidebooks and maps are still incredibly useful to have around. All the cities in South Africa have numerous Wi-Fi hotspots or Internet cafes, but a guidebook is very handy if you find yourself out in more rural areas.
Maybe you heard about South Africa from a co-worker or a friend who is from here? In that case why not find out if they’ll be your guide while you’re visiting. There really is not a better way to experience a country than with the locals. Locals can show you little spots off the beaten track or simple life hacks to help your finances if you’re travelling on a budget. They have in depth knowledge of what to see and when the best times are to see it. Also providing you with food recommendations if you have a more discerning palate and invaluable tips on safety precautions you may need to know.
Now most likely you’re coming on safari, because what that comes to mind when people think about South Africa? Lions. Well technically they think about the Big Five, but we all know the lions are the real stars. The Kruger National Park, home to the Big Five, is world famous for its spectacular vistas and diverse wildlife. You can do a solo safari and stay at the various lodges and camping sites, either with or without a guide. Be warned this takes months of planning and not really recommended for your first safari. So if you don’t really have enough information or the time to research then why not try a vacation package. There are a number of safari lodges that offer wonderful all-inclusive packages that helps to relieve the stress of planning. Guided safaris, excellent local and international food, transport and world class accommodation they take care of it all, allowing you to sit back and enjoy yourself under the warm African sun.
Finally blogs and message boards are invaluable tools. You can find out a lot about a place by asking people who’ve been there. Community boards are often very informative and the users are helpful. You can also set up Google alerts if you’re tracking anything in particular like weather alerts (say for heat waves, since the African sun is relentless on the best of days) or event updates (sporting events etc). It makes gathering information a bit easier by sending it directly to your inbox.
The RSS feeds at SouthAfrica.net are an excellent resource too.
Hopefully these tips help give you a good start on your next adventure.
About the Author
Mark Norman grew up on a farm in South Africa and continues to find joy in immersing himself in the great outdoors. Passionate about animals and conservation, Mark is a capable outdoorsman and works at Pondoro Game Lodges where is able to make a living doing the things he loves most.