These safari trips tips mean you never have to say, if only I knew then what I know now, when you come back from your trip because they were compiled from travel reports written by people with real safari experience.
Make sure you pick a reputable company as the wrong choice can be financially disastrous. Take a look at the Top Three Safari trips Operators list to ease your decision making.
Make sure you know what the touring company provides and what not, e.g. sleeping bags, toilet paper, mosquito nets.
Safari companies usually have baggage weight and/or size limits. Find out what those are.
Ensure you know before departure how many people are going on your safari and that the vehicle is big enough ... or you might find yourself constantly fighting for the sun-roof viewing area and window space.
Inform your tour guide if you have any allergies or other serious medical condition like diabetes/epilepsy.
Provide emergency phone numbers of your tour company/guide to someone back home and vice versa.
Choose a responsible safari trips travel operator with policies protecting the environment and who offer fair working conditions to their staff and supports local projects.
Airport taxes are sometimes extra and due before departure. Airlines servicing your destination(s) should be able to help with more info.
Check duty free allowances re alcohol and cigarettes for each country if you intend taking "stock" with.
Leave a copy of your passport & itinerary with someone at home.
Safari trips travel insurance - if you're planning to take part in adventure activities like bungi jumping, rafting and quad biking ensure your policy covers this.
Get your jabs and medication (like malaria tablets) from your local travel clinic or GP.
US$ is easiest to travel with in Africa. Get an idea of the various exchange rates of countries you are going to pass through.
Learn about the country's history and current affairs to better understand people's behaviour.
Read about African wildlife before you go - it will enrich your game viewing experiences, e.g. you can really appreciate the thrill of seeing one of the world's rarest animals - the black rhino - if you know how few there are left on earth.
To save a bit of money, consult your library for travel guidebooks before you buy - they often have great ones you can borrow for free.
Electricity in Africa is 220-240V AC50Hz.
You can exchange money/travellers cheques at banks (hours are usually Mon-Fri and Sat mornings), airports, most hotels and lodges and some camps. Beware of changing money at smaller camps where you have no choice but to accept the exchange rate of the camp manager!
It's wise not to exchange money on the black market or if you do at least be very careful. These guys slip plain paper or small denomination notes in between 20s for instance. They can swap a roll of the right money very quickly for a worthless one and disappear into crowds even quicker.
Zimbabwe Dollars are worthless outside its borders - you don't want any of it left by the time you leave the country as US$ or South African Rand is worth more - even within Zim.
Drink plenty of fluids in hot weather. Support local enterprise (markets, curios - but stay away from any illegal trade/product).
Use all your senses for the best experience and great memories, e.g. taste the local food, brews and fruit.
Don't give kids sweets/money/pens as it encourages begging - it's more productive to make a donation to a recognised project or school.
Try to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and trousers after sunset and apply plenty of insect repellent.
AIDS is rampant in Africa. This shouldn't be a worry for you on safari, but avoid used needles or getting in contact with other people's blood etc.
Always ask permission if you wish to photograph people - not everyone is keen.
Save precious nature resources (water) and respect local etiquette - even ways of being polite differ from country to country.
Be patient, friendly and sensitive - remember you're on holiday in "Africa time". Leave only footprints, take only photographs. Keep noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing wildlife.
Don't feed animals or get out of the vehicle near them: wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous.