Top tips for when booking a self-drive safari

Book in advance

When booking a safari, earlier really is better! The reason for this is that the best spots are often fully booked by the end of January as people look to lock in their holiday plans for the year. The school holiday months, July-September, being the first to book up.

Some campsites and lodges are more in demand than others. Botswana is the most notable. Should you wish to go to Botswana, we strongly recommend booking 12 months in advance.

That said, it is our skill to make a plan for you, and we often cater to last-minute bookings and make something work. We may not be able to guarantee your first choice camps. Luckily with Africa, you are spoilt for choice, and the second choice does not mean the second best.

Slow the trip down

Many clients have the same idea when approaching their itinerary - fit as much in as possible. It's human nature to some extent. You only live once and how often are you going to find yourselves in this specific part of Africa, so I need to see as much as possible. WRONG.

WRONG might be a bit strong, but we do want to make a point. Yes, may you see everything, but not enjoy any of it to its maximum. If you drive all day, arrive late in the afternoon and set off early the next morning, you've missed the in-camp experience altogether; this brings us to our next point.

Two night stays

When planning an itinerary, you can do a few long drives to fit in more without affecting your stay. However, if you start making every day a long drive, and only have one night stays at camps, then it can be a bit too much time in the car. The campsites and lodges have a lot to offer. Their sole aim is for you to have a great stay, and generally have a range of activities on offer, from boat trips to game drives, for you to do. Sometimes it's these activities that make your stay, so if you miss them, you are not getting the full experience, which is a shame - especially if you are paying a lot to stay there.

Activities aside, it's good to stop now and then, to absorb your surroundings. Sometimes it's the simpler things that make a trip. A little walk around the grounds, a chat with another guest, taking the time to read your book, have a siesta. Remember, you're on holiday. You don't want to finish your holiday feeling like you need another one.