Everyone loves safari. Knowingly or unknowingly, we have all done at least a small-scale safari at some point of our life. You might be wondering when and how. Though safari in common understanding refers to long journeys through African jungles chasing animals, it is nothing but an expedition to observe or record wildlife in its environment or its natural setting, irrespective of the length of the journey.
So, if you’ve ever left your home or anywhere else to watch a bird or animal, or if you went on a trip to enjoy natural landscapes, you have enjoyed safari. Now the question is, what makes us think of Africa when we hear the term 'safari?' And also, what makes African safari so unique as a touring activity? There are a multitude of factors behind this.
Africa is naturally very diverse. Its weather varies from a hot desert climate in the north to a semi-tropical or temperate climate in the south. Its geographical setting varies from valleys to mountains. While some part of Africa gets heavy rain, other parts seldom get any rain. This distinct combination has led to the evolution of diverse vegetation ranging from the desert date palms to the rich evergreen rain forests. This has ultimately led to the evolution of a variety of living creatures, from small insects to massive African elephants. This means that an African safari provides a unique opportunity to witness a variety of flora and fauna.
If you share the love of photography, especially wildlife photography, expressed by famous poker player Mikhail Shalamov, then a safari in Africa is something you can never miss. A Safari provides unique opportunities to capture lifelike pictures. It has a variety of landscapes to offer, providing the perfect setting for priceless photos. Capturing animals and birds on film closer to you than you could ever imagine will let you re-live those moments whenever you see those pictures again.
Africa is the continent least affected by modern development and skyscrapers. A majority of the continent is still removed from the modern way of life. This allows the tourist to enjoy nature and its wonders in its original form. Because the African safari destinations are in natural settings, they are less costly and more affordable, thereby providing great value for your money.
An African safari gives you the opportunity to closely watch and understand a number of species that are classified as endangered and endemic by the IUCN. These include Pickersgill's reed frog, the Cape vulture, the cheetah, the blue crane and many others. Being surrounded by these wonderful creatures in a natural landscape is, in itself, a unique feeling.
An African safari gives one an opportunity to engage in many safe, but adventurous, activities. These activities include riding an ostrich in Oudtshoorn, climbing to the top of the UNESCO world heritage site in the Drakensberg mountains, kayaking, horseback riding, elephant riding, quad biking, etc. You can also witness the migration of tens of thousands of animals from a hot-air balloon, provided that the visit is during the right season.
There are a lot more wonders that are to be explored and captured. Spotting a whale from dry land is something worth watching, which is possible from Hermanus between July and November. Watching Blyde River Canyon — arguably the largest green canyon — can be a great treat for the eyes. Seeing the majesty of Victoria Falls can never be forgotten. Visiting the land of one of the oldest civilisations and exploring the pyramids close up can be a mind-blowing experience. And the list is incomplete, as there are numerous more wonders to be mentioned.
In between, an African safari lets you explore a highly-varied culture with different languages, faiths, and arts. Many of the cultural practices of tribal groups cannot be witnessed anywhere else in the world. And throughout the entire journey, you can get to experience local cuisine, which vary in taste and smell. Thus, overall, an African safari is as special as it can be, and these unique aspects, taken all together, make Africa a favourite safari destination.