Safari! No other word thrills the soul of a traveller quit like this one.
The Swahili word “safari” has its roots in Arabic (“safar”) and originally means “journey”. In English though, the word “safari” stands for adventure travel in remote areas in Africa and other regions of the world which are the habitat of many wild animals.
In colonial times, a safari was a hunting and nature expedition. The European expeditions first only explored Southern Africa when colonising the continent from Cape Town. Eastern Africa then was an Arabic stronghold. Only much later, it became the hunters paradise.
Credit: Private Safari
Today, wildlife observation and photography continue to boost the safari industry, which evolved over the last decades. Travelling became more affordable. Intercontinental flights cut travel time. And plenty of companies offer their services from transportation and accommodation to rangers guiding bush walks. The dream to catch the “Big Five” in their natural habitat can come true for many people.
And there are also highly luxury safaris in a private jet. Modern safari caters to all requirements and wallets.
The Big Five
Lion, African elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino are together the “Big Five”. If you are new to safari, they might be your goal for your first journey through the African bush. Once you hear the roar of a lion you might completely forget that you wanted to take that ultimate picture to show your friends at home. The excitement that builds when you track wild animals is hard to describe. You pulse gets faster when the sun sets turning stunning landscapes in sheer gold while you hear the wildlife around you.
Conservation and ecotourism
Conservation is a key factor in modern safari. Companies like “andBeyond” and “Wilderness Safari” implemented ecotourism into their daily business. Education plays an important role amongst guests and local communities. Guest learn along their safari about the fragile ecosystem in the Okavango Delta, for example. Using a traditional Mokoro (wooden canoe, standing at the stern pushing a pole) allows a different access to the wildlife in the shallow waters.
Credit: Classic Africa.
Be warned: going on safari is highly addictive. Whether it is the unique smells of the bush, the dramatic landscapes or the unique wildlife. There is no other place in the world that stirs the senses quite like Africa. If you allow it, it will invade your memory and never let go of you.