This might be one of the questions I get asked most often. How many different places should we go to on safari? How many is too many? How many is not enough? Well, what I always say is that when it comes to choosing where you want to go and for how long, less is more.
When you first starting looking at a safari, especially if it’s your first one and you are not going on a recommendation, there is a dazzling array of choice. Sometimes it’s tricky enough just to decide which county to go to, let alone which national park, which camp and so on. The amount of misleading information online often confuses things even further.
With a good window of holiday time and a decent budget, it’s always tempting to start making a list of places you want to go. If that list goes beyond about three or three places then stop. Going on safari is not about ticking boxes. Going on safari is about seeing incredible wildlife and wild landscapes, enjoying fabulous service and properties, having fun and meeting wonderful people. It’s about really absorbing wild places, relaxing and discovering new things.
You can’t do much of this if you are bumping along hot dusty roads for days and days (although this is a right of passage for any traveller in Africa), not seeing any camps in daylight and whizzing past elephant herds in a rush to make the gate. Slow down. Spend you money on fewer, better places (you can often benefit from longer stay discounts). The rewards of really letting somewhere like Ruaha, the Selous or the Serengeti soak into your woodwork will far outweigh the shallow prize of having taken a picture at every single park gate in the country. And more to the point, you are going too exhausted to really enjoy it anyway.
Now of course if you really want to go to three different countries, eight different national parks and 5 different islands, I’m not going to refuse outright. But there are good reasons why we tend to group some areas together. In the north of Tanzania, road safaris to multiple places make a lot of sense; the distances are relatively short, the parks relatively small and the roads are good. This isn’t the case in southern Tanzania for example, much better done by air where the distances are so vast. There are more pertinent questions you could be asking yourself such as why do I want to go to this particular place? What will I see there? Is it the right time of year? Am I adding value to the safari overall by including this place? Does the style of accommodation fit with the rest of the trip?
A lot of people will only be lucky enough to go on safari once in their lifetimes, and there is so much to see. So FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ as one guest recently put it too me is a serious concern. However, and you are just going to have to trust me on this one, less is always more when it comes to how many places to go on safari.