It is less than two months to Christmas and if you start now planning your African safari for the festive season, you might have a problem.
Planning your perfect African safari means that you have clear ideas what you want to experience, how you want your camp to look like and which safari destination you want to visit. You put lots of time and efforts into research and now your vision should become real. There is only one problem; you are late. Christmas is peak season and availabilities are tight. If you want your safari to be away from the crowds in the authentic setting of a small luxury tented camp you will have to adjust your expectations. The small camps and lodges are fully booked. You might find here and there a private mobile camping safari available, but that will come at a cost. Otherwise getting space at a bigger lodge is already luck.
So, what to do now? Which parts of your safari planning are flexible and less important? What do you really need to be happy on your African safari? If you are a photography lover you might find it important to have space and privacy on game drives and you can cope with accommodation at a bigger lodge. That opens the option for travelling with a private vehicle, using it also for the game drives and staying at a bigger lodge or camp, where you can easier find availabilities.
If you want to see certain sights like for example the Ngorongoro Crater, but the three lodges at its rim are fully booked, consider taking accommodation outside the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and drive into the park every day. That can be done easily, as there are accommodations available just a short drive away. The same method can be applied when the accommodations available inside the park are too pricy with their peak season rates.
Stick to the core of what is really important to you, the part that makes your safari perfect and try to be flexible with the rest.
If the adjustments work, go for it and have a magical Christmas in the bush. If not, postpone your trip, but probably not as long as to Christmas next year.
Happy wildlife Christmas snapping!
Ute Sonnenberg for www.rohoyachui.com