We like to think that no two days and no two game drives are the same, and that safari is far from typical! Having said that, there is a general schedule that tends to occur while on safari. Please appreciate that each camp and each destination will have their own variations on this theme. The “higher end” camps generally allow flexibility in the daily schedule. The services of a private guide (at additional cost) is the best way to achieve total flexibility.
A typical morning on safari starts quite early, usually about thirty minutes before sunrise. We start early for a couple of reasons. We often want to avoid being out during the hottest part of the day. For the same reason, the wildlife is generally more active early in the morning and later in the evening. The other main reason we start early is that the light for photography is especially good in the morning (and evening). Expect a gentle wakeup call, and take a couple minutes to get yourself ready before heading up to the main area for some light breakfast: think coffee, maybe a small bowl of cereal, and a couple bites of fruit. Once everyone is ready to go, you will head out on your morning game drive. You can generally expect to be out until 10am or 11am; this of course isn’t written in stone, and so if you find something incredibly exciting no deadline will force you to head back to camp. Upon arrival back in camp, you will generally be greeted by a big brunch, which is a varied fare and generally the biggest meal of the day.
This middle of the day is your time, whether that be spent reading a book, taking a snooze, or sitting out on a deck and enjoying the scenery. This can also be a good time to ask for a “back of house” tour to learn about camp operations.
Around 3pm or 4pm you will meet back at the main area for light snacks and drinks. The spread usually includes a sweet and a savory dish, and this light meal has its origins with the English “high tea,” which would typically have included chocolate cake and cucumber sandwiches. Afterwards, expect to be out on a game drive for the rest of the afternoon. This will often culminate with a night drive back to camp during which you will see a whole host of new animals that you may not have seen in the daylight.
Once back at camp you can expect an exceptional dinner where you will be excited to discuss the day’s sightings with other guests and perhaps consider your plans for the next day. After dinner you might find yourself around a communal campfire where you’ll continue the conversation. You can retire to bed whenever you feel ready, and when your head hits the pillow you are fast asleep. Morning comes fast, and before you know it you’ll be up and moving with the excitement of the next morning’s safari!