How long should I book for an African Safari?

Mar 26 2019


With Africa the second largest landmass on the globe and South Africa five times bigger than the United Kingdom; travel distances and big group logistics between large natural reserves and wildlife sanctuaries can eat into your time and travel budgets when moving between destination highlights.

The minimum time Hayward Safaris recommends for a big group mobile safari into one of the larger parks such as the Kruger National Park is four nights. If you are booking a safari over South Africa’s border in a neighbouring African country, Hayward Safaris requests a minimum of five to seven nights.

We recommend shorter big group safaris at our Safari Headquarters in the Big 5 Dinokeng Reserve just one hours’ drive from Johannesburg CBD and Oliver Tambo International Airport for bespoke corporate and incentive events of between 40 and 200 guests.

Am I guaranteed to see the Big 5 on Safari?

This will depend on the season you book your event and the wildlife destination you choose to visit on your mobile safari. African wildlife parks are large and each season dictates accessibility. Summer vegetation is thicker and more abundant with the rains, so game is easily camouflaged and spread out over larger areas as winter waterholes start to fill up again. In colder months, game is easier to spot however foliage can be sparse causing wildlife to hunt and forage further afield.

For example, South Africa’s national emblem, the Springbok, often prefers to graze at night when the grass retains more moisture than during the heat of the day and can travel swiftly across distances in great herds.

What type of African Safari will I experience?

There are a variety of different safari experiences to choose from and in South Africa alone there is desert, delta and vast national parks that include both land and marine safaris.

No one want to feel rushed on a safari and it’s not just about just ticking off the Big 5. You need to give yourself time to explore and immerse yourself in the environment and discover fascinating knowledge about our grasslands, biomes, trees and smaller wildlife too.

Engaging with People, Working with Wildlife

If you are incorporating a corporate social investment (CSI) initiative into your safari experience, Hayward Safaris needs time to schedule on-the-ground experiences with the wildlife experts working at research facilities who provide hands-on activities such as rhino tagging and elephant tracking, which are usually done in smaller groups using helicopters.

We are privileged to have our Safari headquarters in Tswane situated close to the Onderstepoort Vetinary Research Institute and the Dinokeng Big 5 game reserve as well as the Wonderboom Airport making access much faster and simpler than travelling five hours to the Kruger National Park for instance.

Engaging with these scientist, along with their passion for animals as educators and academics, forensics, and genetics experts in health, poaching and wildlife protection offers you a wealth of top level information especially for incentive safari groups who want to be involved as well as leave something of real value behind for some of the amazing work that is being done here.

A Hayward’s Safari is not just about wildlife either, there are rich cultural experiences to meet local tribes people and learn more about the continent’s history, geography, astrology and the work being down at the Cradle of Humankind.

Often incentive groups will combine a safari in the north with wine tasting in Cape Town but again logistics play a pivotal role. It was sadly frustrating recently to have an international tour operator schedule just three hours for a game drive for the safari leg of their French group’s trip.

Your role as audience while on an African Safari

Guest reviews are important to Hayward Safari’s reputation. We hold a track record of 9.8 out of 10 points on our service list so when a tour agent only allocates inadequate time to see the Big 5 it makes it difficult to deliver on our client expectations and our reviews take a knock. While guests might say they loved the venue and the accommodation but they ‘didn’t see enough animals’ it takes the thrill of the safari out of it.

Wildlife is not something you can orchestrate for the crowd – rather, it’s part of the mystery of the safari journey, venturing out to immerse yourself in the bush and become one with it, to engage on a photographic hunt for shy and peace-loving creatures.

We always offer guests walking safaris as it puts them on the ground so to speak instead of sitting on the back of a vehicle all day. When you are tracking on foot it is exhilarating; you get a sense of all the sights and smells. When you are standing mere feet away from a wild animal suddenly the world becomes a very different place in the greater scale of things, especially if the previous day you have been in your glass office on the 10th floor in New York or Paris.

Adrenalin is very much a part of the rush. Rhinos for example can outrun a human over a 100-metre sprint despite weighing over a ton. Fortunately, their eyesight is extremely poor and the last thing you would do is try run them out, when it might be better to stand behind a tree down wind of them.

This is what an African safari should mean to our luxury guests. We support purposed safaris which explore and engage with wildlife to bring you authentic safari experiences back by qualified Big 5 game guides and trackers so you are guaranteed an experience of a lifetime… trust us, its not something you want to rush.

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