Do You Need a Visa to Travel to Africa?

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If you’re a frequent traveler planning for your next vacation, you should consider going on an African safari. While on safari, you’ll experience sights and sounds that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, leading to a trip that you’ll remember for as long as you live.

However, if you’re a cautious person, then you might have some concerns about going on safari, including whether or not you’ll need to apply for a visa for your trip. Find out how you can plan a visa-free African safari and learn why a safari should be the top choice when you’re planning for your next vacation.

What is Visa on Arrival?

The reason so many travelers resist vacationing in another country is that applying for a visa can be a very time consuming, stressful process. Fortunately, many countries that you may wish to visit on safari offer visas on arrival, simplifying your trip to a significant degree.

Simply put, visa on arrival means that you will apply for a visa when arriving in a country instead of before your trip. This means you won’t have to waste any of your valuable time visiting your local visa office while you should be making other preparations for your trip. So, as you can see, it is possible to plan a mostly visa-free African safari.

Restrictions on Your Visa

Before you book your African safari, it’s important to understand that you’ll need to acquire a visa on arrival for almost every country that you visit. While you shouldn’t have trouble obtaining your visa, there are a few restrictions that you will need to keep in mind.

For example, almost every country that you visit on your safari will restrict the length of your visa, meaning you will need to return home before it expires. Fortunately, these visas will last between three and six months, which is considerably longer than the typical safari vacations. While not every country in Africa requires a visa for entry, you should be prepared to apply for a visa as soon as you depart from your plane.

Additional Factors to Consider

If you want to make sure the process of applying for your visa goes as quickly and smoothly as possible, you must make sure that you have all necessary paperwork in order. For example, while you probably don’t need to apply for a visa before your trip, you will need a valid passport.

Every country you will visit on safari will require that you have a passport before a visa will be issued. Generally, your passport will need to be valid for at least six months and will need to contain one to two blank pages.

If you’re not quite sure about the visa and passport requirements for the countries on your African safari itinerary, you should contact the U.S. Department of State for current information.

For travelers that aren’t interested in filling out pages of paperwork before their vacation, it is possible to plan an essentially visa-free African safari. By booking your safari for the right countries, you will only need a passport and visa on arrival to enjoy a once in a lifetime trip.

Why a Solo Safari Can Be a Great Choice

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For many, going on a vacation is a great opportunity to spend time with their friends or family. However, if you’re the type of person that enjoys exploring a new location unencumbered, then taking a solo vacation can be an excellent decision, particularly if you go on a solo safari.

While going on a safari with a companion can certainly be a fun experience, there are a variety of benefits to traveling alone that you might not realize, making it a good idea to examine this type of vacation a little more closely. Here are some reasons you should consider going on a solo safari if you want a vacation where you’re able to spend some time getting to know yourself.

Meet New Friends

When you travel with a friend or family member, it’s likely that you’ll spend all of your time with your companion, which can be a tremendous amount of fun. However, this also means that you may miss out on the opportunity to meet new friends.

If you’re traveling on your own, you’ll have the ability to develop new friendships with people that you meet on vacation. For people that have trouble making new friends, this can be a great way to expand their social circle. Meeting new people and starting friendships that may last a lifetime is a great reason to go on a solo safari.

Have Fun Your Way

If there’s any drawback to traveling with someone you know, it’s that choosing activities can turn into a negotiation if your tastes don’t match. For example, your friend may prefer an activity and you may want to go on an adventure, possibly resulting in an impasse.

On the other hand, if you go on a solo safari, you’ll be able to choose the activities that are right for you without worrying if your travel companion will also have a good time. This means you can use your solo safari to check items off of your bucket list that you’ve been delaying.

Anyone tired of vacations where they have to negotiate which activities they get to enjoy should consider booking a solo safari.

Save Money or Go Big

Traveling in a group almost always means there needs to be a discussion about costs, which often leads to sacrificing activities or locations in an effort to save money. The biggest benefit of going on a safari yourself is that you’ll be able to spend as much or as little money as you wish.

For example, if you’re looking for a budget friendly safari that includes only the essentials, you can book an affordable trip for one. On the other hand, if you want to fill your safari with activities and experiences, you can go all out and spend as much money as it takes to book your perfect trip. Spending the exact amount of money you want on your vacation is an exciting reason to go on a solo safari.

If you’re used to traveling with other people and want something different for your next vacation, you should plan a solo safari where you can make brand-new friends and have fun the way that you desire.

Where to Find the Best National Parks on African Safari

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For the majority of people thinking about going on an African safari, the main thing that they want out of their trip is being able to see wild animals and exotic plant life in person, and the best way to achieve this goal is to visit one of the many beautiful national parks on this continent.

Before you book your safari vacation, it’s a good idea to learn about some of the best national parks in Africa and in what countries they can be found. Here are some of the best national parks to visit on African safari and information about some of the sights you can see at these parks.

Serengeti National Park

If you want the opportunity to see as many wild animals as possible on your African safari, then one of the top places you should visit is the Serengeti National Park, which can be found in Tanzania.

Serengeti National Park is one of the most cherished safari destinations in the world and is home to a very large wildlife population that every traveler will appreciate. If you visit this national park, you should try to plan your trip to coincide with the wildebeest migration that takes place every year between December and July.

Kruger National Park

For travelers looking for the best national parks to visit on an African safari, there is nearly no better choice than Kruger National Park. Located in South Africa, Kruger is one of the best places on the entire content when it comes to animal watching, and is a particularly excellent destination if your goal is seeing Africa’s Big Five.

Besides the Big Five, Kruger National Park is home to exotic species such as cheetahs and crocodiles, meaning you’ll easily be able to see interesting animals that you won’t find anywhere else. Best of all, Kruger is very easy to access, making it a great choice for travelers that want to see wild animals without difficulty.

Masai Mara National Reserve

If your African safari includes a stop in Kenya, then you need to be certain that you’ve set aside enough time to fully explore the Masai Mara National Reserve. Visiting the Masai Mara National Reserve will provide you with the ideal safari experience, and provides one of the largest animal populations in Africa.

Every year, there is an event known as the Great Migration, which includes species such as zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles. There is also a very large predator population at this reserve, which is why it’s such a popular destination for tourists that want to see big cats such as leopards and lions. Finally, this area is home to hundreds of exotic bird species, meaning you might need to visit more than once in order to see them all.

Plan a trip to the Masai Mara National Reserve, and you’ll see animal life that will be impossible to forget.

There are countless reasons to make your next vacation an African safari, including being able to visit some of the world’s most beautiful national parks. Touring the best national parks to visit on African safari is a great way to connect with nature and make vacation memories that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

The Best Reasons to Take a Safari

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Planning your next vacation is a truly exciting time, particularly if it’s been awhile since you’ve had the chance to get away. While there are several different types of vacations that you could choose, one of the most interesting ideas is booking an African safari.

No vacation you could take lives up to the excitement you’ll find on an African safari, especially if you’re interested in traveling to a gorgeous location filled with sights and sounds that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Here are some of the top reasons to go on an African safari and advice to help you pick the best activities and locations for your vacation.

Travel to Another World

Ask someone who’s had to pleasure of going on safari before about what they remember most from their trip, and they’ll likely tell you that it was traveling to a location unlike anywhere else they’ve ever seen.

Nowhere in the world possesses the natural beauty that you’ll find in Africa, and if you’re tired of seeing the same places every day, visiting Africa can be a world changing experience. Experiencing the beauty of Africa can make your hometown seem somewhat plain, meaning you’ll want to go on safaris again and again.

Surprisingly Affordable

A concern of many people considering going on a safari is that this sort of trip will be very expensive. Luckily, even if you don’t have a great deal of money to spend, taking a safari is actually very affordable.

The great thing about booking a safari is that everything you need for your trip will be provided, including your food, activities, and even lodging. This means that for one price, you’ll be able to have the world-class vacation that you deserve. You can even save money on your trip if you book during one of the low travel seasons, which can be a great choice if you don’t want to deal with a large number of other travelers.

Enjoy Safe Adventures

Out of all the different reasons to go on an African safari, the most attractive is being able to go on an adventure while staying safe. Contrary to what many people believe, an African safari is one of the safest vacations that you can take. They are so safe, in fact, that many people are choosing to take their children on safari with them.

During your trip, you’ll be able to see Africa with the help of a safari guide who will be able to keep you safe while showing you the best spots for adventure. This means you can enjoy the breathtaking African scenery without concern.

Booking an African safari is a great way to add a little excitement to your life while being completely secure.

As you can now see, there are a variety of great reasons to go on an African safari. Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery, want a trip that’s affordable, or have the desire to go on a once in a lifetime adventure, booking an African safari is one of the best choices that you could make. Start planning your safari today so that you can experience a vacation that you will never forget.

Cats You’ll Find at Kruger National Park

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When you go on safari, there are a variety of sights and sounds that you should be sure to experience. However, if you’re like most people, your main safari goal is seeing big cats that you can only find in Africa, and if seeing these exotic creatures is your top reason for traveling to Africa, you should be sure that your safari includes a stop in Kruger National Park.

One of Africa’s most famous wildlife areas, Kruger is home to several interesting cat species and is the top spot to visit if you want to see gorgeous animal life on your trip. Here are some of the cats that you can see at Kruger National Park that will guarantee you’ll have an exciting African safari vacation.

Experience Lions

Although there are several cats you can see while visiting Kruger, lions are the most possible. Both graceful and deadly, lions are a sight to behold in any scenario but are particularly breathtaking when viewed in person.

The great thing about visiting Kruger is that you’ll be able to see a whole pride of lions, including lion cubs, allowing you to get your fill of these majestic creatures. In Kruger, as in other parts of Africa, lions will usually be found near where they hunt, meaning you should also be able to see game herds while viewing lions.

See Leopards in Person

While they may not be as popular as lions, you should be sure that your trip to Kruger includes some time watching leopards. Despite being the second largest cat you can see in Africa, leopards are very shy, meaning they can be easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.

Unlike lions, which travel in groups, leopards prefer to be on their own, and can usually be found slinking through the bush. If you want to see leopards while you’re trekking through Kruger, you should look near rocky outcrops or wooded areas near rivers.

Look Quick for Cheetahs

Another cat that you can see while you’re visiting Kruger National Park is the Cheetah. World-famous for their speed, cheetahs are lithe creatures that save most of their energy for hunting. The rest of the time, they can usually be found around water. In Kruger, you should be easily able to see cheetahs by taking a trip to the crocodile river.

While you’re on your African safari vacation, you may see a cheetah without even realizing. Because they’re both spotted, it can be extremely easy to confuse leopards and cheetahs. However, once you know a few differences between these cats, it should be easy to tell which is which.

The primary difference between cheetahs and leopards is that leopards are much large, with defined muscles. Cheetahs are much skinner, built for speed and not power. You can also tell which cat you’re seeing by where they’re located. Where leopards prefer to stay hidden, you will usually find cheetahs out in the open. So, if you see a spotted cat lying about without regard to who sees it, you’re dealing with a cheetah.

Make sure that your African safari vacation includes a stop at Kruger National Park and you can see some of the world’s most interesting big cats.

Big Five of the Sea

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If you’ve ever done any research about going on an African safari, then you’ve likely learned about the Big Five, which are five of the most famous animals you could see on your vacation. However, what few people know is that the sea possesses its own Big Five, and if you prefer spending time on the water to being on solid ground, you need to be sure your safari includes these interesting marine creatures.

Here’s some information about the Big Five of the sea and advice for seeing these interesting creatures the next time you take an African safari.

Spend Time with the Cape Fur Seal

The most playful member of the marine Big Five is the Cape Fur Seal. These fun-loving mammals can be found up and down the west coast of South Africa, but are especially numerous in the Cape Town area.

Unlike some other animals on this list, you can actually interact with the Cape Fur seal up close and in personal, both on land and while snorkeling.

See the African Penguin

If you prefer your animals to be cute and cuddly, then you’re going to love the African Penguin, the smallest member of the Big Five of the sea. These small birds can be found in a variety of South Africa locations, including gorgeous Boulders Beach

When you visit Boulders Beach, you’ll be able to swim with these adorable creatures, which is an experience you’ll always remember fondly.

Do Some Whale Watching

Whales are some of the most majestic animals in the world, and if you’ve always wanted to go on a whale watching adventure, your African safari will provide the perfect opportunity.

Between the months of June and December, you can see Southern Right Whales off the coast of South Africa. Because these whales are endangered, there are several nurseries in the area where you can get a great view while the whales swim and play. Be sure to bring your camera, because you’ll definitely want to commemorate seeing this member of the Big Five of the sea.

Swim with the Dolphins

If you’re like many people with a fondness for the ocean, you probably dream of seeing dolphins while you’re out on the water. Fortunately, the waters off the coast of South Africa are home to multiple dolphin species, including the well-known bottlenose dolphin

During the period between May and July, the sardine population in near Africa explodes, drawing dolphins to the area. If you want to see dolphins on your trip, make sure your safari takes place during this time of year.

Beware of Great White Sharks

Just like the normal Big Five, the Big Five of the sea features a deadly predator: The great white shark. One of the deadliest creatures on the planet, seeing a great white shark swimming in the African ocean is a unique thrill that shouldn’t be missed. While you’ll definitely want to keep your distance, you’ll always remember seeing a great white shark in the wild.

If you love seeing marine animals in their natural habitat, then you should be sure to watch out for the Big Five of the sea on your next African safari.

Safari Vehicles: Open vs Closed

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What kind of vehicle do you picture when you think of an African safari? Some of you might picture an open-air 4X4 while others might think of a minibus type vehicle. It turns out both are options when it comes to African safaris. However, determining which one is right for you can be a bit tricky.

While open safari vehicles and closed safari vehicles both have unique advantages, they offer considerably different experiences. Learn more about the pros and cons of each and discover which safari vehicle you want to take on your African safari adventure.

Open Safari Vehicles

If your safari takes you to countries like Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and other places in southern Africa, you’ll likely be venturing in an open safari vehicle. These 4X4s lack a roof altogether and perform incredibly well in the African brush and savanna. The openness of the vehicles leaves nothing in between you and the African countryside. You can more easily hear and see the gorgeous wildlife as you travel through the brush. The vehicle will be moving, and animals certainly aren’t going to stop for you. Thus, simply being able to turn your head without anything blocking your sight makes it much easier to keep track of the wildlife.

The downside of an open safari vehicle is that you’re left exposed. You don’t have to worry about the animals as your vehicle can easily outrun anything you might encounter though the chances that animals will come after you in the first place is incredibly low. What you really have to worry about is the rain. If your African safari is during the wet season, an open safari vehicle leaves you completely exposed. Some vehicles are equipped with sunshades that can help keep the rain at bay. The sun will also be bearing down on you the entire time, so make sure you pack sunscreen and insect repellant.

Closed Safari Vehicles

When your African safari takes you to eastern Africa into countries like Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, you’ll be more likely to encounter closed safari vehicles like minibuses. This is in large part due to the extensive system of roadways in eastern Africa not being as prevalent in southern Africa. It’s common in eastern Africa for the same vehicle to pick you up from the airport and take you on the safari tour.

While these vehicles are better equipped for traveling on the road, they offer limited visibility when you’re trying to see wildlife. You need the walls and roof to protect from the wind when going at highway speeds, but those same walls and roof leave small openings for you to take pictures or even catch a glimpse of the animals. Most vehicles have a roof that can be propped up in the middle to allow a viewing space of sorts for rear passengers. To make use of this, however, you have to stand up and poke your head through which can be uncomfortable and still offers limited viewing capabilities.

No matter which vehicle you travel in during your African safari, you’re in for an experience like no other. Book your African safari today for an exciting adventure you’ll never forget.

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui