Sunday Safari: A Private Affair

Escaping into nature can cure one’s tiredness, reinvigorate, educate and forge strong couple or family bonds

A private safari may not be the first thing that comes to your mind, but escaping into nature can be a more personal, cherished experience than you can imagine.

Offering an opportunity to set your own schedule, whilst ensuring time alone, with loved ones, can be an afterthought. This is where a private safari can come into play, but who is a private safari for?

Whichever one of these groups you belong to, you can be assured of a far more personalised, spectacular experience. You then must consider, that there are three types of private safari;

1. Exclusive Camp Use

Booking an entire camp or safari lodge is one dream option to guarantee that your party is together, experiencing your time on safari as one, fully catered to you and with your very own dedicated team — including a private chef, guide and vehicle — meaning you can choose to spend all day out on a game drive or enjoy more time at the house relaxing around the pool or savouring a long lunch. Travellers can plan out there entire stay day-to-day, schedule wildlife viewing game drives around your personal needs, whether you love those extra hours in bed, enjoy the occasional morning at ease, have children or simply prefer alternative options – the flexibility of exclusive use safari camp is unparalleled to any other type of travel.

Another key advantage of arranging a safari as exclusive use of the safari camp is the price. Whether you’re a family or a group of couples/friends or colleagues, obtaining a set-price for the exclusive use of an entre safari camp can often mean a significantly reduced stay when the cost is spread out amongst everyone. You pay a fixed-rate per night for the entire camp, which accommodates a set amount of people and an additional nightly price for any number of guests above that.

Angama Safari Camp, a light-footprint sole-use tented camp
accommodating up to eight guests in four lovely ensuite tents sited deep in the Maasai Mara

2. Private Reserves

So what are private reserves? Private reserves (also referred to as concessions and conservancies) often make up larger areas of parks. For example, a National Park is an area that is made up of one large habitat area (operated by the government) with ten’s of smaller, private concessions bordering the outside of that park. These smaller reserves are often owned by local communities and stakeholders who then lease their land to tourism entities such as safari camps. Whilst day visitors are permitted into National Parks, only the guests of the safari camps are permitted into the smaller reserves.

The benefit of this is six-fold;

  1. Reduced bed numbers and tourists numbers
  2. Limited vehicles at any one wildlife sighting (often a maximum of 3-4 vehicles at any one time)
  3. Game drive vehicles carry a maximum of 4-8 guests
  4. Camps are sustainably build and low-impact (typically between 3-25 guest rooms only)
  5. Less intrusion on wild animals and less impact on the land from vehicles/tourists
  6. A more personalised experience and attention to guests

Your safari will be at a “luxury” safari camp. Why?

As the guest numbers reduce, costs increase to help operate the reserve, staff the camp, employ trained guides, run sustainability initiatives to care for the habitat and provide much needed revenue to wildlife conservation. To help protect nature and wild animals, funding is required and tourism such as this plays a vital role in that.

Mala Mala Game Reserve is one of the largest private Big Five game reserves in South Africa
and a leader in photographic opportunities

3. Private Vehicle & Guide

Your final option is something that most safari camps will offer (subject to availability). An opportunity to stay as a regular guest at the camp (at normal camp rates), but hire a game drive vehicle & guide for the duration of your stay. If your group isn’t large enough in numbers to book a safari camp on an exclusive basis, then this is your next best option and an excellent one. The charge for a private vehicle & guide ranges, but the average is between US$ 300-600 per day.

Travellers get the freedom of setting your own schedule for wildlife viewing, head out on game drive early in the morning as usual, or have your breakfast/lunch pre-prepared and choose to stay out all day viewing animals with the added unique experience of a picnic on the African plains – a picnic is a serious must do, regardless of what type of safari you book. You have full flexibility around your safari experience, then utilise the camp as you would do normally for other activities, gym time, relaxing and your scheduled afternoon lunch (if no picnic option is chosen) and evening dinner.

For families with young children (typically 5 years of age), this may be a required option due to most parks and reserves setting an age limit for game drives. Sometimes the decision is left to the camp management as to whether they will permit a young child on game drives. Fear not, children’s programmes and child supervision are a regular feature at many safari camps, so for families with young children, there are some fantastic activities and arrangements available for the whole family. Better Safaris will always help and advise on any age restrictions for activities.

Belmond’s Eagle Island Lodge is set on a private island on the Okavango Delta, Botswana,
right at the heart of a pristine African wilderness

Is this the safari for you?

Start planning your2022 or 2023 trip to Africa today and experience sustainable privacy with Better Safaris.

Drop Paul an email: or Whatsapp: +1 438 764 2684

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#SundaySafari: A Private Affair … via @bettersafaris #privatesafari #sustainability #wildlifesafari

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