Embarking on a safari is incredibly exciting – being up close and personal with wildlife that you may have seen only on nature programmes or in books is truly an experience of a lifetime. To ensure that your first trip to the bush lives up to your expectations, we've put together a list of seven things to consider before setting off. Remember, we are here to help, so please get in touch should you have any questions whatsoever.

Look for the magical moments

Thinking of skipping a game drive for a late morning lie-in? You might miss the best sighting of your whole trip as no two safari adventures are the same and each day brings something new and exciting. However, nature is unpredictable and there are no guarantees that you will see that rare bird you’ve been dying to spot or tick all of the Big Five off your bucket list in one go. Relax, try not to focus on the next ‘big’ sighting; rather let your field guide point out the magical little moments like the dung beetles rolling around on the ground or the owls and bush babies hanging out in the trees on the way back to the lodge at night.

Be prepared for the weather

Layers, layers and more layers. This is the best tip we can give you when packing clothing for your safari. Your morning game drives may be chilly but the day can quickly heat up and, once the sun goes behind the horizon, the temperatures can drop significantly again.

Each season in the bush offers something unique for visitors to enjoy and it's important to do a bit of research ahead of your trip to ensure you get the experience you are looking for. Keen to learn a little more about safari by season? Take a look at our seasonal breakdowns for Welgevonden Private Game Reserve and northern Kruger.

Learn to pack a little lighter

We all know the struggle, one item here, one item there, and it very quickly becomes apparent that your bag is going to burst at the seams. Packing can be a daunting task for the first time safari-goer but no matter where you are going or for how long, packing lighter will always make your travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Take a look at our basic list of essentials to assist you in packing for your African safari experience.

Embrace the digital detox

A safari getaway, deep in the bush, provides an escape from the fast pace and stress of normal life. It is the perfect opportunity to enjoy true relaxation away from the ping of an email or the beep of a WhatsApp. Our lodges – The Outpost Lodge, Pel's Post, Tshwene Lodge and Ekuthuleni Lodge – do have Wi-Fi in the main reception areas but we encourage our guests to take the opportunity to switch off and to embrace not being at the beck and call of their inbox. Rather than reaching for the phone, take a moment to fully appreciate the beauty around you.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Our guides are incredibly passionate about the bush and love sharing their immense knowledge with guests. Fascinated by birds? Have a keen interest in the local flora? Let them know. Want to know why a zebra has stripes? Is it true that elephants never forget? Ask away. They will do their best to answer all your burning questions.

Also, never be shy to speak up if you think you may have spotted something, the more eyes on the lookout, the better – it may just be that elusive leopard you have been waiting for.

Turn your eyes to the sky

Africa’s birdlife is equally as special as its four legged animals, and Welgevonden Private Game Reserve and northern Kruger happen to be two of the best birdwatching destinations in South Africa. Most people believe birding is an art that takes years to master but in fact you have no need to be intimidated. We’ve put together a basic guide on how to become a birder in three easy steps, which we hope will set you on the right track.

Don’t forget your camera

Visiting the African bush is a magical experience and there will be countless moments that you will want to capture but don’t be intimidated by the fancy cameras and massive lenses that you may have seen before – a compact camera or smartphone can do the trick too. While we can’t promise you a winning shot, we can give you a few basic tips and tricks that will help you capture your safari experience as best as possible.

Feeling inspired to book a safari getaway? Take a look at our four bush escapes and get in touch for any help planning your itinerary or stay – The Outpost Lodge, Pel's Post, Tshwene Lodge and Ekuthuleni Lodge.