Choosing an Operator / Resort
South Africa offers so many adventures it can be overwhelming to create your own itinerary – you know what animals you want to see, you’ve checked where to find them and when and you’ve spent hours scrolling through any website with a hint of Safari info but you still can’t nail down a final plan.
After several weeks of researching, 6 notepads and 312 cups of tea I chose not to create a personalised trip instead I chose to go with Gap 360, a UK-based travel provider that offers affordable pre-planned tours to destinations across the world.
After factoring in the size of our travel party, their preferred activities/accommodation, our budget and the time of year we are travelling Gap 360 came out on top every time. Their 15-day volunteer and safari adventure (Tour Code: SABA) was the perfect fit for our group; an action-packed animal orientated adventure!
With the tour falling just shy of £1000 I was grateful to find Gap 360 offer multiple payment plans, hallelujah! I chose to spread my cost over monthly instalments (with no added interest!) as did my travel companions.
Our personal travel advisor emailed us a list of recommended flights & a link to their activity inclusive travel insurance – I chose to stick with Gap 360 for the insurance but not the flights, with the mixed bag of activities on our tour I wanted to make sure I’d be fully covered in case my bad luck kicked in and stepped in a poachers trap…they also assured me that’s very unlikely to happen, but just in case.
I jumped back on the internet to compare flights, whenever I book a holiday I always try Skyscanner first but Kayak and Google Flights are great alternatives if your hunting for a bargain. If you’ve got wiggle room with your arrival/departure dates it’s definitely worth checking if going a day earlier or later would be cheaper, we were advised to arrive on Monday when the tour begins but flights departing on Saturday were noticeably cheaper and after checking on Booking.com for nearby accommodation I booked flights and hotel rooms for 4 with change to spare for airport parking!
Luckily to keep things simple the South African climate has 2 seasons; Wet and Dry.
Dry Season; May to September
– With practically no rainfall you can plan for clear skies and sunny days and as the vegetation dries up the chances of spotting the Big Five increase. Just beware of the cold nights and mornings – you’ll need to pack a light jacket and trousers if you’re going out on a night drive.
Wet Season; October to April
– Don’t let the name fool you, even during the wet season it’s rare that your trip will be affected by the weather, just don’t forget to pack a small umbrella! You might want to throw in a pair of binoculars too as the wetter weather turns the savannah scenery green and provides the perfect setting for bird watching.