The safari day can be long, with early starts and drives lasting into night. The timings can vary on a number of factors, your location, the type of safari that you select, the time of year and the current animal dynamics.Generally, activities are in the early morning and late afternoon, to coincide with the general behavior of the major species, notably the predators.
To give you a rough idea, I have included a schedule below.
Daily Routine – Timings are seasonal
|05h30/05h45||Wake up calls. Your guide will normally knock on your door (tent) to get you ready for the days activity. It gives you the opportunity to quickly shower, put on some sunscreen and head for breakfast|
|06h00/06h15||Breakfast is a casual affair, normally with the offerings of muffins, cereals, oats and toast.
A number of camps have breakfast around sunrise, so the quicker you eat and hurry along your vehicle mates, the more ‘Golden Light’ you will enjoy
|06h30/06h45||Head out on the morning activity. Try to discuss with guide over breakfast what you are looking for, for example, returning to a kill sight or heading in the direction the early morning lion calls. Giving a game drive some direction can make it more rewarding.|
|10h00||By around 10h00, the sun will have started to create harsh shadows and the temperatures jumped significantly. It is common to return to camp around this time, where you can shower, relax and enjoy a brunch.
There maybe the instance where a sighting means staying out longer or you have arranged an all day drive. In the mid-day heat, things can become a little uncomfortable, so take adequate protection on your drives.
|11h00 – 15h30||This long break in the middle of the day is a welcome rest from the heat. It will be during this time that you find yourself often transferring between camps, especially when on a flying itinerary. It allows you to reach your new location without losing out on an activity.
It offers a photographer the opportunity to recharge batteries, download photos and catch up on some sleep. Around many camps, there will be opportunities to utilize the hides, which can be great for birding. With the light being incredibly harsh, do not expect too much.
|15h00/16h00||Time for more eating with afternoon tea. A good time to discuss with your guide plans for the afternoon/evening drive.|
|16h00||Game drives set off in the late afternoon as the heat starts to abate. The animals also respond to the fall in temperature and become more active. Herds can be found moving the woodland areas to water sources. After sleeping for the majority of the day, the predators become active too, looking to drink or possibly hunt.
If you are in an area that allows night drives, once the sunsets, you continue your drive. Using a spotlight to locate the wildlife, it is possible to see a number of nocturnal animals, both mammals and birds. The atmosphere changes, as the predators come into their element.
It is an excellent opportunity to witness a stalking leopard or a hunting lion pride.
|20h00||Return to camp, if a sighting does not keep you out later!
Enjoy your dinner, have a nightcap round the fire and head to bed.
This schedule is based on sharing safari, not always with other keen photographers, some what restricting your flexibility.
You maybe concerned by the amount of ‘downtime’ during the middle of the day, though it is important to remember the following:
- Whilst a private vehicle or specific photographic safari could mean spending time in the bush during this time, a lot of wildlife does become inactive.
- During the colder months or during the overcast days, they can be more active. What a private vehicle does allow, for example, is to follow cheetah all day and make sure you are there for action or perfect light.