7 “Facts” About African Safaris Which are Actually Myths

Gazelle on the plains of Africa

There is a very good chance that as a world traveller, you can find everything you are looking for in Africa. Well, at least, everything that has anything to do with exciting travel adventures and experiences. Think about it:

  • Do you want to visit the desert? Africa has “The Sahara”; the monster of deserts on this planet.
  • Do you want to go windsurfing? Africa is surrounded by Oceans from the Indian Ocean on one side to the Atlantic on the other.
  • How about mountain climbing? Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Ruwenzori, the Atlas Mountains…heck, even the Table Mountain in South Africa makes from excellent climbing.

Deep sea diving? We have that too: Parasailing? There are outfits that will take you all the way out to where the wind blows the Ocean into a frenzy. Fishing? Destinations like the Ragati Conservancy have the best rainbow trout fishing in Kenya or you could just head out to one of the many lakes or two oceans for some high-sea fishing.

Man fishing in a river

Image Credit: Ragati Conservancy

Yes, Africa has it all. However, the crown jewel of Africa; the one thing that brings millions of people to the continent each year is the kind of wild African Safaris that the continent offers.

What is an African Safari?

most people associate an African Safari with riding on an overland safari truck while trying to see elephants, lions and other members of the Big Five (Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino and Leopard). While that truly is the heart of a safari, it isn’t all there is to one. A real African Safari involves:

Wild game at a watering hole

  • Game drives on overland trucks
  • Exciting interactions with the local communities
  • Thrilling entertainment by energetic traditional dancers
  • Relaxing stays at some of the finest safari resorts in the world
  • An absolute treat for your taste buds (whether it be the local dishes or international cuisine prepared by the most experienced chefs)

It is also a chance for you to unplug; sleep under a starlit sky and just breathe! In its rawest form, most of Africa is nothing but a vast wilderness that offers you the best nature has to give. It allows you to be free!

That is what a real African Safari is all about; a chance for you to reconnect with the truest form of humanity. Just to be one with the land!

Common African Safari MythsAerial view of Cape Town

Unfortunately, however, most people have a misconstrued notion of what an African Safari is and what to expect. Many of these myths have been perpetuated through social media and the internet in general. Some of them are as a result of people choosing to go for the same old trips instead of venturing out of their comfort zones and really letting go.

The saddest fact is that most of the myths limit the full scope of a real African Safari. Until you have been to any African country (Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania…the countries with some of the best safari packages) then you haven’t truly been on a safari.

Here are ten African Safari myths that may be keeping you from really enjoying your visit to the Motherland!

1. Once you’ve done one, you’ve done them all

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every African safari is an absolutely different and unique experience. Even if you use the same company for each trip. The vast diversity of landscapes, wildlife and seasons make every trip worth taking and refreshingly new.

2. Africa isn’t safe

While there are some problematic regions within the continents, the most popular game reserves (Maasai Mara, Serengeti, Kruger and so on) are some of the most protected areas on the continent. Not only are their borders well manned but you will also have highly trained guides to ensure your safety while on safari among the wild animals.

3. Africa is swelteringly hotDesert

Well, this one is kind of true. Most of Africa has no winter just hot, cold and rainy seasons (temperatures ranging from 19 °C to about 36 °C). Depending on when you come, you could be in for a furnace of a treatment. We do, however, have air conditioning and plenty of cold water for those long days out in the sun.

4. There will be bugs everywhere

Well, the first part is true: there will be bugs. However, they won’t be everywhere. If you are going to go on a camping safari, you can expect to see some bugs and even mosquitoes as you would with most parts of the world. However, it’s nothing a little bug spray and mosquito repellant can’t handle. The resorts of the other hand are very well managed and have no bugs.

5. Your kids can’t come

This is just not true. Although there are resorts that are designed purely for adult fun (if you know what we mean) there are also many others that are very child-friendly. In fact, an African safari might even be more enjoyable and educational for your kids than it would be you. You just have to specifically tell the outfit (Tour Company) that you are using that you are bringing your kids with you and they will make the appropriate arrangements.

6. African safaris are dangerous

Yes, you will be driving perilously close to wild lions and a bunch of other highly evolved killers of the African jungle but that does not mean that your typical safari is dangerous. These are highly researched and regimented undertakings overseen by experienced professionals who know all there is to know about keeping you safe when out in the bush. Of course, there have been stories of people getting mauled by wild animals while on a tour. While those stories are tragic and highly concerning, the truth is that they are freak accidents as opposed to the norm.

7. You have to learn Swahili to enjoy Africa

While learning a new language is always fun and an excellent way to connect with the locals, Africa has over 2,000 indigenous languages and Swahili is just one of many spoken within the continent. Yes, some of the most popular safari destinations are located with Swahili speaking nations but you do not have to learn the language to enjoy your visit. In fact, it’s even better if you try to learn it while you are here; an exciting way to make friends and pick-up a few phrases that can come in handy.

African girl

The truth of the matter is that your safari is not going to be a strenuous as they say it is: it is not going to cost you a fortune (some might, others…not so much), you do not have to spend two weeks here (unless you want to) and you do not necessarily have to “rough it” (there are some highly luxurious safaris on the continent).

Whether you come alone or with a bunch of friends, each visit to Africa will definitely hold something special and unique in store for you. So forget about what you have heard and the myths you have seen on Facebook. Fly down and enjoy a real African safari in your own style.

Have you heard of any outrageous African safari myths? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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