How to Plan a Perfect African

Whether you are a hardcore wildlife enthusiast, an adventure freak, or just a spirited traveler, going on an African safari will surely occupy a prominent position on your travel wish list. And why not? There is probably no other place on earth where there is a concentration of so many different species of exotic animals. With numerous national parks distributed all across the continent, an African safari is truly a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s worth cherishing. What makes these safaris even more unparalleled is the fact that in terms of experience and adventure, no two of them seem to be the same.

Planning an African Safari

If you love wildlife, enjoy visiting adventurous locations, and wish to embark on an African adventure in the near future, this Buzzle article will tell how you can plan your trip for a truly enchanting experience. Here are a few factors, which you will need to consider while planning your African safari vacation.

◾ Do research on what the African safari can offer you. For this, the Internet is the best source; however, you can also refer to certain magazines, such as National Geographic Traveler to get an idea of where you can go and what you can expect. In case you know people who have already been to an African safari, it would be a great idea to ask them about their trip and experiences.

◾ Decide on what you want to see and/or do. Africa has innumerable options to offer to tourists, and many tour operators design customized safaris depending on the preferences of their clients. So, think about what kind of activity you would most like to participate in and accordingly, make a list of things you would like to see and do during your vacation. This will help explain your point of view more clearly to your tour operator.

◾ Prepare a rough itinerary. As mentioned above, Africa has innumerable options for tourists, and every safari is different from the other. Every region in the continent offers you a unique set of things to do and hence, once you have decided what exactly you want out of your trip, it will become easier for you to list out places, which will offer you that kind of experience. You can then communicate regarding the same with your tour operator, and get a customized safari, or join a group with similar interests.

◾ Proper timing is important. Deciding on when to go on a safari is crucial in order to get the kind of experience you are looking for. For instance, if you are aiming to spot hundreds and thousands of animals migrating, you can head to Kenya between June and August, which is the season for wildebeest migration. Similarly, if you are interested in game drives, it is advisable to plan a safari in winter, when there is limited vegetation in the grasslands and it is much easier to spot the animals. Your tour operator may help you with this, but it is advised that you do a bit of research on your own as well.

◾ Choose the type of accommodation you want to stay in. This you need to do, especially in terms of luxury. Africa is renowned the world over for its 5-star luxury camping that has all the amenities required for a lavish holiday. However, if you are looking for a budget vacation (for which there are plenty of options as well), you will first need to do some research and then set a “flexible” budget for the same. Please note that while booking a cheaper accommodation, you will also need to inquire how safe a particular facility is. But if it is a tour operator that you’re going through, your accommodation will be taken care of.

◾ Determine the duration of your stay. This is another major factor you need to consider while planning your safari. Some operators offer short, but focused adventures, which may last for about eight to ten days. However, there are also longer excursions that extend up to even three months, wherein you can get a more in-depth experience. So, if you have a good budget and a little flexibility with regards to your vacation days, it is advisable to take one of the longer safaris, as it won’t be possible to travel to Africa again and again, especially owing to high airfares. So, see to it that you make the most of your vacation while you are there!

◾ Ascertain how you wish to commute from one point to another. Sometimes, two places mentioned in your itinerary may be miles and miles away from each other. More often than not, there are two ways to commute from one point to the other, viz., land transfers and air transfers, and both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Although flying from one point to the other is expensive, you get to save on a lot of time. On the other hand, land transfers involve traveling for hours together in a car across many miles of uninhabited wild terrain, thus, adding a lot more transit time. However, land transfers are more cost-effective; in that you have numerous opportunities for game viewing. So, according to the time at your disposal, decide the way you want to travel and estimate your budget accordingly.

◾ Traveling with kids can be fun too. A large number of tour operators specialize in providing kid-friendly itineraries and accommodations. Some activities can be specially designed for kids to ensure their active participation in the safari. Hence, while you are planning your safari, it is important to take into consideration the likes and preferences of all those who will be accompanying you so that everyone enjoys the adventure to the fullest.

How to Plan an Adventure Trip

The Amazon is the second longest river in the world after Nile, and its basin, which is also a marvel in itself, spans across eight countries. These include Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname, apart from the little overseas territory of France, viz., French Guiana. The Amazon rainforest, also known as the Amazon Jungle, covers most of the area occupied by the Amazon Basin in South America, and is undeniably the largest forest on our planet. It is a dense, moist, broadleaved jungle that supports such an unparalleled and varied ecosystem and offers such countless possibilities that at times, it almost seems like a fantastical dream―a folkloric region that boasts of near mythical inhabitants and happenings. But what really holds an element of mystique is the river itself; the majestic Amazon keeps on displaying its power and might from time to time.
Welcome to the Jungle!

The Amazon rainforest, as mentioned before, is the region of countless possibilities. It has so much to offer to the adventure-seekers that there comes a point when the forest expanse just starts seeming endless; you might stumble upon something new and exciting with every single step that you may take in Amazon’s wilderness. And this is precisely what makes the rainforest one of the most sought-after destinations of adventure enthusiasts―whether it is individual/group adventure or family fun, the Amazon Jungle is a treasure trove of ample opportunities for everyone.
Best Time to Travel
◆ In general, the Amazon rainforest experiences rainy season between November (or December) to about June.

◆ This is the time when the water level in the Amazon river rises, and the low-lying areas along its banks tend to get flooded. But owing to the risen water levels, many of the smaller channels along the basin actually become accessible at this time.

◆ This is best time for river cruising/kayaking adventures.

◆ On the other hand, between the months of July to December, the forest experiences dry season.

◆ This is the time when the water levels start receding with the rise in temperature. As the water recedes, a number of submerged beaches and trails get uncovered, thus, adding more exciting possibilities for adventures.

◆ For people who wish to indulge in activities such as fishing, hiking, and watching wildlife and birds, the dry season is the best time to travel.
Basic Factors to Consider
◆ The very first factor to take into consideration while planning a trip to the Amazon rainforest is whether you want to hire a tour operator or travel on your own.

◆ While traveling independently is possible, it often comes with its own set of complications. However, if you have a lot of time at your disposal, this option might suit you.

◆ If you opt to travel on your own, you will need to conduct thorough and adequate research, and make all your bookings―transport and accommodations―well in advance, and confirm them again before embarking on your journey.

◆ On the other hand, if you have limited time at your disposal and/or are planning your Amazon adventure for the first time, it is recommended that you hire a reputed tour operator who can take care of all the details of your trip and help you manage your budget.

◆ Independent travelers, even those who have been to the Amazon rainforest before, need to note that in most cases, you will feel the need to hire local tour operators, who will be able to help you with inland transfers and other basic facilities such as food and drink.

◆ The most important thing to consider is that you will need to have a local guide with you, especially if you intend to visit certain remote areas in the forest. A local guide who is well-versed with Spanish as well as the indigenous language of the region may be provided to you by your local tour operator.

◆ It should also be remembered that the Amazon region is prone to torrential rains that occur in the region almost every day. Owing to this, problems such as delayed flights and people missing the connecting flights are quite common there.

◆ Therefore, while booking your tickets, ensure that you do not miss out on this point. See to it that there is enough interval of time between the two flights you are going to take.

◆ Independent travelers must keep in mind that booking online will give them plenty of opportunities to avail discounted offers and other benefits, especially if they are booking well ahead. So, look for them and compare prices before making the final payment.

◆ Apart from the ones mentioned above, the most important factor to be considered is your overall budget. If you choose to go on a lavish, luxury trip to the Amazon rainforest, it would mean traveling by domestic flights/private cars, staying in upscale lodges/camps, eating grand lunches and dinners, and enjoying state-of-the-art facilities. However, such a trip will perhaps cut you off from the local culture and keep you from enjoying the reality of life in the Amazon.

◆ Budget travel to the region will mean that you will probably get very basic amenities like windowless chalets, public transport, and mediocre lunches and dinners.

◆ The best way to balance your budget in the Amazon region is to choose a good package deal that will include―apart from lodging―food, excursions, and other necessary facilities.

Adventure Travel Destinations

Who wouldn’t want to live a life full of journeys and exploration? In fact, children who get the opportunity to see the world can surely be deemed fortunate. Young minds always tend to view the world in the right perspective, since their thinking is pretty much clean and not biased. If we are to educate our kids about the world, the best means would be to actually take them out there.

Seems like a fine idea on paper, isn’t it? Especially when parents have to contend with a thousand chants of “I’m bored” and “Are we there yet?” throughout the journey. Well, this certainly is the drawback of traveling with kids. But we do urge you to browse through this list of kid-friendly adventure travel destinations―you can’t be assured of a no-complaints trip, but they will definitely be reduced to a bare minimum.
Japan

Japan doesn’t just have to be the good ol’ Land of the Rising Sun, neither should it be limited to just another exotic eastern destinations. As a matter of fact, Japan happens to be a winner of a destination among young children and teenagers alike. Well, with their sterling anime and manga culture, and of course, Hello Kitty, it isn’t really a surprise.
What got Japan a spot on this list?
▶ The uniqueness of Japanese culture is something which needs to be observed and experienced up close.

▶ Their style of architecture, the topography of the country, their mannerisms, language, cuisine, and lifestyle is vastly different from ours―which presents a fabulous learning opportunity for children.

▶ Disneyland is always a hit with children and parents alike, which is why you can have fun at the Japanese version of this fabulous theme park.

▶ Watching a Sumo match, riding a dizzying roller coaster at Fuji-Q Highland, and tasting the very unique Japanese cuisine can be a novel experience for young children.

▶ WalkJapan conducts these very interesting and off-the-beaten-track walking tours that are enriching, adventurous, and highly entertaining for the adults along with slightly older kids.
Egypt

Pharaohs and mummies? You bet! All thanks to Hollywood, no kid is really immune to the mystique of ancient Egyptian culture and those lofty Pyramids of theirs. Seeped in tradition, your preteens and teenagers are bound to have a blast here in Egypt.
Isn’t there a travel advisory against going to Egypt?
▶ Umm … unfortunately, there is. But things should hopefully change in the near future, as it would be a pity for families to miss out on a spectacular destination such as this.

▶ If you do get the chance to visit this nation, do be aware that the Giza Pyramids are simply the tip of the iceberg among all Egyptian attractions.

▶ The humongous lakeside temples of Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple, the Lighthouse of Alexandria―Egypt does not have a dearth of places to visit.

▶ From ditzy camel rides, felucca sailboat cruise, to snorkeling in the Red Sea, your children will have a lot of exiting things to look forward to; more importantly, none of which include an amusement park.
South Africa

Who isn’t enamored by the beauty of the African continent? We sure are. South Africa, in particular, has everything you need to enjoy a fun filled adventure with the entire family. The Rainbow Nation lets you make the most of your holiday by bringing you close to nature, and packs an urban punch as well.
Do tell us more!
▶ A South African holiday can turn out to be the mother of all adventures, with a visit to Shark Alley, close to the fishing hamlet of Gansbaai near Cape Town. Here, you will get the opportunity to experience a caged dive with the most ferocious creature that inhabits our seas, the Great White Shark.

▶ The coast of South Africa is also home to the African penguin; and there isn’t a better place to spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

▶ Speaking of natural habitats, an African safari is a must when you’re visiting this continent, and there cannot be a better way of letting your children experience nature in all its glory.
Finland

A trip to Finland is akin to visiting a land right out of fairy tales. This Scandinavian nation is not just about skiing, snowfall, Santa Claus, and sleds, it has a lot more going for it than you can imagine.
What is so special about Finland?
▶ The best part about Finland is that it has something for every season. Yes, it can be a matter of disbelief, but it’s true, nevertheless. Adventure buffs, especially, can have a fabulous time in the skiing and snowboarding season. Alpine climbing is also a fantastic option.

▶ Wintertime in Finland lasts from October to March, which gives you ample opportunity to view the amazing phenomenon of aurora borealis (northern lights). Also, wintertime is festive season here, with Christmas being celebrated in full bloom in Lapland, the home of Santa Claus.

▶ The polar summers are a unique phenomenon as well, with the children getting a chance to experience prolonged periods of sunshine, referred to as the midnight sun.
Australia

To merge with the spirit of this vast land, you’ve got to hit the road. Campervanning is the best way to see Australia; and if the idea of doing so with kids gives you the chills, just relax. Road trips in Oz aren’t just road trips, as you’ll be wandering among the land of marsupials, exotic desert fauna, and weird poisonous species―all of this is sure to churn enough curiosity and excitement to last well beyond the trip.
Thunder Down Under, anyone?
▶ Being as vast as it is, Australia has kid-friendly attractions that will take months to actually explore, but a spot that qualifies as unmissable has got to be the Great Barrier Reef. Go sailing along with the family to the Whitsunday Islands, where you’ll be able to take a dip into the ocean to see the famous corals.

▶ Kangaroos, koalas, platypus―Australian wildlife is so unlike the rest of the world. Your kids may have seen them in the zoo, but to view them in their original habitat is a wonderful experience.