First Time on Safari? Here’s What May Surprise You.

By Sarah Gold February 22, 2021

Planning your first safari is an exciting process. Browsing through various safari itineraries; reading about different destinations; and perusing photos of the wild animals, indigenous communities, and the safari camps and lodges you’ll encounter are sure to drum up anticipation for your adventure. Such preparations can also help you get the most out of your safari experience (which is why we consider it an integral part of Micato’s offerings).

Here’s the secret of safari plans, though: No matter how carefully you make them, you’re sure to find surprises—the good kind!—once your trip is underway. Africa’s vast game reserves are magical places, where all sorts of unexpected enchantments might suddenly present themselves. So, though we’ve collected a few potential revelations below, don’t worry that they might be spoilers. Trust us—your safari will have its own unscripted delights.

All-Sensory Wildlife Encounters

You already know that you’ll see abundant wildlife on your Micato safari. If you’ve scrolled through enough safari-themed Instagram feeds, you may even think you understand just how close you’ll get to majestic creatures like elephants, giraffe, and lions. But you won’t truly be able to appreciate the thrill of proximity until you experience it with all your senses—until you’ve smelled the earthy dust kicked up by a passing rhino, or the pungent, feral aroma emanating from a pack of hyenas. Or until you’ve heard the low, menacing growl of a leopard hidden among tree branches (at a safe distance from your vehicle), or the cacophony of burpy grunts rising from wallowing hippos—or the morning music made by black-collared barbets, emerald-spotted wood doves, and other veld-dwelling birds.

Gorialla Tracking
The Pinto Family gets up-close-and-personal with mountain gorillas in Rwanda

Implausibly Luxurious Camps

Pre-safari, you might easily find the term “luxury tented camp” a bit paradoxical. Perhaps even after poring over images and descriptions of Micato’s stunning partner properties—with their private verandas, swimming pools and wine cellars—you might still harbour doubts about how truly opulent tented lodgings can be. But those are likely to vanish the moment you arrive at your first camp, where you’ll be greeted by staffers proffering cold libations and welcoming smiles before settling into your gorgeously appointed quarters. Any lingering qualms will further fade once you’ve enjoyed an evening feast of haute bush cuisine, then snuggled into high-thread-count linens for a restorative sleep. And once you’ve returned from an awe-inspiring, hours-long game drive to revive with a spa treatment or a soak in your own freestanding tub, your “tent” preconceptions will have disappeared even from memory.

zarafa camp private tent
Luxurious accommodations at Zarafa Camp

Real Cultural Exchanges

Meeting some of the indigenous people who have long inhabited Africa’s reserve lands is a highlight of safari travel. And you may already be aware that most every Micato itinerary includes opportunities to visit communities of local tribespeople, including Maasai, Samburu, and San. You may also know that a large percentage of the staffers who work at Micato camps and lodges—as guides, drivers, chefs, gardeners, and more—come from these communities. But what you may not quite glean until you’ve arrived is just how many opportunities you’ll have to interact with them. Not only are many tribal staffers glad to share their deep knowledge about their native landscapes, plant and animal life, and answer respectful questions about their traditions and day-to-day lives; they may also be quite interested in asking you about yours (in perfectly fluent English)—and in some cases sharing their smartphone photos, or friending you on Facebook.

Spring 2016 Micato Safaris Photo Contest Winners
Micato Guest Rikki Swenson shares iPhone photos with Samburu Tribesmen

Micato’s expert safari planners help you plan an exquisite, custom-tailored itinerary, with all logistics arranged and taken care of—while still leaving room for captivating surprise. If you’re ready to have your safari expectations exceeded, call us at 1-800-MICATO-1 or contact us online to learn more.

Up Next: Nesting in Nature: Exploring the Ancient Jungles of India