Going on a safari through Africa is a travel experience that will change your life. While exploring the continent’s vast wild spaces, your urban existence melts away when you compare your shoes with the giant footprints of elephants. As you silently witness big cats seeking refuge in the scant shade of an umbrella thorn tree and watch campfire smoke spiral into the Milky Way, you drift off to the sounds of nature hoping this would never end.
Moments like these are the kind that have a way of changing the way you see the world and your place in it. And, they’re the ones that will bring you back to Africa again and again. Sadly, we all seem to have a busy schedule. It’d be ideal to spend as much time as possible immersed in the sounds of nature. After all, the enormous scope of the continent lends itself toward extensive travel adventures.
But since that’s not always possible, there are many short safari experiences that will also give you a great taste of Africa’s wildlife. Don’t think it’s worth it? Here are a few reasons why you should consider a short safari and the best destinations to travel to.
Benefits of going on a short break away
5. Short safaris are time and budget friendly
Most people don’t travel as much as they want to for two reasons - time and money.
Sure, it would be lovely to spend a month on a trekking safari in the Amazon, or lazing on South Africa’s glorious beaches, but spending all of your leave in one go and having zero days off for the rest of the year is a pretty bleak situation which could even cause you to regret the decision to travel.
This is why considering a short breakaway is a win! Plus, if you plan it right, you can miss the busy tourist seasons and get all of the best experiences minus the crowds!
There are plenty of amazing two-day budget safari deals in South Africa that are comfortable and go for as little as 100 USD. And, even if you extend your vacation to 5 days, you’ll still have a few leave days to spare.
4. Packing for your safari will be a breeze
Holiday packing is one of my favorite things to do. Waiting for my suitcase to finally pop out of the carousel hanger is my least favorite thing to do. And, I’m pretty sure that I am not the only one. No one enjoys wasting precious vacation time waiting for their luggage, especially after a long flight!
Going on a short breakaway means fewer items to pack, so opting for a backpack is totally possible! All you need to do is step off the plane and into adventure mode.
3. Planning your safari is much easier
Traveling boosts mental and physical health, that is no secret. But, did you know that the planning of a short getaway is just as good?
The process of planning your safari is a great motivator for setting reasonable short-term goals and the anticipation is a great boost for those happy brain chemicals. Plus, actually achieving the goal to travel will further boost your sense of self.
Aside from these amazing benefits, short safari breaks are much easier to plan. There is a sensory overload of activities that you can do while on safari which makes deciding on what you really want, pretty tricky and we have all, at some point, had to deal with the paradox of choice. Depending on where you travel to, your itinerary could be flooded with possible things to do in Africa, from village visits to market exploring, museum hopping, hiking, scuba diving, wine tasting, mountain climbing, the list is endless!
Too many options can leave us unable to decide but with fewer days to pack full of activities, you’ll be able to prioritize exactly what you want to do and won't end up on experiences that you might not really enjoy.
2. Action-packed mini vacations feel longer than they are
On my most recent trip to Tanzania, I went on a Big Five safari, trekked through Jozani forest, visited spice farms, went on a marine safari, had cave exploring adventures, knocked on the door of Freddy Mercury’s house, visited plenty of markets AND had time to just lie back on the beach with a cocktail all within a few days.
Doing so many activities made the short breakaway feel much longer than what it really was and I didn’t feel exhausted when I got back home.
When we are in one destination for more than a week, we’re more likely to take things slowly, making the days roll into one. So, two weeks away can end up feeling like a one day break.
This is why we sometimes get that weird feeling that we need a vacation after spending 10 days lazing on a tropical beach. In this way, short breaks are a huge win!
1. It will be easier to completely disconnect
Picture this: you’re in the Serengeti silently witnessing a pride of lions stalk their prey and just as they’re about to leap, you start wondering whether or not Susan managed to file that paperwork you asked her to do while you were away.
There’s nothing worse than having your amazing vacation interrupted by thoughts of the office and the never-ending pile of deadlines. But, thanks to technology, touching base with work is a breeze, so why not? Right?
Wrong! Your vacation time is sacred and nothing should get in the way of that! Having a detox from your desk and your screens will give you mental space for creativity and clearer decision making.
If you’re the kind of person who finds it difficult to disconnect from the office, then going on a shorter safari is the best option for you. In fact, the more mini breaks you take, particularly to new destinations, the more your brain is challenged and in turn, you’ll feel more refreshed and energized.
So, in a way, going on a safari should be one of your work goals if you want to stay on top of your game.
Now that you know that opting for a short safari getaway won't be as much of a let down as you thought, let’s dive into the best places you can visit for that much-needed breakaway.
Best safari destinations for an African getaway
Massai Mara National Park, Kenya
If you’re looking for a quintessential safari experience, this is it! Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best wildlife reserves in Africa, home to over 95 species of mammals and over 570 recorded species of birds.
Aside from the excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, there are also a number of exciting things to do here from visiting traditional Maasai villages to romantic hot air balloon rides and even horseback riding!
Recommended number of days: 3 - 4 days
Best time to travel in Kenya: July - October
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Steeped in legend and history, this iconic safari destination is definitely one to tick off your bucket list. The Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s most easily accessible parks and is teeming with all of the continent’s most beloved animals, including the legendary Big Five!
The best wildlife viewing time also coincides with the low season, meaning fewer tourists and more open spaces.
Recommended number of days: 2 - 4 days
Best time to visit the Kruger National Park: March - November
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Although the fabled Serengeti gets all of the attention, Tarangire National Park is, perhaps, Tanzania’s best-kept secret. While most tourists miss out on the region altogether, this virtually untouched wildlife reserve is perfect for those looking to escape the crowds. And, when it comes to wildlife viewing, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Tarangire is the surprise package on Tanzania’s Northern circuit, boasting the region’s largest population of African elephants and all of the Big Five.
Recommended number of days: 3 - 5 days
Best time to visit Tarangire National Park: July - November
Craving a quick escape but Africa is not on your list? We still have your back! Check out these short and sweet wildlife safaris in Asia!