Why You Should Go On the Experience of a Lifetime – A Safari
There’s just something about seeing wild animals – the ones that you normally see behind bars, in cages, or safely ensconced in zoo displays – in their natural habitats. The only way to do this safely and humanely is to go on a safari. While the word “safari” immediately conjures up images of Africa and wildlife roaming free on the Serengeti, there are plenty of places to go on in America as well.
I have been lucky enough to have gone on a safari in South Africa, and it’s definitely something that I want to do again. Seeing those animals up close created a number of memories that I won’t soon forget, and I highly recommend staying on a preserve and listening to the animals roam around if you ever have the chance. Travels of this nature tend to be a once in a lifetime experience!
However, before you pack your bags and head to the jungles of Africa in order to go on a safari of your own, there are many things that you need to consider. There are vaccinations that you’ll need to get, in order to avoid contracting a potentially deadly disease. These will vary depending on the country that you’re going to, so check with a travel expert or advisor to ensure that you are properly protected. Also, you’ll need to hire a tour guide. Either the lodge that you stay in will provide one, or you’ll have to hire a recommended one from outside. The time of year that you travel on safari matters as well, as you don’t want to go during the rainy season, when you’ll be stuck indoors instead of seeing the animals outdoors. Lastly, an African safari is not cheap, once you factor in airfare and lodging for yourself and your loved ones (safaris aren’t just for families with children!), and other expenses.
Thankfully, there are plenty of places in the United States where you can enjoy the experience of a safari, without going through the hassle and expense of traveling outside of the country. These safaris are great starter “safaris” as you’ll see the animals up close from a moving vehicle, as they roam around you grazing or relax in the sun. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of them, in order to help you remember how much fun you had on your local adventure. Of course, you’ll need to be cautious, as these are still wild animals, and you never know what they might do!
As far as local safari experiences go, I highly recommend Safari West in Sonoma, California. Wine country may seem like a strange place for a safari, but I’ve been there, and my whole family had a great time. It features jeep tours through the animal’s habitats, similar to those held in Africa. If you decide to stay the night, there are luxury tents to sleep in, and you’ll be able to hear the cheetahs, hyenas, servals, and caracals at night. Other animals on the premises include zebra, giraffes, tortoises, wildebeests, gazelles, rhinoceros, egrets, guinea fowl, and more.
Another great California-based safari is the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This one has a number of different tour options, from caravans to carts. They also have some unique tours that will have you climbing through trees like a monkey, or traveling on an electric powered three- wheeled tricycle. Some of the animals in this safari range from African classics, like the gorilla and giraffe, to the more local, like bighorn sheep, California condors, and bald eagles. They also have elephants, lions, lemurs, meerkats, and warthogs, among others. (http://www.sdzsafaripark.org)
If an African safari is on your bucket list, but you prefer not to leave the country, check out this listing of the ten best safaris in the United States: http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/ 10-best-safaris-in-the-us