Africa & The Middle East | People & Stories

Travel Director Maria shares the safari experience that changed her life forever 

For many people, travel is more than just a holiday – it can be a life-changing experience. Travel can give you a whole new perspective on life or it can shape your future in a profound way. This was the case for Trafalgar Travel Director, Maria, who went on a trip to Kenya that opened up a new world for her. Ahead of World Wildlife Day on March 3, we sat down with Maria to talk about her incredible safari experience and wildlife sightings, and how it changed her life forever.

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Travel Director Maria’s story

“Years ago (in the 1980s), I went to Kenya for a wedding on my Indian sister-in-law’s side. While I was there, I was introduced to safaris. It was the kind of holiday I never thought about, as I assumed that camping in the bush was not for me. But after my first safari to the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya, I was hooked!”

Experience it: Wonders of Kenya

“After that I went on safaris all over the country, staying in all different styles of accommodations, from a simple tent with no facilities, to luxury tented camps and lodges. Then I also went to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and many other places. The fascination of a safari for me was getting up close to lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, zebras, elephants, ostriches, gazelles, and more.”

Experience it: African Safari Adventure

Two safari jeeps observing a male lion. Lion is closer the camera with the jeeps behind. Scene is lit by soft golden evening light

“That led me then to wish to explore more of nature. I went to Uganda to see the gorillas of the Bwindi Forest and it was the most unforgettable and emotional experience. There was no stopping me after that. A few years later, I was off to the Amazon and the Galápagos Islands. I also went bird watching and on tiger safaris in India.”

Experience it: Golden Triangle, Tigers and The Ganges

“Trekking also became a part of my activities, but I was not content with just exploring nature on land, so I learnt to dive. After that, I could go to various places around the world, exploring the seas. So, what was initially a casual trip to Kenya, became an experience that opened up a whole new world for me.”

A lone wildebeest stands in its cloud of dust in the orange-tinted light. Wildebeest is silhouetted by the sunlight.

How you can have your own life-changing safari experience with Trafalgar

Feeling inspired by Travel Director Maria’s story? You can have your own life-changing wildlife travel experience with Trafalgar tours. We can take you to the great plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania or the Masai Mara in Kenya where you can go on safari to spot the Big Five. You can explore South Africa’s iconic wildlife in national parks like Kruger or see unique desert animals in Namibia.

Journey to the Amazon from Brazil to Peru to experience its magnificent rainforest or head to India to spot tigers in the jungle. There are so many incredible travel experiences just waiting to be had… And you never know how it’s going to change your life. 

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Frequently asked questions about safaris

What is the best time of year to go on a safari?

The best time to go on a safari varies depending on the country and park you’re visiting. Generally, the dry season is considered the best time as animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. This period typically falls between June and October for many African destinations.

What should I pack for a safari?

Pack light, comfortable clothing in neutral colors that blend with the natural environment. You’ll need a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent. For evening wear, pack warm layers as it can get cold, especially in the desert or at higher altitudes. Don’t forget your camera, binoculars, extra batteries, memory cards and chargers, and protective bags to protect against dust and damage. 

Photo from passenger's point of view inside a safari jeep, looking ahead at the dirt road.

What wildlife can I see on safari?

The wildlife you can see depends on the location of your safari. You can see the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo) in popular safari destinations like Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, Etosha National Park in Namibia, and Chobe National Park in Botswana. You’ll also have the chance to see a variety of other animals, such as giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, and lots of incredible bird species.

What kind of accommodation can I expect on safari?

Safari accommodation options range from luxury lodges and tented camps to basic camping sites. Luxury lodges offer all the comforts of a high-end hotel in a spectacular, remote setting, while tented camps provide a more authentic safari experience without sacrificing comfort. Budget camping is also available for those who want a more adventurous experience.

Is it safe to go on safari?

Safaris are generally safe, but it’s crucial to listen to your guide and follow the park’s rules. Always stay in your vehicle during game drives, unless your guide says otherwise, and keep noise to a minimum to avoid startling the wildlife.

Three elephants calves playing together in lush green grass of the savannah.

Do I need any vaccinations, medications or other health precautions?

Consult with a travel clinic or your doctor well in advance of your trip. You may need certain vaccinations and anti-malarial medication is also recommended for many safari destinations. You should also bring a personal medical kit with items like pain relievers, anti-diarrhoea,  antiseptic cream, band-aids, and electrolytes.

Can I bring my children on a safari?

Many safari lodges and tours welcome children and offer family-friendly activities. However, some have age restrictions for safety reasons, especially for walking safaris or lodges in more remote locations. Always check with your safari operator before booking.

Can I go on a safari if I have mobility issues?

Many safari operators can accommodate guests with mobility issues, but it’s important to communicate your needs in advance. Some lodges are fully accessible, and vehicles can be modified for wheelchair access. However, not all lodges will be fully accessible due to their remote and rugged locations. Your safari operator will be able to let you know.

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