What to Expect: A typical day on safari in East Africa

By Claudia Smargiasso | 04 October 2023

Imagine waking to the musical calls of a multitude of birds and the sight of a radiant sunrise painting the vast plains in hues of orange and pink. This is the enchanting beginning of an average day on safari in East Africa, a day that promises unparalleled wildlife experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Game drive at Dunia Camp

Dawn: the Early Riser’s Reward

For those who believe in the adage that the ‘early bird catches the worm,’ a safari offers the best kind of validation. Daybreak is when the magic starts. Wrapped in the gentle chill of an African morning, guests head out on a game drive. This early expedition provides the opportunity to see the nocturnal creatures retiring from their night’s hunting and the rest of the wildlife rousing to begin their day before the mercury really starts to climb.

For photographers, this time of day offers a soft light to bring a magical quality to the landscape.

Exploring the area near Namiri Plains

Mid-morning: Game Viewing and Bush Brunches

After a few hours of tracking and observing the wildlife by mid-morning, it’s time to enjoy a sumptuous bush breakfast. This often comprises fresh fruits, pastries, a variety of tasty treats, and, of course, a steaming cup of aromatic East African coffee. The experience of dining in the middle of bush, with perhaps an inquisitive giraffe or zebra looking on from a distance, is both surreal and delightful.

With tummies full, you’ll enjoy a leisurely game drive back to the camp.

Bush breakfast at Roho ya Selous

Afternoon: Siesta and leisure

The African sun can be intense around the middle of the day. The animals, much like their human observers, prefer to seek out the cool of the shade where they rest during these hours.

Enjoy a tranquil lunch, after which you can use this time for a siesta in your room or relax with a book in a shady spot. Some of our camps offer a swimming pool where you can cool off with a dip.

Infinity pool at Jabali Ridge

Late Afternoon: Magic Hour

As the shadows grow longer, the plains come alive once more. The wildlife is more active again, making a late afternoon game drive a most rewarding experience. Predators like lion, cheetah, and leopards become more active as they prepare for their evening hunt.

As the sun sets, your guide will select a scenic spot where you’ll hop out of the game drive vehicle and enjoy a refreshing sundowner drink and some nibbles in the bush. There’s simply no better way to close out the day’s wildlife viewing.

Serengeti Sundowners at Sayari Camp

Evening: Campfire stories and stargazing

You’ll have time to freshen up after your day’s adventures before you sit down for a sumptuous dinner. A safari tradition is to gather around the campfire (also known as the Bush TV), sharing tales of the day’s sightings and adventures and often chatting well into the night.

The nighttime also reveals another treasure – the African sky, dotted with more stars than you can imagine. There are few places left where you can see stars in all their glory, like in East Africa, far from the light pollution of any cities.

Evenings around the campfire at Oliver's Camp

The ever-changing theatre

The beauty of an East African safari is that no two days are really the same. While this describes the average day, you can explore the wilderness in various ways: a hot-air balloon safari, an immersive walking safari, or even a cultural experience.

For a completely exclusive experience, where each day on safari is 100% customized to your needs, look into staying at one of our new exclusive-use Asilia Retreats.

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