There are a lot of options to choose from when planning out a safari in Africa. And while you can choose to go on a self-driving safari by yourself, most people will want the help of a safari guide.
But even if you’ve decided to go with a guide, there are still more choices to make on what kind you want.
Many lodges already include a guide, but you might want to pick your own for special purposes.
Most African countries follow either a regional or national guiding certification program – and they all come with tiers.
Certification isn’t always necessary though, some of the best guides out there have no formal training, but you usually have to know somebody who knows somebody to find them.
Since you’ll probably end up going with a safari outfitter, every credible one will hire a certified guide who is guaranteed to have a thorough fundamental knowledge of the bush. This way you can just sit back and relax while the outfitter takes care of you.
More elite lodges will however hire some with greater qualifications, meaning they can offer services like walking safaris and specialized species knowledge.
That said, charisma and likability can be found through all levels, at absolutely all price points.
The one thing that is different with the ultra-luxury (and some luxury) lodges is that they provide a tracker in addition to a guide.
This person (called a master tracker) sits perched on the front of a vehicle, and is specifically trained to look for signs of wildlife, while the guide focuses more on your well-being, your experience and radio contact with other vehicles. The two work together to navigate the bush and provide, in theory, better sightings for their guests.
Whichever option you choose to go with, by using these tips and doing a little homework on the country you are going to, you’re sure to have an awesome safari.