Is an African Safari on your bucket list? When you finish reading all the information we are bringing to you, you’ll add it without a doubt!
We want to keep the dream of travel alive, and we know everybody will be ready for travel at different times. We would like to make sure that everybody has lots of great options to explore and build their dream vacation from, even though they may not be ready to travel right now.
One of those great options available as shown by Philip Solomon from Tourcan Vacations on a Travel Talk Thursday with Travel Time. Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch his presentation and view his amazing images that go along with the immensely valuable information he shared. He explained to us about the African safari experience and lots of other great experiences that Tourcan Vacations can offer to guests.
Getting to know Tourcan Vacations
Tourcan Vacations is a Canadian-owned and operated company and they’ve been in the business for 34 years. The owner of the company is Vivek Khanna who arrived in Canada from India. He was always in the travel industry in some capacity, and he wanted to create special experiences for travelers into the world of exotic destinations, and in particular the African safari experience.
The company became specialists in customizing tours to these long-haul destinations such as:
- The Indian Sub-Continent
- South & Central America
- South Pacific
- The Middle East
The African continent is their strongest producing area and particularly southern and eastern Africa, so places like South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania Rwanda, and Egypt. They cover about 14 different countries on the African continent.
Asia has won second place for its destinations. The north, south, east, and west of Asia have become extremely popular over the last couple of years. Together with a combination of Vietnam and Cambodia, they’ve also seen substantial growth in Japan and one of the interesting up-and-coming destinations in Sri Lanka.
They also offer trips to South and Central America including:
- Ecuador, in particular, the Galapagos Islands and
- Argentina because of its wine many people want to go do wine tasting tours
- Costa Rica
- Southern Mexico
They also go to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, and Tahiti and to finish off their list in the Middle East with the most popular destinations in the region, Israel and Jordan. They do a lot of faith-based tours there.
About the experience
People want to immerse themselves in the local culture but not just go there and look around, but truly get involved and spend time with local people, and perhaps even stay with a local family to learn about the history and the culture.
Culinary experiences are about learning how to cook the local food, so in many of their destinations they arrange cooking classes where you will actually meet up with a local chef and you can go and do shopping in the market for the local ingredients, and you cook some dishes which make up the local cuisine.
Popular tours are visiting local schools and animal rehabilitation centers where you can “adopt an elephant” (without having to fit it into your suitcase!). Tourcan actually has a variety of projects that they are involved in around the world.
Enjoying the adventure of a safari
One of their most popular vacations is a safari since this is an opportunity to go and observe animals in east Africa, mainly Kenya and Tanzania. The word safari means a voyage and is most commonly used as a voyage to observe animals in their natural habitat.
Sometimes people want to go on a safari only as a vacation for 10 or 14 days, but others want to combine a safari with sightseeing, and those situations are often a great fit for someone travelling to southern Africa.
With regards to safety, you should know that they have very experienced driver guides and when you are traveling in the national parks you have to stick to designated areas for driving, you can’t go off the road, and because these roads are standard routes through approved areas, the safety level is quite high. The drivers and guides also know how to react when there are animals in close proximity and you receive all those instructions prior to actually going on the safari.
The best time to travel is July to September since it’s the drier season, also the peak season, and the time when migration takes place for lots of species of animals. Both Kenya and Tanzania are defined as year-round destinations and they do have a rainy season which is April to early June and then again in November when there’s another short rainy season.
When you arrive at the destination, whether you start in Tanzania or in Kenya, you’re going to travel every second or third day to a different lodge or camp and there’s a reason for that – it has to do with the different landscapes and different animals that you’ll get to see when you get to these lodges.
There will always be an early morning and an afternoon game drive. When you’re driving to one of these game parks, the game drive happens en route to the lodge itself.
A safari can be a driving safari, where you would start in a city such as Nairobi and you will actually do a driving safari for 7, 10, or 14 days. If driving isn’t your style, maybe you would choose to do a flying safari. You can even do a combo of the two where you can drive and you can fly back from your last destination.
The safari vehicles are 4×4 trucks and they have a pop-up roof that you can actually stand up in, and look out on the terrain. That is how you would experience the wonders of a safari, with amazing views of the awesome animals in Kenya and Tanzania. Everybody gets window seating on these trips, and you have an English-speaking driver-guide so they not only are the driver but they know the terrain well and they know the animals.
The roads may be a little bit bumpy but driving there provides the option of seeing the countryside, stopping along the way, and meeting up with some locals. There’s something genuine and authentic about driving over these safari roads!
The accommodations in east Africa are tented and large accommodations but they are really luxury tent accommodations. Imagine you take a five or four-star hotel room, you remove the roof and the walls and you replace it with canvas all around. They also have solid structures known as lodge-style accommodations.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner once you get to the lodges are always included. You’ll have everything from western food to local foods and nouvelle cuisine so you can enjoy a diversity of experiences.
Highlighted places to visit
Amboseli National Park: This park is located almost at the foot of Kilimanjaro. It’s a marshy region very different from some of the other places that you will get to see. There are also large herds of elephants and buffalos to be seen in this region.
Samburu: Samburu is a national reserve up in the north. When you visit, you’ll see many animals you probably won’t see down in the southern regions such as the reticulated giraffes, Grevy’s zebras, beautiful oryx known for those fantastic horns, gerenuks that are almost giraffe-like because they eat fresh leaves and they stand on their hindquarters to reach them. They’re often found in areas where the foliage is bushy.
Lake Nakuru: Lake Nakuru’s renowned for its flamingos. When you’re there, try and see if you can pick out the difference between the greater and the lesser flamingos, since they have different designs. This lake is also home to many rhinos and Rothschild’s giraffes.
The Masai Mara and the Serengeti: The Serengeti is in Tanzania and over into Kenya where it becomes the Masai Mara. This is also where the famous Great Migration takes place. The Serengeti is where you find those wide-open plains and large herds of wildebeest and zebras.
The annual migration takes place through Tanzania and Kenya and they cross over the Mara River going into Kenya. This is a really interesting time to visit and this happens from August into September. The animals are grazing, following where the rains have been, and moving to where they can get all the fresh food.
You’re going to see lots of felines such as cheetahs, leopards, lions, and also a variety of antelope.
The African Hot Air Balloon Safari also takes place in this region, and is an amazing experience!
The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania: This crater was an old volcano and an estimated 30,000 animals live within the crater walls itself. You’re going to find everything there from rhinos to lions and a wide variety of bird species.
You can either spend half a day there or a full day with a picnic lunch in the crater itself.
Zanzibar Island: Tourcan finds that about 60% to 70% of people who travel to Kenya and Tanzania opt to extend their journey and go to the island of Zanzibar for a little break after the safari which is usually three to five days.
Zanzibar is also a very popular honeymoon destination with a wide range of hotels and properties but it’s important to highlight the fact that it has beautiful beaches. This is really a fabulous way to end a safari!
Don’t hesitate to include a safari on your bucket list!
We do know and understand that people’s comfort levels for travel will return at vastly different times but these kinds of experiences will be there waiting for you. We are here to provide you all the information you need to make your safari travel dream comes true.
Tourcan presents an exciting option with all the adventure, safety, and comfort you can imagine. They really have the expertise to take you to all these exotic destinations!