Going on Safari is on many peoples bucket lists, and is one of their ‘one day’ dreams, but what about the people who who have already been on safari? In my nearly twenty years on safari, I have met very few people (less than ten) who weren’t bitten by the safari bug. The large majority of people find that their senses are awakened, their busy city minds truly relax, often for the first time in years, and at the end of each day there is an easy conversation that doesn’t involve politics, crime, or the economy.
It can be very easy to assume you have ‘done’ safari after one visit, especially if you have some great luck and spot a good number of species (it usually comes down to your big cat sightings), but there is a serious argument both for coming back to the same place, and for trying something new.
As an example, you can never compare East Africa with Southern Africa; they are completely different and should be counted as two separate safari experiences, so trying a whole new geographical area opens up a whole new world of safari to you. If you narrow it down a little, and try to compare Botswana with South Africa, you might argue that they are somewhat similar, and to a degree you are right, with many of the species being the same, but the setting, the vegetation, the light, the smells and most importantly the way the animals interact with each other are all vastly different. You might not see it in the brochures, but I assure you, just on the transfer from the airstrip to the lodge, you will already have seen what I am talking about: totally different, and exciting in a whole new way.
Once you understand that no two safaris are ever the same, you can see a new benefit to returning to the same place over and again. We have been running The Great Migration Safari since 2012, and I continually come back with new images. The wildebeest crossings are well documented, and have been well photographed over recent years, but there is always a new way to tell the story. What I have tried here is to go for something a little more abstract, and using the black-and-white conversions, trying to get an ‘old school’ feel for the images. Putting a collection like this together in one safari is going to be extremely difficult, and you will need to cash in all your lucky chips, but if you return year after year, or even every few years, you will build up a collection of images that allow you to better tell the story.