Definition Of A Safari – Learn What It Is & What To Expect

Want to know what exactly is the definition of a safari and what to expect on one? Want to know what safari terminology means so you can have the best safari for you? You’ve come to the right place.

So what is the definition of a safari? The word “safari” is from Arabic and it means journey. Today it specifically refers to either a hunting or wildlife sightseeing journey in southern or East Africa.

Learn about safaris and How To Choose The Best Safari For You!

Starting with basic safari types or terminology, this guide helps you determine which type of African safari vacation is best for you.

Learn what to ask, what to expect, what to avoid. This guide is based on experiences of past travelers going on safaris.

There are two main safari regions in Africa:

East Africa:
Kenya, Tanzania (which includes Zanzibar), Uganda and increasingly Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo

Southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi

First, think about or list what you want to experience and the countries you want to visit. Here is a quick start

  • What types of activities are you interested in experiencing wildlife, African culture, history, shopping, spas…
  • What time of year do you want to travel
  • What areas or countries are you interested in
  • What is your budget
  • How far in advance do you want to book
  • Do you want go to go with a group? Or just you, your family and friends?

Here Are The Types Of Safaris Available

Safari Terminology: The Guided Safari/Tour Option

These vary in length, group size and budget. You can go safari in an overland truck or travel in style in a small, air conditioned vehicle. You can have a guided tour on a private, exclusive basis as well.


Here too you have a wide range of accommodation available on an African safari. It can vary from basic camping to luxury tents and five star lodges. We have never done an overland safari, our experience and advice concentrates on more upmarket lodges and luxury tented camps.

We have also experienced a large number of affordable African safari trips. They have mainly been very luxurious African safaris that we have gotten at a great price. We also have been on budget safaris largely when we took advantage of the clean and basic Kruger National Park rest camp accommodation.

Safari Terminology: Independent Safaris/Tours

Self drive:

South Africa and Namibia are the only countries that we think self-drive is a viable option for most tourists. This is because they both have great road networks.

We live in South Africa & have driven extensively throughout South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland (two small countries nearly surrounded by South Africa).

For us the freedom of the road and being able to determine your own pace makes it a wonderful option.

For these countries you can book your car and accommodation. If you want to self drive, click the above links.

Safari Terminology: Fly In or Wing Safaris

Here you travel by light aircraft from place to place. This is the only option in a country like Botswana where so many camps are very remote.

Botswana is accessible if you rent a 4×4 but for most these small planes make truly wilderness areas accessible. For this reason, fly-in safaris are very popular. And they also save lots of time.

It is most economical to buy a seat on the flight, though you can charter a plane for exclusive use.

What is your accommodation going to be like?

For many what the hotel or accommodation is like is critical to the success of a trip. Pay attention to the hotel, lodge or camp descriptions, locations and types of facilities they offers.

You need to pay special attention to the location of the hotels. If you have a car or will be on a sightseeing bus then you can afford to be in a hotel that is outside the city center. If you are going to have a lot of free time in the cities you will be visiting then you need to be in safe, centrally located hotels.


If this is important to you (and it is very important to us) read your itinerary carefully to see how much opportunity you will have to experience local cuisine.

Africa Safaris

Looking for safaris in Africa? Africa is a great continent for adventure trips! From the world famous Plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the fantastic Kruger National Park in South Africa, passing through the Loango Park in Gabon where you can watch the Hippos surfing in the sea, a safari is a holiday of a lifetime.

Top Safari Experiences

Wildlife Safaris

Africa is the home of wildlife safaris and a tour to Africa usually evokes wonder and adventure. On an African safari travel through dramatic mountain ranges some with ice peaks, pristine beaches, wildlife, birds, aquatic life, magnificent water bodies and water adventures like whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking and not forgetting the great Nile cruise.

Southern Africa Safaris
See the vast quantities of animals found in the Okavango Swamps in Botswana or choose from the many famous Safaris and parks that Kenya has to offer.

Gorilla safaris

One of the most unique and outstanding vacation safari to Africa is a gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda, a trip that offers amazing opportunities to view the great apes – mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. On this kind of trip you can also other primates including chimpanzees (another ape native only to the African continent) and monkeys.


African cruises are ultimate activities for honeymooners, wildlife enthusiasts, bird lovers, photographers. There is something for everyone on this beautiful continent. You can enjoy cruises along the Ocean or on the many inland lakes. Boat cruises in national parks offer great sightings of wildlife and will make your wildlife safari memorable.

East Africa Safari Offers

There are many classic safaris offered by selected tour operators. Here are some of the trips that are available to give you an idea.

  • 9 Days Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda,
  • Chimpanzee Tracking,
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • White water Rafting,
  • Masai Mara National Park
  • Amboseli National Park,
  • the Okavango,
  • Serengeti National Park
  • Ngorongoro National Park
  • Beaches: You may also travel to some of the African beaches for relaxation and sunbathing.

We hope this information on safari terminology was helpful. Want more help? Contact us now for a free customized itinerary for your Africa safari suited to your interests & budget. Just fill in the form and submit it.