How to choose a wildlife safari that’s right for you

I was once sent a meme that went something along the lines of “elephants, tigers and bears, oh my”. It was in response to my news that I was heading off on an African safari.

The person who sent it to me was, no doubt, very proud of themselves, but I wasn’t so impressed. You see, the thing that bothered me about that meme was that there are no tigers in Africa, I couldn’t see elephants, tigers and bears, it’s not possible, not in Africa anyway. And that’s the thing about heading out on a wildlife safari, and why it’s so important to do your research before you go, different wildlife is native to different parts of the world and depending on what you want to see, you want to make sure you end up in the right place. You know that, of course but this becomes vitally important when it comes to booking your wildlife safari.

Imagine turning up in Kenya expecting to see a meerkat, only to discover they don’t exist in Kenya, or looking for orangutans in India or gorillas in South Africa. And what if the wildlife you really want to see does exist in the country you want to go to, but it’s not the best place to see them.

You can technically see polar bears in Iceland, for instance, but they’re not native and it’s quite rare (apparently every now and again a polar bear swims too far and ends up close to the shores of Iceland). So really, if you wanted to see polar bears you should head to Canada or Norway, or even Greenland.

Seeing animals in the wild is awe-inspiring, there is simply nothing quite like it, but you’ll have a much better experience if you do some research before you. So, before you book your next trip, check out these five tips to help you choose a wildlife safari that’s right for you.

Know how you like to travel

We all like different modes of travel and different levels of comfort when we’re on holiday. Safari holidays will cater to all tastes, so it’s good to know what mode of transport and type of accommodation suit your needs best. While many wildlife reserves are in what may often be considered “developing nations”, there is generally no shortage of luxurious lodges. Would you prefer to be in a tent closer to the wildlife, or in a luxury lodge? Neither is right, but one will be more right for you.

Know what animals you want to see

Not all national parks, or all countries offer the same experience when it comes to wildlife so the more you can narrow it down to what you actually want to see, the better experience you’ll have. For instance, if you desperately want to see a tiger, then head to India, are orangutans on your bucket list? Then you’ll need to book a trip to Borneo, or are you desperate to channel Dian Fossey and see gorillas in the wild? Then you’ll want to head to Africa, and more specifically to Uganda, Rwanda or the Congo.

And once you have narrowed the particular wildlife down to a specific country or region, you’ll want to distill it down even further. Some national parks have larger herds of particular animals, Amboseli in Kenya, for instance is known for its elephant herds while Lake Nakaru is a great place to see rhinos.

Know what you want to do

Do you want to volunteer overseas? Take epic photos? Have a family adventure? There are tours that focus on volunteering, tours that focus on photography, tours that focus on experiencing as much wildlife as you can, tours that focus on hiking… The list is endless. You can visit coffee plantations, unbelievable water falls or stunning beaches alongside all that wildlife viewing. Thinking about what else you might like to do before you book means you’ll be better placed to pick the right experience for you.

Just because someone else spent five days chasing the Big 5 in the Masai Mara, doesn’t mean you will want to do the same. You might prefer to spend two days on a beach or in a resort swimming pool, two days on Safari and a day visiting local communities. Don’t be tempted to recreate someone else’s holiday unless that really is the way you like to travel and mirrors the things you are interested in.

Know what experiences you want

Before you pick a tour or organize your overseas adventure, think about your likes and dislikes and what travelling means to you. If you want to add a trek or a walking safari, be sure to factor that into where you travel to. Do you want to be able to bathe elephants, or take a walk through a wildlife reserve? Or do you want to observe from the safety of a vehicle? Do you want to explore local markets or spend time in a local village? There are many ways to see and experience wildlife and different cultures; thinking about what you might like to incorporate into your trip before you leave will help ensure you get the most from your adventure.

Who will you go with?

Because you’re here, we’re going to assume you’re a solo traveller, but more broadly, how do you want your travel to feel? Do you want to travel with a large group? A small group, on a private tour, or do you want to make your own way around? In some places it is possible to self-drive through national parks, in others you will need to have a qualified guide.

There are many different types of safaris that cater to all kinds of groups, there are different types of groups and tours that either allow you to join with other travellers or to create your own bespoke tour.

There are so many choices when it comes to planning your safari, but it really comes down to knowing yourself, knowing how you like to travel and knowing what you want to see. A little bit of research at the start will ensure you have the best experience possible – for you.

Why not join us in Sri Lanka, Peru, Tanzania, Madagascar or Ethiopia for your own wildlife experience.

Diane Squires is writer and tour host with Two’s a Crowd.

What Our Clients Say

20 out of 10!

The trip was just great - I can't really think of any negatives. Diane will back me up when I say I usually give 10/10s - I gave her 20/10. Trish, Canada/Alaska

Excellent trip

I found the overall trip excellent. I believe Diane's professionalism, inclusive personality and ability to relate to all contributed to this. She worked to ensure the group was cohesive without individuals impinging on the personal space of others etc. a good skill to have and one she applied effectively. Kate, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic value for money

Fantastic value for money paid. Russell our guide is an asset to your company... he was fantastic! Overall the trip was magical from start to finish. Well done Two's a Crowd ... the best trip ever. Barbara, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic first solo trip

I had a fantastic trip. Absolutely loved Canada and Alaska. It's the first time I have travelled solo and was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of people that all got on so well. Diane our host was great. She did a good job of getting us altogether for meals, excursions, shopping trips etc. I liked that she quietly got things done without being loud or "in-your-face". She was good at being one of us as well as our leader. Wendy, Canada/Alaska

Good balance of activities and spare time

Had a great time. Good mixture of organised activities and spare time. Diane was an excellent tour host. Russell the tour guide was great, very knowledgeable and personable with his insights into growing up and living in Canada. Sharon, Canada/Alaska

Well organised trip with an excellent host

The trip was well organised, with a good mix of activity and free time. The scenery was spectacular and fellow travellers were a great bunch. Diane is a excellent host - helpful, courteous and above all a pleasure to know. I found her bubbly personality a bonus and can only speak highly of her. Gary, Canada/Alaska

I had a fabulous time

I had a fabulous time. Lake Louise and the hotel were magnificent. The cruise was excellent. Diane made sure that she was available for group meals and sightseeing, and was alway in good humour and great fun. I would recommend your company to everyone and am very interested in the Scandinavia  tour at the end of 2017.

Cathy, Adelaide - Canada/Alaska May 2016

Great holiday

What a great trip! I experienced so much and participated in all that was offered. I had read and reviewed as much as time allowed me but was not prepared for what the trip gave me and that is a better understanding of the beautiful people of both countries. - Lesley on Vietnam/Cambodia

In good company

I thought the suggestions for optional things to do, in the "free" time were very good. So good, we really ended up with very little free time. So much to do! - Mary on Vietnam

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together. - Anonymous on Vietnam/Cambodia

Fantastic first experience!

Extremely well organised with fabulous guides throughout - especially in Vietnam! First holiday with your company and certainly not the last. - Glenys on Vietnam

Great group to travel with

Having a small group meant that the days were more relaxed and flexible and I really felt spoilt and looked after. Melinda on Borneo

Thoroughly enjoyed Uganda

Thoroughly enjoyed my trip especially Uganda. There was so much variety of things to do on this trip. Jaros & Julius were great. Thought in Kenya the Maasai Mara were beautiful people, so easy to get along with. Judy

Can’t stop talking about my experience

I just feel so privileged to have shared with the Maasai the most awe-inspiring majestic sights and sounds of Africa. The fantastic memories will be with me forever. Maureen

Absolutely enjoyable

Gillian was a fantastic host. She was there for us from the moment we reached Hotel Troy. Heather on Africa

Best holiday I’ve been on!

One of the best holidays that I have been on - really well organised. I would never have travelled to Vietnam or Cambodia on my own. Bronwyn

Well organised

Fun, well organised and a really great group. Barbara on Vietnam/Cambodia

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together.

Great value

Well done. No complaints. Very pleased with this trip. Great value for my hard earned dollars! Really enjoyed the [Vietnam/Cambodia] tour. 

Fabulous rapport filled with much humour!

A great bunch of people & I can't believe how we all had such a fabulous rapport filled with much humour!!!

I couldn’t fault anything.

The (Uniworld River) cruise was great, I met up with some wonderful people who treated me like part of the family !
The ship & crew were fantastic & the excursions were very good, I couldn't fault anything. I'd recommend this cruise to anyone.  Peter

Informative and educational

The entire trip was one of the most enjoyable and exciting. Also so informative and educational. I was so pleased to make the trip. Wish I was over there in that magical place.  Marjorie


I’ve just returned from the wonderful Kimberley trip.  It was my first experience with Two’s a Crowd and I was delighted.  Kay

Opportunity to experience

I have had the opportunity to experience things I would never had done by myself.  Solo travellers is a fantastic concept and use of social media has been a great way to share and keep in touch with friends and family. Judi

I need not have worried

Being my first tour and a senior member, I admit I was apprehensive but I need not have worried. It was great and I was very well looked after.  Can’t wait to go to Kenya with Two’s a Crowd.  Maureen

Smooth and seamless

A memorable trip of a lifetime, a wish fulfilled.  A fascinating cultural country steeped in history which I found totally enthralling.  Two’s a Crowd service was smooth and seamless.  Pam

A wonderful experience

It was a wonderful experience visiting Cambodia and Vietnam and gave me a better understanding of these countries. I had a great time with new friends, we had a good bunch and Leonie was the perfect host. Eric

Value for money

Value for money and outstanding co-operation from your staff and tour operators. Joan

Safe and secure and totally looked after

An awesome adventure for my first time overseas alone.  Leonie was excellent and both guides were also fantastic.  At all times I felt safe and secure and totally looked after.  Melinda

Well done Two’s a Crowd.

Leonie was an excellent host, the ideal person. I never felt any pressure to  be involved in every activity so I could explore alone during free time. Having 2 or 3 nights in most places was great – you could rest up or party. Well done Two’s a Crowd. Jenny

A completely different experience

It was a nice surprise holiday, a completely different experience from all my other holidays. Thanks. Piroska

I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.

In my travelling life, I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.  Two’s a Crowd is the first one where I haven’t had to correct anything in my travel documents.   Piroska

I’m so excited to have found you Two’s a Crowd.

“Finally. A travel company is recognising the needs of people like me”

This is perfect for me.

“I’ve been to Burma but can you please send me some information about other destinations. This is perfect for me.”

I really wanted to meet the people behind it

“I saw your ad in the local paper and could have phoned but I wanted to come in and congratulate you on starting this great business. I really wanted to meet the people behind it.”

Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be!

I’m really enthusiastic about the niche you are determined to cover in the market, and have the feeling stumbling on Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be.

I find them inspirational

Thanks for sending these emails as I find them inspirational and will sit dreaming for the next hour or so.

Thank you for providing a service for people like me

“I am very excited to read about your area of speciality, and look forward to devouring all information that might come my way. Thank you for providing a service for people like me.”

Excellent throughout.

The entire 14 days ran so smoothly from Two's a Crowd booking my flights to  airport transfers and then the 12 days camping in the Kimberley. Excellent throughout. Congratulations. Marjorie

See More Testimonials