Julia Allen recently returned from a solo Wildlife Safari with us with a stopover in Zanzibar. Now, she has a few things to say to anyone planning a safari themselves.
Here are her exact words.
Some thoughts for travelers considering Thomson:
1. Just do it.
You will never regret it. It is the trip of a lifetime.
2. Follow the packing list guideline and you will be perfectly prepared.
I traveled for 2 weeks with nothing more than what I could pack in a standard gym bag and I had everything I needed.
3. Don’t skip the binoculars.
They are more than worth the space they take up in your bag.
4. Do NOT skip the balloon adventure.
It is a most beautiful experience – you will never forget it!
5. Zanzibar is a MUST.
You’re already so close, don’t miss the chance to explore this beautiful island. The beaches are beautiful, and the water is very nice for snorkeling/diving. Be sure to set aside several hours to visit the market there. You can see how the locals shop, and it’s also a great place to buy beautiful local goods at very reasonable prices. If you want very nice 18K gold jewelry, ask your guide to take you to the nearby jewelry stores.
6. Skip the game viewing on one day and stay in camp.
Enjoy the beautiful sounds and the peaceful atmosphere. Spend some time hanging out with the staff. Ask someone to take you to the “back office” and see where your food is made and where your clothes are washed. Meet the people who are working so hard to make your trip such a pleasure. They are wonderful!
7. Tip the toilet man directly.
Yes, I said it. Every day, while you are out enjoying the beauty of nature, someone comes and cleans out the toilet in your tent. Would you want to do that job??? You can leave a tip on top of the toilet, just as you would leave a tip for the maid who changes the bed linens.
8. Use the very nice journal that Thomson provides.
Even if you are not a regular journal keeper, take a few minutes every day to jot down your impressions about the place, make notes about the animals you see and record your thoughts about the experience. Years later, you will enjoy reading about your safari.
9. Leave your politics and pre-conceived notions at home.
Come with an open heart and mind. You will be given much.
Lastly, I will say candidly that I am not a fan of group travel, but the people I ended up sharing this trip with were beautiful human beings. I feel very blessed to have met them. It was an already great trip made better by good company.
It’s good to be home…although I’ve already begun thinking about where I’m going next!
Safe travels to you all.