First Time Safari Guide

Posted on February 12, 2021
Tips for the perfect trip

An African safari is a lifelong dream for many, but also a daunting one if you’ve never been to Africa before. At Leopard Hills, we aim to offer a stress-free, relaxing holiday where you can soak in the beauty of the wild and get the most out of your safari. To help you, here are our top tips for planning the perfect trip.

When to go

This ultimately depends on your schedule, your budget and what you’d like to do and see. The best time to visit the Kruger Area for game viewing is in the dry, winter months from May to September. Game viewing is excellent and the days lovely and warm – although the nights are cold.

If you’re a keen birder, you might opt to visit in the rainy months between November and April when our birding is at its best. If you plan on combining a trip to Cape Town with a safari – this is also a lovely time to see the Cape in their hot, dry summer months.

What weather to expect

Depending what time of year you visit, the weather will vary.

In the Kruger Lowveld, we experience our warm, rainy summer months between November and April and our cooler, drier season from May to October.

From November to April, guests can expect afternoon thunderstorms and hot humid days. In the winter months, icy mornings and lovely warm, dry days – perfect for game viewing.

What to pack

Don’t forget the bare necessities – sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, walking shoes, your camera and light layered clothing. If you have a pair of binoculars, don’t leave them behind!

Where possible wear neutral coloured clothing – creams, tans, greens, navy blues. Don’t forget a warm jacket for cool evenings and early morning game drives.

You can find our full packing guide here for more info.

Safety first

A safari can be incredibly exciting, but coming close to dangerous wildlife can be scary for some. A few general rules to follow – never stand up or stick your arms or legs out of the safari vehicle when on game drive. If wildlife approaches the game vehicle, listen to your guide, try not to make any sudden movements or loud noises.

In camp, it’s a good idea to wear closed shoes when walking to and from the lodge to your room for example. It’s also important not to leave the safety of the immediate camp grounds or to walk around at night unaccompanied – you never know what you might encounter in the dark.

Tips for tipping on safari

Tipping in a safari lodge setting is one of those grey areas that can often catch people out. Tipping at Leopard Hills is never expected, but always greatly appreciated by our staff.

Our guidelines for guests are that at Leopard Hills, you can tip in any currency. If it is dollars we can exchange locally and you can also tip with a credit card if you want to have cash on you.

South Africa is a country where tipping is the social norm. However, you are not obliged to tip if you are unhappy with the service you receive.

game lodges kruger park

If you’d like to enquire about visiting the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly and efficient reservations team via email at or fill in our online enquiry form.

We look forward to helping you plan your safari to the one and only Leopard Hills.


Image credits
Stuart Buy
Cal Butler

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