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Best Senior Citizen Safaris in Africa

Yellow Zebra’s safari experts have put together a guide of the best Africa safaris for seniors for an experience of a lifetime. This article is written with the experience of dealing with guests in camp as a manager and as a safari specialist at YZ.

"When I worked as a camp manager in both Zambia and Tanzania, a large percentage of the guests in my camp were people on that ‘once in a lifetime’ safari. We had families, solo travelers, and happy honeymooners, but the vast majority of the guests I looked after were between 50 and 75 years old. It’s this ‘senior’ market that the majority of Africa’s safari industry caters for above any other. The oldest guest I had to stay in one of my camps was 98, a safari enthusiast with some amazing life stories to share. So the first point I would like to stress is that safari caters for you already… and that looking after senior travelers is quite literally what Yellow Zebra does best."

The safari experience is so diverse in Africa, it can be tailored to suit any client’s needs and budget; talk to a safari specialist and they will tell you nothing is impossible. When you are booking your safari, let your sales consultant know if you have any concerns or special requirements. They will then recommend the best camps and they will let them know in advance what is needed, and the camp will then plan for your arrival. Some tents are closer to the main areas in camp and more accessible and can be very easily allocated to specific guests if needed. When you are on safari, your guide will want to get to know you, find out your main interests, and plan your game drives accordingly. Taking things slowly is how safari and life works in Africa.

If you would like to discuss planning a senior citizen safari in Africa, you can give us a call at ​+1 855 225 1155 or send our experts a message here.

What are the top destinations for a senior safari in Africa?

  • Serengeti National Park in Tanzania
  • Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya
  • Okavango Delta in Botswana
  • Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa

The main countries visited by our clients aged over 50 are Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa. For many of our senior clients, the final decision ends up being a choice between Tanzania or Botswana with the main question being ‘Do you choose Tanzania to see the Serengeti and the great migration, or Botswana for the Okavango Delta?’

The Serengeti: Tanzania Safaris for Seniors

Dunia Camp Senior Safaris in Tanzania
Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti

For the best safaris for seniors in Tanzania, the Serengeti will often be a key element of the safari. We would always start by talking to travelers about the advantages of a mobile camp in the Serengeti. Have no fear though; these camps are far more luxurious than the name suggests!

The mobile camps follow the great migration as it makes its annual migration around the Serengeti and Maasai Mara eco-system. These camps are located to give you the best possible chance of seeing the Great Migration. As they are mobile camps they do not have some of the extra luxuries that you get from a permanent lodge – swimming pools, decking areas, balconies to the rooms - however, the levels of comfort and service, with four-poster beds in some (!) are still seriously good!

This level of ‘adventure’ is something that all clients need to consider, but it is especially relevant to our older clients. It’s the sheer quality of the authentic safari experience that these mobiles get right; their proximity to the wilderness is difficult to beat and its often the time in the Serengeti mobiles that clients remember the most. That said, they often have bucket showers and in the hotter months, the tents can get warm in the heat of the day.

Our top three mobile camps are Serengeti Safari Camp and Alex Walker’s Serian at the top end of the market whilst Lemala Mara and Lemala Ndutu as well as Nasikia’s Migration camp are the properties we love for great value.

As we've mentioned, there is also the option to stay in a permanent lodge in the Serengeti. There are so many to mention that we always recommend a chat to discuss these over the phone; time of year plays a key part in decisions for permanent lodges. However, the likes of Lamai Serengeti, Kuria Hills, and Sayari are all fantastic lodges and very well located for the Great Migration’s river crossing season from early July to mid-October.

If we had to cherry-pick anywhere, then Lamai Serengeti has a stunning location in the rock kopjes of the northern Serengeti – views across the entire park! Just beware, those top rooms are a trek from the main area, so make sure you speak to your specialist about reserving a room lower down if you feel you’d prefer one!

Maasai Mara: Safari for Seniors in Kenya

We are also often asked about Kenya’s Maasai Mara for the Migration. From June to October, the migration herds are always found from the northern Serengeti into the Maasai Mara. With the famous river crossings basically guaranteed for clients throughout this period, the ‘Mara’ is another perfect location for a senior safari and a destination that lies in close proximity to Nairobi for easy international flights home.

At the top end of the market camps like Richard’s River Camp, Sala’s, and Angama Mara all give you great access to Kenya’s best game viewing region whilst Naibor, the Governors Camp Collection and Ol Seki are the best places for value alone.

Senior Safaris, Govenors Camp, Maasai Mara, Kenya

Okavango Delta: Best Botswana Safaris for Seniors

Moving down to Southern Africa and the ‘purest’ and in many people’s opinion, the most beautiful destination in Africa is Botswana, especially the Okavango Delta. Catering especially well for older clients, Botswana’s beauty does, however, come with a price tag to match. The best lodges are located on private concessions at the heart of the Okavango Delta and the adjacent Linyanti and Savute game-viewing regions. 

It is these private exclusive reserves that drives up the price. The game viewing in these areas is without doubt some of the best in Africa, while the lodges are also some of the most luxurious and expensive on the continent.

‘Affordable’ camps in the Delta are hard to come by but the properties we use in the Khwai reserve – Sango for example – as well as Pelo in the Jao Reserve are super value for money considering the experience on offer. Our favorite camp in the Delta however is Shinde – a favorite among the office here for fantastic accommodation in a private reserve. Kwando Safaris Splash Camp also competes with Shinde and benefits from a larger reserve to explore. Meanwhile, the likes of Qorokwe Camp, Chitabe, and Little Vumbura take prices up a level but guarantee incredibly good experiences in camp. Then you have the likes of Vumbura Plains and Mombo where prices skyrocket…! 

Botswana Senior Safaris, Wilderness, Africa

For the best Botswana safari for seniors traveling to the Okavango Delta, we would suggest combining a ‘wet’ and a ‘dry’ camp. The locations of these camps differ, as you might expect – some are closer to the waters of the main delta and offer water-based activities such as boating safaris and mokoro trips through the delta. Others are in drier, areas giving you better access to some species – for example, the wild dogs prefer these areas. To have local knowledge is key to booking a safari that will give you the experience you are dreaming of.

Sabi Sands: South African Safari for Seniors

Finally, it is always worth mentioning a South Africa safari for seniors. Here a combination of Cape Town with South Africa’s Winelands and safari in the likes of the Sabi Sands – adjacent to the Kruger national park itself – offers an all-around introduction to safaris, with incredibly high levels of comfort on offer. Prices are very reasonable for the sheer comfort on offer, while just a three-night stay can often guarantee multiple sightings of the ‘Big Five’.

Mala Mala, Londolozi Varty, and Singita Boulders are all incredibly famous safari names that make up the beating heart of South Africa’s safari industry, while Notten's and Kirkman’s Kamp are the places to go for value alone.

Are there opportunities to make friends if I am a single senior wanting to go on an African safari?

Regardless of age, the safari experience can be very inclusive should you want it to be, as it is very easy to make friends on safari. Many camps have large captains tables encouraging their guests to sit together with the camp manager and other guests and share their stories over supper. Having said that, there are camps that will very happily serve your supper to you at a private table on the veranda of your tent. The ability to tailor the experience to every guest’s needs is not only reserved for couples on Honeymoon – all the staff in the camps have a strong desire to make every guest’s stay as memorable and comfortable as possible.

"Once when I was working in Ruaha in Tanzania we had an older couple staying in camp who did not see so well in the dark, so we organized for two of the night watchmen to be their personal guides after dark. By the end of their stay, the guests were calling them their guardian angels – after supper, they would all walk off arm in arm chatting about their families. Strong friendships are often forged on safari."

How important is fitness when planning a senior safari in Africa?

Age and levels of fitness need to be considered when planning a safari, but no more than the type of safari you would like to do. Do you want to see the Big Five, walk in the wilderness, do a boating safari, have a sundowner on the escarpment while watching the sunset over the savannah? These things are all very possible and accessible to anyone. The thing we believe is the key is planning your safari with a sales consultant who has a passion for and knowledge of Africa, give them your wish list and let them tell you what is possible. The knowledge they share will give you an understanding of the safari world and the confidence to really enjoy your trip! 

For a senior safari, we cannot recommend enough that you take your time to enjoy the experience. Give every area the time it deserves – a two-night stay in a park gives you only one full day to experience what the area has to offer, which is not enough. Traveling between parks can often take up most of a day, which becomes exhausting if you are moving every two days, so give yourself time to unpack your bag and enjoy each camp, we believe this is a key factor for anyone, but especially when organizing the best safari for seniors.

"Your days on safari start early, often at sunrise. Many of my best sightings have been early in the morning or just before sunset when it is cooler and the animals tend to be more active. When I was managing a camp in the Serengeti, never did a guest say they had stayed with me too long – it was always, I wish we had another night here to explore more! I am a big believer in three or ideally four-night stays in camps in the big national park."

Are there Luxury Safaris for Seniors in Africa?

One of the preconceived ideas many travelers have about Africa and safari is that you will be roughing it in a tent in the wilderness, this is certainly possible and a lot of fun but far more people chose to stay in the luxury camps and lodges with private en-suite tents or chalets. Like choosing your vacation accommodation anywhere you need to focus on the type of safari experience you are looking for and then… location, location, location!

What else do I need to do before I go on a senior safari in Africa?

Of course, when traveling you need to make sure you have prepared properly for your trip – you will figure out what jabs you need and you will visit your doctor. There are specialists who can help you every step of the way, so, you are 100 percent ready to go on safari, a good safari specialist will help you with all of this. Finally, for any trip, you should check your government-relevant travel advice and get full medical travel insurance that covers safari activities.

How to book a senior safari?

The safari experience is very diverse in Africa, but it can be tailored to suit any client’s needs and budget – contact a safari specialist, and they will tell you nothing is impossible. When you are booking your safari let your sales consultant know if you have any concerns or special requirements. They will then recommend the best camps and they will let them know in advance what is needed, and the camp will then plan for your arrival.

It is only by taking the time to chat with your consultant to enable them to build a relationship so they understand what you are looking for that they can then suggest camps and itineraries tailored specifically to you.

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