In today’s fast-paced culture, planning far in advance isn’t common. We don’t feel like we need to “plan ahead” anymore because apps, tools, and mobile devices enable us to arrange just about everything from anywhere, last minute. But, you don’t want to approach booking international travel, especially a trip to Africa, in the same manner — even though last minute, in this case, may be 30-60 days out. So, we want to offer some advice on the best time to book a safari and what you’re really missing out on when you book last minute:

1. Availability At Your Favorite Accommodations.

You may have browsed our site and seen some of the beautiful properties we partner with like Wilderness Safaris’ King’s Pool, Great Plains Conservation’s Zarafa, and Sanctuary Retreats’ Makanyane Safari Lodge. Have your heart set on a specific camp or hotel? The best time to book a safari is at least a year in advance.

Space is limited at the newer, smaller, and more exclusive safari lodges. Even the large, five-star hotels in cities fill up quickly during peak periods. And if the camp or hotel is getting media coverage, there’s a good chance it’s already being booked for next year! Book your trip to Africa early, and you are almost guaranteed to stay at the places your heart desires.

2. Early Booking Discounts.

Recently, our close friends at Wilderness Safaris announced they will no longer be offering last-minute discounts to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya, but instead will offer “early bird specials” to reward travelers for committing early. The idea is to encourage travelers to plan ahead, so the lodges and hotels can plan ahead, creating a better experience for all.

We’ve also seen some early bird offers pop up in Mozambique, Seychelles, and Mauritius. If you wait too long to book, you could miss saving money you could put toward special activities like photographic safaris, diving tours, or meaningful wildlife encounters.

3. Time To Explore The Possibilities.

A trip to Africa is a great investment, and to truly understand the complexities of travel to Africa, you need time to gather information and study your options. Don’t rush into making a decision.  Instead, give yourself time to learn. Make trip planning part of the exciting result, and knowing what you want to see before you go will help you optimize your time in Africa.

Having said that, too much information can be confusing. We recommend seeking first-hand information from a trusted travel professional to help you identify the nuggets that can really make your trip pure gold. When in doubt, speak to someone who’s been there. Thankfully, we visit Africa often, so you can always reach out to us.

4. Time To Get Excited.

Finally, after the months of waiting, pouring over travel blogs, and imagining what your trip will be like, you’ll get to experience it — for real!  That longing and build-up of anticipation all culminate to one exciting release of adrenaline. It’s the same feeling you might get when you hear a lion, standing a few feet from you, roar for the first time. So go ahead and plan early, then when it’s finally time to embark you’ll feel the satisfaction of knowing your perfect, well-planned (and not rushed) trip to Africa was well worth the wait.