Safari Areas (Private Concessions, National Parks, etc.)
The type of areas your safari in is very important for what activities can take place. Ordinarily governments dictate what is allowed within what designated land areas.
- Private Concessions
- National Parks
- Game Reserves – National Reserves – Game Management Areas
Private concession areas tend to have the most freedom of activity and the least amount of other tourists. Off-road driving, night drives, and walking are the most important activities that are almost always available on private concessions but rarely allowed within National Parks. Usually only one or two camps are within a private concession area making experiences exclusive with just your lone vehicle at most sightings. For something special other vehicles might be called but at no time should you see more than two other vehicles. Because there are no night time curfew rules you should never have to leave a great sighting to rush back to camp by dark. For these reasons if the wildlife quality is outstanding this is my first choice of area to be located in. Often times private concession areas are owned by the local community and they derive a lease fee from the camp/lodge operator. In the best cases the local community also shares revenue from daily operations and receives the bulk of the employment as well. Lasting wildlife conservation is only possible if the community derives sufficient benefits. The Wild Source strives to support such community initiatives, some of our favorites that offer outstanding experiences are highlighted here. Due to the exclusive nature of low-density tourism and expensive lease fees paid by the camps prices are usually higher than they are on public land areas.
National Parks are often built around the key wildlife concentrations or other areas of great natural value. Because of that they often offer the best wildlife viewing experiences in a given area. National Parks tend to have more infrastructure that allows for mass tourism to occur and have corresponding larger lodges and/or many lodging options to serve the demand of visitors. Because of the number of visitors there needs to be some restrictive rules which usually means defined road areas for drives and the need to return to camp by a certain hour before dark. In many parks no walking is allowed either. Due to high visitation and the road restrictions predator sightings are often crowded with large numbers of vehicles. While there are some drawbacks National Parks often feature must see sightings and thus need to be included on some itineraries. Safari within National Parks also tends to be cheaper than private concessions and thus can be of good value. There are also some tremendous National Parks that are greatly under visited providing opportunities to visit enormous wilderness areas without any crowding, see our Wild Places section for some amazing National Park experiences that you can virtually have to yourself.
Game Reserves – National Reseves – Game Management Areas
Most governments have public lands that support photo safari tourism but are not designated as National Parks. Rules of such areas can vary widely from being the same as National Parks to being similar to a Private Concession. Generally they fall somewhere in between, often with night or road restrictions but many fewer people than National Parks. If an area of interest lays in such an area ask what the restrictions and allowable activities are.