To me, the perfect trip is one that is filled with life-changing cultural experiences, allows me to meet locals and international travelers, unfolds at a moderate pace (not too fast and not too slow), allows some level of flexibility, and ignites something within me that I never knew was there before.

If you agree with me about the elements of a perfect trip, then here are some tips to ensure that your future trip to Africa is all that you imagined and more:

Don’t Be Shy: In order to truly immerse yourself into the local culture, it sometimes takes stepping outside of your comfort zone. Start conversations with merchants, restaurant personnel, safari guides, and accommodation staff members. I promise you that by the end of your trip you will think that Africans are some of the most genuine and hospitable individuals you have ever met. In fact, many of our clients return home with a new appreciation for African cultures, new friends and relationships, and a warm feeling in their hearts, thanks to the locals of Africa.

Think New: You wouldn’t visit Paris to go shopping at the GAP, right? No, probably not. You’d want to visit local boutiques, art galleries, and shops that can’t be found in your homeland. This should be your same mindset when visiting Africa. The best way to absorb the various cultures and spark self growth is by trying new things, tasting new dishes, and exploring new places. The mystery of new experiences adds a thrilling element to your trip—and who knows, you might just learn something new about yourself (e.g. that you like tripe or smileys)!

Pick and Choose: Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many individuals. For these travelers, they often think that jam packing their itinerary with stuff they’ve always wanted to do is the best course of action. We have had many travelers come to us looking for a filled-to-the-brim itinerary, and often times, when they return home, they say that they wish they opted for more downtime in their itinerary.

When you’re moving fast, going from activity to activity and place to place, sometimes you miss the most beautiful and finite elements. Taking in your surroundings, enjoying the leisureliness of sundowners on your private veranda, and watching Africa slowly unfold around is you much more moving and enriching than a fast-paced itinerary. Not only can a packed itinerary cause stress, but it also results in zero flexibility with your schedule.

Therefore, when you are in the process of planning your trip, be sure to do your research and ask the advice of fellow travelers and your safari vacation agent.

Capture Moments: Some of the best ways to capture memories of your trip is by writing in a journal each night—describing what you saw and did during the day and your observations—taking photographs of the landscapes, wildlife, and people, and buying souvenirs that resonate with a specific experience you had.

How do you absorb the most culture from your travels?

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