Going on safari is about discovering the culture, traditions, cuisine, wildlife and landscape of a new safari destination. A massive part of going on safari is tracking the big five and observing rare moments in the wild, but there are factors that, combined with game viewing, make for an enjoyable safari. Today, we’ve decided to select 4 things synonymous with a South African safari.
A boma area is a small enclave tucked away from the main area of the lodge and it’s basically a cocoon of fireside happiness. The small area comprises a pit with a roaring campfire surrounded by a circle of safari chairs. Guests are encouraged to retire to the boma area after dinner to exchange stories and listen to the bushveld tales told by eager guides.
Each camp and lodge has its own variation of a boma, but the general theme is that it’s a place to bond with guides, trackers and fellow guests. We’ve seen traditional singing and dancing sessions in the boma, opulent braai sessions and lengthy hours of laughter. The campfire is often referred to as a “geselsvuur” which directly translated means “talk fire”. A roaring and crackling fire ignites something deep and primal within ourselves, bringing us closer to nature.
A boma area was originally used as an area for livestock and it’s still customary to have the boma area cordoned off from the main area. What happens around the boma, stays around the boma!
Game Drive Sundowners with Drinks and Snacks
The afternoon game drive normally departs at 16:00, but the time is season dependent. The duration of the drive is anything from 3 – 4 hours. Nocturnal predators are at their most active when the daylight fades and the scorching heat subsides. The later game drives coincide with this time frame, and they’re perfectly timed to observe the change from day to night. The bridge between day and night is sunset. This is a much celebrated and anticipated time of day, and there’s nothing better than a blazing red and bold orange sunset in Africa! Across most safari destinations, guides will stop in a superb location to admire the setting sun.
It’s customary to whip out a pre-packed safari style cooler box jam-packed with your drinks of choice. In another khaki-clad box in tin canisters, there’ll probably be biltong, nuts and other snacks. Some lodges keep sundowners simple, while others pull out all the frills and spills. Don’t be surprised to see a picnic blanket on the bonnet of your game viewer laden with goods for your culinary pleasure. Sunsets are most certainly a highlight of any South African safari!
Gin and Tonics
The craft gin trend has taken the world by storm and South Africa very quickly joined the creative gin making industry. Making use of indigenous fynbos and local fruits, the geniuses behind the local craft gin concept have created some beautiful gins just perfect for a safari sundowner. The quinine present in tonic water was originally used as a preventative measure for malaria. Modern-day tonic has a much lower quantity of quinine, but it’s still believed that the drink contains a preventative dose. Truth be told, you need over 50 litres a day of tonic water to form any kind of barrier against malaria.
Contrary to popular belief, gin did not have its origins in London. The birthplace of gin is actually in Holland. It is believed the term “Dutch Courage” was coined because of gin. A civil gin and tonic has become the go-to safari drink of choice for guests.
Open-topped Game Viewers
Not all safari destinations and reserves have the same type of game viewer, but most vehicles have been modified for photographic and safari purposes. The two most common vehicles of choice are Land Cruisers or Land Rovers. These green and khaki 4×4 machines have rows of comfortable seats and normally seat up to 10 people. The sides of the vehicle are open which allows for 100% visual of wildlife. Most game viewers also have a canopy to provides much-needed shade from the unwavering African heat.