This weekend, pop goddess Taylor Swift released her newest music video Wildest Dreams. It’s set in the plains of Africa. You’re transported into a 40’s African movie set. Swift is transformed into a brunette and she falls in love with her devilishly handsome co-star. His sculpted chin and piercing gaze chisels a way into her heart amongst Africa’s savannas. It’s heartbreaking and it’s beautiful. Spoiler alert: her dreamboat co-star breaks her heart.
When you watch it and decide that, “Heck, I can do that too!” Just know that, yes, you should. To borrow a cliché from The Velvet Underground, take a walk on the wild side. Paris is overrated and it’s too rainy in London. Take the longer flight and book a safari.
Before you buy any tickets, figure out what your goal is. Do you want to feel like Indiana Jones? You’re on the wrong continent. Head to Jordan and go see Petra. Do you want to ride an elephant? India is probably better for that. (But be sure to ride one that has a good trainer and is being treated ethically.) But if you want to truly share the land with some serious wildlife, a safari is for you. Head towards Africa during the dry season (from June to October) for the best chances of seeing some cool animals.
When you pick your country, figure out which animals you want to see. If you want to look wildlife right in the snout, go somewhere good. Kruger National Park in South Africa has lions, African elephants, Cape buffalos, leopards and rhinoceroses. Rwandan and Ugandan national parks are better for finding gorillas and chimpanzees while Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa is good to see all sorts of wild cats.
The easiest option is to book an all-inclusive deal. However, this is the most expensive. You can create your own custom itinerary or join a group with a pre-planned one. Check out Kenya Association of Tour Operators or Tanzania Association of Tour Operators to find a list of legitimate tour companies.
Unfortunately, we peons don’t have Taylor Swift’s wardrobe budgets. So if gorgeous mustard yellow gowns won’t jive well with your lifestyle choices, you might have to be a smidge more practical. That means purchasing light long sleeve shirts and practical walking shoes. Sunscreen is always advisable. Taylor Swift doesn’t want you to get a melanoma. While shopping, consider picking up a real camera. While your iPhone might do in a pinch, if you want those truly Instagram-able shots, invest in an SLR camera with a longer lens.
And if a safari isn’t within your reach with the rainy season approaching, just know that every time you watch Wildest Dreams, all of the profits from the video are donated to African wildlife relief.