A safari vacation is probably the most organized vacation you'll ever take.

While it is possible to simply fly to a few places and rent a car to take off into the countryside, few people want to risk being alone on unmarked dirt roads patrolled by hyenas, cheetahs and lions.

No, you use professionals to help choose an itinerary and arrange transportation. From the time you land, you're in the hands of people who will feed and shelter you and take you amazingly close to fearsome beasts.

To get the food, shelter and safari experience you want, you need to research your trip.

TIME Plan on at least two weeks. That should allow for at least three different camps in different areas, for three nights each. Generally, you want to get a game drive in both the early morning and the late afternoon each day.

COST Daily costs per person range from $200 to well over $1,000, and typically include travel,  including airplanes, between different camps. It would not include airfare. Tips are expected at each camp.

THE TRAVEL COMPANY My wife, Jane and I used African Portfolio, a Connecticut based company, when we spent six weeks in Africa in 2016. You also could simply deal directly with that operates multiple camps, such as Asilia Africa or Wilderness Safaris, Cultural and educational organizations offer safari packages.

THE ANIMALS Lions, elephants, leopards  rhinos Cape buffalo were the most challenging game animals for hunters on foot in another era. They're still worthy targets for your camera, but are zebras, giraffes, exotic antelopes and almost countless kinds of birds.

ACCOMMODATIONS Lodges, from hostels to luxury hotels, are found near some game-rich areas like the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa.

In the Kalahari Desert and the Serengeti you'll find tented camps, which are clusters of individual cabinlike Tents and one or two large tents for the staff.

GUIDES Some safari agencies will hook you up with a guide who will give go with you from camp to camp. With camp guides, you can pay extra to have your own vehicle, or you can share a vehicle with other guests. Do the latter.

CLOTHING You will need fast-drying nylon clothes. Camps generally provide laundry service, usually washed by hand and dried in the sun. Guests maybe expected to wash their own underwear.

Popular safari areas can be chilly mornings and late afternoon and very hot at midday, so dress in layers [and wear a hat].

The World Students Society thanks author Steve Bailey.


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