“Rustom, we want to go on another Safari!”
“Sure, when were you were thinking of?”
“Next week.”

Increasingly I’m approached by people trying to book a safari at the very last minute. I can empathise with this approach because my travel plans are usually last minute too! The reality is that our busy lives mean that sometimes we can only make holiday plans at the very last minute. Booking a safari at the last minute can have both advantages and disadvantages. And sometimes advantages often have a flip side as a disadvantage.


Cost Savings: Sometimes, destinations offer last-minute deals on safaris to increase occupancy. This can result in cost savings, compared to booking well in advance. They often don’t have the offers shown but I find that they do make them available to people they work with regularly.

Flexibility: If you have a flexible schedule and can travel on short notice and can adjust your dates slightly one way or another, booking last minute allows you to take advantage of any sudden openings or cancellations. This can lead to discounts, and / or accommodation upgrades.

Real-time Info: Weather patterns across the world are changing. Unseasonal rain or indeed a lack of rain can mean that wildlife may not be where usually expected. Booking a safari closer to your travel date allows you to have the most up-to-date information about weather conditions, wildlife sightings, and any special events or migrations happening during your safari.


Limited Choices: Last-minute bookings often mean compromising on preferred destinations and accommodations, especially during peak seasons. I find the best spots tend to fill up quickly, leaving fewer options and sometimes not the desired ones.

Logistical Complexities: Organizing a safari involves coordinating flights, accommodations, visas, and local transportation. Very last-minute arrangements can sometimes be challenging, risking a less smooth and cohesive travel experience.

Increased Disappointment Risk: Last-minute deals might seem appealing, but they come with the risk of missing out on desired activities, accommodations, or experiences, leading to potential disappointment.

Preparation Crunch: Safaris require thorough preparation, including research, packing, and health precautions like vaccinations. A last-minute booking cuts down the essential time needed for these tasks.

Rushed Decision-Making: Booking at the last minute often means less time to consider options thoroughly, leading to hasty decisions and increased pressure, which can detract from the overall experience. I like to allow as much time as possible to really figure out where exactly will align with what you, the safari-goer wants from your safari and this is harder if we’re pressed for time!

Missing Out on Anticipation: Part of the joy of a safari is the planning and anticipation phase. Last-minute bookings truncate this enjoyable process, diminishing the overall excitement and build-up to the trip.

Overall, the decision to book a safari at the last minute depends on your flexibility, budget, risk appetite, and preferences regarding accommodations and activities. It’s essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully before making a decision.

Don’t take information on destination websites at face value. Recently, I was booking a trip for one of my repeat guests but much further in advance than usual. No offers had been announced at the time we were making the booking but I knew that they would likely be announced in the future. Speaking with my contacts at their destination, I was able to get them to agree that when and if these offers, were announced, my guests could still benefit from them.

If you feel like you want to be on safari then don’t be put off by thinking there is no time to book. You’re likely to be pleasantly surprised. Some of the most memorable trips can be last minute surprises!