What is a Black Pot Safari?
A Black Pot Safari is a limited participation, self-drive safari, but this doesn’t mean that you have to ‘rough it’ in the wilds of Africa wearing filthy clothes with dirty hair, eating only cold canned food and sleeping in the back of your vehicle. What is does mean is that you need to be open-minded, relatively organised, willing to live in a small space – your 4×4 vehicle and tent – for long periods of time and be ready for anything that Africa cares to throw at you! Put it this way, if you are looking for a safari that offers crystal glasses, damask linen, a wind-up gramophone, attentive waiters, a portable bath with rose petals floating in the water and not to lift a finger, then you should consider booking a 5-star mobile safari or visiting a luxury safari lodge instead.
What does limited participation mean?
It means that you are expected to pack your own vehicle and keep your vehicle space organised, put-up your tent and take it down again, assist with camp chores such as collecting firewood or water and helping with the washing-up and putting everything back in its place.
What can we expect from our African safari?
In the ‘Our Destinations‘ section of the site we provide an overview of the camping conditions you should expect to find in the different countries we visit. You should read this carefully before you start planning your safari with us. But regardless of the facilities provided, we create camps that are comfortable, stylish and functional wherever we happen to be – although we are limited by what we can carry in the vehicles. So if you come on a Black Pot Safari with us, we will ensure that you feel comfortable in and confident with your surroundings. But we can’t stop Africa being Africa and you should be prepared to handle all or any of the following:
- extreme weather conditions from freezing desert nights to blood-boiling daytime temperatures to ferocious thunderstorms
- limited shade, water and facilities in some of the camps that may entail shaving in the wing mirror of a Land Rover, using a long-drop lavatory or washing with a few inches of water in a bucket
- close proximity to wild animals and a mind-boggling array of insects
- extremely dusty conditions – especially in the dry season – and it gets into everything!
- roads that are so deteriorated and bumpy that they rattle your bones
- long periods spent driving in a hot 4×4 vehicle
- negotiating obstacles in your path from an Elephant bull who won’t move to a tree that has fallen across the road
- the occasional wrong turn that leads us to a river we’re unable to cross!
- the possibility of getting stuck in sand, mud or water
- dealing with punctures and vehicle breakdowns
- long periods in the vehicle when you are in transiting from one place to the next
- lots and lots of fun!
Is a Black Pot Safari suitable for young children?
We welcome children of all ages, but it is up to you as the parents to know whether your child’s disposition is suited to this sort of travel and whether you are happy for them to be in close proximity to wild animals in the camps. In our experience, the hardest aspect of a self-drive safari for children is the time spent in vehicles both on game drives and when transiting to the next location. If your child regularly asks, ‘Are we there yet?’ or ‘How much longer?’ after 5 minutes in a car, then perhaps they’re not ready for a safari yet. But if they are comfortable for long periods in a vehicle, then their natural curiosity, love of nature and general enthusiasm are a welcome addition to any trip.
What about malaria and other tropical diseases?
Most destinations we visit are in malarial areas. More detailed information is provided in the ‘Our Destinations‘ section of the site. However, it is essential that you visit your local doctor or travel clinic to obtain professional malaria advice as well as information regarding other vaccinations which might be required for the countries you are visiting. Please be note that Black Pot Safaris cannot take responsibility for anyone who contracts malaria or any other tropical disease while on safari.
Should we choose a roof-top tent or a ground tent?
We advise our clients to use ground tents as opposed to roof-top tents as they are more practical for a number of reasons: (a) they are larger allowing you to have some personal items with you at night, (b) they are no quicker to put up and take down than a conventional ground tent, (c) they allow for safe storage of items when you’re out on game drives, (d) they provide shade and space for children to play in during the day, but most importantly they remove the hassle of having to take them down whenever you’re going on a game drive. We understand that parents like the idea of having their children off the ground when camping in wild Africa. However, unless you are sure that your children will not leave the tent during the night for any reason whatsoever then we have to insist that an adult is with them at all times. If you are still insistent that you want a roof-top tent then we suggest that you have one of each so that the benefits of ground tents are still available to you. For your information, we will never allow two roof-top tents on a single vehicle as this exceeds the recommended roof weight as specified by 4×4 manufacturers and increases the chance of a vehicle being rolled.