Think of the word safari and images of brown savanna, sleek lionesses, and roaming elephants will probably fill your head. But the African plains aren’t the only place where you can experience such excitement—in fact, the greatest outdoor adventures awaiting you in the 21st century lie not in some fenced-off wildlife preserve in central Africa, but under the wild crystalline waters of the world’s great dive destinations. In these far-off places, all the most important aspects of such journeys—getting up close and personal with the local flora and fauna, discovering people and places and you’ve never even dreamed of—come together in the safari vacation’s newest incarnation: the scuba diving safari!
Dive safaris works in much the same way as their classical counterparts, taking you away from the civilized world and thrusting you deep into an exotic natural environment, where you can truly explore new frontiers at length. These adventures take place in the most out-of-the-way places on Earth—think Burma, Similan, Bali—and can last anywhere from five days to a month, depending on your ability to get away. Day trips to places like these are simply impossible, thanks to their inaccessibility.
Diving safaris come in a few different flavors, depending on where you’re headed. In the Red Sea region or Bali, for example, a dive safari is a land-based tour that hops between shore dive destinations every day, with a return to hotels in the evening. In Similan or Burma, liveaboard trips are the rule. Either way, a dive safari gives you an in-depth look at the underwater world you drop in to, thanks to the long length of the trip and the focus on diving itself, rather than other tourist activities. Whether you’re heading back to the hotel or just up to the boat after each dive, the point is you’ll be taking a whole lot of them, and getting a lot of hours in under the waves.
Now most dive safaris are geared toward experienced divers, e.g., those who already have their PADI Open Water Diver certifications or the equivalent. If you aren’t yet there, don’t give up—when booking your safari, check with each tour provider to see if they can handle less-experienced divers, and find the one that caters to you. On the other hand, if you are an experienced diver, ask about additional certifications you could earn on your trip—from wreck diving to underwater photography, with the right tour company you can explore the most beautiful waters in the world while at the same time increasing your knowledge for your next adventure.
Diving safaris let you experience exotic dive locations the way they should be experienced—at length and in depth. Whether you book a short five-day escape or a three-week undersea odyssey across multiple destinations, safari style is the only way to dive. Book yourself a lifetime’s worth of incredible aquatic memories today!
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