Here at Encompass Africa we focus on sixteen countries that are south of the Sahara Desert – where the wildlife is – often referred to as ‘Sub Saharan Africa’. Of course it includes the Indian Ocean coastline and Islands for the ultimate safari finale.
Whether you venture deep into the heart of Maasai land in search of big cats, or into the mountains of Uganda and Rwanda for gorilla trekking, we can help. Each of our sixteen countries has multiple attractions beyond just wilderness safaris and wildlife. Imagine cosmopolitan cities like Cape Town holidays, Indian Ocean escapes like a Mauritius honeymoon, or why not contemplate an Ethiopia cultural tour and history tour?
In Southern Africa we offer
South Africa Safaris , which combine effortlessly with Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls. South Africa honeymoon packages are fantastic value and exceptional experiences plus you can easily combine it with a magical beach finale in Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, or Mauritius. South Africa family safari holidays are brilliant, with a number of exclusive use properties, smaller and child friendly camps and lodges in the Kruger region, or malaria free Eastern Cape and Madikwe safaris. A number of our guests love self driving South Africa too, and we put it all together for you so its effortless: car hire, GPS, all accommodation, driving instructions, recommended places to stop and visit, tour and activity recommendations, and more.
Namibia Safaris are truly magnificent whether you self drive Namibia, Fly around Namibia or get one of our private guided Namibia itineraries. We also have a few handpicked Namibia group tours available. 2017 is almost sold out and 2018 is already selling quickly. Request a copy of our Ultimate Namibia Group Tour Dossier.
Purists wanting that totally remote and immersive safari holiday without modern technology, where you simply enjoy and bush and its residents, have long sough after Botswana Safaris. While thing have changed somewhat, and modern comforts are often readily available, the wilderness and wildlife still excite on a Botswana safari. From the wildlife rich Chobe National Park, to the endless pans of the Makgadikadi, and the myriad of waterways through the Okavango Delta, it truly makes for the ultimate safari experience. Combines easily with Zimbabwe or Zambia, just a border crossing and a few hours drive away.
Zambia Safaris are becoming far more known and travelled. Yet it is still a relatively hidden gem, and some of the most outstanding Zambian safari owner run properties offer outstanding and rewarding safari experiences that have seen us and many guests return time and time again. Livingstone offers views of Victoria Falls; the Lower Zambezi boasts the ultimate canoeing, boating, walking, and 4×4 safaris; whilst South Luangwa is home of the walking safari. Adventure seekers, get out into the lesser known regions like Kafue National Park, and Liuwa Plain National Park. Request a free copy of our Zambia magazine now.
Zimbabwe Safaris were once top of the list but with internal unrest, it lost its shine. However, Zimbabwe safaris are now back on the to do list for many of our guests, and we can absolutely vouch for the quality wildlife safaris and exceptional guiding on offer. Victoria Falls is always a great starting point, followed by Hwange National Park for its elephants and sable antelope. Mana Pools is ideal for the water based safaris like canoeing safaris. Here you’ll have increased chances at spotting wild dog, leopard and lion. Beyond the safari experience, there are some fantastic sights to see in the Eastern Highlands area with stunning mountains, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins located near Masvingo, and Matobo Hills close to Bulawayo. Lake Kariba and Matusadona are scenically beautiful just sadly lacking in big wildlife due to heavy poaching over the years. Fishing in Zimbabwe is another highlight in the Upper Zambezi and Matusadona. Locals often have house boats on Lake Karibu for a water-based luxury safari holiday finale.
Malawi Safaris are certainly lesser known and requested by guests, yet hugely rewarding for those who venture to this land locked country that is dominated by Africa’s third largest lake: Lake Malawi, of course. Liwonde National Park on the Shire river is great for birding safaris and there are decent concentrations of elephant and other wildlife. You can also visit Nyika Plateau for scenic beauty and fantastic plains game, especially roan antelope. It’s easily combined with a big game safari in Zambia or South Africa thanks to direct flight schedules. Malawi has the ultimate safari finale with breathtaking properties dotted around the lake and on Likoma Island. Here you can snorkel with cichlid fish, swim, dive, kayak and sail, or DNA as they say – do nothing at all!
Our ultimate East Africa safari can see you exploring some impressive countries:
Tanzania Safaris are endless with three clear circuits – namely the northern, southern and west circuits, plus the ultimate finale, Zanzibar. In the north you have the Lakes, the famous Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater to name a few. It’s easily explored with one of our private guides and custom built 4×4 vehicles for a really immersive and authentic Tanzania safari holiday. Another option is flying from point to point, or on one of our select few Tanzanian group tours.
In the south where fewer visitors go, you have Selous and Ruaha with vast wilderness areas, mighty rivers and boating safaris, and game drives to name a few. In the west visit three of our favourite wilderness areas, each unique, remote and truly unforgettable. Katavi, Gombe Stream, and Mahale where you can chimpanzee trek in remote mountains.
Our most common request, especially from honeymoon safari seekers and family safari enthusiasts, is a Zanzibar holiday finale to their Tanzania safari.
Spend time in Stone Town, a melting pot of culture and a fascinating city easily explored in a few days before venturing to the coastline for time out on the beautiful stretches of beach. Keep in mind Zanzibar is a cluster of islands, its namesake the largest, and we also use Pemba and Fundu.
And don’t forget Tanzania’s most famous landmark: Mount Kilimanjaro. Our Kilimanjaro expeditions can be as luxurious as you like – from group tours to private guided hikes with highly trained medics and the very best guides.
Read Gen’s Tanzania Northern Circuit blog based on her safari last month.
Kenya Safaris offer a great diversity of experiences all in one country. Here you have the famous Masai Mara known for the migrating herds and big cats, Samburu for culture and landscapes, and places such as Amboseli for wildlife backdropped by a snow capped Mount Kilimanjaro. There are a number of other parks too in the Laikipia region including the Lewa Conservancy, Meru National Park, Tsavo, and the Great Rift Valley Lakes. Mount Kenya straddles the equator at 5,199metres and is the second highest mountain in Africa. It offers a more scenically beautiful climb than Kilimanjaro and routes take 4 – 7 days. If budget is not an issue, don’t miss a scenic helicopter flight to the mountain!
Kenya is the original safari country and its fine tradition of personal guiding and warm hospitality still exists today. There is also a stunning coastline for a beach finale, or Zanzibar is just a hop skip and jump away, as is Mauritius and Seychelles.
Uganda Safaris are often overlooked by many as it is not known for its wildlife, except its gorillas, when compared to other countries. We know it has wonderful natural scenery, spectacular mountains, rainforests and gorilla trekking of course. Did you know there are around 19 species of primates on record here including the gorilla and chimpanzee? Visit Kibale and Budongo Forests, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park to trek for the chimps. For big game drives, head to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kidepo, and Murchison Falls. For trekking, don’t miss Ruwenzori ‘mountains of the moon’ and Mount Elgon. With over 1000 species of birds in Uganda, it is the ultimate paradise for a birding safari and home to the rare shoebill and many Albertine Rift endemic species. We offer tailormade Uganda safaris with driver/guides or fly in, plus a select few Uganda group tours.
Rwanda is known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ for good reason – spectacular natural scenery abounds in every direction. The culture here is rich and complex with the history of genocide documented in a brilliant memorial in Kigali. From here, join a private driver/guide and head up into the mountains for gorilla trekking. Volcanoes National Park is home of around nine habituated gorilla families and is the easiest gorilla trekking location – often shorter treks compared to Uganda, with easier access and shorter travel time. However, there is much more than just gorillas to see in Rwanda. Nyungwe Forest is spectacular and home to birds and other primates, in particular golden monkeys and chimpanzee, and Lake Kivu offers the opportunity of beach time. Another hidden gem is Akagera National Park. Whilst it is still in recovery from poaching, it certainly is gaining strength in wildlife numbers and momentum in its infrastructure. So keep an eye on it as the next great safari destination in Rwanda with good game, birding and the chance to see that rare shoebill.
Brush up on your Amharic and head to Ethiopia where it’s the local language, and one of the most ancient. Ethiopia is less about the traditional safari, and more about an exploration of natural beauty and ancient culture. Ethiopia boasts nine UNESCO world heritage sites and its imperial past is a drawcard for sure. Go underground to the 13th century churches in Lalibela, or out to explore the hill castles of Gondar. See the mountains and unique wildlife including the critically endangered Ethiopian Wolf, Galago monkeys and Bale Mountain vervet. Ethiopia combines well with Kenya or Tanzania for the Big Five safari experience.
The Republic of Congo is not well known for tourism and certainly portrayed as a no go zone in many publications. Look beyond the tabloids and you’ll discover its beauty. We only really operate in the Congo’s main city of Brazzaville and Odzala-Kokoua in the North West of the country. It’s a massive wilderness area larger than the Bahamas or Jamaica! To put it in sports perspective, it is three and a half thousand soccer fields. If you were to walk around the park on foot you’d need at least six months. Odzala has been a national park since 1935, which earns it the status of one of Africa’s oldest national parks. Odzala is part of the Congo basin and thus the second largest rainforest in the world (the Amazon being the largest of course). Not only does that mean it’s important in terms of conservation, but also world climate as it is one of the earth’s lungs. So why come here? Well, the discovery camps have put Odzala on the map, and you can experience this untouched piece of paradise yourself, spotting over 100 mammal species from western lowland gorillas, chimps and red tailed monkeys to buffalo, forest elephants and some 400 bird species. There is a circuit of three camps and each one offers a different experience. Together it gives you a really immersive experience that will enrich your safari soul! Track the gorillas in the rainforest, canoe or boat slowly down impressive waterways, get out on walking safaris, game drives and more. Hyena, aardvark, dwarf crocodiles, bushbuck, buffalo and more await in the wilderness.
And for the quintessential safari finale, escape to the Indian Ocean Islands
Madagascar was made famous thanks to the animated movie, which has also helped to build awareness and interest in its tourism offering. Due to the land separation millions of years ago, it has evolved entirely on its own and so more than half the species of birds here are regionally endemic, along with endless indigenous mammal species. Statistically, 90% indigenous reptiles and 80% plant species are all endemic. A Madagascar safari is focused in the central and south regions, and in the north you’ll find beach areas ideal for your relaxation at the end. Madagascar holidays are unique and the tourism infrastructure is years behind mainland Africa. It is an adventure paradise with a diversity of habitats waiting to be explored. Walk through spiny forests, tropical rainforests, venture out into the waters to snorkel and dive, or get up close to lemurs in one of the many wildlife parks. Keep in mind Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, so its definition of luxury is not reflective of your reality. It is no reason to hold you back though, we certainly recommend a Madagascar safari, and it combines well with Kenya, with direct flights between Nairobi and Antananarivo. Always do Madagascar first as to end in Kenya with big game and more ‘luxury’ as we know it.
Mozambique holidays are hugely rewarding if you don’t mind spending the money to get there. As a country it is largely undeveloped and yet what it lacks in tourism infrastructure it gains in friendly locals, beautiful beaches and islands. I know here in Australia we have great beaches and islands – just not the history and culture of an African country like Mozambique. There are the Bazaruto ad Quirimbas archipelagos that attract all of the holiday attention. Aside from its beaches, Mozambique has a wilderness area called Gorongosa National Park in the central region, and it is slowly yet surely recovering from past years of civil conflict. These days you can enjoy it as a remote safari holiday experience with game drives, walking safaris and a diversity of wildlife to see. It combines well with South Africa, and can also be accessed by air from Kenya and Tanzania.
Mauritius Holidays are less popular amongst our guests perhaps because it is a very commercial and somewhat ‘packaged’ island destination. Having said that, Mauritius holidays are hugely rewarding with beautiful beaches, watersports, mountainous activities and friendly locals. Honeymoon in Mauritius and you’ll have beautiful memories, as accommodation is of a great standard, with friendly service and decent facilities. If you don’t want the larger resort style feel to your honeymoon, try Seychelles or Reunion Island. Mauritius family holiday packages are unbeatable value I must say, and it combines beautifully with Madikwe – malaria free safari in South Africa.
Seychelles Holidays are nothing short of spectacular with 115 islands to explore! The islands in the core of the cluster are granitic with impressive boulder crusted mountains, forests falling to the beachfront and crystal clear waters. The outer islands are flat coral islands and visited in day trips, as most don’t offer any accommodation except for a handful. The most popular Seychelles islands are Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. There is an impressive diversity of accommodation from owner run B&Bs, boutique hotels to larger resorts. The smaller islands get our most attention though, for luxury safari holiday finales, such as Cousin, Fregate and the uber luxurious North Island. Island hopping is easy with light aircrafts, private helicopter charters and boats and ferries. Just allow yourself time and money to make the most of it or be happy to sit still on one Seychelles island holiday destination!
Phew, are you still reading? That’s impressive. Are you safari ready? Ask for a copy of our free Safari Life to learn a little more about what to expect on a tailor-made safari holiday. If you think you’re wanting to talk to one of our passionate professionals, do get in touch whichever way suits you best – telephone, email, Skype, in person…