African safari holidays, safari destinations and tips
Safari tips and destination advice in Africa from our repeat travellers!
Encompass Africa recently asked a group of its repeat travellers about their experiences in and journeys through Africa. From here, we have come up with a shortlist of top safaris and safari destinations. These places have touched our lives and the hearts and souls of our c
lients. They range in terms of wilderness from endless desert landscapes to near-impenetrable rainforests and wildlife from herds of wildebeest, elusive leopard, flocks of flamingos through to the majestic mountain gorillas and marauding lions.
We asked the question ‘what makes for an outstanding African safari holiday’ and here are the top five responses
1) Africa is a continent of diversity in every sense and difficult to navigate alone, so a tailor made itinerary specifically based on your needs helps to ensure an effortless African safari and one that changes your life
2) The wildlife is as varied and vast as the continent’s landscape with more large animals than anywhere else in the world and it is the only place remaining on earth where vast herds still roam the plains. As you embark on your African safari you realise just how lucky you are to be witnessing these rare species in their natural habitat
3) It is more rewarding going to far away places – seeing remote Africa away from the beaten tourist track
4) Meeting the local people, seeing smiling faces even during times of extreme hardship and sharing stories, laughter and often tears. You arrive as a guest and leave as a friend
5) Challenging the media perceptions of Africa and often your own. It is a genuinely inspirational place
Next question was ‘name your ultimate safari destination and why and where would you stay?’ Here are the favourites amongst our clients and we agree they are absolutely worth visiting!
COUNTRY: Tanzania REGION: Ruaha National Park
This is Africa from long ago, its range of broken hills, yellow plains dotted with boulders and baobabs, huge rivers boarded by acacias, riverine forests and red ochre game trails among smouldering purple hills.
Remote and rarely visited, Ruaha is Tanzania’s second largest national park with huge concentrations of buffalos, elephants, antelope and more than 400 bird species.
The highlight for one couple who visited in July was seeing a wild dog kill during denning season and more than ten pups emerged for a feed. A family with teenagers were thrilled by the numerous crocodiles and hippos sharing the same river!
We recommend staying somewhere small and intimate for a truly magical time.
Jongomero Tented Camp offers uber luxury and is the only one in the southwest corner of the national park because here you will not see other trucks or people, just animals.
Mwagusi Camp is a small, quirky owner run camp set on the banks of the seasonal Mwagusi River. The camp is in easy reach of the best game viewing areas of the park – the Mwagusi River, the Ruaha River and flood plains and the escarpment.
COUNTRY: Botswana REGION: Duba, Okavango Delta
There is simply no place on earth like the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta made up of meandering papyrus-lined channels, deep still pools, secret waterways, palm fringed islands and natural lagoons. Duba is a 65,000 acre concession in the far north of the Delta
The Okavango Delta is vast and features a number of stunning accommodation options. By far the favourite amongst our clients was Duba Plains. This
tiny camp is deep in the delta nestled upon an island shaded by huge trees and surrounded by horizon-touching plains. This camp is famous for its lion prides because they are among the few in Africa to hunt by day and buffalo is the favourite dish on the menu. From the initial stalking to the final kill and pride feeding, these matches can run through an entire afternoon. Birdlife is prolific, best enjoyed with a sunrise coffee or sunset gin and tonic!
COUNTRY: Rwanda REGION: Parc National de Volcans
This relatively small African country boasts one of Africa’s finest wildlife experiences: the mountain gorillas. For the gorilla mountain hike permit, you pay US$500, a price that is high but which guarantees one of world’s most rewarding wildlife experiences and knowing that for every 6 million of us humans there is only 1 mountain gorilla remaining. Seeing the gorillas munching on shoots, playfully wrestling and tumbling or if you’re lucky, an infant suckling contentedly from its mother will transcend any other wildlife experience you know.
Guests commented on the luxury and style of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda and the simplicity and comfort of Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, both places we work with frequently to ensure effortless Gorilla Trekking experiences in a stunning nature reserve of Africa.
COUNTRY: Botswana REGION: Central Kalahari Game Reserve
If you like sand between your feet, you will love this place. The longest continuous stretch of sand in the world, the Kalahari is flat, dry and empty. We hear you asking then why would you go there on safari?
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the biggest conservation areas in the world with its own unique beauty, that’s only enhanced by its vastness, emptiness, grandeur and desolation. You won’t see abundant game, but there’s unusual wildlife such as the elusive brown hyena, stately gemsbok, elegant kudus, African wild cats, leopards and of course the black-maned Kalahari lions which dwarf their bush counterparts.
An article in London’s Telegraph newspaper earlier this year commented on and recommended the Kalahari region too.
‘In the Kalahari, you have to mind about the small, the neglected, the unsung – the dung beetle and the snake, the African hare and the jackal. You learn to look out for the springbok, the ostrich and the gemsbok, and you get your thrills at night when you hear the roar of the black-maned Kalahari lion and the howl of the brown hyena, while up in the sky the stars are brighter and more extravagant than anywhere in Europe. It doesn’t take long before you understand why Tom Hardbattle, a British policeman who arrived in what was then Bechuanaland after the war, declared: Everything I ever wanted I found in the Kalahari.’ – Telegraph, London
There are two camps we work with in this region and it was difficult to pick a winner because votes were evenly split! Kalahari Plains Camp for its ensuite canvas tents and rustic experience and Tau Pan Camp for its thatched roof tents, solar panels and eco-design that blends in and compliments the fragile environment.
COUNTRY: South Africa REGION: Kruger National Park
This is always a favourite because of its abundant wildlife, varied landscapes and diverse vegetation not to mention the endless accommodation options. The southern part of Kruger boasts an array of lodges and camps from exclusive and expensive to comfortable and affordable.
Popular amongst our clients is Lion Sands Reserve because it is own and run by the More Family who has owned it for four generations and remain committed to service, safari experience and serenity.
For those wishing to immerse themselves, Rhino Walking Safaris offer different walking safaris and accommodation options from basecamps and sleepouts to a stunning lodge that draws you back in time to an era of the great discoverers. Clients recommending this option raved about the great safari guides and outstanding food.
SEND US AN EMAIL OR CALL US ON 1300 988 378 AND CREATE YOUR OWN AFRICAN SAFARI.