Beyond the Safari
We all want to see lions, giraffes and elephants – these exotic animals have captured our imaginations from a very young age.
For most tourists, a trip to Africa means a trip to see the lions, giraffes and elephants, but moving past this simple declaration they become quickly paralyzed by all the choice. This is clearly not a trip for Expedia – the sticker price is as high as the expectations, and you need to get it right. The great migration or the Okavango Delta in flood? A tented mobile safari, or a lodge-based itinerary? Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, or Kafue National Park? There are first-timer safaris, active safaris, family safaris, specialist safaris – the list goes on.
Africa is the lion’s share of our business, and we can help you navigate the countless decisions required to build a perfect trip. But what happens outside of the game parks and Land Rovers? The oft-neglected non-safari activities deserve equal attention & consideration, and addressing them early on in the planning process will help give shape and direction to your trip. The following are a few of the things you shouldn’t forget to think about.
South Africa has some great beaches for suntanning (Clifton Beach, Plettenberg Bay, Hermanus), walking (Wilderness Beach, the Wild Coast) and surfing (Jefferey’s Bay, Betty’s Bay, Muizenberg), but the water is colder than you might expect. For scuba diving, Tanzania’s Mnemba Atoll & Mafia Island are matched only by the sites off Vamizi Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago. For snorkelling, try and see the whale sharks off the coast of Mozambique near Tofo & Barra.
The cattle herding Masaai can be found throughout East Africa, and are famous for their colourful dress and warrior traditions. But beware – mass tourism has turned most cultural interactions into theatre and commerce. For a real Masaai experience, head upcountry in Kenya to Samburuland and visit Lemarti’s Camp. Or visit Lamu on the Kenyan coast for an exotic Swahili immersion. In South Africa, visit with a Sangoma (traditional healer) in one of the townships, or explore the Xhosa villages of the Wild Coast where Mandela was born. In Namibia, travel north to the Angolan border for a peek into traditional Himba life.
South Africa has the best road system for cycling in Africa, and the scenery is simply spectacular. Head down to the Cape of Good Hope, Mpumalanga or the Garden Route and burn off those calories from your sedentary safari. If mountain biking is your thing, ride with the wild things at Mashatu or Bushmans Kloof. For hikers, go walking in Tanzania’s Selous Wilderness with professional trackers. And for riders, you simply cannot beat Singita’s Grumeti Reserves.