The word safari invokes a sense of adventure. Today, the evolution of safari has taken it on a path of enlightenment. It is now, more often than not, connected to socially and environmentally responsible travel while enjoying a plethora of other exploits. A traditional African safari focuses on the animal kingdom in all of its raw glory but is not limited to that alone. Derived from the Swahili word for “journey”, that’s precisely what it is. The magical African continent, blessed in abundance has the most awe inspiring safari destinations and here are our top five:
- Lion Sands-Kruger National Park
The mighty Kruger National Park lies across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the North of South Africa. It is the largest game reserve in South Africa and is approximately the size of Wales. 2 million hectares of land, this is a wildlife sanctuary unlike any other. It has been nicknamed the flagship of the country’s national parks and is rated as the ultimate in safari experiences.
This is the land of ancient baobabs and the famous Big 5. Lion Sands Game Reserve is one of our personal favourites. It is an award winning private game reserve, with ten kilometres of riverfront, courtesy of the Sabie River. Where there’s water, there’s an abundance of wildlife. The reserve offers exclusive lodges and the philosophy is commendable, they deliver a professional, informative and holistic safari experience, not only looking after the guests needs but the eco-system as well.
Tinga Lodge-Lion Sands Game Reserve (Picture courtesy of Lion Sands)
Narnia Lodge-Lion Sands Game Reserve (Pictures courtesy of Lion Sands)
- Okavango Delta-Botswana
The Okavango Delta is a magnificent labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels and is well known for being the largest inland delta in the world. With 15 000 square kilometres of water channels, it is a magnet for the wildlife that congregate at this unique feature. Locked in a basin of Kalahari Desert sand, it is truly an African Eden. A River Delta is usually on course to the sea, but the Okavango River empties onto open land and floods the savannah.
Desert and Delta Safari’s has Camp Okavango as part of their portfolio. It is an enchanting and authentic African safari camp, in the heart of the Delta and whispers promises of water wilderness excitement. But what it’s most noted for is its intimate atmosphere. Twenty four guests can be accommodated in eleven East African style safari tents raised on a teak platform. It’s the quintessential natural integration.
Camp Okavango-Botswana-(Pictures courtesy of Desert and Delta)
- South Luangwa National Park-Zambia
The South Luangwa National Park is often referred to as one of the last great wildlife wonders of the world. It is 9000 square kilometres of pristine wilderness in Zambia’s Eastern Province. Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp is an ideal choice of accommodation and sits perched on an escarpment, with views overlooking the floodplain, where lion, leopard and elephant can be seen. Walking safaris are of particular interest here and is one of the best ways to experience the more intricate details of the African wilderness. With over 60 animal species and 400 bird species, it’s simply an all-encompassing safari experience. In a remote area of the park, this beautiful camp has been expertly designed to blend itself into the natural surroundings while not disturbing it.
Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp-Zambia (pictures courtesy of Sanctuary Retreats)
- Masai Mara National Park-Kenya
Masai Mara is in south-west Kenya and is noted as one of the Africa’s most spectacular wildlife reserves. Its claim to world renowned fame is that it’s the setting for the awe-inspiring migration. This dramatic mass movement of over 2 million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra is the allure and draw card for wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. There are also an abundance of child-friendly options in terms of accommodation and makes it an ideal choice for family safaris.
Our highlight accommodation is Mahali Mzuri. Owned by none other than Sir Richard Branson himself, its 12 tented luxury safari. This is the location for a front row seat to the migration as well as the teeming wildlife all year long. Ten of the suites can be configured with either king or twin beds and two of the suites are four poster king size beds designed to accommodate up to two additional children on sofa beds in the living room.
Mahali Mzuri-Kenya (Pictures courtesy of Virgin Limited)
- Serengeti National Park/Ngorongoro Crater-Tanzania
The Serengeti National Park is arguably unequalled in natural beauty and scientific value and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This National Park covers an area of over 12 000 square kilometres. It casts a spotlight on the stars of the Migration, the wildebeest and zebra. Interestingly, the biological diversity of the park is very high with at least four globally threatened or endangered animal species: black rhino, elephant, wild dog and cheetah.
The Ngorongoro Crater forms part of the Serengeti National Park. It’s the showpiece and was created when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. It has been described as one of the 7 wonders of the natural world. The crater’s soda lake, Lake Magadi, attracts large numbers of perfectly pink flamingo along with a wide variety of other birds.
Accommodation options are varied and &Beyond has compiled a notable collection, our selections are &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and &Beyond Klein’s Camp. They are sure to impress, inspire and provide a truly magnificent safari journey.
Beyond Kleins Camp-Tanzania (Pictures courtesy of &Beyond)
Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge-Tanzania (Pictures courtesy of &Beyond)