We are thrilled with the announcement that South Africa is on Alert Level 2, which spells more freedom of movement. The scent of adventure is in the air! As we emerge cautiously into a new normal, and borders gradually open again, what better way to kick that loathsome cabin fever than with an epic safari into the heart of Africa? What are four walls versus the Masai Mara, or your local supermarket versus the majestic Victoria Falls? Starved adventurer, we feel you! Here are four diverse locations to quench your thirst for wanderlust. We asked our Wandering Thru specialist safari guides where they would rather be instead of their four walls. Read on to find out what is captivating our imagination right now.
Tristan Dicks: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
© Sala’s Camp
For someone who has never been to Africa before, big cats and wide-open grass plains are a must-see. Here you can discover this beautiful region’s diverse and a brilliant base from which to explore the Masai Mara is Sala’s Camp. The riverbed in front of the camp is ideal for wildlife tracking, a wild picnic, or even a spot of volleyball if you like. Brand new tents add a dash of elegance to this characterful under-canvas offering. Sala’s Camp offers you front row seats to the annual wildebeest migration tagged as the world’s eighth natural wonder.
Tristan sums up Sala’s camp perfectly, “There is something about the views and open spaces of the Masai Mara. The views engulf you and take you away. If you combine that with the spectacular views of the Sand River, then you can only want to stay forever.”
Check out our seven-night east-African trip of a lifetime for some inspiration. This trip combines two of our favorite countries in Africa – Kenya, and Uganda complete with their iconic highlights.
Astrida Sadde: Chobe National Park, Botswana
Ah, the magic of the Chobe National Park! Experience Africa’s most extensive wild elephant population in beautiful Botswana. Stay at one of our all-time favorite owner-run hotels, Pangolin Chobe Hotel, overlooking the Chobe River and Namibia’s Caprivi floodplains.
Here, everyone is a photographer. View the fascinating wildlife on a boat cruise via the custom shallow hulled small-scale boats fitted with professional level photography gear or a safari drive. Learn how to capture the perfect wildlife shot from professional photographer safari guides – all for free during your stay). Take home your epic photos on the complimentary memory card to revisit at leisure. Drink in this rare spectacle as the relaxed wildlife enjoying their natural state often entirely oblivious to your presence. Elephants, giraffe, and antelope often wander through the hotel’s natural bush setting down to the river. Some take a sip from the eco-pool on the way down, making for some incredible photo opportunities and couch safari moments.
Astrida says, smiling, “I’m happy where I can count to a thousand elephants, there is no other place like Chobe for elephant lovers.”
You will likely want to consider paying a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls while staying in the Chobe. Gazing upon this seventh natural wonder of the world is an easy day trip away. Beneath the thundering water lies a bridge that spans the Zambezi River offering spectacular views.
Would you like to explore Chobe with Tristan and Ale in 2021? Look at our itinerary here.
Tayla McCurdy: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
© Tusk and Mane
Another beautiful area you’ll want to visit just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the magnificent Chobe area is the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia. We highly recommend staying at Chula Camp on Chula Island, where the wild things are. Chula (meaning ‘frog’ in the local Goba language) Camp is an authentic under-canvas base from which to explore the area, preferably on foot.
Tayla beautifully summed up the experience, “It feels like you’re the only person in this park, surrounded only by nature and the elephants. The Zambezi river, the cathedral Ana trees – there’s something special about the way the light filters through this forest. This is my happy place.”
The Lower Zambezi National Park is fascinating. The terrain and ecosystem in the west differ vastly from that of the east. For this reason, it is not uncommon for guests to stay longer in this park and combining the two areas for a diverse yet enriching experience. The eastern part of the reserve favored for walking safaris in the beautiful winter thorn forests is an off-grid paradise. Canoeing and boating on the mighty Zambezi are a highlight of any stay in the Lower Zambezi. Watching elephant, some giant tuskers, play in the water from a safe distance at sundown is something to behold. Toast to the end of another perfect day in Africa as the copper sun melts like a ball of hot butter into the horizon, turning the river to molten gold before your eyes. Is this not the stuff of dreams?
Ale Olivieri: Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
© African Bush Camps
Located in one of the most remote places in Africa lies the fully solar-powered Nyamatusi Camp. Experience uninterrupted views of the wild Zambezi River and its surrounding escarpment. See animals up close on game drives or canoeing safaris, and even go fishing (catch and release, mind). This is an authentic African experience – the way our land is meant to be savored.
Ale says, “It’s the freedom to walk, to get your feet dirty on African ground and feel the earth shake when elephants plant themselves back on the ground after reaching with their trunks for the wild figs and mangos. That keeps me coming back. You feel alive in these floodplains. It is funny how Tayla and I love the same river but different spots of the river. Mana Pools and the Lower Zambezi are basically part of the same ecosystem, although split by the Zambezi River that forms a natural barrier between Zimbabwe and Zambia.”
Africa, through its diversity, offers many one-of-a-kind experiences. You will never be the same after a trip here. It’s difficult to describe in words aptly, but we will leave you with this thought:
“Why is it you can never hope to describe the emotion Africa creates? You are lifted. Out of whatever pit, unbound from whatever tie, released from whatever fear. You are lifted, and you see it all from above.” – Francesca Marciano
To find out more, get in touch with us.