Looking for an action-packed adventure? We highlight four of our top picks on the African continent:
A WALK IN THE PARK – A Zambian Walking Safari
When it comes to exploring, some say Zambia is the “real deal Africa.”
This untamed wilderness is defined by the legendary Zambezi River, with myriad cascading waterfalls including the famed Victoria Falls, and an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitat. The road less travelled will take you into “the warm heart of Africa” where you’ll encounter a peace-loving people and be inspired at the end of your day by spectacular sunsets. And some of the finest walking safari experiences await when you channel your inner David Attenborough.
Nothing beats this intimate safari adventure through wilderness only accessible on foot.
A traditional walking safari in Zambia is typically anything from three up to five days, often walking between camps. Led by the experienced guides and armed national park scout, you will immerse yourself in your surroundings, tracking wild animals on their natural path through the bush.
Before too long, you’ll become adept at spotting and recognizing paw prints and animal droppings as clues to wildlife close by.
This is an adventure off the beaten track in remote camps where you’ll feel the exhilaration of isolation in the African bush.
MONKEY BUSINESS – Chimpanzee Trekking
The soap opera that plays out daily in Mahale National Park in southern Tanzania would do Game of Thrones proud. Alpha males battle for supremacy and the victor rules over his subjects, while the defeated are banished to lick their wounds.
This is the realm of the chimpanzee – an incredibly remote “kingdom” but an oasis the chimpanzees have virtually to themselves.
That’s except for the privileged few able to observe their fascinating daily lives.
While the world is familiar with gorilla trekking, this is the unforgettable journey into the natural habitat of our closest living relatives (did you know we share 98.8 per cent of their DNA?).
In the company of experienced trackers and guides, you’ll observe the chimpanzees on a morning hike into their domain in the Mahale Mountains’ forest – also home to other primates and wildlife. With no road access, this is truly a Robinson Crusoe spot also boasting a white sand beach and beautiful Lake Tanganyika: one of the African Great Lakes, and the longest and second-deepest in the world.
Cruise the lake’s shoreline in the afternoon on a traditional timber dhow boat, and dive into the still waters. Relax on deck with views all the way to the Congo or try your hand at fishing. Or make new friends with the villagers in the middle of nowhere who call this amazing part of the world home.
Intrepid travellers find their “Nirvana” after a few small flights and a boat transfer into camp, but just because the location is incredibly remote, you don’t have to rough it. Visitors to “castaway lodge” Mahale Greystoke Camp will lay their head in one of six bandas (spacious tented rooms) built of reclaimed dhow boat wood.
The dining area is at the heart of the camp and there’s nothing better than having sundowners on the top deck while reminiscing over the day’s highlights and those “long lost relatives.”
FALLING FOR VICTORIA – The Victoria Falls
Just like Scottish explorer and pioneer Christian missionary David Livingstone, seeing the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls for the first time will stop you in your tracks. Livingstone is believed to have been the first European to view the falls on November 16, 1855, from what is now Livingstone Island in the middle of Zambezi River.
“The Smoke That Thunders,” as it is known by the Lozi people, straddles Zimbabwe and Zambia on the border, and just like Livingstone, you’ll find looking down through the gorge and the falls breathtakingly stunning.
While it’s not the world’s largest waterfall at 1708m (5,604 ft ), Victoria Falls has other impressive claims to fame – as the world’s largest curtain of falling water, and the only one with a length of more than a kilometer (0.62 mile) and a height of more than 100m (109 yards), with the flow escaping through a series of zigzagging gorges.
In true pioneering spirit, Victoria Falls has become what many consider the adventure capital of the world and a destination in itself.
The fun-loving traveller and thrill-seeker can take a closer look at this water world on a kayaking adventure, test their nerve bungee jumping, or challenge themselves by white-water rafting the rapids.
Not surprisingly, Victoria Falls can be considered a very spiritual place that gets under your skin and deserves much more than a quick tick off the bucket list.
Best to linger a little longer and soak up the atmosphere of the majestic scenery over a number of days and nights and enjoy some special time all to yourself.
Some of our favorite activities here include art in a local village, Livingstone Island gourmet lunch followed by a swim for the thrill-seekers in Devils Pool, horse riding, rhino tracking, or simply just spending time in a village learning about their culture.
And there’s nothing quite like the ambiance of waking up to the morning sun streaking through your window on a lodge on the banks of the river.
Tongabezi Lodge – a romantic hideaway, upstream of the falls, or Royal Chundu Lodge with its river and island villa options both deliver Zambezi tranquility in luxe style.
A 400 BILLION STAR RATING – Sleeping under the stars!
The call of the wild is never stronger than when sleeping out under the Milky Way in Africa.
The delicate, unspoilt environment and pristine natural beauty of Botswana offers an ideal environment for sleep-outs.
After an eventful day of game viewing, a sleepout – perhaps on a dry riverbed – can be the most romantic night of your life, or a family bonding adventure across the generations. After settling into camp for the night, you will enjoy champagne under the stars and a delicious meal cooked over coals.
If sleeping in a dry riverbed is not your idea of fun, we highly recommend a night on a sleepout deck, allowing you to feel completely at one with nature under the stars. These raised decks come with bathrooms and a double bed. All that’s between you and the stars is a thin mosquito net. A security guard is only a walkie-talkie click away.
If you are an avid pachyderm enthusiast, you’ll be in your element at Abu Elephant Camp in Botswana. We suggest a night on their sleepout deck, high above the ground, while below roam families of the world’s largest existing land animals.
Hear their calls or little rumblings at night, watch their fascinating behavior and gain insights into the work of this camp that attends to their needs with care, admiration and respect.