What would you like do?
Once you choose to explore the African continent, it’s entirely up to you as to exactly how you would like to achieve that goal. There is an amazing array of choice in how active (or not) you can be each day. We encourage you to do what is most comfortable but to also add in some things that might be out of your wheelhouse. Keep in mind that every single activity included in your safari will maximize your experience and is hand-picked by our experts based on what you share with us in the planning process. Of course, some things we leave for you to discover on your own! Here are some of the ways you might enrich your days on safari, we hope some of them take your fancy.
This popular activity is sure to get your heart pumping…for several reasons. It is undoubtedly exciting to be on foot in the African wilderness. You are surrounded by powerful wild animals who are unpredictable and that in itself is exhilarating. Depending on your walk length and terrain, it can be welcomed exercise after being in a vehicle. Rest assured, your expert walking guide is trained to read the behavior and the landscape to position you in the safest place for observing the animals and birds. Most walks are short; perhaps an hour or so, and focus on hidden treasures like flora and tracks which might get overlooked while in a vehicle. Longer or more challenging walks can be incorporated into your journey should that be of interest.
Searching for colorful birds of all shapes and sizes is nothing short of breathtaking in Africa. The diversity of species is amazing in every country and in certain locations, locating endemic species is a special treat. Even those who only want to see the megafauna of Africa will be enchanted by the vibrant residents in the trees and bushveld. Most guides are well-versed in the local and migratory species that inhabit their countries. Specialized birding guides can be arranged with advance notice.
Many travelers to Africa are surprised at the high quality spa services and wellness treatments available to them. From wonderful massages with essential oils, meditation, yoga, pilates, and naturopathic/ traditional healing, there are many ways to help you relax while on safari. Typically, these services are at an additional cost and can be booked upon arrival. If there is a spa or service that you simply must try, then please let us know so we can incorporate that into your experience.
While in Africa, be sure to give the heavens more than just a passing glance. Whether around a crackling campfire or on the verandah of your lodging, look up in wonder at the blanket of stars which appear each evening. With the absence of ambient light, the night sky in rural Africa is full of magic. Many camps have telescopes and astronomy talks for you to learn about and view planets, moons, and other celestial bodies. Crosby, Stills, and Nash were right when they sang, “When you see the Southern Cross for the first time, you understand now why you came this way…”
It is romantic and nostalgic to float about the vast continent of Africa. In the pre-dawn light, you can observe your balloon being inflated with hot air. Climb into the basket with your professional pilot and hear the loud whoosh as the balloon slowly rises. As you bob peacefully and silently above the plains, the sun rises and you witness life stirring below. Your pilot will point out natural landmarks and wildlife sightings while bringing you down low or up high as conditions permit. Depending on your location, the balloon ride is followed by a champagne breakfast in the bush before returning to your accommodation for a full day of safari activities.
Star Beds / Sleepouts
If you wish to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, how about spending a night under blazing stars with nothing between you and nature? Think that sounds rugged? Think again. Various lodges have gotten extremely creative in designing secure sleepout locations in the bush complete with charming amenities and loos. Everything from luxurious romantic platforms, to treehouses, to private ‘bedrolls’ on salt pans, you can let the sounds of the African night lull you to sleep in your ‘star bed’. Note that these experiences are booked through specific lodges and are done in place of spending a night at the actual lodge. Sleepouts are weather dependent.
Many travelers come to Africa to see wildlife, but most return home fascinated by the people they meet along the way. Opportunities for genuine cultural connections are available at every turn of your safari route. Chat with your drivers, stop at roadside stands or colorful local markets to banter and barter with vendors. Learn about local customs and folklore at villages, tuck into a hearty locally prepared meal, or meet artisans at a women’s cooperative. African hospitality is warm and welcoming and we hope you discover some commonality with our brothers and sisters throughout the continent.
The great wildebeest migration along the famed grass plains of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya are a top priority for safari-goers. And rightfully so; it is a marvel to be surrounded by millions of animals fighting for survival. The migration happens throughout the year and we can expertly place you at accommodation where it is likely to be at your doorstep. Other migrations worthy of attention are the zebra migration in Botswana (Mar-Sep), the fruit bat and wildebeest migrations in Zambia (Nov), and the whale migration in South Africa (Jul-Oct).
Walking Safaris / Climbing
Differing from guided nature walks, walking safaris would be defined as a longer excursion sometimes with more challenging terrain. Walking safaris in stunning environments can last one day or be part of multi-day treks which go ‘point-to-point’ (but not gaining in elevation like a mountain climb). Climbing is typically reserved for the multi-day high-altitude routes up Mount Kilimanjaro or other dormant volcanoes in Tanzania, but climbs in the Rwenzoris of Uganda, and Mount Kenya can also be arranged. In Southern Africa, walking safaris can be done particularly in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. Challenging hikes for elevation may be done near Cape Town and in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa…to name a few!
Yummy food and wine
Culinary delights and tipples aplenty are available throughout the African continent while on safari. You might just be surprised with the quality of the food and drink found along your journey. For foodies and wine enthusiasts, Cape Town and environs is a must, but many properties pride themselves on their chef’s talents and innovation in the bush. Indulge. Enjoy. Mangia mangia mangia..
Snorkeling and Diving
The clear azure waters of the Indian Ocean are a draw to many travelers who wish to unwind before or after a safari. The languid days along the beach can definitely include a quick snorkel through the reefs bursting with vivid marine life. Most coastal properties include access to guided or unguided snorkeling. Diving opportunities and even certification courses are widely available. Thrill seekers might wish to get close and personal with Great White Sharks during a shark cage dive. Search for the Marine Big 5 off Southern Africa’s coasts or perhaps spy a dugong in Mozambican waters.
Boating and Canoeing
Being out on the rivers and lakes of Africa provide a different perspective than being in a vehicle. There’s something serene about floating past wildlife as they bathe, play or drink at the water’s edge. Whether by motor boat or paddle, you have the chance to observe animals and shorebirds on their level in an unobtrusive way.
Boating/Canoeing hotspots include the Okavango Delta, the Selinda Spillway, and Chobe River in Botswana; the Zambezi River in Zambia/Zimbabwe including Victoria Falls, Lower Zambezi and Mana Pools respectively; Matusadona and Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe; Arusha National Park and Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania.
Unique to the Okavango Delta, these flat-bottom dugout canoes were the traditional mode of transport through the sinewy web of water trails of this flooded landscape. Pushed through the shallow waters by an experienced guide wielding a long pole, this is the ultimate way to experience the delta. Peaceful and calm, mekoro (the plural form of mokoro) propel you silently through the waterways between the reeds and grasses. While relaxing, a mokoro ride brings the excitement of knowing that anything–big or small–can be around the next bend.
Another clever way to vary your wildlife viewing activities is to add a horseback safari to your day. Riders of all abilities are welcome at most locations for short rides of one hour. More experienced riders can spend more time on the trails and in the wilderness. Some camps specialize in horseback safaris and every day introduces more varied terrain and challenges. Horses are well-trained for viewing wildlife and you will be joined by experienced guides with extensive riding histories.
The first thing that might strike you as you straddle across a camel is that they are tall. This elevated perspective is excellent for game viewing and the slow swagger of the camels is rhythmic and soothing. Should you tire of being perched atop a camel, you are free to stretch your legs and walk alongside the caravan instead escorted by knowledgeable and personable guides. A few hours with these desert adapted animals is certainly a different way to spend your day in Africa. Camel safaris are most common in Laikipia and Turkana in Kenya.
Searching for the elusive Mountain gorillas of Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo is one of the most challenging and rewarding wildlife encounters. In the dense rainforests on the steep slopes of dormant volcanoes, these gentle giants go about their day in peaceful bliss. We are the lucky ones who catch a snippet of that life and connect with these magnificent creatures for just an hour. Most travelers say gorilla trekking is the absolute highlight of their safari. Please note permits are required to trek for gorillas and must be purchased in advance.
Beyond gorillas, there are dozens of primate species which inhabit the tangle of vegetation that is a rainforest. Other primates dwell on the open plains of the savanna. From the common baboons and Vervet monkeys to the more rare chimpanzees, Black-and-White Colobus monkeys, and Golden monkeys, primates are endlessly fascinating. Glimpse some primates by obtaining the proper permits for hikes in their native habitats. Others may be seen on typical wildlife viewing activities.
Heart pounding adrenaline activities are plentiful in Africa. Nowhere else on the continent offers a higher concentration of extreme sports than Victoria Falls. Travelers to the falls can choose to white water raft, abseil, zipline, bungee jump, go on a gorge swing, quad bike, swim on the edge of a waterfall, kayak and river board…to name a few! Some other places where you have your pick of ‘high octane’ activities are Sawkopmund, Namibia and Jinja, Uganda. Have a blast! Be safe!
Hop on a sturdy mountain bike and meander through towns and villages on cultural tours and explorations. Enjoy a free-wheeling two wheel safari in some of the private concessions and national parks on the continent with an expert guide. This is an active, exciting way to see Africa and become more acquainted with her people. All safety equipment will be provided.
Or Just Relax
It’s your safari, and we want you to enjoy every single minute. So just tell us what you YOU want to do.
Big Journeys Start With Small Steps
~ African Proverb