Lions are the most sought-after sighting on a safari. The excitement of seeing them is partly because we expect to see them in Africa and are reassured when we do but there’s also something a bit more primal behind our fascination with them. Thanks to their reassuringly feline name – Panthera leo – we know we are technically dealing with ‘cats’ but lions are startlingly huge, almost bear sized. Their muscular, barrel-chested bodies and arrogantly jutting chins let everyone know who the boss is – and it’s not the 2-legged creatures wearing sunglasses!
It was my first week managing a camp on the southwestern edge of the Okavango Delta. I was understandably wary. Not only would I have to learn to negotiate unchaperoned night walks home, drive a Land Rover on roads that often struck uncanny likenesses to rivers, identify the chiming, screeching, bellowing creatures of the day and night - I would have to do it all with the air and ease of a seasoned pro.
As Africa Safari Experts, we’ve had the privilege of meeting some of Africa’s most iconic people – the fiercely distinctive Maasai and Sambura in Kenya, the red-hued Himba of Namibia, and those consummate survivors, the San of the Kalahari.
In our modern era of online everything, it’s important to understand what travel agents actually do before you decide if they have a role to play in your travel plans. You don’t always need an agent, which means you need to know when to bring one into your vacation planning. And, if you use an agent, do you know how to pick a great one?
September in Africa see temperatures climbing steadily and many safari destinations across the continent rapidly approaching their annual best.
As African Safari Experts , we spend every day doing what we love: helping our clients live out their dream African vacations in magical destinations. But it’s not all fun and games – to reach expert level we have to pass serious written examinations (just like college) and personally visit every destination we recommend. In fact, we’re can't advise our clients on a destination until we’ve passed the exams and actually been there. After mastering South Africa – which really is ‘a world in one country’ with every sort of attraction from whales and wine to the Big 5 and resorts like Sun City – we started working on our next destination, Botswana.
Exploring Congo's untamed rainforests is one of the most authentic wilderness experiences we’ve had in a long time. The journey to Odzala National Forest – home to gorillas, elephants and flocks of parrots - is exciting but conveniently straightforward. You fly into Johannesburg, Africa’s international hub, catch a regional flight to Congo’s modern capital, Brazzaville, stay overnight in a luxury hotel, and hop on a charter flight to Odzala the next morning, rested and refreshed. As your charter plane descends out of the tropical cloud cover, you know you’ve found that rare and precious thing in our modern world: a truly wild frontier.
She pushes her huge tail down, ducks under the waves with tremendous forces and then, with colossal power, launches her huge body above the water, coming down with a fantastic splash. Everything is quiet except for the chorus of ‘Wows!’ from my fellow boat passengers. There’s a shared anticipation and keen excitement as we hope she’ll do it again… Our luck is in as she once again uses her tail fin to propel herself like an aquatic rocket above the ocean off Kleinbaai, a tiny hamlet on South Africa’s Whale Coast, less than an hour’s drive from Hermanus and regarded as the whale-watching capital of the world.
The Green Season is a specific period in Africa that falls between or after the annual rains. Wildlife spreads out from waterholes and rivers, making the most of the abundant surface water and, most importantly, taking advantage of the fresh grazing that turns the dry savannah into lush rolling grasslands. This new grazing triggers the migrations of large herds of wildebeest and zebra in both East and Southern Africa.
August in Southern Africa marks the end of the region’s short-lived winter and the welcome return of warmer temperatures. Down in Cape Town, the last few winter storms wring themselves out and the days get longer, while up in safari country the weather is pretty perfect: sunny, warm and dry.