Of all the chapters in the story that is East Africa's Great Wildebeest Migration, none is more dramatic than the river crossings. Arriving in wide-eyed anticipation, the herds pile up like an enormous traffic jam at the Grumeti and Mara Rivers, desperate to complete their journey through the Serengeti and back into the Masai Mara. But crossing the murky brown rivers is no easy task. Giant crocodiles have been waiting all year for the herds and things aren't much better for the survivors - big cats lie in ambush on the other side.
There are so many brilliant documentaries out there that capture Africa’s wildlife on film. I get goosebumps every time I watch David Attenborough’s introduction to the BBC Africa series. Professional teams from National Geographic, Discovery Channel and BBC head out into Africa’s game parks and reserves every year with their million-dollar equipment to snag the most amazing footage – and they do. The thing is, so do travellers. Sure, travellers may not have the most advanced equipment, but they do explore the same wilderness and return with weird and wonderful safari moments caught on their point-and-shoot cameras.
Africa is geared for action-packed adventure, much of which is guaranteed to spike your adrenaline and get your heart racing. Here are three daredevil experiences to test your mettle and give you the thrill of a lifetime.
One of the biggest questions to ask when you're considering a safari in Africa is: east or south?
The world's largest waterfall and its surrounding game reserves are just two of the many attractions which draw people to a Victoria Falls holiday. This iconic destination has also earned its reputation as the adrenalin capital of Africa; it has one of the highest – and definitely the most spectacular – bungee jumps in the world along with a long list of adrenaline-charged activities including abseiling, bridge-swinging, tandem parachuting and white-water rafting.
It may be the Big 5 you've come for but central to the success of your African safari are the people who will make it happen - the safari guides.
Few experiences in Africa can compete with standing at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and gazing down at the continent six kilometres below you. Needless to say, climbing Kilimanjaro is on many people’s bucket lists and up to 30,000 adventurers set out each year to conquer it, making Africa's highest peak the most climbed mountain in the world.
Family holidays in Africa began at an early age for me but each has remained indelibly imprinted on my mind. I was a young child on our Lake Kariba fishing adventure in Zimbabwe and barely into my teens when we canoed down the Zambezi River and explored the Okavango Delta, but we still talk about these trips decades later. Although, as adults, we now lead separate and far-flung lives, subsequent family holidays to Zanzibar, Mozambique or Botswana have served to bring us together, reinforcing family ties and sharing wonderful experiences.
Once you've arrived in your African destination, you'll switch from aeroplanes to safari vehicles, whether it's for a road transfer or game drive. The design of these vehicles is specifically to enhance your game viewing experience so you'll see features like extra large windows and pop-up roofs, and on specialist photographic safaris, padded bars or sandbags to rest your camera on. The vehicles vary depending on the type of safari you're on and the country you're in - some vehicles are completely open to the elements and others can close up to make longer distance road transfers more comfortable.
It began with a question: are there any African wildlife destinations left where you won’t be surrounded by a pack of 4X4s at every sighting and be confronted by manicured luxury lodges around each corner? I must admit I had my doubts before I gritted my teeth and went on a winter camping safari to a remote slice of the Kalahari. I wanted the wilderness but I also wanted to be comfortable.