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.
In the early days of African safaris, the 'Big 5' sadly referred to the five most dangerous and challenging animals that a trophy hunter could hunt. Thankfully, photographic safaris have transformed the way people encounter wildlife. Today, we use our digital cameras to 'shoot' elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard, taking nothing but their images for our trophies.
The black volcanic rock is bright and glossy in the moonlight; it crunches softly underfoot. Above Karanga Camp, the iconic snow cap is blue-white against a night sky bursting with stars. My breath hangs in the air as small, fluffy clouds and I am chilled to the bone despite the layers under my down jacket. Dome tents huddle in small groups on the mountainside, some glow softly, lit from within by headlamps. The stillness of the night is broken by the shuffle of canvas and the cough of a climber suffering from altitude sickness. It is hard to believe that a mere 2,000m below my camp there is a tropical rainforest.
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.
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.
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.
When someone as well-travelled as Go2Africa Safari Expert Lauren Johansson describes a journey as "the trip of a lifetime” I immediately sit up and pay attention.
One of the biggest questions to ask when you're considering a safari in Africa is: east or south?
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.