My first evening on Botswana’s Chobe River was the stuff of dreams. I sat on the roof of a game drive vehicle and watched in open-mouthed wonder as herd after herd of elephants poured out of the surrounding forest and down to the river to drink. Many younger ones broke into a run, their trunks and ears flapping in excitement; the older ones usually managed to keep to a dignified pace – at least until the last few yards. The countless trampling feet sent dust billowing into the air, turning the setting sun into a huge, hanging orb of fire.
In the early days of African safaris, the “Big 5” referred to the five most dangerous and challenging animals that a trophy hunter could hunt. In modern African travel, 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.
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.
Africa is a vast continent with a very diverse cultural heritage. Add the tropical Indian Ocean isles along its eastern coastline and you have a foodie treasure trove of flavours and culinary traditions. The continent’s contemporary chefs are turning this fusion heritage into an art form on a par with the iconic cuisine of London, Paris, Sydney and New York.
We know just how tough it is to sift through all the information and inspiration on Africa to choose a travel adventure. We put our expertise and local knowledge to the test to come up with the Top 10 Best Safaris and Beach Getaways for 2014. These are not just good vacation ideas, they are handpicked, lust-haves - the crème-de-la-crème of African safaris that mix and match the very best luxury accommodation with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that'll have friends asking to see your photos and hear your anecdotes for years to come…
Africa has never really lost the aura of mystery that surrounded the "Dark Continent". Early explorers carried home sketches of creatures so fantastical that the good citizens of Holland, England, France and Portugal came to believe that Africa was a land populated by myths and legends where anything was possible. Today, Africa is still an unfamiliar destination for many travellers, which gives rise to naive questions that are, in the glory of hindsight, quite funny to an experienced traveller.
South Africa’s Western Cape welcomes spring in a colourful riot of blooming wild flowers. At the height of flower season, between August and September, the west coast abandons its normally somber semi-arid attire and dresses up for the homecoming queen’s welcome parade.
It’s early morning and the still-cool air is filled with the buzzing and chirping of countless insects and birds. You’re walking single file along a dusty hippo trail when suddenly your guide gives the signal and you freeze: up ahead a lioness wanders into view, fixes you in the gaze of her savannah-gold eyes, then with a flick of her tail slinks away again into the surrounding bush.
Africa is a continent of vast contrasts and varied landscapes, places where you can truly immerse yourself in timeless scenery of distant horizons and huge open spaces. It is one thing to enjoy a moment in an incredible landscape, and entirely another attempting to photograph it as you see it.
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.