So you’ve seen the Big 5, been awestruck by the Wildebeest Migration and thrilled by Victoria Falls but you’re still crazy about Africa? It’s time to step it up and discover Africa’s secret adventures for experienced safari-goers…
1 Track turtles along the balmy Indian Ocean
Turtles are clumsy on land but acrobatic in the sea – and hundreds of just-hatched youngsters make it their first mission to leave the nest and reach the warm Indian Ocean before they can be swooped up by hungry seagulls. Between Rocktail Beach Camp and Thonga Beach Lodge on South Africa’s kwaZulu-Natal Coast, this ancient scene is replayed every year between November and February as turtles return to the beach where they were born – after swimming the length of East Africa!
We recommend: The 11-day Self-drive South Africa's kwaZulu-Natal is a particularly scenic trip through the countryside and along the coast, including a Big 5 Phinda safari. For an exclusive safari and beach vacation, our 9-day Phinda & North Coast Beach Holiday gives you the best of both.
2 Dive with whale sharks off Kenya and Zanzibar
These incredible fish – which are longer than a school bus – are playful, tranquil and relaxed, making for incredible underwater encounters. Between October and April they gather off the southern coast of Kenya and around Zanzibar’s islands like Chumbe and Mnemba – both of which are great destinations for snorkellers, too.
We recommend: For a private island experience try Manda Bay Boutique Hotel, situated on tiny Manda Island - one of the many unspoilt islands found in the Lamu Archipelago.
3 Trek with camels in Samburu
Get out of the car and onto the… camel? Used as transport for centuries in north Africa, some lodges in Kenya’s under-explored Samburu region, like Saruni Samburu, offer a camelback trek through the golden savannah. With their steady pace and unrivalled ability to withstand heat and thirst, they’re the ideal way to get up close and personal with the sights, sounds and scents of the wilderness, all the while providing a lofty perch for you to scan for far-off game. Game almost seem to recognise camels as 'one of their own' so you can often get close to other animals while on a camel.
We recommend: The 10-day Mount Kenya, Samburu & Mara is a fantastic trip, high in adventure, activities and experiences - including camel trekking. For a short Samburu add-on, the 3-day Samburu Camel Safari captures the spirit of mobile camping in the heart of the reserve.
4 Chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania
Although mountain gorillas get more high-profile attention, finding a group of playful chimps in the wild is one of the most exciting and intriguing animal encounters you can experience. Chimpanzees are generally more active and vocal than gorillas, and their intelligence and quirky emotions really shine through. Greystoke Mahale and Gombe Forest Lodge are fantastic bases for chimp trekking.
We recommend: The 11-day Fly-In Selous, Ruaha & Mahale Chimps Safari combines off-the-beaten-track destinations with chimp trekking and exceptional adventures. For something very special, the Fly-In Katavi & Mahale Chimps tour gives you eight days in two of the country's most unique lodges: Greystoke Mahale and Chada Katavi.
5 Be Inspired by the rock art of the Cederberg
A few hours' drive from Cape Town, the Cederberg is a fertile region of hills and valleys. Within the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, there are 130 different rock art sites where you can marvel at the subtle colouring, symbolism and elegance of these ancient paintings. Rock art is our first ‘recorded history’ and seeing these images in their natural wilderness setting truly connects you to our shared human past.
We recommend: One of our favourite honeymoons is the 15-day Cape, Winelands, Whale Coast & Karoo tour that includes nights in some of the Western Cape's most luxurious accommodation, including Bushmans Kloof in the heart of the Cederberg.
As the saying goes, ‘There is always something new out of Africa.’ She is slowly unfurling her secrets for us, and it’s great to discover them one by one…