2016 at Go2Africa was a year full of exciting changes, new ventures and, of course, plenty of once-in-a-lifetime safari experiences enjoyed by clients and Go2Africans alike. In keeping with our personal motto - We know because we go - it was another year of sending our African Safari Experts out to rediscover best-selling destinations like the Okavango Delta, Serengeti and Masai Mara. We also visited new regions in countries like Rwanda and Mozambique for the first time and are excited to be able to share even more of Africa with all our travellers.
To commemorate a busy and successful 2016, we’ve put together a selection of our best photographs taken by our clients, as well as our own staffers. We hope you enjoy them and here’s to another year of African adventure!
A leopard on the move by Africa Safari Expert, Emma Hill, while on safari at Stanley’s Camp in the Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Because of their shy and nocturnal behaviour they are among the most rarely sighted of the big cats. Click here for the best places to see leopards in the wild.
A fiery sunset taken by Avi and Irit Shachrai on their adventures through Botswana in August. They paired their safari with a trip to Victoria Falls – located just a short drive from the Botswana border. See our top picks on where to travel in August.
Go2Africa client Lea Rekow and her daughter, Sophia, on a camel safari at Lewa Safari Camp in Laikipia. If you’re thinking about your first visit to Kenya, click here for our expert guide to get you started.
Our ‘resident photographer’ Emma captures the compelling night sky in a pristine and untouched part of Botswana at Camp Okavango. Shooting at night can be tricky – click here for easy tips from safari guide and photographer Ryan Green on how to use your camera in low light.
Go2Africa's Emma Hill had brilliant lion cub sightings at Lion Sands River Lodge in October.
A beautiful sunset from the beach at Dugong Lodge by our head of finance Kieran Crowley. Dugong Lodge is located on the southern Mozambique coast within the 30 000-hectare Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary. In this beautiful wilderness you can experience both wetlands and idyllic beaches, sighting wildlife such as dolphins, flamingos, pelicans, leatherback turtles, sailfish, manta rays and endangered dugongs.
An African wild dog, photographed in February by Africa Safari Expert Lauren Johansson on her safari in Tanzania. Thanks to incredible conservation efforts, wild dogs are slowly being brought back from the brink of extinction – here are the best places to spot them.
Our managing director Maija de Rijk-Uys has the classic Botswana safari experience: a mokoro ride through the Okavango Delta. Being poled along quietly allows you to appreciate the Delta from a different perspective, from the tiny painted reed frogs clinging to lilies to massive elephants munching the soft water vegetation. Here is our seasonal guide to planning your first – or next! - Botswana safari.
Emma captured this huge flock of birds taking off from Mnemba Island in Zanzibar. Mnemba is an important turtle-nesting ground and is also home to small game and birds such as suni antelope, endangered Ader’s duiker and rare crab plovers.
A cheetah cub captured by Go2Africa Safari Expert Jessica Lassen in the Naboisho Conservancy on her first-ever trip to Kenya.
Clients Lea and Sophie rose before dawn in August to watch their hot-air balloon being inflated before ascending above the Masai Mara to watch the sunrise. Click here to see why a balloon safari is worth adding to your itinerary.
Emma had very memorable elephant encounters during her trip to Botswana. On the right she meets one of three orphaned ellies at Stanley’s Camp that are habituated to humans; the little one on the left is growing up near Vumbura Plains Camp.
From her room at Kilindi Zanzibar, Emma watched traditional dhows head out to find the day’s catch. Kilindi is in the idyllic north (which has the best views of the sunset) but Zanzibar is also home to Stone Town – read why you shouldn’t miss a visit to this World Heritage Site.
Getting a special kiss at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi where you can feed the Rothschild’s giraffes and, if you dare, hold a pellet between your lips and go in for a ‘kiss’. Jessica reports that her kiss ended up being a bit of an ‘exfoliating facial’! If you’re not heading Nairobi, here are other great places to see giraffes (no kissing allowed!).
An aerial shot of the flooded grasslands of the Okavango Delta by Africa Safari Expert Lorna Symons on a light aircraft flight between camps. High water levels in the Delta mean that some camps are most conveniently accessed by air – look out for herds of buffalo and elephants, as well as massive crocodiles, as you fly overhead.
After the dry winter season, rains had yet to arrive. Scarcity of water means good game viewing, as wildlife can easily be located close to permanent water sources, like this southern white rhino sighted at Dulini in the private Sabi Sands Reserve.
An adorable spotted hyena cub and mom at Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa by Emma. Hyenas have up to four cubs at a time and it’s not unknown for the bigger females to kill their smaller brothers. The cubs are denned to keep them safe – when they venture out, they quickly and instinctively return to their hide if the shadow of a circling raptor passes over them.
It’s always interesting to watch a giraffe lower itself to drink or – very occasionally - sit down. Because of the difficulty of their task (which also makes them vulnerable to predators) they have evolved to require much less water than other browsers and they only sleep for minutes at a time. This reticulated giraffe was captured at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya by client Lea Rekow.
In 2016 Go2Africa started its own hiking club! Every Friday we meet before work to summit Lion’s Head peak, not far from our Cape Town office. This picture was taken from a lookout known as Wally’s Cave with Table Mountain in the background by our head of sales, Jonty Medcalf. Our top tips for going up Table Mountain are all here.
Pied kingfishers tussle over a tasty morsel in Botswana’s Chobe Forest Reserve in this photo by Emma while on safari at Ngoma Safari Lodge. These are the Top 5 experiences to have if you are going to Chobe.
Rare Grevy’s zebra at Lewa Safari Camp in Laikipia by digital content editor Angela Aschmann. Along with reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Somali ostrich and beisa oryx, Grevy’s zebra forms part of the SamburuSpecial 5.
Client Lea Rekow spotted this cheetah with her cubs in the Masai Mara, where they often perch on top of an anthill, keeping a watchful eye over their territory for potential prey and interlopers.
An afternoon game drive at Selinda Camp in the Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana resulted in this atmospheric shot by Emma. Selinda is known for having some of the largest herds of elephant and buffalo in Southern Africa, and is also an excellent to place to see thriving packs of African wild dog. Its spillway is the perfect place for adventurous canoe safari.
Client Lea Rekow loved this view over the Mara River on a hot-air balloon safari in the heart of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The Mara River is a major crossing point during the annual Wildebeest Migration.
Our client Pablo Bernad photographed this young mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on his trekking safari to Uganda. The forest protects an estimated 340 mountain gorillas – half of the world’s population, which since 1997 has gradually increased from 300.
Hippos are the third-largest land mammal after elephant and white rhino. They may appear awkward-looking on land but can move with surprising speed, as Emma captured in Chobe. They are very territorial in the water and the classic hippo ‘yawn’ is really a male showing off his impressive teeth to warn off rivals.
This heart-warming scene was captured by Jessica on her visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Founded in 1977, it has hand-reared hundreds of orphaned or lost baby elephants at their sanctuary in Nairobi. Our clients often adopt youngsters to help with their expensive needs (there are plenty of other ways to ‘give back’ on your safari).
Mom keeps an eye on her baby while they take a nap on the banks of a river in the Masai Mara in this snap by client Lea Rekow. Hippos are one of the world’s most aggressive animals and a mother will not hesitate to take on crocodiles, lions or even male hippos who threaten her little one.
Of all the big cats, leopards are the best climbers by a long shot and they use this great advantage to drag their prey up trees, preventing it being stolen by lions and hyenas. Emma spotted this sleeping leopard in the greater Kruger area in South Africa.
Visiting Victoria Falls when it's not in full flood means that you can swim at Devil's Pool (with a guide and followed by a careful safety briefing). This fun photo was taken by clients Claire Pye and Sarah Ann Halhead on their trip to the Falls in September. In addition to ‘swimming with the devil’, here are four of our other favourite Vic Falls’ activities.
2016 was such fun but we can’t wait to see what 2017 holds for us and our clients. If you’re thinking about coming to Africa, mail us for free advice on when to come, where to stay and what to do. We look forward to welcoming you to our home!