If you're wondering where to travel in 2023, we’re sharing our insider knowledge of what you can experience to sate your wanderlust in Africa. Whether it is your first trip to Africa, or you are planning to get further off the beaten path, this is the inspiration you need to start planning. We have also identified key trends within Africa's safari industry using our internal data - our annual African safari report is available for download.
Looking ahead to the new year, we are certain of one thing – it's set to be the year of travel dreams coming true. We’ve rounded up what’s new in safari in 2023…
New Safari Camps, Lodges & Island Escapes
Olkeri Camp, Tanzania
Tarangire National Park is in northern Tanzania and is a protected area of colossal baobabs, grassy plains and huge herds of elephants. The park is one of the most underrated of Tanzania’s safari destinations, receiving only a small fraction of the Serengeti’s visitors. As well as being able to see Africa’s gentle giants, visitors will find huge herds of buffalo and healthy populations of lion and leopard. During the dry season, Tarangire has the highest concentration of mammals in the country and a new camp is set to get you closer to the action while enveloping you in sustainable safari luxury – Olkeri Camp.
Olkeri Camp is the newest addition to the Entara Lodges & Camps portfolio and offers eight spacious, self-contained guest tents that are located along seasonal watercourses. A dining area and lounge is nestled at the base of two ancient baobab trees that overlook a waterhole for the perfect armchair safari experience. The camp will be open throughout the year and activities will include game drives, walking safaris, fly camping, cultural tours, night game drives and hot air balloon safaris.
Usangu Expeditions Camp, Tanzania
Usangu Expeditions Camp is a beautiful, tented, conservation-focused camp run by Asilia Africa deep in the isolated wilderness of Ruaha National Park. Combining a strong conservation ethos with sustainability and renewability, the camp is a true marvel. The camp itself is small and intimate, comprising only four spacious tents, each with its own private veranda and en-suite bathroom. The main area is open, airy and comfy, and where stories are shared around the campfire.
You can experience a variety of activities that include boating, day and night game drives in 4X4 safari vehicles, conservation research and walking safaris led by experts in the field. The camp is right next door to the Douglas Bell Eco Research Station, where all conservation research for the region is conducted. You will be able to visit the research centre and experiences will vary slightly depending on which researchers are on the ground at any given time. To add to an already exceptional safari experience, the trails camp offers an exciting sleep out under the stars.
Okavango Explorers Camp, Botswana
Shaded by silvery-green leadwood trees, beside the remote Selinda Spillway, is where you will find the timeless tents of the Okavango Explorers Camp. The Selinda Spillway is an ancient watercourse linking the Okavango Delta to the Kwando-Linyanti River drainage system. And with water, of course, comes wildlife. Wild dogs and big cats are known to hunt here, and large herds of elephant congregate in the dry season.
This is another addition to new safari camps in Africa and it creates a safari experience reminiscent of exploring the unknown African hinterland in a 1920’s style. It exudes a spirit of the romance of yesteryear and can be booked exclusively, perfect for friends or families wanting to take the whole camp for extended stays.
Kiri Camp, Botswana
Kiri Camp is set on a private concession in the Okavango Delta, offering a superb and exclusive game viewing experience. Kiri Camp is named after the Kiri channel which flows past the island that the camp is set on. The camp is raised on wooden decks and the luxury tents have been designed to incorporate the surrounding ebony forest, leaving a featherlight footprint on the environment. The use of wood, canvas and reeds are primary to the architecture of this gorgeous safari camp.
Kiri Camp offers a combination of both game drives and water activities. Because it is on a private concession, these activities will take you to some of the more remote areas of the Okavango Delta, previously inaccessible. When you aren’t enjoying game drives (both night and day), walking safaris and mokoro excursions, you will relax in the luxury of this addition to new safari camps in Africa.
Lolebezi Safari Lodge, Zambia
Set in a prime location along the Zambezi River, Lolebezi Safari Lodge combines all the swankiness of a luxury lodge with a down-to-earth closeness with nature. Lolebezi Safari Lodge is the ideal safari sojourn for the eco-conscious traveller, the lodge is powered by an off-the-grid solar farm, and the water supply and wastewater are managed to ensure that no pollution enters the river. During the build, trees were used in the design and the dining area was built from reclaimed railway sleepers - luxury working in harmony with the surrounding environment. This should be on your list for trips to Africa in 2023.
This raw and untamed part of Africa is best known for its sightings of buffalo and elephant as well as some safari favourites including lion, leopard and hyena. Zambia is also well known for its high calibre of safari guides that will take you through acacia forests on walking safaris, help you glide serenely on canoe safaris and lead you on thrilling game drives. When you aren’t exploring the wilds, you can retreat to practice your sun salutations on the deck during a yoga class or pamper yourself at the on-site spa.
Puku Ridge Camp, Zambia
The hillside that is home to the remote, semi-tented camp at Puku Ridge Camp provides awe-inspiring views of the Kakumbi Dambo floodplain, located in a private area of the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. This game-rich area offers wildlife of all kinds: from predators like lion and leopard, to herds of elephant, giraffe and zebra, and the camp’s namesake, the Puku antelope.
Puku Ridge Camp is small and intimate, offering eight luxury, oversized semi-tents with wrap-around views of the area. Sip your morning coffee from the cushioned seat on your private decked balcony (complete with private plunge pool) as you watch the activity in the floodplain below. This is one of the best new safari camps in Africa.
Loapi Tented Camp, South Africa
Opening in March 2023, Loapi Tented Camp is an eco-friendly, luxury tented camp in South Africa with six private safari homes offering an immersive wilderness experience. It is the newest addition to the celebrated Tswalu collection, and Loapi translates from Setswana to ‘the space below the clouds’. This is an exclusive safari adventure that comes complete with a dedicated butler, private chef, private safari vehicle, guide and tracker.
Tswalu is one of the top places to consider staying at when looking into a place to stay in South Africa’s Kalahari. This wonderfully varied eco-system is mainly made up of desert like savannahs scattered with African bush shrubs. You are likely to find some of the rarest species of wildlife within the African bush here, from wild dogs and brown hyena to aardvarks.
Waterside at Royal Malewane, South Africa
Waterside at Royal Malewane forms part of the Royal Portfolio of lodges and hotels and is the epitome of safari glamour in the Thornybush Game Reserve. The Waterside presents an immersive setting that will engage your senses, rest your mind and reawaken your soul. The lodge provides a bold African context with opulent, bright and breath-taking designs that draw on the timeless luxury that Royal Malewane has been synonymous with. Think private plunge pools, jewel-toned oriental rugs and expansive decks.
Spend your days unwinding poolside, enjoying soothing wellness treatments, yoga and meditation and relishing world-class wine tastings. For those in search of photographic opportunities, there is a hide that overlooks a waterhole frequented by wildlife. While on game drives, you can take advantage of master trackers that guide you through the wild and leave you with cherished African memories.
Sala Beach House, South Africa
The North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is well known for its picturesque scenery and gorgeous beaches lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. This stretch of coastline is also known as the Dolphin Coast, named after the bottlenose dolphins that play in these coastal waters. Several sought-after, seaside holiday spots hug the North Coast. Thompson’s Bay is one of them, a naturally protected cove situated in the Ballito and Shaka’s Rock area. A safe swimming beach and tidal pool make Thompson’s Bay an ideal place for a safe and secluded beach holiday.
This is the inviting world of Sala Beach House, a new and luxurious, five-star coastal escape perched above the sea and providing private access to the tidal pool and beautiful beach at Thompson’s Bay. Activities in the area include snorkelling, coastal walks, deep-sea fishing, golf, and surfing, making Sala Beach House the perfect place to create a memorable holiday and celebrate special occasions.
Onguma Camp Kala, Namibia
Onguma Camp Kala is an ultra-exclusive lodge that is set within the Onguma Nature Reserve in Namibia, a prime safari wilderness area, bordering the Etosha National Park. Elevated on wooden decks, the camp offers panoramic views and overlooks a waterhole nearby. With its conical, mud-plastered central tower resembling a termite mount, the emphasis is on total relaxation in this wild landscape. The suites feature their own deck with fire pit, outdoor shower and wood-fired tub and there is a walkway that will take you to a private, shaded sala with a king-size outdoor day bed – the perfect place for an armchair safari or to sleep out under the stars.
Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira, Mozambique
When Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts opens their new Ilha Caldeira property in Mozambique in December 2023, it's going to be the essence of a stirring island escape. This luxury beach resort villa will be found in a previously uninhabited island in the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago.
This is Africa's largest marine reserve, home to intact living corals with an abundance of marine creatures. Spend your days whale-watching, kayaking and scuba-diving (exploring shipwrecks), and then head back to your private pool villa, set in lush tropical surroundings with uninterrupted ocean views. True to Banyan Tree's commitment to the environment, the resort will be 100% solar-powered. All water on the island is desalinated, making it an eco-tourist's oasis and one of our top trips to Africa in 2023.
Easier Access to Africa: New Flights for 2023
Flights from the United States:
- United Airlines is providing new direct flights between Washington Dulles Airport in Virginia and Cape Town International Airport. Flights begin on the 17 of November 2022.
- United Airlines has resumed three flights per week from New York/Newark to Cape Town, the only airline to offer nonstop flights from the U.S. to Cape Town.
- Delta Airlines will be adding a brand-new nonstop flight from Cape Town to Atlanta, effective on the 18 of December 2022. The proposed flight will complement Delta’s existing flight service between Johannesburg and Atlanta, three times a week.
Flights from Europe:
- Zimbabwe has welcomed its first long-haul service by a European carrier, Eurowings, from Germany to Victoria Falls. The flight is not direct and will have a brief stop in Windhoek, Namibia in both directions.
- Ethiopian Airlines has started a direct flight from Addis Ababa to Victoria Falls.
- Airlink has launched the first-ever scheduled direct air service between Cape Town and Maputo, Mozambique and is offering three return flights a week.
- Kuva Air has launched flights between Harare and Kariba as well as Harare and Victoria Falls.
“Go2Africa is thrilled that travellers will have a new option to fly from Atlanta non-stop to Johannesburg and Cape Town. This new route on Delta will allow US visitors to easily access some of Africa’s unique gems such as the winelands, Kruger National Park for safaris and the many food and art experiences offered in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.” Maija De Rijk-Uys – Managing Director
Trending Destinations in Africa for 2023
South Africa, Southern Africa
Anchored at the base of Africa, South Africa is perhaps the continent’s most diverse country and is home to many of safari’s iconic characters, destinations, and experiences. Starting in the south, Cape Town provides plenty of entertainment for foodies, history buffs and nature lovers alike. Moving east, the Garden Route and KwaZulu-Natal offer quaint coastal towns as well as forests, lakes and wildlife reserves next to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Further inland, the world-renowned Kruger National Park and its private reserves deliver unforgettable safari experiences.
South Africa allows you to combine multiple areas into one itinerary that delivers on diversity, while travelling to South Africa means minimal entry requirements. There are also no concerns about taking medications if you choose one of the multiple malaria-free safari options. As a bonus, a favourable exchange rate means that spending your money in South Africa goes a long way.
Zambia, Southern Africa
Zambia is a hidden gem in Africa. It’s not usually on travellers’ itineraries but it offers a unique and absorbing adventure. You will be awestruck by the abundance of wildlife – whether on a walking safari, river cruise or game drive – and you will leave with the spirit of the continent flowing through your veins. Zambia’s premier attraction is undoubtedly Victoria Falls, but South Luangwa National Park is the birthplace of the walking safari. With new flight routes and the opening of new luxury safari lodges, Zambia is a must for trips to Africa in 2023.
Tanzania, East Africa
Lying between the two arms of the African Rift Valley, Tanzania’s huge central plateau is bounded to the west by the continent’s great lakes, to the north by mountains (including Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak) and to the east by the Indian Ocean coast. Most of the country is covered in grassland, open woodland and savannah, but significant pockets of rainforest exist in remote mountain ranges.
One of the highlights, besides the opening of new safari camps in Africa, is visiting remote and exclusive safari destinations. Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park is a lesser visited destination without the crowds. It’s one of the largest and most pristine parks in the country and it has a strong focus on conservation experiences that get you closer to the gargantuan efforts being made to keep populations of wildlife thriving.
Rwanda, East Africa
Rwanda is known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ and its stunning scenery, warm, friendly people and unique experiences make it one of the most remarkable countries in the world. Blessed with extraordinary biodiversity, Rwanda has incredible wildlife throughout its volcanoes, montane forests and sweeping plains. Endangered mountain gorillas take centre stage in Rwanda and travellers come from all over the world to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures.
We have partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (DFGF) to provide our clients with a deeper and richer gorilla trekking experience and to help raise funds for the non-profit organisation. The new Ellen DeGeneres Campus has opened its doors and you could join a behind-the-scenes campus tour, go gorilla trekking with a DFGF researcher, join a private gorilla conservation master class or revel in a silverback sundowner at the centre with Fossey Fund staff.
São Tomé and Príncipe, West Africa
São Tomé and Príncipe covers two islands and several, mostly uninhabited islets in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. It's a place that calls for disconnecting from the modern world and reconnecting to the wild soul of nature. Explore this 'Lost World' with its fantastic beaches, jungle trekking, snorkeling, fishing and bird watching.
With so many outdoor activities on offer and such natural beauty to take in it’s difficult to highlight the top attractions within this archipelago, however the Rolas Island is a resort getaway just a short ferry ride from São Tomé. Rolas is a picturesque gem covered in natural greenery and features a small lighthouse. Obo National Park is a reserve which boasts black sand beaches in the south of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, while Praia Jale is a tranquil beach getaway and a hot spot for turtles - a must visit while exploring one of the best-kept secrets off the coast of Africa.
Inspired to Start Planning Where to Travel in 2023?
Our team of experts have been committed to curating exceptional travel journeys since 1998, with 100% of the revenue remaining in Africa to support local communities and conservation projects. Get in touch with one of our African Safari Experts to tailor-make your next holiday: