The continent of Africa is nothing short of magnificent, it’s a land of breathtaking natural beauty, rich culture, and diverse wildlife. While many visitors come to Africa to explore its famous destinations such as the Serengeti, Victoria Falls, and the Kruger National Park, there are also many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
We believe that the best way to truly experience the magic of Africa is by stepping off-the-beaten track and exploring some of its lesser-known destinations. These hidden gems offer a chance to discover something new and unique, away from the crowds and tourist hotspots. We’ll guide you on a journey of discovery to some of the continent's best-kept secrets.
Remote Parts of Africa:
Tanzania’s safari routes are generally divided into two sections: routes around the northern parts (the Serengeti, Ngorongoro & Tarangire) and the southern parts (Nyerere National Park and Ruaha National Park).
Southern Tanzania is a hidden gem destination for several reasons. It is a relatively unknown region compared to some of the more popular destinations in Africa. Nyerere National Park, for example, is the largest protected area in Africa. Mammoth efforts are being made to conserve wildlife, uplift communities and protect the environment, and it’s the perfect destination to experience hands-on activities that help you actively contribute to inspiring initiatives and projects.
Southern Tanzania also offers a more authentic and intimate safari experience than some of the more crowded parks in East Africa, and even has a hidden gem season. The dubbed ‘green season’ is between January and March each year and this is when lots of baby animals are around (excellent for predator action), photographic opportunities abound because of lush scenery, and you could take advantage of cheaper rates on accommodation.
Western Tanzania is a safari destination that offers a wealth of unique and unforgettable experiences. From the remarkable chimpanzee trekking opportunities in Mahale Mountains National Park to the awe-inspiring wildebeest migration that takes place in Katavi National Park, this region is full of surprises.
It is also home to some of the largest and most remote protected areas in Africa, such as the untouched Gombe Stream National Park, where you can get up close and personal with chimpanzees and other primates. The region's vast and unspoiled landscapes are truly breathtaking, with some of the most dramatic scenery found in the country. Moreover, the area is less frequented by tourists, allowing for a more exclusive and intimate safari experience.
Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe
Malilangwe Reserve is a pristine wilderness area located in the southeast corner of Zimbabwe, and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including some of Africa's rarest and most endangered species. It has over 100 mammal species, including black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, and wild dogs.
Malilangwe Reserve is also home to stunning landscapes, including the dramatic red sandstone cliffs of the Chiredzi River Gorge and the expansive Malilangwe Dam, which is home to a variety of bird species. For those interested in cultural experiences, a visit to the nearby Gonarezhou National Park provides an opportunity to meet the local Shangaan people and learn about their traditional way of life.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Congo
Odzala-Kokoua National Park offers one-of-a-kind experiences for adventurous travellers. Located in the heart of the Congo Basin, this pristine wilderness area is one of the most remote and untouched regions on the continent. With its diverse wildlife, lush forests, and stunning landscapes, Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a must-visit.
One of the main attractions of Odzala-Kokoua National Park is the chance to encounter some of Africa's rarest and most endangered wildlife, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. You can go on unforgettable safari experiences, led by knowledgeable guides who will take you deep into the heart of the wilderness.
In addition to its natural wonders, Odzala-Kokoua National Park is also a great destination for those seeking a truly unique cultural experience. Visitors can meet the local Ba'aka people, who have lived in the region for centuries and have a deep understanding of the forest and its wildlife. The Ba'aka people offer a glimpse into an ancient way of life that is rapidly disappearing, making a visit to Odzala-Kokoua National Park an experience that is both awe-inspiring and humbling.
Damaraland, located in northwestern Namibia, is an otherworldly destination that offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience for travellers. Known for its rugged landscapes, ancient rock formations, and diverse wildlife, Damaraland is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic African adventure.
One of the main attractions of Damaraland is the chance to encounter some of Africa's most iconic wildlife, including elephants, lions, and black rhinos. In addition to wildlife, Damaraland is also home to fascinating rock art sites, which offer a glimpse into the ancient cultures that once called this region home.
Damaraland is also a great destination for those seeking adventure and outdoor activities. You can explore the rugged terrain on foot or by 4x4 vehicle, hike through towering sand dunes, or even go on a hot air balloon ride to experience the region's stunning scenery from above.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa National Park is a vast wilderness area located in the eastern part of Zambia and is known for its incredible wildlife, diverse habitats, and pristine beauty. Despite its many attractions, South Luangwa remains a relatively unknown and undiscovered destination.
Incredible wildlife can be found there. The park is home to a wide variety of game, including elephants, buffalos, leopards, and lions, as well as rare and elusive species such as wild dogs and honey badgers. Plus, the Luangwa River that runs through the park attracts a rich variety of birdlife, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. There are several safari activities, including game drives, walking safaris, and night drives, all led by experienced and knowledgeable guides who offer a truly immersive experience.
São Tome & Príncipe
São Tome & Príncipe are in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of West Africa, known for pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant Creole culture. São Tome & Príncipe remain relatively undiscovered, making them perfect for those seeking a more authentic and secluded travel experience.
The islands are home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, waterfalls, and volcanic peaks, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can hike through lush jungle, spot rare bird species, or relax on secluded beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters. The islands offer a range of accommodation options, from eco-friendly lodges to luxurious beach resorts, but all offer a chance to truly disconnect from the modern world.
Private Concessions & Conservancies:
Masai Mara Private Conservancies
The Masai Mara Private Conservancies offer a more exclusive and intimate safari experience compared to the busier and more crowded Masai Mara National Reserve. The conservancies are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino), and you can enjoy game drives with fewer crowds and more personalized attention from experienced guides.
By visiting the Masai Mara Private Conservancies, you are directly contributing to the conservation efforts of the local communities and wildlife. The conservancies are owned and managed by local communities, and the revenue generated from tourism is used to fund community development projects, anti-poaching initiatives, and conservation efforts.
Private Kruger Concessions
Situated along much of the Kruger’s western boundary are several privately owned and run game reserves. These are usually grouped in large blocks and then divided into individual reserves. They are not fenced off from the park, and these conservation-minded reserves include some of the finest brand names in the safari sphere, including Sabi Sabi, Thornybush, Londolozi and Mala Mala.
Accommodation, management, and guiding are exceptionally good, and your chances of seeing the Big Five are virtually guaranteed. There are fewer restrictions in the private Kruger concessions, and you will have the opportunity to experience off-road driving, guided nature walks and night drives - getting you closer to sightings.
Private Beach Islands:
Seychelles Private Islands
The Seychelles, off the coast of East Africa, is an archipelago made up of 115 islands, many of which are privately owned, where you can revel in an intimate and secluded escape. These islands are home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world and you can enjoy a range of water-based activities, such as snorkeling, diving, and fishing, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. The islands are surrounded by lush green forests and rolling hills, offering a variety of hiking and trekking opportunities and providing a haven for unique wildlife species.
These islands are home to some of the most opulent resorts in the world, with private villas, personal chefs, and 24-hour butler service. Indulge in spa treatments, fine dining, and a range of activities, all while enjoying the privacy and seclusion of your own private island. Whether seeking a romantic getaway or a luxurious family vacation, the Seychelles Private Islands offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lake Malawi is a hidden gem destination in Africa that is often overlooked by travelers, yet it boasts some of the most breathtaking natural scenery and vibrant cultural experiences on the continent. This vast freshwater lake is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, and is known for its crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches and diverse marine life.
The clear blue waters of the lake are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, and you can explore the underwater world of colorful fish and unique rock formations. The lake is also surrounded by lush green forests, rugged mountains, and rolling hills, offering a variety of hiking and trekking opportunities. Moreover, Lake Malawi is home to several unique wildlife species, such as the colorful cichlid fish, which are found nowhere else in the world.
The local people, known as the Chewa, are renowned for their hospitality, and visitors to Lake Malawi can engage with them in a variety of ways, such as visiting traditional villages and attending cultural festivals. Additionally, the lake is home to a few fishing communities, and visitors can witness the daily lives of the fishermen as they set out to sea in their hand-crafted wooden boats.
Madagascar is a hidden gem destination that is often overlooked, but it offers unique and unforgettable experiences for those who make the journey. Located off the coast of Southeast Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and boasts a diverse landscape of lush rainforests, rugged mountains, and pristine beaches.
Its isolation has allowed for the evolution of many endemic species, including lemurs, baobab trees and chameleons. You can explore the national parks, such as Andasibe-Mantadia and Ranomafana, to observe these creatures in their natural habitats. Additionally, Madagascar has a rich cultural heritage influenced by the Malagasy people, with traditional music and dance, intricate woodcarvings, and colourful textiles. Madagascar truly offers a unique blend of nature, wildlife and culture.