Africa Travel Options Mix the Classic with the New

Tour-only rates for the Equestrian Journeys start at $561 pp dbl. Other options include mobile jaunts in the Moremi Game Reserve and Okavango Delta, where elephants, cheetah, zebra and leopards are common. Itineraries start at five nights and $1,000 pp dbl.

When it comes to first-time safari clients, it helps for them to understand that time should be on their side, especially in vast areas such as those explored by Uncharted Africa. “I always advise guests on their first safari to do a trip that includes time in the different ecosystems of Botswana. When I did my first safari, I didn’t understand why I should spend eight nights to see the same thing—wild animals—but a safari in Botswana can offer dramatic changes of landscape and wildlife and I think a complete travel itinerary should include: the Okavango Delta, the fertile lands rich with wildlife and the unique Kalahari Desert,” explains Quaglia. “The waters of the Okavango give the opportunity to explore narrow channels with papyrus, noisy hippos, crocodiles and amazing bird life. The fertile lands teem with predators and their prey offers the quintessential idea of safari—lions roaring, leopards crouching, cheetah running after impalas, elegant giraffes, herds of elephants.

“The desert, and especially the pans, offer a glimpse of the vastness of the universe and helps everyone to remember that as individuals we are a tiny part of the cosmos,” she adds. “…Botswana is one of very few places that offer the opportunity to explore vastly different environments, landscapes and wildlife. A guest could easily spend two weeks in Botswana and never be bored.”

primates & the big five Last month, Volcanoes Safaris, which specialize in gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, opened the 4-room Kyambura Gorge Safari Lodge near Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. The location is ideal for spotting hippos and many other animals while also allowing clients the chance to go chimpanzee tracking in the Kyambura Gorge. The lodge, along with the Volcanoes Trust, helps protect a unique and small community of these primates who live nearby. This philosophy has been applied to all other Volcanoes Safaris products, which strive to work with local communities to preserve wildlife biodiversity.

The company’s other lodges are built near gorilla parks, as well. The 12-day Classic Uganda & Rwanda option starts at $7,592 pp dbl (or $9,353 pp dbl for a private journey) and include the required gorilla tracking permits. In Uganda, clients stay at theKyambura Gorge, Mount Gahinga and Bwindi lodges. The latter overlooks the famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to one of the largest remaining gorilla populations. In Rwanda, they’ll spend three nights in Virunga Safari Lodge, which looks out to the Virunga volcanoes. Should clients wish, they can visit famed zoologist Dian Fossey’s grave, which states, “No one loved gorillas more.”

In Tanzania, clients can stay at the boutique Buffalo Luxury Camp in the Loliondo Game Management Area, on the eastern fringes of the Serengeti National Park, which offers open-vehicle game viewing. Depending on the season, they might spot herds of elephants, giraffe, cape buffalo, lions and many other creatures roaming the area, not to mention an abundance of exotic birdlife. Rates start at $585 per night and include a game walk and one nighttime game drive, plus meals.

Want to add Kenya to the mix? For that there’s Wings Over the Migration from Abercrombie & Kent. Starting off in Nairobi, travelers fly to the Samburu Game Reserve in the Kenya’s Northern Frontier District for a stay in luxury tented camps and morning and afternoon game drives to search for leopards, gerenuk (a type of antelope) and other exotic creatures in the rocky yet scenic landscapes. Then it’s off to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, home to Kenya’s greatest concentration of wildlife and largest lion population. Clients will also have the chance to plant their own tree if they wish to help fight deforestation—and even take an optional hot-air balloon trip—while on a break from days of enjoying the landscape of grasslands and its inhabitants. They might even get a chance to visit a Maasai tribe in their village.

“What makes Kenya so magical is, of course, the wildlife, which is unmatched, especially if they go during the migration season (July through October)—the Great Migration is one of the most phenomenal natural events in the world and has over a million wildebeests going from the Serengeti into the Mara—but the feedback that we get which makes first-time travelers go back to Kenya is the people,” says Anne-Cecile Blanchot, public relations manager for the Kenya Tourist Board-US. “No matter what level of accommodation you stay in, you get five-star service. The people are friendly, they are welcoming, they are willing to talk to you about their lifestyles, their traditions and their customs.”