September 10th 2015 |
Botswana, Kenya, Wildlife Safaris, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe | by
With the media currently full of travel ideas for school-leavers we started to wonder why it should be only students who take off on exotic trips around the world. If you’ve got itchy feet too, and Africa is on your to do list, then take a look at our fabulous month-long, once in a life time extravaganza which visits the most breath taking destinations in Southern and East Africa.
African Safari Highlights
You’ll stay in a selection of superb, hand-picked lodges and camps, enjoying safari highlights in the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Victoria Falls, South Luangwa, Okavango Delta and Namib Desert. There’s the opportunity to track mountain gorillas, take a walking safari, dine in Cape Town’s world-class restaurants and a whole lot more. It’s a cracker of a holiday and we can tailor the trip to suit individual preferences.
Here’s what you can see on this stunning African safari holiday…
• The South African Winelands and Cape Town
Visit the lovely winelands just outside Cape Town. Image Le Quartier Francais, South Africa
• The fantastic Kruger National Park
Wonderful game viewing in the Kruger National Park. Image Chitwa Chitwa, Sabi Sands, South Africa
• The enormous Sossusvlei Dunes and the Skeleton Coast in Namibia
Magnificent dunes at Sossusvlei. Image Kulala Camp, Namibia
• One of the biggest inland water systems on Earth – The Okavango Delta in Botswana
Okavango Delta scenery at Tubu Tree Camp, Botswana
• The Victoria Falls – one of the seven wonders of the world
The Victoria Falls. Image credit Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe
• The South Luangwa in Zambia, famous for great leopard sightings and is where the walking safari was born
Game viewing with Norman Carr Safaris, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Image credit Will Burrard-Lucas
• The third largest lake in Africa – Lake Malawi, also known as the calendar lake (it’s roughly 365 miles long and 52 miles wide, with 7 rivers running into it and 30 inhabited islands).
Beautiful Lake Malawi, Kaya Mawa, Malawi
• The famous Masai Mara, home to the wildebeest migration and one of the best places in the world to see high concentrations of wildlife
The wildebeest migration in full swing, Masai Mara. Kenya Image Mara Toto, credit Beverly Joubert
• The habituated gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Gorilla in Parc National des Volcans. Rwanda Image credit Virunga lodge
Discover the full African Highlights Itinerary PDF. This is really just an idea of what is possible, if you would like the holiday tailored to include other areas or activities please let us know and we will plan a bespoke holiday just for you.
One of the founders of Aardvark Safaris, Richard comes from a background working in both Africa and travel. Shunning the exciting world of quantity surveying (with apologies to all exciting quantity surveyors out there)
One of the founders of Aardvark Safaris, Richard comes from a background working in both Africa and travel. Shunning the exciting world of quantity surveying (with apologies to all exciting quantity surveyors out there) Richard spent the first ten years after university flitting between summers on a river somewhere in the world as a raft guide, videographer or canoe instructor, and winters in the Alps as a ski guide, or the Operations Manager for a ski company.
His claim to fame (in his own mind) is that during his time working on the Zambezi River, based in Victoria Falls, he was one of the members of a group of kayakers who made the first moonlit descent of the rapids in the Zambezi Gorge. In addition he spent time in Botswana and Zimbabwe making promotional films for safari companies, and met the other Aardvark Safaris’ founder John Spence.
Richard is a keen sportsman but though he has tried many sports including football, volleyball, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, bouldering, mountain biking and bmx-ing he’s not particularly accomplished in anything. With the ability to swim, ride a bike and run, he was gripped by a midlife crisis a few years ago and trained for enough hours to annoy both family and work colleagues and eventually became an Ironman triathlete, completing the 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26 mile run in something just over 14 hours. He also recently podium'ed as 3rd placed Grand Vet in a downhill mountain bike competition (and no there weren't only three in his category).
Having founded Aardvark Safaris with John in 1999, Richard travelled intensively throughout Africa for a number of years before his children grew old enough to start asking why they weren’t invited. Since then he’s travelled with his wife and kids to Mauritius, Kenya, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa. With a wide breadth of geographical knowledge (in Africa at least) and having arranged safari holidays over the years for many of our clients, Richard is a good person to talk to about almost all of the countries we offer, no matter who you are or with whom you’re travelling.
Favourite African experience
I particularly enjoyed the look on my wife’s face when she realised the beautiful breakfast set up under an acacia tree in the middle of the African plains was for us – we were the VIPs that the chef (in full whites) and camp team were waiting for!
It changes. Right now it’s warthogs. I love the way they stick their tails in the air as if radio controlled. Annoyingly they seem to always run away from you though, meaning a good photo seems almost impossible to get.
Favourite three camps
I saw three different leopard on a single wildlife drive from Mombo Camp in the Okavango Delta and on our return to camp there was a porcupine displaying its quills under the boardwalk. The density and quality of wildlife, together with rooms where ‘you can almost see from one end to the other on a clear day’ makes Mombo one for the memory banks.
[caption id="attachment_22991" align="alignnone" width="600"] Family of leopards, Okavango Delta, Botswana, Mombo camp[/caption]
I love the quirkiness of the rooms at Kaya Mawa on Lake Malawi; they're all different to each other and blend in with the granite outcrops fabulously. More an inland sea than a lake, the waters are great for freshwater snorkelling and diving – not only do you get great fish viewing, but you’re not sticky with salt afterwards.
[caption id="attachment_26437" align="alignnone" width="600"] On the shores of Lake Malawi, Kaya Mawa[/caption]
Stopping at three camps doesn’t feel right; I could go on for pages. However if I have to finish I’d end with Greystoke Camp in the Mahale National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. You have a sandy beach in front of you, with forested mountains rising 600m behind you. In the forest are groups of habituated chimps whose interactions are as thrilling as the scenery is stunning.
Oh no, what about the pastel colours at Wolwedans in Namibia, the quirky rooms at Shipwreck Lodge, watching whales from Princesse Bora on Ile Ste Marie, or a sunset across the Luangwa from Nsefu Camp? Can’t we make it your ten favourite camps?
There can’t be many jobs where people want to buy what you sell. I can’t imagine people go into the service department of their local garage happy to plan their service and then part with their money. That’s what we get though; people who are excited about arranging a safari holiday and who just need us to use our knowledge to match them with the myriad of options for them in Africa.
It’s lovely to get so many people saying ‘thank you’ when the planning is complete and the decision made. It’s even better when they come back from Africa with the holiday having exceeded their expectations, thrilled by what they’ve seen and done and bubbling over with excitement. We share all the feedback we get around the offices and I know each of us gets a big thrill when the trips we’ve helped arrange work well and a bit of vicarious pleasure reading each other’s nice feedback too.
It’s a top job and there are few things I’d swap it for, and those I would I’m not skilled enough at (see the previous comments regarding my sporting prowess!)
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