Alternative ways to explore Africa’s wilderness
There are myriad ways to explore Africa’s fabulous wilderness areas and while vehicle based or walking safaris tend to be the most familiar, add some other options for a stand out safari holiday. Here are some of our favourites:
Exploring Africa’s great rivers by boat gives a whole different perspective to the wildlife and scenery. From the famous Zambezi which straddles Zimbabwe and Zambia to the gentle Shire River flowing through Malawi, there are safari camps galore offering boating activities.
Cycling enthusiasts will be delighted to know that they can take to their beloved two wheels while on safari. Our favourites include biking tours in Tanzania and e-bikes in the Masai Mara.
Riders – both beginners and experienced – will find plenty of opportunity to enjoy wildlife viewing from the back of a horse. Plains wildlife treat the horses as one of their own so you can expect some excellent viewing among relaxed animals.
Gliding silently through the Okavango Delta on a mokoro – the traditional dug out canoes used by the locals for centuries – is one of those truly unique African experiences difficult to understand until you’ve done it. It’s a must on any Botswana safari.
A leisurely stroll aboard a camel is another fun way to appreciate the wilderness. Led by Samburu tribesmen these gentle beasts of burden provide a great vantage point from which to view all around. There are plentiful options in the Laikipia region of Kenya.
Canoe safaris can be a couple of hours or so, or multi-day adventures following one of Africa’s great waterways. Particularly good in in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zipping across the Makgadikgadi salt pans or through epic Namibian sand dunes is great fun on a quad bike. Everyone receives proper instruction before setting off so no need to worry if you’ve not driven one before.
A scenic helicopter flight is a treat anywhere but being able to explore Africa’s great wilderness areas from the air, gazing at the wildlife below, is a rare pleasure.
The Blue Train and Rovos Rail are legendary among rail journeys and a luxurious way to travel across the African continent. Don’t be tempted by the once comfortable Nairobi to Mombasa train – there’s a good reason why it’s colloquially known as the ‘lunatic express’. The Elephant Express however, which runs between Imvelo safari lodges in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park is great fun and a jolly spot for a sundowner.
If spotting wildlife from the air is high on your list then head to the gorgeous Segera Retreat where you’ll find the bright yellow bi plane from the film ‘Out of Africa’. Expertly refurbished, she now takes to the air with safari guests. Flying over the plains in an open cockpit complete with goggles and a leather flying jacket is most definitely not something you experience every day!
For a gentler aerial experience we’d suggest taking to the skies in a hot air balloon. There are plenty of options, most leaving at sunrise – affording an extraordinary view over the plains as day breaks.
If you are heading to the beach as part of your holiday (and we’d highly recommend you do, with many desitnations just a short hop away from the wildlife) then do take some time to explore by boat. There are numerous options, from overnight catamaran cruises to sunset trips on a local dhow.
We would be delighted to help you plan some alternative ways to explore Africa’s wilderness. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.