Do Something Different – Christmas 2023

December 20th 2022  |   Christmas Safaris and Holidays, Miscellaneous  |  by   Lucinda Rome
Do Something Different – Christmas 2023

Book now for Christmas 2023: 
If you’re looking for a completely different Christmas, why not use the downtime over this festive period to plot an incredible adventure for 2023. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to end the year on a literal high?

Africa is ripe for extraordinary wildlife experiences, whether that’s diving with whale sharks or tracking gorillas. There are countless exciting expeditions to be had too, from helicopter camping to mountain trekking. These once-in-a-lifetime trips take careful planning and it helps to book them a way in advance. So, line up one of the following epic African trips and make Christmas 2023 one to remember.

Track gorillas in Uganda

Mountain gorilla at home in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Tracking the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda has to be up there among bucket-list experiences. For some of the best encounters, head to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to over half the world’s wild mountain gorilla population. Words can’t describe the feeling of observing the gorillas in their natural environment and by joining a habituation track you’ll be able to spend not one but a few hours in their company. It’s not only the gorillas you’ll see here: Bwindi is home to nearly 100 mammal species as well as almost 350 bird species.

Breakfast at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge

We recommend staying at Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge, whose guided forest walks are a great way to see more after tracking gorillas. Guests can also take trips a board dugout canoes on a nearby lake. Our top tip? Gorilla permits are limited and it’s amazing how far in advance they book up, particularly in the peak months (including December), so best get planning now.

Dive with whale sharks in Zanzibar & the Maldives
Set off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar’s coral reefs offer abundant marine life and pristine dive spots. The archipelago welcomes the largest fish in the sea from October to February each year, with November and December being the most reliable months for close encounters with whale sharks. Diving with these magnificent creatures – which reach up to 12 metres long – is sure to create long-lasting memories.

Tsara Komba whalshark

Diving with whale sharks

To get truly off the beaten path, the private, and recently renovated, Fanjove Island has to be our go-to place to stay. With just six ‘bandas’ or huts it’s a remote tropical paradise. This idyllic island boasts 11 km of preserved coral reef, home to nesting green turtles and dolphins.

This is easily combined with a Tanzania safari for anyone keen to tick off Africa’s iconic species as well as its magnificent aquatic life.

Fanjove Island

Another favourite, the South Ari Atoll in the Maldives is heralded as one of the best places in the world to swim or dive with whale sharks. They can be spotted year-round, although the months of November and December are some of the best thanks to calm seas and good visibility. Here you’ll be spoilt for choices when it comes to luxury accommodation. Head to Dhidhoofinolhu Island, home to LUX South Ari Atoll resort. Picture-perfect villas sit waterside or atop stilts above the lagoon. The turquoise waters surrounding the resort are a diver’s dream, great for whale shark watching.

LUX South Ari Atoll resort

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Thrill seekers wanting to take on a challenge should put climbing Mount Kilimanjaro at the top of their Christmas 2023 adventure list. Take it from a few of the Aardvark Safaris’ team, little beats standing on the ‘roof of Africa’. With our success rate for the climb at 98 per cent, reaching the summit is an achievable goal.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – the ‘roof of Africa’

We offer three different climb styles and like to tackle some of the quieter routes but expect to spend from six to eight nights. It’s not just about the hike, wildlife sightings (certainly on the lower slopes) make the first few days more like a walking safari than an arduous trek.

From here it’s easy to add on a few nights’ safari in northern Tanzania, taking in wildlife around Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, both of which enjoy great weather in December and January.

Take a helicopter expedition in Kenya
For anyone who’s ‘been there and done that’, a private helicopter safari offers an exhilarating way to access some of Kenya’s most remote and least accessible wildlife viewing areas. Extending from the Ethiopian border along the Great Rift Valley, Lake Turkana is Africa’s fourth-largest lake. It’s also one of Africa’s least explored and most dramatic landscapes with dramatic calderas and sand dunes. Here you can marvel at giant crocodiles and flocks of flamingos or go fishing for huge Nile Perch.

Access remote and inaccessible places by helicopter from Ol-Malo-Nomad

From the Francombe family’s Ol Malo Lodge, guests can join a lightweight mobile camp with expert guides into the northernmost reaches of the Laikipia province, as well as explore Lake Turkana by helicopter. There are plentiful elephant, giraffe and zebra in this part of Kenya plus the opportunity to visit the local communities who call this wilderness home.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a safari encompassing any of the destinations mentioned here (or any of the many others from our little black books that we’ve built up since 1999). Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa 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.

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