Go higher on an active holiday to Africa
If you’ve been on one or multiple African safaris you’ll be familiar with the adrenalin rush of a close encounter with a leopard and the heart-stopping sounds of the bush outside your tent at night. But there are other ways to enjoy a natural high on holiday in Africa.
Whether that’s climbing one of the continent’s magnificent mountains to enjoy the view, going up in a hot air balloon to marvel at wildlife from above or having nothing between you and the most amazing night sky but a mosquito net. Africa has a way of getting those endorphins going time and again.
Continuing our get active theme, we’ve rounded up our top suggestions of how and where to go higher in Africa.
Climbing Kilimanjaro may sound like a Herculean task but anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can tackle it. And nothing beats the thrill of standing on the peak of Africa’s highest point.
Glittering glaciers and craggy volcanic cones await at the summit. But the route up takes you through everchanging views, from rainforest to heathland and lunar-like slopes of an alpine desert. Time your ascent to coincide with sunrise or full moon for the most breath-taking vistas.
Take a cable car
For a less arduous hike with exceptional views, the World Heritage Site listed Table Mountain is a must when visiting Cape Town. There are a few routes to choose from, some more strenuous than others. The most direct route, and considered the easiest, is via the Platteklip Gorge.
Anyone without the time or inclination to walk up can opt to hop in the cable car instead, an experience in itself as it rotates as it climbs ensuring everyone enjoys 360 degree views. From the top, there are panoramic views of the city, Table Bay and beyond. With cloud cover tending to build throughout the day, we recommend going up first thing and as part of our service we can book timed VIP tickets to get you ahead of the crowds and avoid the queues.
The view of Table Mountain itself is dramatic and dominates the Mother City. Stay somewhere on the harbourfront like Cape Grace or just off Kloof Street at Welgelegen and you’ll have the impressive landmark as the backdrop to your trip.
Go up in a balloon
One of the most magical ways to experience Africa from above is to take to the skies in a hot air balloon. Typically departing just before sunrise, ascending as the sun is coming up, a balloon safari will enable you to soar high above the plains of Africa watching the wildlife as the day begins. Then land in a secluded spot in time for breakfast.
Drift above Kenya’s Masai Mara by hot air balloon from camps such as Little Governors and who orgainse their own Balloon Safaris (which, as the take off point for ballooning, avoids too early a start) following the winding course of the Mara River. Or float across the Serengeti with a balloon safari from Singita Sasakwa Lodge or Singita Faru Faru Lodge. Travelling at a gentle speed, these trips offer ample opportunities for photographing the scenery below.
Gaze at the stars
Of course, you don’t have to get up high to be blown away by the splendours of Africa. There are numerous places to sleep al fresco and stargaze whilst on safari in Africa, where the Milky Way is so clear you’ll feel like you could reach out and bring the sky to you. From fly camping in Zambia, with just a mosquito net and the magnificent African night sky as your ceiling, to sleeping out in a four-poster star bed on wheels in Kenya.
For one of the most extraordinary stellar encounters, head to Huab Under Canvas in Namibia, where guests camp in one of the most remote corners of Damaraland. The experience includes an astronomy tutorial before settling down to a night of stargazing.
For more dark sky marvels, spend the night at Chalkey’s Treehouse in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Built into a centuries-old leadwood tree, guests can enjoy a night under the stars in complete luxury. For another exclusive eyrie, check out the Baobab House at Xigera in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The three-storey construction is designed to resemble a baobab tree, with an open-air deck on top.
However you get your high, an African safari is just the ticket for thrill seekers in search of their next adventure.
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.