Safari trends for 2021 and beyond
Tailor made travel is our forte and it’s rare that any two of our safaris are the same. We love the challenge of coming up with something special that ‘nails it’ in terms of personalising a safari just for you. But where we do see some similarity is in the types of trips our clients want to book. What has been noticeable, as we begin to think about spreading our wings and travelling again, is the emergence of some distinct trends.
The enforced separation from family and friends has definitely led to an upsurge in enquiries for large private houses and exclusive use camps. There’s also a desire to travel in a more philanthropic way, aiding in the conservation efforts supported by various safari companies. Finally, the desire to get off-grid and dive deep into the wilderness has captured the imagination of many.
Fortunately for us these are all easily accomplished on safari and we’ve enjoyed creating some wonderful trips to look forward to over the next couple of years (it’s never too early to plan a safari). If you are looking for inspiration here are a few ideas.
Off-grid Wildlife Escapes
If really getting away from it all is what you want then Africa delivers in spades. Here are just a few ideas.
Off The Beaten Track in Western Tanzania
Anyone hankering for a complete antidote to the modern world ought to know about Tanzania’s far western parks of Katavi and Mahale. A safari combining Nomad Tanzania’s Chada Katavi and Greystoke Mahale camps offers an incredible opportunity to explore one of safari Africa’s more remote regions. Chada Katavi in Katavi National Park sits among the elephants and bellowing hippos in one of the least known, but most exciting wildlife areas in East Africa. Heading even further west, the iconic jungle-chic Greystoke Mahale sits on the shores of Lake Tanganyika where chimpanzees roam the rainforest hills rising behind the lodge. It’s an exquisite mix of wildlife and lakeside charm.
Unexplored North Luangwa, Zambia
Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park is one of Africa’s last true wilderness areas and guests staying at Takwela Camp have a rare opportunity to enjoy this beautiful park in near exclusivity. Set at the confluence of the Luangwa and Mwaleshi rivers, the camp is in a lion, leopard, hippo and elephant hotspot, with wild dog and black rhino among the rarer species also spotted here. It’s a super spot to enjoy a walking safaris as well as day and night vehicle drives.
We say it over and again, but nothing matches the priceless pleasure of experiencing Africa’s wilderness from the back of a horse. You explore areas inaccessible by vehicle so you’ll rarely see another person, the wildlife sees you as one of them so your encounters are exhilaratingly close, and there’s no noise so you get the sounds of the bush utterly undimmed. Experienced riders can escape to the wilds of the Okavango Delta, the Namib Desert and the Masai Mara, where the likes of African Horseback Safaris, Namibia Horse Safari Company and Offbeat Riding Safaris all specialise in truly epic adventures. Alice will be co-hosting a riding safari across the Namib Desert in September 2021, let us know if you would like details on what will be the journey of a lifetime!
This selection of fabulous properties covers thousands of acres of wildlife filled wilderness, or richly populated marine reefs, which can be enjoyed in almost total isolation. Just perfect for an escape with your nearest and dearest.
Cottar’s Bush Villa, Kenya
This is a perfect retreat for families or friends wanting to experience a private piece of Africa. From a glorious hillside setting, the elegant house overlooks the savannah plains in a 22,000 acre private concession in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Fully staffed and sleeping up to 12 in five en-suite bedrooms, the house boasts a spacious living room, dining room, an impressive deck and swimming pool with commanding views.
With one of the world’s finest wildlife viewing areas on the doorstep – and a private guide and safari vehicle with which to explore – a truly memorable safari experience is guaranteed. Activities include day and night wildlife drives, fishing, guided walking safaris, cultural visits, electric bike rides, and river swimming.
Luangwa Safari House, Zambia
A super spot for families (or small groups) looking for an indulgent private break, this private safari house sits on the edge of a lagoon frequented by impala, giraffe and countless other species. Along with four large en-suite bedrooms there is a large sitting/dining area, swimming pool and viewing deck. A true wildlife paradise, the South Luangwa National Park provides plenty of options for varied activities, among which are boating, walking and day and night wildlife drives.
The house comes with its own private guide and vehicle and safari activities are tailored to suit the wishes and interests of each individual group. There is also a private chef and house manager.
Thanda Island, Tanzania
An exclusive private island off the coast of Tanzania, Thanda features a villa and two traditional thatched bandas from which to enjoy complete seclusion and a private marine reserve.
Accommodating up to 18, this idyllic desert island escape offers plenty of space for family and friends to enjoy a host of marine activities including spectacular snorkelling and scuba diving on the pristine reef. Swimming with whale sharks is possible between October and March and sea turtles nest at certain times of year. On dry land there is a pool, tennis court, a gym and spa.
Jabali Private House, Rusha National Park, Tanzania
Set on a rocky promontory in Rusha National Park, the intimate three-bedroom Jabali Private House is surrounded by ancient baobab trees. Only a handful of lodges share the five million acre national park so visitors here are guaranteed plenty of space (we worked it out as roughly 71,000 acres per person!)
The area is well known for high densities of lion – super prides of 20 or more are commonplace – wild dog, leopard, cheetah, elephant and buffalo. All safari activities are private and tailored to the wishes of your party.
Tarkuni, Tswalu Reserve, South Africa
At 114,000 hectares, Tswalu is South Africa’s largest privately owned game reserve. Amid the stunning red dunes of the Kalahari Desert, exclusive use Tarkuni is a magnificent private homestead sleeping ten. Guests have complete flexibility, with private safari vehicles, a guide and a dedicated chef. There’s no ‘queuing’ for wildlife viewing opportunities and exploring this vast wilderness in almost total isolation is quite magical.
The desert landscape holds a surprising diversity of wildlife, including 240 bird and 80 mammal species. It is one of the best locations in Africa to see both the elusive pangolin and aardvark.
Laragai House, Laikipia, Kenya
This beautiful exclusive use, eight-bedroom, bush home is situated in the 32,000 acre Borana Conservancy, on the edge of the Laikipia plateau in northern Kenya. With a great range of activities including wildlife drives, horse riding, helicopter trips, mountain and quad biking there’s never a dull moment, and it’s a fabulous spot for active families.
The biggest black rhino safe haven in East Africa, the conservancy is also home to a wealth of wildlife including lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and wild dog. The house comes with a cook and private safari guide and activities are tailored to suit the wishes of each party of guests.
The Nest @ Sossus, Namibia
Tucked away in a lush valley on the private 24,000 hectare Namib Tsaris Conservancy, The Nest is an architectural masterpiece designed on the structure of a sociable weaver bird nest. Sleeping seven, it’s an off-grid hideaway perfectly positioned for visits to the towering Sossusvlei sand dunes and for exploring the conservancy itself.
Seasonal, natural water pools scattered thorough the valley draw wildlife moving through the area and the house has its own floodlit waterhole which provides varied desert wildlife viewing and particularly good birding. Activities include nature drives and guided walks.
Fanjove Island, Tanzania
Guests at Fanjove share an idyllic natural setting with only abundant marine life and a dedicated team of staff. Six A-frame thatched bandas, shaped to resemble a dhow sail, gaze out from the sandy shore across the azure Indian Ocean. An open air restaurant and lounge provide convivial space to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Diving and snorkelling with myriad colourful fish in the marine park and an intact coral reef provide plenty of underwater interest. Other activities include fishing, kayaking and exploring the island with its 19th century lighthouse and former fishing settlement.
Philanthropic Travel Experiences
Every lodge we work with is a safari conservation project. Employment supports local communities while levies paid in park and conservancy fees go straight to wildlife protection. Just by staying at a safari lodge you contribute to the well-being of both local communities and wildlife populations. There are many, many examples of wonderful work being carried out across Africa so please ask us for more details. The below is just a snapshot
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Set in 54,000 acres of pristine wilderness, Kwandwe is home to the Big Five as well as a diverse number of smaller and more unusual species. Accommodation is offered across two lodges and three private villas, each with its own distinctive charm and character. An outstanding conservation success story, Kwandwe’s thriving wildlife population roams what was once farmland. As the land has been returned to its natural state, some 7,000 species have been reintroduced including elephant, hippo, lion, leopard, and brown hyena. Particularly notable success stories include the reintroduction of endangered black and white rhino, and returning cheetah to the area for the first time since 1888.
Guests at Kwandwe contribute to the conservation and community projects simply by staying at the lodge. Among opportunities to be more hands on are rhino conservation safaris which allow the opportunity to participate in Kwandwe’s rhino-darting and notching programme. During these unique safaris guests join the specialist team as they take measurements for scientific and monitoring purposes. Guests can also volunteer at The Ubynye Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust that invests in the development of nine rural communities – donating items and get involved in activities.
Gorilla Conservation and Habitat Restoration, Rwanda
A stay at Bisate Lodge in Rwanda combines the bucket-list gorilla trek with a pioneering reforestation project and a community partnership. The latter has seen over 50% of its staff recruited from the surrounding area.
The reforestation of over 100 acres, which began in 2017, has already helped the recovery of endemic birds and butterflies, with several mammal species also returning. Walks on Bisate’s property offer birding and participation in the reforestation programme. It’s this combination of reforestation, community engagement, authentic cultural experiences, and eco-friendly operational systems, that takes Bisate guests well beyond the ‘gorilla express’, really enriching the experience of this extraordinary place.
House in the Wild, Masai Mara, Kenya
This private, family-owned boutique lodge, is perched on the banks of the Mara River. It is tucked away on Naretoi, a 1,000-acre private estate within the Enonkishu Conservancy on the edge of the Masai Mara. On what was once an intensive farm, Naretoi is the first project of its kind where the land on the edge of the Mara has changed from farming back to nature. This ‘rewilding’ project has seen the rangelands around the House in the Wild restored to its natural state, with wildlife returning to the area after over a decade of intensive farming. The transformation is inspiring, with common sightings now of wild dog, leopard and a resident pride of lion.
The owners are also the founders of the Enonkishu Conservancy, where they work with 50 Masai families to protect the surrounding wildlife grazing areas. It means that the community can earn revenue from guests (every visitor pays a fee that is split between the landowners) as well as from their cattle, in a holistic grazing plan, where wildlife and cattle can thrive together. While staying at the lodge there is a range of projects to get involved in, from the bio-monitoring programme to local education.
If we have inspired you to dream about future safaris, please do get in touch – we would be delighted to chat, no matter how early in the decision making process you might be. Email is probably the best way to contact us right now and we’ll respond as quickly as we can – usually on the same day. We very much look forward to talking to you.