Ten top bucket list safari experiences

November 5th 2021  |   Unique Experiences  |  by   Charlotte Opperman
Ten top bucket list safari experiences

Bucket list experiences come thick and fast on safari and it’s easy to tick off several in a single day.  Whether it’s riding with the wildebeest, meeting remote tribes, viewing a particular animal species or taking a mokoro through the Okavango Delta, just let us know and we can arrange it for you.

Here are ten of our favourite bucket list safari experiences and where you can do them.

Follow the wildebeest migration – Kenya and Tanzania
The sight of thousands of wildebeest engaged in a ‘will we won’t we’ conversation before plunging across the Mara River never fails to awe.  Following the great herds can be enjoyed on foot, from a vehicle, on horseback and hot air balloon.

Wildebeest taking the plunge across the Mara River. Offbeat Ndoto Camp

Whale watching – Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa
Several species, including humpback and southern right whales, spend the southern summer feeding in the cold nutrient rich water of the Antarctic Ocean, and then head north to give birth in warmer tropical waters around South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar. It’s one of the largest mammal migrations anywhere with up to 4,000 southern right and 7,000 humpbacks taking part.  Shore and boat based opportunities abound and you can even kayak among them in some spots.

Princesse-Bora-Ile-Ste-Marie-Madagascar-beach-kayak@PrincesseBora

If this doesn’t qualify as bucket list then we don’t know what does! Kayaking with humpback whales in the narrow channel between the Ile Ste Marie and the Malagasy mainland. Princesse Bora Lodge

Helicopter Safaris – Throughout Southern and East Africa
Hopping into a helicopter on safari unlocks a wealth of thrilling adventures.  There’s plenty of choice, from an hour or two aerial wildlife viewing to flights above the Victoria Falls.

Spectacular Okavango Delta views on a heli trip from Abu Camp

Sleeping under the stars – All over Southern and East Africa
One of Africa’s greatest treats is to sleep under a canopy of twinkling stars.  There are rustic fly camps – a bedroll under a simple mosquito net tent – perfect for adventurous types, and all manner of gorgeous star beds, from the uber-romantic to family friendly.

Sundowners at a Time + Tide Return to the Wild sleepout in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley

Mokoro Safaris – Botswana
The lily lined channels and pools of the Okavango Delta feature on many a bucket safari check list.  And so they should.  Top of our list is to glide through this exquisite waterway on a mokoro canoe.  To experience this wilderness, eye level with the vegetation, is quite magical.

On a mokoro outing from Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

Meet the Mountain Gorillas – Uganda and Rwanda
With real worries they may be extinct at the turn of the last century, the gradual growth of the mountain gorilla population in the rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda is an African conservation success story.   These magnificent animals share 97% of our DNA and are one of our closest relatives.  Observing them in their natural environment is a real privilege.  For the ultimate bucket list join a habituation track where you spend not one, but three hours, with the mountain gorillas.

Mother and infant gorilla in Virunga National Park. Bisate Lodge

A Robinson Crusoe Beach Experience – Indian Ocean coast and Islands
The beaches and exotic islands found along Africa’s glorious coast, and scattered through the Indian ocean, are among the best in the world.  There are the usual five star hotels, but laid back luxury in small, characterful resorts or private islands is much more the order of the day.  Perfect if you just want to dig your toes into the sand and feel the sun on your face.

Seafront dining at Azura Benguerra, Southern Mozambique

Canoeing on Africa’s mighty rivers – Zambia and Zimbabwe
The best African canoe safaris explore the Zambezi River, with Zimbabwe and Zambia lining the banks on either side. In Zambia, the focus is on short half-day trips while Zimbabwe offers longer expeditions lasting several days or more, exploring the shoreline of Mana Pools National Park with its myriad species of birds, honking hippos and huge elephants. Not for the faint hearted, this is a proper African adventure.

Sapi Explorers Camp canoe safari

Paddling down the Zambezi River in Mana Pools. Sapi Explorers

Hot air ballooning – Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana
Floating over the African plains, at sun rise, in a hot air balloon is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is a fantastic way to see the landscape and the photographic opportunities are endless.

Singita Balloon over giraffes

Floating over the Serengeti Plains. Singita Sasakwa

Cultural Encounters – Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and Ethiopia
The Masai, the Samburu, the Himba, and the San are but a snapshot of Africa’s indigenous tribes.  Many safari guides are drawn from these groups, particularly Masai and Samburu, and they delight in passing on stories of their traditional ways.  To be guided by someone who spent a childhood herding goats on the boundaries of the Masai Mara or Serengeti certainly adds a vivid layer of colour to your safari.  More remote and every bit as fascinating are the Himba of northern Namibia and the various tribes along Ethiopia’s Omo River.  A less usual bucket list request perhaps, but spending time understanding the lives of these people is one of the most rewarding experiences we arrange.

Himba women and child in Namibia’s northern Kunene Region.  Serra Cafema

What next?
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. If you are keen to include any of these bucket list experiences, or indeed anything we haven’t mentioned here, in a safari itinerary 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.