This month we look at Africa, which is up there among the best when it comes to memory-making destinations.
Desert and delta in remote Botswana
See the arid wilderness of Nxai Pan – a fossil lakebed salt flat that is home to a cluster of seven ancient baobab trees – through the eyes of a San bushman guide, then glide along the Okavango Delta’s shimmering channels, one of Africa’s Seven Natural Wonders, on a mokoro boat.
You will also visit Chobe National Park to meet elephants you’ll never forget. Eleven days from £5,000pp, excluding flights, tribes.co.uk/holidays/botswana-desert-delta.
Tracking western lowland gorillas
Deep in the Congo Basin, the Central African Republic’s DzangaSangha Reserve is home to elusive rainforest species such as gorillas, bongo antelope and mangabey monkeys. Tourism is in its infancy here, making it a thrillingly back-to-basics place to see lowland gorillas. Nobody knows this remote, leafy wilderness better than the Ba’Aka tribespeople you will meet on this adventure. Eight days from £5,945pp, excluding flights, naturalworldsafaris.com.
Leopards and culture in Zambia
A safari needn’t be a mad dash; rather than hurrying from place to place, you could choose just one, richly diverse park. South Luangwa, where local guides lead leopard-spotting drives and walks, fits the bill: with masses of wildlife to see and local craft collectives to visit, you won’t feel the need to move on. The Bushcamp Company’s off-grid retreats (above) allow you to switch off and enjoy. Eleven days from £5,170pp, excluding flights, expertafrica.com.
Cycling safari in Eswatini
The tiny kingdom formerly known as Swaziland, bordered by South Africa and Mozambique, is criss-crossed with quiet tracks, perfect for a guided cycling trip. You can even pedal through a wildlife sanctuary, Mlilwane, among zebras and hippos. Eleven days from £2,495pp, excluding bike hire charges and flights, with private tours available on request, skedaddle.com.
Cruising the River Gambia and the Sine Saloum Delta
Comfortable but affordable, a small-ship river and ocean cruise pairs neatly with a Gambian beach break. You will venture into the heart of the Gambia and along the coast of Senegal for birdwatching and heritage experiences, as well as national-park visits to encounter chimps, hippos, crocodiles and monkeys. Seven nights from £1,649pp, excluding flights, gambia.co.uk.
Overlanding through Ghana, Togo and Benin
A back-to-basics camping expedition through West Africa offers heat, dust, music and a slow-travel experience that gives a more in-depth experience. This is a region fizzing with cultural traditions, from Benin’s royal palaces to Ghana’s quirky coffins and Togo’s market stalls crammed with amulets. 21 days from £1,900pp, excluding flights, dragoman.com.
Rhinos, lions and warrior traditions in Kenya
The Saruni family of safari camps have superb locations and solid responsible tourism credentials. The panoramic views from Samburu are an unforgettable prelude to a stay at Rhino, for the rare adventure of tracking black rhinos on foot. The trip ends close to the Maasai Mara at Wild, one of Kenya’s most intimate tented camps, for close encounters with big cats and the chance to learn survival skills from a Maasai warrior. Ten days from £4,540pp, excluding flights, expertafrica.com.
Camping and culture in Ethiopia
The Omo Delta is accessible only by riverboat, making this one of the most adventurous, culturally immersive destinations on the continent. It is inhabited by pastoral tribespeople and is home to some of the continent’s most important paleoanthropological excavation sites, where hominid fossils have been unearthed. Begin or end in the capital Addis Ababa for Ethiopian jazz, fine coffee and a culinary masterclass, learning the secrets of making injera flatbreads. One week from £4,500pp, excluding flights, anotherafrica.com.
Birding in Kenya
Home to eye-catching species such as carmine bee-eaters and rosy-breasted longclaws, Kenya’s Maasai Mara is as brilliant for birding as it is for big cats. Expect early starts to enjoy the dawn chorus. There is also a chance to stay in the former home of Joy and George “Born Free” Adamson. Ten days from £3,095pp, including flights, naturetrek.co.uk/tours.
Rainforest and island adventure in Madagascar
Madagascar’s loveable lemurs are dwindling in number, but are surprisingly easy to spot on guided forest walks on this fascinating island, which help to protect their habitat among bulbous baobab trees, spiny forest, rainforest and wetlands. For a change of pace, visit the charming Île Sainte Marie for diving, kayaking and whale-watching. Twelve days from £3,320pp, including flights, rainbowtours.co.uk.
A family safari in Malawi
With peaceful protected areas, beautiful lakeside landscapes and friendly rural villages, Malawi is an ideal destination for outdoorsy families. A trip might take in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, a conservation success story – 520 elephants were translocated here in 2017 – then head for relaxation by Lake Malawi. Twelve days from £4,820pp including flights, audleytravel.com.
Dive from a dhow in northern Mozambique
Whether you are a qualified scuba diver or just a master of snorkel and fins, the pristine coral reefs surrounding Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago are heavenly to explore. Mooch between islands by sailing in dhows, sleeping in tents or gorgeous eco lodges back on land. Two weeks from £7,070pp, excluding flights, originaltravel.co.uk.
Flight-free trekking in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains
There is so much more to Morocco than Marrakech. Its dunes and mountains are closer than you think: hop on the train and you could be climbing Mount Toubkal. To unwind, spend a few days camping with Imazighen (Berbers) in the Sahara. Six nights from £486pp, excluding trains and ferry, muchbetteradventures.com.
Explore Namibia’s wild north-west
With semi-nomadic cultures, huge desert landscapes, a windswept coast and yawning skies, Namibia’s Kunene region is breathtakingly remote. A trip with Natural Selection promises encounters with rhinos and seals and a stay at the mildly eccentric Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast. One week from £3,315pp, excluding flights, naturalselection.travel.
Meet the matriarchs in Namibia
A women-only trip embeds you with a team of conservationists who are helping to smooth relations between elephants and rural communities. Days begin with yoga, then head out on elephant-tracking expeditions, with time to chat with local women and share stories around the campfire. Ten days from £1,790pp, excluding flights, cathadventure.com.
Gorillas, chimps and kayaking in Rwanda
The “Land of a Thousand Hills” is superb for active adventures, with smooth lakes, bird-rich rivers and leafy forest paths to explore. To crown an epic trip, take an excursion to track chimpanzees in Nyungwe and mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Ten days from £5,696pp, excluding flights, pioneerexpeditions.com.
Island-hop in the Seychelles
There is no better way to enjoy the Indian Ocean than by sleek, modern sailing boat. Hire a skipper or take the helm, travelling at your own pace and dropping anchor to snorkel in hidden coves or visit secluded islands. Safe, peaceful and grouped into clusters, it is easy to hop from one island to the next, enjoying pristine tropical beaches and fabulous seafood. Five days from £2,799 for a two passenger bareboat charter, excluding flights, sunsail.co.uk.
Beaches, culture and wildlife in Sierra Leone
Re-emerging as a destination with depth and breadth after years of hardship, Sierra Leone has a glorious coastline, dotted with forts: tangible evidence of a complex and uncomfortable history. You will also visit Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, home to monkeys, hornbills and rescued chimpanzees. Eight days from £2,305pp excluding flights, undiscovered-destinations.com.
The Cape grape escape
South Africa is rightly proud of its delicious, moderately priced food and wine, so why not indulge in a culinary tour? Just 50km from arty, cosmopolitan Cape Town, the Cape Winelands town of Stellenbosch makes a delightful base. As a bonus, you’ll watch whales from the shore in Hermanus. Nine nights from £1,895pp, excluding flights, kuoni.co.uk.
Photographing spring blooms in South Africa
Every August, the Kalahari desert bursts into flower: a transformation so spectacular, it makes headlines. This is the perfect time to visit Namaqualand, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Augrabies Falls. As a bonus, it is whale-watching season. 17 days from £5,795pp, excluding flights, wildlifeworldwide.com.
Sudan’s Bayuda Desert by camel
Imagine following ancient routes taken by desert nomads, enjoying the silence and serenity of the dunes and wadis, visiting Meroitic pyramids and sleeping under dazzling star-scapes. Travelling by camel and on foot, a camping adventure offers precious glimpses of a little-visited region. 15 days from £3,499, excluding flights, anotherworldadventures.com.
Bush and beach: from Tanzania to Zanzibar
For adventure-seekers, northern Tanzania contains some of East Africa’s very best bits. On a camping trip, you will watch teeming herds in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, hike in the Usambara Mountains, then top it all with seafood and sun on the island of Zanzibar. Twelve days from £1,790, excluding flights, intrepidtravel.com.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
You don’t need specialist gear to make it to the Roof of Africa, but you have to be altitude-tolerant – the summit is a dizzying 5,895m up. The Machame Route is tough but scenic, featuring lush rainforest and ancient giant groundsel plants. Eight days from £1,589pp, excluding flights, gadventures.com.
Uganda’s gorillas, chimps and lions
Packed with natural wonders, Uganda offers thrilling safaris at a reasonable price. A Natural World Safaris trip introduces you to
some of East Africa’s wildlife superstars: Bwindi’s mountain gorillas, Kibale’s chimps and the lions of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ten days from £4,750pp, excluding tracking permits and flights, naturalworldsafaris.com.
Canoeing the mighty Zambezi in Zimbabwe
Are you brave enough to tackle one of Africa’s most ambitious paddles, dodging elephants and hippos en route? From April to November, conditions are perfect on the Zambezi. Following the river past Mana Pools to the Mupata Gorge, you will explore fascinating ecosystems and enjoy fabulous views of the forested riverbanks. One week from £990pp, excluding flights, aardvarksafaris.co.uk.
(Article source: Inews)