Going on a safari is like going on an adventure – and every single time is completely different. Whether it’s the wildlife you come across during a game drive or spot at the waterhole, the people from around the world you get to meet, blazing sunsets and unbelievably bright nighttime stars, it’s always an experience to write home about! Here are some of the best spots to choose for your 2018 safari getaway.
If it’s good enough for Prince Harry, then it’s good enough for us! 2018 is the perfect time to visit the country that kindled the biggest romance of the year, especially if you’re taking your own prince or princess along.
Whether it’s the slightly eerie, shimmering Makgadikgadi salt pans, or the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Okavango Delta, there’s an enormous variety of landscapes, wildlife and culture that will have you coming back again and again. Experience a game ‘drive’ with a difference via a silent dugout canoe that gives budding wildlife photographers the chance to get up close, or take advantage of the country’s experienced guides to take a walking tour. Some of the wildlife on offer includes the largest concentration of buffalo and elephant in southern Africa, big cats like leopards, lions and cheetah, as well as some of the continent’s more quirky inhabitants like hippos and wild dogs.
Best budget safari – Kenya
From the majesty of Kilimanjaro, the big cats of the Maasai Mara, the sparkling waters of the coral coast, some of the best four wheel drive routes the continent has to offer – and best of all, just an eight hour flight from London, Kenya is the destination of choice for travelers on a budget.
Witness the Rebirth of the Karoo, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Once home to vast herds of springbok, and the prior home of the now-extinct quagga and Cape lion, hunting and livestock farming decimated this fragile ecosystem in South Africa. Today, a mammoth effort to restore some of the region’s glory is underway – and by choosing to have your safari holiday here, you can help to support the dedicated reserves that are making it happen. Since the 90s, one game reserve Eastern Cape has been leading this movement. Samara Private Game Reserve alone is responsible for reintroducing the first wild cheetah to live here in over 125 years and the first elephants to return in over 200. Desert-adapted black rhino and the endangered Cape Mountain zebra, as well as many other indigenous species, are also benefiting from their efforts. And of course, it’s not just the animals who can enjoy this beautiful part of the world! Wilderness picnics and romantic candlelit dinners on the bank of the river, walking safaris and mountain biking trails for the adventurous, and even the chance to sleep under the stars are all on offer for the two-legged guests!
Best walking safari – Zambia
With an unbelievable array of birdlife and a huge variety of accommodation to choose from, including luxury lodges with spa facilities to more affordable family options, Zambia is a great choice for those who want to stretch their legs in style! It’s also one of your best options to see rare animals such as leopard and wild dog, and walk the ancient migration routes carved out by elephants and wildebeest over generations.
Best kept secret safari – Chad
One of Africa’s last remaining truly wild safari destinations, Chad is the place to venture if you want to experience Africa the way the explorers of old must have found it. Unsurprisingly, it’s not the easiest destination to get to, (and if light aircraft make you nervous you might have to steel your nerves a little) but boy oh boy does it deliver on wildlife. Zakouma National Park is your best option, and you’re guaranteed to have it virtually to yourself. One of the biggest attractions for regular safari nuts is the chance to see the rare Kordofan giraffe, with 50% of the entire world’s population found here.
Chimp trekking in Tanzania
The beautiful Mahale rainforest of Tanzania offers a safari experience like no other, where visitors get the chance to meet some of their more unusual relatives! It’s all done in the name of conservation, and no-one comes away from the experience unaffected by the wise gaze of these remarkable creatures that remind us so much of ourselves. And just in case that isn’t enough to keep you occupied, exotic destinations like Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti are all on offer too!