The enticing character of Africa wins the hearts of travelers every season. To try to name the top 3 holiday destinations in this huge continent is scary. It simply cannot be done as every country offers something different, every second of every day. Africa is spell binding in the hugeness of its personality, its physical attributes and its secrets. From Malawi to Namibia, we offer you great packages, special deals, incredible wilderness breaks, AND you can book online.
Africa, they say, is home to humankind, the place where our dominant species originated. It is true that the dynamic cultures found across Africa are fascinating and daunting to say the least, and a good reason to travel into Africa if you really want to get a feel for the continent. In the splendid region south of the equator lie countries that you need years to explore – where remote mountains, waterfalls, deserts, river systems, game reserves, rich biodiversity and incredible wildlife still survive.
On the other side of the coin, in countries like Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana, you have overwhelming poverty and lack of access to simple resources such as water, electricity, land and employment. Africa gets into one’s soul and hurts a lot. Yet Africa also brings the hugest smiles to the glummest of faces!
We are going to travel with you to 3 of the top African holiday destinations here now so buckle up, pack your bags and let’s set off! I have chosen 3 of the most remote, well kept and enticing destinations which happen to reveal something of the heart of Africa…
1. Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania
For me, the number 1 African destination has to be Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania – recently inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the largest reserve in Africa! Can you imagine a piece of conserved land stretching 55 000 square kilometers, four times bigger than the awesome Serengeti? No? Me neither! But Selous is definitely the place you want to go to for the best game viewing in Africa, the most unspoiled landscape you have ever seen and some magical places to stay.
Picture yourself in deluxe safari camps built to be carefully rustic but not missing one conceivable mod con? Of course, the main draw card at Selous is the game – with more than half of Tanzania’s elephant population, this magnificent reserve is also home to more than 120 000 buffalo, 40 000 hippo, 4 000 lion and the largest population in the world of African Wild Dog! See these animals in their natural habitat, untouched by human influences such as development, waste and pollution. Long may it last…
The authentic safari accommodation in Selous is wide ranging and irresistible. From chic tented camps and those built from natural materials found right there in the bush, to the ultra luxurious, Selous camps are made for game viewing and unwinding. Azura Selous is for seasoned travelers who has journeyed around the world and are now looking for an extraordinary way to celebrate something, anything! The camp blends into nature despite its indulgent facilities – a superb setting.
If you prefer a room with a view, then Beho Beho Camp is for you – said to be the first camp to be sited in the Selous highlands, this deluxe Tanzania accommodation looks out for miles over the Selous wilderness and Rufiji River floodplains. Notice the majestic Baobab trees which germinated centuries before – close to where Frederick Courtney Selous died on the battlefields of the First World War.
2. Mana Pools National Park – Zimbabwe
For a true escape into the African wilderness, take a journey into Zimbabwe if you dare, across the Zambezi River from Zambia, to another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous Mana Pools was faved for years by Rhodesians and South Africans as THE bushveld destination of all time. All you needed was a clapped out Landy, a rugged tent and some meat and beers. And all you did was go on game drives, braai under the stars and enjoy the peace that nature offers, naturally.
Mana (meaning ‘four’ in local Shona) Pools remains one of Zim’s most popular parks today and is named after the four large ox-bow lakes inland from the Zambezi where hippos, crocs and myriad bird species now play.
The park is reminiscent of a cathedral for many old timers thanks to its glorious old trees and riverine vegetation. Tourists can walk alone here but should remain aware that wild animals are dangerous and therefore you need to use your sixth sense at all times! You may come across herds of elephants and buffalo which could be quite a surprise… Mana Pools also boasts herds of eland, waterbuck and zebra while baboons, lions, leopard and cheetah are also around, elusive and very real!
Why should you visit Mana Pools anyway? To see Africa at its best! To enjoy one of the best preserved natural ecological areas in the region where you can still canoe and fish alongside hippos and crocs. Camping is top in this game reserve so visitors like to come armed with their own accommodation including food and other toys – to camp in the communal campsite with ablution facilities or to camp in more exclusive camp sites where you can be utterly alone. There are lodges for those who prefer a roof over their heads…
Try Kanga Bush Camp, set in the most remote section of Mana Pools, on the secluded Kanga Pan near the Ruckomechi River, a mere 15km away from the Zambezi River. Here you get a convincing combination of supreme isolation and luxury with a sprinkle of the raw wilderness camping experience, in six neat tents. Or Ruckomechi Camp on the banks of the meandering Zambezi River with superb panoramas of the mountains of Africa’s Great Rift Valley in the distance – stay in 10 tented chalets artistically decorated and featuring a ‘bath-with-a-view’!
3. Lower Zambezi National Park – Zambia
The best activity on the mighty Zambezi is, of course, Tiger fishing! So get that lure ready and head out on a boat to catch a prize six kilogram fighter. Canoeing is just as popular and groups cruise down the river, stopping on sand banks for tea and even swimming while someone watches the crocs with loaded gun. This is the awe-inspiring Lower Zambezi National Park, not far from Mana Pools – a hop and a jump away, across the magnificent Zambezi River.
Small in comparison to other parks in this wilderness region, this park offers exceptional game viewing within the valley, where animals come to play out various life episodes near the life-giving water of the river.
Huge herds of elephants, impala, buffalo and hippo congregate on the banks at all times of day. The predator cats lurk and crocs hide. Thankfully, this particular park remains undeveloped, apart from rustic yet luxurious camps along the river banks, tastefully decorated and supporting conservation principles.
Listen for the song of the Fish Eagle, so typical of an African river destination! Drive the 4 092 square kilometers of conserved reserve and find incredible species in the river, crossing the river between countries and grazing towards the foot of the escarpment. You can reach the Lower Zambezi National Park from Lusaka b y road or by chartered air plane which makes it as remote as it can be, the beautiful safari lodges embracing guests in arms of wilderness charm.
Have you ever dreamed of staying in the most picturesque location of all the camps along the Zambezi River? Chongwe River Camp nestles under a complete canopy of Winterthorn acacias, in an area where elephants are more numerous than people – this game management area reaches a further 80km west along the Zambezi. Enjoy open-air tents and outside showers, private decks and breath-taking immersion in nature.
Or choose the spectacular family-run Chiawa Camp with its homely, yet luxurious and welcoming vibe, its excellent service and fantastic food. There are seven superb guides to take guests deep into the heart of the reserve, including amazing day and night safari drives, walking safaris and fishing outings!
Choose your own safari destination by tailor making your holiday into Africa with one of our experienced consultants. A stop at one of these remote game reserves will be the icing on the cake for you.