Unusual Africa - 10 Different Safari Experiences

Natural World Safaris

16 Feb 2015

unusual experiences across africa

As a continent Africa’s natural world diversity is outstanding. There’s no doubt that an African safari will offer amazing adventures and wildlife encounters, but it’s not just all about game drives (although these are pretty amazing!) There are many remarkable ways to experience the African landscapes and its flora and fauna. Whether you’re a thrill seeker that would enjoy watching the migration from the air, or would prefer a slower view from the water; you can sleep under the stars or take in the savannah on horseback. It’s just about knowing what to do, where and when – right place right time!

1) Horse Back Riding - Sosian Ranch, Kenya 

Horse riding is a wonderful way to see the beautiful and varied terrain of Kenya and Sosian Ranch is perfectly placed for this activity. A private working ranch located among 24,000 acres on the renowned Laikipia Plateau, visitors are offered panoramic views of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares. Their experienced guides lead you on 2-3 trails where you can enjoy an exciting yet relaxing way of being at one with nature. Horse-back riding here is a good contrast to Kenya's national parks, where one tends to be limited to viewing game from a vehicle. Children of all ages are welcome and encouraged.

2) Helicopter - Chiefs Camp, Botswana

To get a unique view one of the most amazing natural world wonders nothing beats an aerial safari of the Okavango Delta from a helicopter with its doors off. The delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. Chief's Camp is an intimate luxury tented camp in an amazing location within the Mombo concession - northwest Chief’s Island - one of the many seasonal islands created by the floodwaters.

3) Bi-Plane Flight - Lewa Wilderness, Kenya

Create an amazing memory by taking an awesome scenic flight over Lewa in a vintage style bi-plane based on the pioneering days of early aviation of the 1920’s. Two passengers can enjoy a flight taking in the extraordinary Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and its wide range of ecosystems that is home to a large range of wildlife including black and white rhinos, giraffe and Grevy's zebra. Lewa Wilderness Lodge offers high end cottage-style accommodation on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya and its gracious hosts are happy to organise your bi-plane experience. Children of all ages welcome as the lodge is ideal for families on safari. 

4) Quad Bikes - Jacks Camp, Botswana

Quad bikes are an exhilarating way to experience the largest saltpans in the world and Jack’s Camp located in the heart of the Kalahari Desert, is perfectly positioned for this adrenalin adventure, whilst offering wildlife viewing in prime hyena territory. Big game on this side of the Makgadikgadi National Park is scarce for much of the year, and so the unique activities here aim to give an understanding of the area's geology, archaeology and anthropology.

5) Dhow Safari, Mozambique

Our own 8 day safari explores the spectacular Quirimbas Archipelago by both 12ft dhow and sea kayaks. Led by a professional local crew you are able to define precisely the day to day plan you want to follow. This water based trip encourages a relaxing discovery of the pristine islands plus beach time at the lovely Ibo Island Lodge. Each dhow accommodates a small group of passengers. After a day kayaking and snorkelling across this marine paradise which is rich with wildlife including hundred of species of fish, turtles, humpback whales and the rare dugong, you can dine on fresh seafood cooked over an open fire.

6) Self Drive - Garden Route, South Africa

For those who like to be in control of their own safari journey, a South African self-drive safari for the family is ideal. Take in the renowned sights of lively Cape Town and the penguins of Boulder Beach. Work your way along the famous Garden Route – well loved for good reason. Along the way you can enjoy whale watching at Hermanus, meerkats in Oudtshoorn and still indulge in traditional safari time at Kwandwe - home to the ‘Big Five’ and much more including cheetah and endangered black rhino. The infrastructure, road and English signposting make South Africa a great country for a flexible self-drive.

7) Microlight Flights - Victoria Falls, Zambia

There are many ways to experience the ‘Smoke that Thunders’ but not many beat the sensation of microlight over the top of the falls. Thrilling views, more than a little bit scary, but truly, a once in a lifetime experience. The flights tend to be between 15-30 minutes - long enough to stay with you forever as you take in the majestic views and feel the power of the falls and the Zambezi. Stanley Safari Lodge on the border on the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, is a beautiful accommodation just 3km from Victoria Falls and you can actually see the spray from the lodge itself.  Other activities around the falls include bungee jumping, white water rafting, sunset cruises, helicopter rides and fixed wing flights.

8) Canoe Trail - Manna Pools, Zimbabwe

Meandering down the legendary Zambezi River in a canoe is an extremely memorable way to experience this extraordinary park that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The vast wilderness remains one of the few places untouched and unexplored by humans, other than by foot. The name "Mana'' means "four" in local language and is reference to the four large pools inland from the River; remaining lakes that would have been carved out thousands of years ago. Elephant, buffalo, hippopotamus, impala, lion, crocodiles and a wide variety of aquatic birds – nearly 400 species - can all be found here. Canoe safaris are led by the famous expert Zimbabwean guides that take you as close to the wildlife as you can be. River based accommodation and mobile camps ensure you’re never far from this natural world extravaganza.

9) Elephant Safari - Zimbabwe and Botswana

High off the ground, you move easily and quietly through forest trails enjoying an entirely new perspective on wildlife viewing – quite literally. An elephant safari allows you to get much closer to the animals without feeling like you are intruding and at the same time you are able to form a special connection to your ‘transport’ as no other way can offer. Hwange and Chobe National Parks provide a stunning backdrop to interact with not just elephants but also wild dog, leopard, cheetah, giraffe and much, much more. An absolute must for lovers of this majestic animal. 

10) Conservation Projects - Rwanda, Namibia and Madagascar 

For many people wildlife travel feels especially good when the sense of ‘giving back’ to the destinations is involved. All of our trips contribute in some way to local communities and wherever possible wildlife and habitat protection, but some itineraries can include special opportunities to experience African conservation at close hand.  

Gorillas doctors, Rwanda 

In addition to the magical opportunity to track the endangered mountain gorillas in the staggeringly beautiful location of Volcanoes National Park and Virunga mountains of Rwanda, we offer a gorillas and conservation safari where you can spend a morning at the headquarters of the world famous Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project learning about the trials and tribulations that they face on a daily basis in the fight to save the last few surviving mountain gorillas. This is the region made famous by Dr Dian Fossey and her book 'Gorilla's in the Mist' which thankfully raised a huge amount of awareness of the plight of these wonderful primates through her world famous research.  

Africat Foundation, Nambia 

Founded in 1991, the Africat Foundation is committed to sustainable conservation projects developed to protect the regions big cats, specifically cheetah and leopard and has grown significantly in recent years to now include education and research around key issues such as habitat loss, rehabilitation and human/wildlife conflict. Located in Okonjima the main bush camp offers excellent access to the foundation meaning guests can experience the project first-hand to get valuable insight into its regular activities while also enjoying the chance to ‘radio track’ leopards. 

Kianjavato Lemur Project, Madagascar 

Madagascar is the only place in the world you can find the enchanting lemur species and yet it is still at risk from loss of habitat. Thankfully there are fantastic people and initiatives that are working hard to protect these primates and their home. We are privileged to be the only tour operator to take visitors into the Kianjavato Lemur Project on our small group safari. This pioneering project run by Dr. Ed Louis as part of the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership, researches bamboo lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs and aye-aye`s, as well as reforestation and working with local communities and schools. Your time here allows you to spend time with the lemurs and track them as well as learn more about local conservation from researchers including the wider challenges facing the island and these magical inhabitants.

Contact our African specialists if you would like them to organise an unusual safari for you.

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