5 classic two-centre African adventures
5 classic two-centre African adventures
By Warwick Blow on Oct 17, 2020 in Adventure travel, Africa, Featured, Kenya, Regions, South Africa, Specialty travel, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time, but we still want all the excitement that only Africa can give. Fear not, there are absolute classic adventures in two centers across the continent that will satisfy your adventure cravings, but which you can slip into in a week!
Cape Town & Kruger – South Africa
This is arguably the most classic combination in Africa and for good reason.
Start with 3 days in the beautiful “mother city” nestled at the foot of Table Mountain. Explore the rugged coastline of the Cape Peninsula, spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive, the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point not to mention the penguins of Boulder’s Beach. Taste your way through Cape Town’s legendary wine regions with their spectacular mountain backdrops and historic Dutch architecture (do we even have to mention the world famous wines?). Take a Table Mountain tour or a boat ride to Robben Island and relive yourself with High Tea at Nellie. OK, so 3 days could be tight for everything to do, but what a good 3 days they would be.
Just a short 2 hour flight later, and you can be in the heart of South Africa’s big game country, Kruger National Park, with more species of animals than any other park in Africa. 3 days in one of the luxury lodges and you are almost guaranteed to be jaded about the Big Five, all seen up close and personal. The hardest part will be to tear yourself away from your luxury lodge to return to a normal life!
Perhaps try the luxurious Radisson Blu beachfront hotel in Cape Town combined with the exquisite Kapama Karula Game Lodge.
South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi – Zambia
For an altogether wilder experience, head to one of Africa’s most overlooked wildlife destinations, Zambia.
Start with South Luangwa, famous for its abundant wildlife and some of Africa’s finest walking safaris. Zambia is the birthplace of the walking safari and South Luangwa is really hard to beat, especially as the dry season progresses. Large herds of grazers attract many predators to the land, and huge pods of hippos weave their way into the increasingly shrinking river under the shade of clumps of carmine bee-eaters. Exploring the bush on foot has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in nature.
Just a short flight south you reach the banks of the mighty Zambezi River and you can swap a walking safari for a canoe safari. The towering Zambezi escarpment forms the northern backdrop of the Lower Zambezi National Park, with views south across the river into Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools. The lodges and camps offer a range of exciting safari options, including 4 × 4 open vehicle safaris, motorboat safaris, and incredible canoe safaris.
For those looking for a true Zambian bush camp experience, why not combine the wonderful Tena Tena Camp in South Luangwa and Old Mondoro Camp in the lower Zambezi.
Victoria Falls and Hwange – Zimbabwe
Like Cape Town and Kruger, Victoria Falls and Hwange are a truly classic combination.
Take in the incredible views from the world’s largest water curtain at Victoria Falls. At peak flow, there is so much water flowing over the falls that it creates a jet that can reach almost a mile high. This jet combined with the deafening crush of millions of liters of water falling 100 m every second, gives the falls their local name “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, the smoke that roars. The city is also known as the Adventure Capital of Africa and with everything from white-knuckle whitewater rafting to micro-lighting over cascading water, you’ll never be bored.
Just a few hours south by road is Zimbabwe’s most famous national park, Hwange. Here you can enjoy world-class big game safaris with some of Africa’s best guides. It is the first territory of elephants and lions, often the 2 most anticipated animals on safaris. But there’s so much more to see too, from the towering giraffe and majestic sands to wild dogs and leopards.
Combine the charming Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls with the intimate Khulu Bush Camp in Hwange for a great Zimbabwean adventure!
Queen Elizabeth NP and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Uganda
Although less well known than most other classic safari countries, Uganda is emerging as a must-see destination.
Start with the beautiful Queen Elizabeth National Park, dissected by the equator. Rolling plains, dense forests, wetlands, the iconic Katwe blast craters and the Kazinga Channel which is home to large groups of hippos. Tree climbing lions take shade in the wild fig trees, Ugandan kob roam the open savannah and you have the chance to follow chimpanzees on foot through the forests. All this before even mentioning the avifauna! With some 618 species recorded, which gives the park the greatest diversity of species in Africa.
Head southwest and enter the magical world of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the majestic mountain gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, surrounded by mist-covered rainforest, is estimated to be home to more than a third of all remaining mountain gorillas on earth. For many travelers, the chance to spend time with gorillas is one of the all-time highlights they experience across the world.
Why not use the Katara Lodge as a base to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park before heading to the beautiful Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp in the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Masai Mara and the coast of Kenya – Kenya
We end with a timeless combination of bush and beach, in one of the world’s greatest safari destinations.
For any wildlife lover, the Masai Mara does not need to be introduced. The vast open plains with gently undulating grasses dotted with acacia trees are home to a vast array of Africa’s most famous wildlife. While the “Big 5” are year round pull cards, it is the humble wildebeest who creates one of nature’s greatest shows in the park each year. The great migration passes from the neighboring Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara to feast on fresh herbs before heading south again for the breeding season. And whatever else, don’t miss a hot air balloon trip.
After morning mornings in search of wildlife and feasting evenings of stories around a campfire, a few days of relaxation are enough. Fortunately, just a few minutes’ flight from the Masai Mara are endless stretches of white sand beaches, lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. There are nearly 400 km of almost uninterrupted white sand coastline to enjoy while being pampered in one of the renowned resorts of luxury beachfront villas. A few days will never be enough!
Why not have an unforgettable safari experience at Little Governor’s Camp in the Masai Mara before a break at The Sands at Nomad on the Kenyan coast.
Warwick Blow is the owner of Safari In Style. Safari In Style uses over 50 years of personal experience to create unique tailor-made trips through Africa’s best safari destinations.
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