Acacia Africa has lined up a list of six spellbinding locations around southern and eastern Africa which offer exceptional wildlife sightings. Acacia matches the magic of the savanna with six corresponding deals that make seeing big game eminently affordable.
Proof that there is more than one way to safari, the options include heading off in a 4×4, on horseback, by mountain bike, or in a mokoro; travellers who really want to get the adrenalin pumping can go game viewing on foot.
Mingle with Africa’s animal kingdom at the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, which comprises 4,560 hectares of grassland plains and granite peaks. Safari on foot, by mountain bike, or even take an optional overnight hack on horseback and sleep in a cave* complete with San Bushman paintings. Expect to find some exotic species in this conservation hotspot, such as the honey badger, dwarf mongoose, aardwolf and striped polecat, along with the more common hippo, ostrich, kudu, zebra and baboon.
The nine-day Kruger, Swaziland & Durban small group safari starts at US$1600 pp (for two sharing, plus local payment from $165 pp) including transport, twin share accommodation, most meals, and services of a tour leader/driver. It starts in Johannesburg and ends in Durban.
(* Over 30-well trained horses are available on the Chubeka Trails Overnight Cave Trail. Optional hourly and daily guided horseback trails are also available, with rides to suited to all levels of experience.)
The place where the walking safari originated, Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is one of the best places to go wildlife viewing on foot due to a network of small satellite camps enabling more active travellers to trek from one to the next. This means you can cover more ground and you might even be able to interact with larger game. If you’re travelling by 4×4, you can also stay out in the park for a couple of hours after sundown. Spot bushbabies and porcupines on this limited night safari and if you’re lucky, encounter predators in search of their prey.
The 21-day East African Explorer overland expedition starts at US$1800 pp (no single supplement, plus local payment from $1160 pp) including transport, camping accommodation, most meals, and services of a tour leader/driver. It starts in Livingstone and ends in Nairobi.
Matobo Hills National Park has one of the highest concentrations of leopards (estimated at five for every 16 square kilometres) in the world, and it’s also a haven for white rhino. For a heart- pumping safari, track rhino on foot, and when you’re done search the skies for raptors. There are roughly 200 breeding pairs of black eagles in the park, compared to only 23 breeding pairs in the whole of South Africa.
The seven-day Rediscover Zimbabwe small group safari starts at US$740 pp (two sharing, plus local payment from $450 pp) including transport, camping accommodation, most meals, and services of a tour leader/driver. It starts and ends in Victoria Falls.
Resting on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta is the award winning Moremi Game Reserve. Composed of lagoons, floodplains and islands, its 4,871 square kilometres are teeming with predators. The reserve is the last major stronghold for the endangered wild dog, with around 30% of Africa’s entire population residing here.
The seven-day Best Of Botswana small group safari starts at US$850 pp (two sharing, plus local payment from $364 pp) including transport, camping accommodation, most meals, and services of a tour leader/driver. It starts and ends in Victoria Falls.
If you’re a serious safari-goer, enjoy a 4×4 encounter in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Nestled between Botswana and Namibia in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, the park is still relatively undiscovered and generally crowd-free year round. Cheetahs thrive here by hunting in its fossil river valleys and the surrounding Kalahari dunes. Leopard sightings in this part of the world are also said to be the stuff of legend, and you might even spot the black-maned Kalahari lion.
The small-group five-day Transfrontier Kgalagadi Accommodated Safari starts at US$1082 pp (no single supplement, plus local payment from $138 pp) including transport, twin share accommodation, most meals, and services of a tour leader/driver. This tour starts and ends in Upington.
The Queen Elizabeth National Park is the ideal place to get back in touch with your distant cousins. Chimpanzee trekking is a major highlight in the Kyambura Gorge — vervet and black-and-white colobus monkeys are also easily spotted in the trees.
The 14-day Gorilla Encounter overland expedition starts at US$1550 pp (no single supplement, plus local payment from $445 pp, plus gorilla & chimp viewing permit from $700 450 pp) including transport, camping accommodation, most meals, and services of a tour leader/driver. It starts and ends in Nairobi.