6 Safari Activities To Take You Out Of The Land Cruiser
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“There is no doubt that a game-viewing safari is a bucket list trip that everyone has to do at least once. However, there is far more to experience and, other ways in which to do it, in Africa“
Africa – in particular its Southern and Eastern regions – are renowned for its safari and adventure destinations and activities.
Ask most people though and the first thing they would most likely associate with an African adventure, is a game drive through the beautiful African bush on an open game-viewing vehicle.
And with good reason – this type of game-viewing safari is a bucket list trip that everyone has to do at least once. More if they can…
However, there is far more to experience and, other ways in which to do it, in Southern (and Eastern) Africa.
Here are just a few of our favourites…
Houseboat On Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe
Houseboats offer the perfect platform from which to enjoy the many splendors of Zimbabwe’s iconic Lake Kariba. Not only is it exciting to live aboard a floating craft for a few days, but there is simply no better way to immerse yourself in the game viewing, fishing, birding and total relaxation that houseboats offer. There are various types of houseboats on Kariba offering a range of accommodation and catering (or self-catering) options. Most boats come with a full, experienced crew. Find out more, here
HOT AIR BALLOONING OVER THE BUSANGA PLAINS, ZAMBIA
The Busanga Plains of Zambia’s Kafue National Park is an extraordinary ecosystem of grassy, seasonal floodplains and small islets.
The area is remote and due to the seasonal floods, the safari season shorter then elsewhere in Zambia running from June through October each year.
The area teems with wildlife, with predators such as lion, wild dog and cheetah hunting the prolific plains game of the area including the water-adapted antelope such as puku and red lechwe, to name but a few.
Because of the wetland nature of the area, there is simply no better way to experience it, than from the air.
Gently gliding over the plains in a hot-air balloon will (almost) make you feel part of the ecosystem. Find out more, here
CANOENING DOWN THE ZAMBEZI RIVER, ZIMBABWE
There is something mystical about the allure of the mighty Zambezi River. It has attracted adventure travellers ever since David Livingstone described it to the Western world in the 1800s.
Today, the best way to really experience what the river has to offer, is to be on it. And, there is no more immersive way, than in a canoe. By paddling the majestic river under the leadership of an experienced guide.
There are various options on the Lower Zambezi all offering mobile camping with facilities and back-up ranging from rustic to none-at all. Certain sections cater to more (or less) adventurous travellers.
The best time to go is from May to July.
Find out more, here
HELICOPTER FLIP OVER THE OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA
The Okavango Delta is a unique inland wetland, fed annually by floodwaters that never reach the ocean. The delta covers between 6000 and 15 000 square kilometres of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana (depending on the severity of the annual rains).
There are various safari options in this iconic location but if we had to choose one way of getting a full feel for its spectacular and diverse beauty (and to see its remotest spots), it would be from the air.
Helicopter flips not only provide an aerial perspective on the myriad of papyrus-lined channels but also an ideal vantage point from which to see animals and bird life – from pods of hippo and herds of elephant to prides of lion and herds of water-adapted red lechwe. Find out more, here
RHINO NOTCHING, MARATABA CONSERVATION CMPS, MARAKELE, SOUTH AFRICA
The Marataba Conservation Camps opened in a privately managed section of the Marakele National Park in Limpopo Province in northeastern South Africa in late 2020.
Marataba is one of South Africa’s most innovative conservation models, with the four lodges over various unique, immersive safari experiences, giving travellers the chance to be part of hands-on conservation.
One such activity is rhino notching, the closest you are ever likely to come to a member of the famed big five. The national park is home to populations of white and black rhino, which need to be studied and monitored to be protected and to assist in the protection of the highly endangered species as a whole throughout the continent.
During a rhino notching, you will help immobilise and notch the animal and insert a DNA microchip into the horns and body. Tissue is collected and the DNA is submitted to the RHoDIS database (Rhinoceros DNA indexing system). Find out more, here
White Water Rafting, Victoria Falls
It is the default African adventure activity. No self-respecting adventure traveller can return from Southern Africa without having ticked this box (more than once, we say!).
The rafting is graded as class 5 on the globally accepted scale (class 1 is entry level and 6, the highest, regarded as commercially non-raftable).
The rapids have special, much-storied names and the likes of Stairway to Heaven, Oblivion, Judgement Day and Devil’s Toilet Bowl, will no doubt be etched to your memory too.
Due to radically fluctuating water levels of the Zambezi, there are high and low water seasons at different times of the year. High water rafting begins in late January and usually ends around August. With low water rafting starts in approximately August through to January.
Don’t be fooled – low water is when the river is at its wildest with the rapids at their most challenging. Find out more, here
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