DISPATCHES FROM EXOTIC LANDS
We’ve been operating for thirty years as Australia’s leading African wildlife safari specialists. Over the decades we’ve seen trends come and go, although beautiful natural scenery, interesting wildlife and great guiding never lose their appeal. Some destinations, such as Tanzania for bespoke Serengeti safaris to see the great migration or Uganda for gorilla trekking for example, remain eternally popular. But there are a handful of African destinations that consistently fly under the tourist radar, some of which really deserve more credit.
All are enriching, beautiful and well priced (for now!), but simply suffering from a lack of positive PR. Once people catch on we think these destinations will really gain traction over the next few years….
Very few people travel to Zambia and for the life of us, we can’t understand why. With a landscape defined by great rivers, astonishing concentrations of wildlife, beautiful lodgings and of course the magnificent Victoria Falls, we think it’s only a matter of time before people catch on.
It is one of the few countries where one can still experience a really good quality bush camp safari, without the bells, whistles and corporate bling that seems to invade everywhere else! In particular we really like the Classic Zambia camps, which are owner operated, in fantastic locations and deliver outstanding guiding. The safari experience is very true to our safari roots, concentrating wholly on the wildlife without any fuss, and offers great value for money as a result.
Read more about Zambia at our blog – Here’s why a safari in Zambia should be next on your holiday hitlist
Zimbabwe still attracts fewer tourists than other safari destinations reasons meaning the experience is quieter and more exclusive here than in neighbouring countries. Generally the quality of guiding is excellent in Zimbabwe because the training process to get a guiding licence is much more stringent and more rigorous than in most other countries. There are some excellent, passionate operators to be found and among them are African Bush Camps, a real home grown success story whose owner, Beks Ndlovu, is one of the few Zimbabweans to have really made it on the international luxury travel scene.
African Bushcamps have a range of accommodation options including some which are more rustic in style (e.g. Kanga Camp) while others are more luxurious (e.g. Somalisa). They also do a huge about of charitable work through their foundation – something which is becoming ever more important to the conscientious traveller.
Malawi is very under the tourist radar but some serious, successful wildlife re-introduction projects with high profile backing (for example the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation reintroducing lions) have seen places like Liwonde and Majete now thriving and becoming Big 5 destinations. Robin Pope Safaris, who have long standing safari kudos, have started to establish some good camps/lodges there, especially Kuthengo Camp, which is beautiful. Lake Malawi also offers beach style retreats and snorkelling/diving with endemic cichlid species. Virtually no one goes to Malawi but it is safe, pretty and comparatively still very cheap. We think its only a matter of time before people realise and go there in droves. Our advice? Go now!
The gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda is already well established, but the Akagera region in the north is gaining momentum as a safari destination. Wilderness Safaris, a leading safari operator across Africa, have just opened Magashi Camp there showing real faith in its success. Rwanda is also a very progressive country in many ways which surprises people, for example it is one of the only nations worldwide to have a female-majority government.
Read more about Rwanda gorilla safaris at our blog: Where is the best place to see gorillas? Rwanda vs Uganda gorilla safaris
One for the culture vultures, Egypt is gaining real traction now that tourists are venturing back with greater confidence. The Grand Egyptian Museum is due to open later this year and has generated a huge amount of press attention. National Geographic did an extended piece about it entitled ‘Egypt’s new £889 million museum is fit for a pharaoh’, which gives a good insight and really captures the sense of excitement. In it author Tom Mueller describes the GEM as ‘a monumental showcase for all 5,000 of Tutankhamun’s treasures—and a symbol of a nation that has reclaimed its past.’
We have thirty years of experience in arranging bespoke travel to some of the planet’s most fascinating and unusual wilderness destinations.