It is time to start planning your next holiday. Where do you go this year? The choices are endless. After much debate, because you want to experience something different, you have narrowed down your options to a safari in Africa or a trip to the Far East. I have done both, and here is why I would choose an African tour:
My time is precious, and I need to rest. I would also like to get away from the hustle and bustle, and spend some time watching the sun go down with a cocktail in hand, surrounded by the sounds of nature and very little else. There is only one choice: an African tour.
Here is why I love Africa:
Safaris in Africa are unique, exciting, and wild. Few things are more exciting than being a couple of metres from a fully grown lion, or pride of lions; having an elephant inspect your safari vehicle, so close that you could almost touch it; hearing the thunder of thousands upon thousands of hooves and the splashes as wildebeest dive into the swollen river; or the silent stare of a magnificent buffalo bull. These are experiences that nothing other than an African tour can offer.
Luxury safaris in Africa generally come with a lot of eating, morning tea/coffee and snacks, breakfast, game drive snacks, lunch, high tea, sundowner snacks, and dinner. This is normally combined with early morning and afternoon/night safari drives, wilderness walks, and just lazing in your air-conditioned room or at the pool during the heat of the day, experiencing the sounds of the African bush. As the sun sets on the African savannah, you stand with drink in hand and experience the quietness that no city can offer. This is my Africa.
For those that are a bit more adventurous, a walking safari, in my opinion is the ultimate African tour experience. The thrill of walking amongst the animals of Africa, being almost one with them and nature, reminds me of what life used to be like in Africa. The slow pace of walking allows you to breathe in the wild air, stop to smell the African bush, and casually observe the animals in their natural state, all while getting a little exercise to boot. The guides on these safaris are the best, and are well-trained, and it is more likely that you will be mowed down by a car in a city than be attacked by a wild animal.
An African tour, however, is not only about safari. Africa has so much more to offer. It has some of the world’s most endangered species, including the mountain Gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda. It is a life-changing experience to stand within a few metres of a 195 kg male gorilla and looking into its liquid brown eyes, eyes that portray an intelligence not often associated with wild animals. Instead of holding hands with your significant other, hold hands with a furry chimpanzee. This is my Africa.
Hike up iconic Table Mountain, scale the mighty Drakensberg, trek up Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya, or walk to the crater rim of an extinct volcano. These are just a few of the options you have to see Africa from a bird’s point of view. Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, and some of the other peaks in Africa are permanently covered in ice, which is counter-intuitive with the warm, African climate, but adds a dimension not often associated with an African tour.
One of my favourite places on earth is the Okavango Delta. There is a peacefulness and calmness that descends unawares on you when visiting this unique part of Africa. Besides the animals that are always in attendance, gliding in a canoe (mokoro) on the calm waters of the channels, surrounded by huge reed beds, is a chance to experience the gentleness, stillness, and beauty that remote Africa offers in spades. The call of a bird, a distant grunt of a hippo, the splash of a fish, or the sound of a bell frog’s call are but a few of the memories you will carry with you from this special place. This is my Africa.
Africa is home to some of the world’s biggest and best rivers. The Nile, the longest river in the world, starts in Lake Victoria (Uganda) and Ethiopia, and travels 6650 km to the Mediterranean Sea. The Victoria Falls, on the mighty Zambezi, is the world’s biggest waterfall by volume. It plunges 108 m over a span of 1,7 km in a magnificent display of power and beauty.
The mist from the spray can be seen for kilometres around. The river is the focus of an enormous number of adventure activities, including the best white-water rafting in the world and one of the highest bungee jumps in the world at 111 m. The Mara River is the scene of the largest animal migration in the world. Needing to cross the mighty river, at the time that it is flooded, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thompson’s gazelles brave the floods and the world’s largest crocodiles to see whether the grass is indeed greener on the side. The Okavango River ends in the desert sands of Botswana, not before filling the best inland delta in the world. These are just a few of the options on your African tour.
Arguably the best destination in Africa is Cape Town. With Table Mountain dominating most views in Cape Town, it is both beautiful and unique. Cape Town is also a mixing pot of cultures, a culinary destination in its own right, a center for culture and art, as well as just plain exciting. Set in the part of the Western Cape that boasts some of the world’s best wine farms, producing award-winning wines, Cape Town and surrounds can keep you busy for a week of more. Cape Town is part of the Cape Floral Region, which comprises 1% of the area of Africa, but boasts 20% of its floral species. Combine Cape Town with the scenically beautiful Garden Route, and you have a holiday of note. This is my Africa.
These are just a few highlights for you to consider on your African tour, and I did not intend for it to be an exhaustive list. Africa is a destination that will take a lifetime or more to explore and experience. Africa is, however, a challenge to travel in, and it is advised to get an African travel expert to help you plan your trip. An Africa expert will help you get the most out of your trip and provide you with options you may not otherwise have thought of. I truly hope that you will consider an African tour for your next holiday.