The much-anticipated new Disney Lion King film premieres
this week, and we at Africa Odyssey are certainly excited to see it. Cutting
edge graphics, amazing visuals but the exact same tale everyone fell in love
with back in 1994 – we are hoping it still encapsulates the nostalgic romance
of the African bush that the original did so well. It is hard to consider the
wild world of the African bush, and not appreciate the complexity of the animal
kingdom which keeps it ticking over year after year, and century after century.
From the dung beetles who are responsible for cleaning the animal highways of
the Serengeti Plains, to the big cats who clean up everything else – the
African bush really does embody the natural world of Elton John’s “circle of
life” in its most breath-taking form. Sunsets never get so red, scenery is never
so dramatic, and life doesn’t get much simpler yet more astonishing then when
out on safari in the African wilderness.
So if the film inspires you to go on an African adventure
yourself, then here are the best places to see the characters from the film in
the wild. Safari buffs will know that The Lion King is based in East Africa – this
is known because of the Swahili words peppered throughout the film, such as
Simba which means “lion” – Kenya and Tanzania are the countries which commonly
Also though, although not actually based on a particular area, we are pretty 100% sure that the scenery is inspired by real landscapes you can find in The northern Serengeti and The Masai Mara. Sweeping endless plains, and towering dramatic Kjopes are typical of these areas…
What makes us 120% sure The Lion King is based on the
Serengeti and the Masai Mara is that Mufasa’s dramatic death into the herds of
stampeding wildebeest is actually The Great Wildebeest Migration which can only
be found in these specific areas of East Africa.
For a full explanation of how to see this spectacle and then the best time to go is, see our Great Migration page or call an expert for more information. The Great Migration gives scenes such as this –
The Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration crossing the Mara River: Crossing point 8, October 2018. - YouTube
Taken by Marc in October 2018 from the Kogadente (Serengeti) side of the Mara River.
… You can see why Scar choses this as a ruse for his murder.
Now onto the stars of the show. Let us give you a little run down of the best places to find our favourite characters of the Lion King in real life.
Simba’s name translates directly into lion in Swahili. The best place in Africa to find lion without the crowds is in the wild and unruly Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania. It is gloriously off the beaten track and is home to 10% of the world’s population of lion. Stay at Ikuka for one of the most authentic and special safari experiences left in Africa…
Zazu is actually a red-billed hornbill. We know that because the Lion King is set in east Africa, that Zazu is a Tanzanian red-billed hornbill which is a sub species. Red-billed hornbills can be found pretty much everywhere in safari Africa so if you are lucky enough to venture to the bush, be sure to ask your guide to point one out for you.
A lot of people think Rafiki is a chimpanzee, but he is actually a Mandrill. His colourful, wise face seems like the perfect match to his mysterious character. You can venture to Gabon to see these extraordinary primates – a pretty adventurous and off the beaten tourist track African destination, but one which must be done in order to spot a rare Mandrill.
A lot of people think that Pumba directly translates to warthog in Swahili, but this is not true. Pumba actually means to be “foolish or silly” so we can see why originally the name was assigned to this particular character. The Lion King is so popular though, that most guides in Africa will actually call warthogs Pumba instead of their real name which is Ngiri – what started off as a nickname from the film has actually now stuck.
You can see warthogs pretty much anywhere in Africa – I personally have seen them the most in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, but likelihood is that if you venture on an African safari you will see that high tail scuttle as these flighty animals run away from you. Hakuna Matata is Pumba’s mantra, which literally means “no worries” in Swahili – which is actually pretty ironic… As a big food favourite of lions, leopards and cheetah they are in reality pretty easily spooked and very shy…
Hyena’s are always fascinating to catch a glimpse of – highly sociable and real cacklers; they are some of the more interesting African animals. Again, Hyena’s are common across the whole of Africa; brown, striped and spotted Hyenas are the different sub species. The Hyena’s we love to hate in The Lion King are spotted Hyenas and really are spread far and wide over Africa. A good place to find big clans though is in Laikipia in Kenya if you are itching to see the super clans.
Timon is a real favourite, and it’s no wonder as he is just as cheeky and chirpy as his real life equivalents. Meerkats are wonderful animals and a real joy to be around. They can be found in Southern Africa’s desert regions, and specifically in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana. Here, as they are somewhat habituated to human contact (not tame, just very relaxed), they really do get up close and personal. Don’t be surprised if you stay at Camp Kalahari in a sleep—out night under the stars and find one curled up beside you in the morning..
We hope this gets you
as excited for us for the new film! If you have any questions at all about how
to see the stars of the show then please do just call up an expert at Africa Odyssey and have a
&Beyond Phinda provides some of the best game viewing in South Africa
South Africa is the perfect holiday destination for anyone wanting to combine safari, city and beach. The variety within the country is unrivalled and with excellent accessibility and top-level service no matter where you go, we could not recommend a South African holiday more.
South Africa Safari Holidays
The main question people ask when planning to go on safari in South Africa is whether to go to the Kruger National Park or to visit the private game reserves. There are both pros and cons, however if you’re after the ultimate luxury experience then the private reserves should be your choice. For a detailed comparison between the two please, see our blog here.
Home to the Big 5, the majority of South Africa’s safaris will tick off most things on your wish list. What you should also realise is that a safari in South Africa isn’t just localised to the Kruger area. Located on the Eastern coast is a private reserve we love called Phinda, run by &Beyond. The game viewing here is unbelievable and due to the diversity of the habitats, guests are often ‘wowed’ by incredible sightings of all the Big 5 plus cheetah. The accommodation is some of the best in South Africa and the option of taking part in a ‘conservation experience’ makes &Beyond’s Phinda a truly unique destination.
A leopard and her cub in one of South Africa’s Private Nature Reserves
Beach Holidays in South Africa
Unlike the warm waters that lap the coast lines of Zanzibar, South Africa’s best beach destinations are in Cape Town. The water may be chillier than you would find further North, yet this shouldn’t put you off from visiting. For those who enjoy stunning scenery, adventure and the glamour of city life then Cape Town is perfect. There are beautiful mountain roads that will guide you to the famous penguin colony of Simon’s Town and take you to the dizzying heights of Table Mountain. For those who wish to stay in the centre of it all, the Cape Grace Hotel is located on the V&A waterfront, providing beautiful views into the harbour and giving perfect access for attractions such as the aquarium, Robben Island and the numerous museums, bars and restaurants.
Family holidays in South Africa are great for everyone!
Family holidays in South Africa
South Africa is one of the best destinations for a family holiday. With plenty of activities to entertain the children in Cape Town, there are also many safari lodges which cater for children and extremely well suited for families to stay. Tswalu in the Kalahari region is the ultimate luxury lodge and prides itself on the rare and magical animals that inhabit the area. It is the family focus however, that really makes it stand out from the rest. A ‘Junior Ranger’ programme is used to introduce first-time safari children. This programme encompasses many bush activities and passed on a strong conservation ethos that will hopefully inspire a generation of future conservationists. As well as the Ranger Programme, Tswalu offers a vast array of activities including horse-riding, walking safaris and sleep-outs. This makes it a perfect destination for any occasion.
Tswalu in the Kalahari is perfect for a luxury family getaway
Ticking off the ‘Big 5’ is the most prized possession for almost every safari goer. Most people who are asked about what they would love to see on safari often respond with the ‘Big 5’ or at least one of the five. The reason? Well, the ‘Big 5’ are the most notorious of African animals. Previously they were labelled and grouped together, not because they are the five biggest animals, but because they were the five hardest African animals to hunt on foot. As hunting has taken a step back in most areas across Africa, the tourism boards decided to use the ‘Big 5’ as a lure for tourists into their countries, offering them the chance to view and photograph the most dangerous animals in Africa.
Often we are asked where the best place to see the ‘Big 5’ is, and whilst there isn’t a straight forward or guaranteed answer, there are numerous destinations in Africa that are well known for their success rate of delivering the ‘Big 5’ for guests. The Ngorongoro Crater is world-renowned for the ‘Big 5’ including the very rare black rhino. Boarding the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, The Serengeti is also very well-known for its ‘Big 5’ concentration with the lion density being extremely high in certain areas. It isn’t just Eastern Africa where you can see the ‘Big 5’, Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve offer very different safari experiences, but both boast a great concentration of all of the ‘Big 5’. The Sabi Sands is also legendary in the safari world for its luxury lodges and magnificent leopard sightings. Below we take through each individual of the ‘Big 5’ and where we could take you to see them.
The King of the jungle needs no introduction. Armed with weaponry that includes huge canine teeth, razor sharp claws and a roar that can travel for miles, the lion dominates the plains of Africa. The collaborative attitude of this feline makes them formidable opponents when hunting, often bringing down prey that far outweighs them. Lions are the only sociable cat, living together in prides generally made up of a couple of males and a number of females with cubs. In our experience, it is these cats that are the most sought-after for first time safari guests. Lions can be found in all of our safari destinations ranging from the bone-dry sand dunes of the Skeleton Coast, Namibia to the floodplains of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Fantastic photo opportunities of these felines often present themselves to our guests during their safaris and their very high density in the Serengeti, Tanzania and the Masai Mara, Kenya results in almost everyone seeing them. Credit must go to the expert guides that conduct the game drives who find them!
The most elusive and shiest member of the ‘Big 5’. The leopard is an animal that seasoned safari guests are forever in awe of. With the swagger of royalty and a cunning nature that demands respect, the spotted coat of a leopard is not an easy thing to find. The camouflage works so well that it is difficult to locate against almost every backdrop. Finding a leopard is no easy feat, yet the Sabi Sands prides itself as the best place to find these mysterious creatures. The South Luangwa in Zambia is also well worth a visit for trying to find leopards. It is fast becoming a world-renowned destination for providing leopard sightings that often leave guests mesmerized.
Black and White Rhino
The rhino is fast becoming the most endangered member of the ‘Big 5’. With an increase in poaching for its horn, the number of rhinos across Africa has started to dwindle dramatically. There are two main types of rhino that you could find on your safari with us. The first is the rarer and more aggressive black rhino which can be found in good numbers in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, the Masai Mara, Kenya and Damaraland, Namibia. Although it is smaller than the white rhino, its fiery personality means that no encounter is ever predictable. On the other hand, the white rhino is the larger of the two species and aptly named due to its ‘wijde’ mouth instead of its colour. It is more placid in nature and feeds upon grass instead of shrubs. The best chance of seeing the white rhino would be to visit Phinda Game Reserve or the Kruger National Park, both of which are located in South Africa.
With some individuals weighing seven tonnes, the African elephant is the biggest land mammal on Earth. It’s domineering size and emotional complexity makes this one of the most interesting animals to have encounters with whilst on safari. You will generally find good numbers of elephants in all the reserves we offer safaris in, however if you really want a treat then a visit to Mana Pools, Zimbabwe is a must. The elephants in Mana Pools are unlike any other in Africa. You can bear witness as these gentle giants reach up to the tops of the trees, balancing on their two back feet. Known for its incredible walking safaris, only at Mana Pools can you witness elephants committing such an extraordinary act whilst being out of the vehicle.
Definitely the grumpiest and the most aggressive member of the ‘Big 5’. The buffalo is normally a gregarious creature with herds being made up of a mixture of males, females and calves. As the males get older they get kicked out and become ‘dugga boys’(a local term meaning mud wallower), and this is where the buffalo’s bad reputation comes from. These individual male buffalo will lie in the mud for the majority of the day and can charge anything that comes near. Herds of buffalo can reach figures in the high hundreds and places such as the Okavango Delta, Botswana and Ruaha, Tanzania provide great opportunities to witness such a spectacle.
It must be noted though, that going on safari isn’t all about the ‘Big 5’. There are a multitude of other mammals, a plethora of bird and plant life and an unprecedented amount of biodiversity in each eco-system which requires plenty of attention. Although we can’t go into each category and its complexities, we have found that the deeper you look the more you’ll see. So if this insight has whetted your appetite to see the ‘Big 5’ or to learn more about the fauna and flora of the African wilderness, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Victoria Falls is one of the most breath-taking and awe-inspiring spectacles in the natural world. People travel all over the world to view and photograph it, and we can’t blame them. If you’re looking at visiting or just generally curious about the falls here are some of our favourite facts about them:
The Falls, as seen from above.
Victoria Falls is one of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World. It accompanies the Northern Lights, the Grand Canyon, Paricutin Volcano, Harbour of Rio de Janiero, Mount Everest and the Great Barrier Reef on this prodigious list.
Victoria Falls Devil’s Pool
The water levels of the Zambezi fluctuate seasonally. During months where the water levels are lower (May to November), the adrenaline junkies can visit ‘Devil’s Pool’ which is a naturally formed rock pool which over-looks the falls.
Photographed by the millions, the rainbows formed at Victoria Falls are simply stunning. Yet there isn’t just a rainbow formed during the day. As the sun sets, the moonlight bounces off the spray giving you a ‘moonlit rainbow’, aka a ‘Moonbow’.
Victoria Falls is also known as “Mosi oa-Tunya” (“the smoke that thunders”) because of the enormous amount of spray produced and the thunderous sound created from the falling water.
Victoria Falls Zambia | Victoria Falls Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls can be visited from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls is located on the border of these two Southern Africa countries but can be accessed by both sides. If you are thinking that the grass is greener though, you are able to cross the border for free and with very little hassle.
The Falls is located exactly half way along the mighty Zambezi River. Further upstream the river meanders through national parks with Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools on one side and Zambia’s Lower Zambezi on the other.
Rafting the Zambezi, Zambia
The depth of the water at the base of the falls is seventy metres!
The falls were named after Queen Victoria of England by a Scottish missionary called Dr David Livingstone.
It is classified as the largest waterfall due to its width, not its height.
About one million people every year visit the Falls. Are you going to be one of them? If you want to find out how you can, contact us now!
As David Attenborough’s latest natural world spectacle Our Planet hit the small screen last week, we decided to highlight some of the destinations that are featured. The reason: we can whisk you off to many of those places to see its tremendous wildlife! Attenborough claims that he has partnered with Netflix for this production because of its “global reach” to around one-hundred and twenty million people which is a tremendously important factor if we are to save the wildlife of this planet. Although a major narrative of the series is about human degradation of our natural areas, we believe that the best way to learn about these places is to visit them yourself. So, if you want to journey across the planet, have some unforgettable experiences and relive some of the amazing spectacles documented first-hand, contact us now!
Possibly the most famous of all habitats are the grasslands of Africa. Areas of grassland are renowned worldwide in the Masai Mara, Kenya and the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, this habitat has an abundancy of life including high densities of predators like lions, cheetah and wild dog. The high predator concentration means that there are high visitor numbers, especially in Kenya when it is peak season. We have a great guide to when the best times to go on safari, so if you’re interested in finding out, take a look here. We offer Northern Tanzania itineraries that include the Serengeti as well as the Ngorongoro Crater and it is on these plains where you will see the battle for life and death in vivid detail.
Another wildlife spectacle area that is of interest to nature enthusiasts but wasn’t mentioned in Our Planet is the annual migration of zebras through the grasslands of Botswana. It is a migration of five hundred kilometres, rivalling the length of the wildebeest’s journey through the Serengeti. A large portion of the zebra population in Chobe travels from its floodplains all the way to Nxai Pan and back again. The animals follow the rains and feed on the lush vegetation left behind and it wasn’t until recently that it came to the forefront of conservationist’s minds. We can take you to the heart of the action through a number of lodges that are located in these areas.
Fast becoming one of the wildlife enthusiast’s favourite destinations is the Pantanal in Brazil. It is an exceptional eco-system that encompasses the world’s largest tropical wetland and is home to thousands of different flora and fauna. In the Freshwater episode of Our Planet you see the adrenaline fuelled clip of a jaguar stalking and catching a caiman and if you’re lucky, there is no reason why you can’t see this with us. Whilst visiting the Pantanal, spotting wildlife between April and September is relatively easy and is generally the highlight of a trip. There are, however other activities for you to explore, aside from looking for jaguar, you can trek, horse ride or take it easy at the lodge, a variety of options that means you will never be bored!
Another adrenaline fuelled scene in this episode was the lion pride hunting buffalo in Ruaha, Tanzania. The camera crew actually stayed in a lodge we know very well, Ikuka, which is a lodge situated with a beautiful view over Ruaha. It is quite unique in its open plan rooms that mean you certainly feel closer to nature without compromising on luxury. The biggest bonus of visiting Ruaha is the low visitor numbers due to its geographical location in central Tanzania. The flights are longer and more expensive compared to someone visiting the Selous or the Serengeti; however the camps are generally cheaper when compared to lodges in the North of Tanzania. The bonus for some extra journey time however, is a low vehicle and visitor density. The animal density, on the other hand, is astounding. The concentration of elephants, buffalo and hippo is massive because of a lack in rainfall, and because of a high prey density, the predator population is also extremely high. This is a combination that frequqently produces some incredible sightings.
Although not mentioned extensively in Our Planet, an eco-system that cannot be over-looked and revolves around freshwater is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. This exceptional eco-system is annually transformed from grassy plains to an underwater oasis. The area floods on a yearly basis from around May until July which is caused by the rainfall in the Angolan highlands. The flooding attracts huge concentrations of game including elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo and crocodile. The Delta also exhibits one of the richest pack densities of African Wild Dog in Africa, but no matter what animal you’re after, the photographic opportunities are guaranteed to be breath-taking.
The desert is considered by most to be most hostile environment on the planet and over twenty-percent of the world’s land is covered by this habitat. In some cases, a drop of rain may never have been recorded, yet this does not deter a variety of wildlife living in these extreme conditions. With temperatures soaring in the day and dropping drastically at night any wildlife that lives in these habitats needs to be especially hardy and well adapted. In Our Planet we saw the struggles that desert life can bring but also the abundance of life that thrives!
Namibia is a country of mainly desert and by traveling with us you can explore almost anywhere you wish. We offer trips that include Damaraland, Etosha and the Skeleton Coast and whilst all habitats vary, they are all spectacles to behold. In these areas you may find desert adapted animals such as elephants (some of the biggest in Africa) and gemsbok (also known as Oryx) alongside more elusive and rare creatures such as the black rhino and brown hyenas.
A favourite character in Planet Earth and Blue Planet that also features in Our Planet is the biggest fish on Earth: the whale shark. As big as a Boeing 747, yet harmless (unless you’re plankton), the whale shark is a marine animal that is a spectacle to behold. Every year, a number of these giants can be found between October until March near to Mafia Island. The colossal fish swim in the corridor between the island and the Eastern coast of Tanzania which makes for almost guaranteed sightings during these times. You can go diving or snorkelling with these enormous marine animals and it is an experience you would never forget.
If you were enchanted by the coral reefs that featured during Our Planet and want to scuba dive and explore more of the ocean, we would recommend Pemba Island which is a short flight from Zanzibar. Although the beaches on Pemba do not compare to those on Zanzibar, the island is surrounded by stunning coral reefs that are hard to be beaten anywhere on Earth. The lack of good beaches results in very low visitor numbers making your diving experience far less crowded and more intimate.
If whale watching isn’t the only thing you fancy doing on your holiday, but you also want to experience city life, then Cape Town, South Africa is an ideal destination for you. You can combine city experiences with whale watching, shark diving and a trip to Simon’s Town to view the famous penguin colony there. Cape Town is also easily accessible to Phinda game reserve which boasts the ‘Big 5’ making it a city that can offer almost everything and cater to all your needs.
Jungles and Forests
As featured in the programme, gorillas and chimpanzees are one of the planet’s animal wonders. With only isolated pockets remaining of both sets of primates, visits are limited and pricey. The primates are so intellectual and human-like that spending time with them is an awe-inspiring experience. The best place to see the Gorillas is in Uganda or Rwanda and with the climate in both countries being temperate; it is possible to visit year-round. There are rainy and dry seasons, both which have their pros and cons when looking for either the chimpanzees or gorillas, but no matter the time of year, it is an adventure of a life-time. If you are however, after solely chimpanzee trekking then the lesser-known Mahale Mountains in Tanzania is certainly worth a visit. Located on the Western side of the country, near to Katavi National Park and it is an ideal location to see these apes and then go on safari. Our clients have never failed to see the chimps!
Another great ape apparent in the Our Planet documentary, and one that has featured world-wide in adverts due to the destruction of their habitat are the orangutans of Borneo. Their intelligence and lateral thinking is emphasised by their use of tools to grab themselves some dinner and is a remarkable thing to witness. Asia Odyssey is able to offer you trips into the heart of Borneo that gets you up close and personal with them which is something to leave you astounded.
The Siberian tiger is the biggest cat on Earth and Our Planet beautifully demonstrated how hard these big cats are to capture footage of, let alone see in person. With camera men spending weeks on end in hides designed specifically to catch a glimpse of these elusive creatures, the only way footage emerged of the felines was through the use of remote camera traps. If you want to see one of these apex predators in the wild then we would suggest opting for a trip to India instead of visiting the vast expanses of Russia. Although there are no Siberian tigers in India, the National Parks are home to many Bengal tigers and greater one-horned rhinos that are seen almost on a daily basis. The safari experience in India can also be combined with a many cultural trips, such as the Taj Mahal, making it a place that can cater for everybody’s needs.
The Frozen World
Located at the polar opposites of the world, the frozen world is just as harsh an environment as the desert; however that does not stop us travelling there to witness some of what the natural world has to offer. The plight of the penguins and polar bears has been documented often and is again present in Our Planet. The constant antics of different penguin colonies are thoroughly entertaining and are great to photograph. Through South America Odyssey we can take you to the Antarctic to witness the lives of these penguins first-hand. If you dare to brave the plummeting temperatures then join us on an Antarctic exploration and see what other natural wonders await you.
Africa has always been the continent of romance. It ignites passion, desire and adoration. You could be watching the sun cast purple and orange hues across the open plains on your honeymoon, you could be listening to the king of the jungle proclaiming his territory or you could be dipping your toes into the crystal blue ocean that surrounds a coastline of gold. One thing is certain: Africa is the perfect way for you and your partner to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of normality and find a week (or two, or three!) of utopia.
Couples Holidays in Tanzania and Zanzibar
The best way to combine safari and beach is certainly a visit to Tanzania and Zanzibar. With flights from Selous to Zanzibar being short and frequent, you can be sure that there is no easier way for you to combine both the bush and the beach. The Northern part of Tanzania including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and The Serengeti include fantastic game viewing opportunities, for those wishing to tick off the Big 5. Crowds are generally apparent in these areas, however we know of camps in the Western corner of The Serengeti which can provide a more intimate and personal experience, although the prices certainly reflect this.
If you are seeking to escape the crowds then the Southern part of Tanzania would suit you and your partner better. Game viewing is still great in the lesser visited Ruaha and Selous and the extra activities on offer, such as walking and boat safaris are great alternatives than simply game driving. Fly camping is an extremely romantic possibility and can be undertaken as well. Lying under the African stars and being enveloped by nature is definitely an opportunity not to be missed.
After a short flight, you can be transported from the middle of the African bushveld to the glistening coast line of Tanzania. Ras Kutani is our favourite coastal destination because it is secluded, private and escapes the crowds of Zanzibar. It also offers a fantastic 4for3 night deal all year round and we claim that it’s our little secret. Zanzibar is also a great addition for couples after a safari in Tanzania. Its variety of hotels can offer differing levels of intimacy which allow all budgets to be catered for. If you’re an adventurous couple, scuba diving is fantastic in certain parts of the island and especially on the private islands of Pemba and Mafia.
Couples Holidays in Kruger and Cape Town
If relaxing on a beach after a safari isn’t really your thing then South Africa could be the destination for you. Fantastic game viewing opportunities including the Big 5 are available within The Greater Kruger area (Sabi Sands Game Reserve) and after a short internal flight; the city of Cape Town would be at your disposal. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in Cape Town, all with a beautiful backdrop of the coast. There are many activities to cater for anyone’s needs including whale watching, skydiving and gin tasting experiences. If you’re a couple who enjoy road tripping together, The Garden Route is a scenic and popular option that takes the two of you from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.
Couples Holidays in Rwanda/Uganda
If you fancy yourselves as intrepid travellers who enjoy thick jungles and unforgettable close encounters, then gorilla and chimpanzee trekking is an ideal way for you to release your inner explorer. Rwanda and Uganda both offer gorilla and chimpanzee trekking all year round making it an ideal destination. Both dry and rainy seasons have their pros and cons that need to be considered for viewing these animals, but if you are both after an adventurous, once in a lifetime experience, then look no further.
Couples Holidays in Botswana
If you are after an extremely luxurious, secluded and private safari that offers animal sightings that cannot be beaten, then Botswana should be at the top of your bucket list. Although it is generally priced higher than other safari destinations, Botswana is a perfect destination for a wild honeymoon. The Okavango Delta, between May to October offers spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities due to the floods. All camps are fly-in, fly-out throughout the year and during the flood season, boats are the best way (and sometimes only way!) to get around. With your experienced guide you can choose vehicle, walking or boat safaris but whatever you decide on, your game viewing experience will be second-to-none. The Botswana motto of high value, low volume means your holiday will be private and secluded, a must for any couple with deep pockets!
Depending on what basis you are staying in the lodges on, the amount of money we would recommend you taking changes.
What does all-inclusive actually mean?
Most lodges are all inclusive which means everything is covered including game drives and mostly all game viewing activities (depending on the lodge and area, sometimes with the exception of night drives, walking and balloon safaris). All drinks are also included in all-inclusive except for premium spirits and champagne and all meals are also paid for including any packed lunches.
Some camps operate on a full board basis, which means the same as the above except drinks (soft and alcoholic) are not included. As a guide a beer may be around $3.50 and a glass of wine similar, or potentially a little more.
Unexpected expenses on safari
Extra expenses include guide and staff tipping. This one is completely down to you, but we think quite a good amount is $10 per person for your guide per day, and $10 per person into the staff tip box per day.
When booking with Africa Odyssey all your transfers are included in the cost and internal flights, so really when in the bush the only expense you have to worry about is maybe the odd Gin and Tonic in (very few) safari lodges, and tipping throughout your stay, which in most cases, everyone is happy to do as the service on safari really is like no where else in the world.
Don’t forget, if you are going to the beach most of the time the hotels are on a half board basis, which means your lunch and drinks are not prepaid. This is worth bearing in mind as an extra cost, and also worth thinking about is the beautiful curio shops found at many of the lodges. There are some beautiful African homeware, jewellery, books and accessories to be purchased to remember your trip by, or to simply get your hands on something you simply can’t get at home! It is always worth having a few more dollars than you need, just in case something grabs your eye, and also, ATMs aren’t so easy to come by when in the middle of the bush…
It is important on a first-time safari to make sure you pack the appropriate clothing to make you comfortable on your time in the bush, so this is a little post to help you out with your packing!
Bring only a few safari tops – laundry service on safari is very good, and if you put a top in the laundry in the morning the camp will return it by the time you are back from your evening drive. T-shirts are a good option for safari and neutral colours are recommended so to blend in with your surroundings. Avoid black and blue if you are visiting areas with Tsetse flies as these colours attract them. So three t-shirts is probably enough for a week’s safari.
You will need a few layers (depending on when and where you are going!) as it can get pretty chilly in the evenings and on early morning game drives. I would say one or two long sleeved thin tops and a jumper or two. A windproof jacket is also sometimes a great idea for game drives in the chill of the morning to keep youall cosy inside. Ask us for packing recommendations for your specific country though! Also don’t forget to bring a few different outfits for evenings and also beach time if that applies to you!
Bring a few pairs of long trousers – a few comfortable and neutral pairs for game drives and a few more for evening meals. You do not have to dress up at all for evening meals on safari, but having a change of clothes is always nice, especially after a particularly dusty game drive.
If you are going on a walking safari, you will need a good pair of walking shoes. Make sure you break them in before arrival! Nothing worse than blisters spoiling a beautiful walk in the wilderness. You should also consider bringing some comfortable and breathable shoes for walking around camp in the day time. Don’t forget your flip flops if you are bookending your safari with some beach time too!
There are a few essential accessories which will make your safari even better.
If you have a good camera – bring it! A safari is probably the most photogenic of holidays you will ever go on and it would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity for some phenomenal shots.
Binos! So important to catch the action in the distance you may simply miss without a good pair. For birders, binoculars are really crucial.
A hat is also a good idea. A cap or sun sat is great for sunny game drives – make sure it fits on your head nicely though, as there is always a danger of it being blown away in the open sided vehicles.
Sunglasses… Self explanatory!
Swimming costume/bikini – some lodges have pools, and if they don’t, if you are also going to the beach this is a no brainer.
Underwear… Easy drying underwear is a good idea. In many safari camps you have to wash your own underwear by hand so making sure you have some which are easily dried is a good idea.
Sports bra! Even if you are not planning any activities other than game drives, the roads can often be bumpy so to make sure you aren’t suffering, pack a few just in case.
Insect repellent… Because mozzies can be very annoying!
We always say that choosing your perfect beach hotel and location depends very much on what kind of beach lover you are… Some are after all action throughout the day and ocean sunsets at night, whilst others spend their days sauntering along white sands stopping off for the occasional cocktail, whilst others simply want to bury themselves in a sun bed with a good book, and leave behind the woes of everyday life. It also depends very much on what your occasion is; are you a family looking for a beach destination to suit everyone’s needs, are you a honeymoon couple seeking your own little slice of paradise, or are you an adventurous pair of pals looking for underwater thrills? Luckily, Africa’s beaches have it all.
We will guide you through the best beach options on the continent for each kind of beach lover – it is important though to note that we can’t explain every option in one blog post, so ringing up and explaining your particular interests is by far the best way of narrowing down your best beachy options.
Which African beaches to choose to suit all the family
So when comparing beach options for the family, we think there are a few crucial things to consider…
Kid’s don’t like long flights and neither will you with your kids! If you are tacking on safari, make sure it is accessible to the beach.Activities for days! Make sure you are based somewhere which will provide lots to do for yourself and your kids.
A decent sized hotel, especially with small kids, will mean you won’t be worried of getting on top of other guests, and means everyone can pretty much run riot in the spacious hotel grounds.
A lot of families flock to Mauritius because of the very good big hotels and all the activities which it offers. However, Mauritius is not the easiest to get to! Even if you are not going on safari too, it involved “dead” nights, and coupled with these and lengthy internal flights in between long-haul international flights makes for a pretty unrelaxing beginning to your family holiday!
Instead, we would always suggest the colourful Zanzibar, just off the coast of Tanzania. From the UK and US international flights connect through Europe and straight to Dar es Salaam which is only a little 15-minute hop from Zanzibar. However, it is not just convenience which makes Zanzibar such a fantastic African beach destination, but also the rich selection of boutique and character full bigger hotels, as well as all the activities under the African sun. Also, Zanzibar is fantastic in both the Christmas holidays and throughout the summer months; almost like it was made for Indian Ocean family getaway.
Which African beaches to choose for your relaxing honeymoon
When everywhere you look there are white sands forever, sparkling turquoise seas and beautiful boutique hotels it can be very difficult to make a decision! We think, alike with for families, it is a shame to spend a lot of your precious honeymoon time on lengthy flights, so whatever else your plans are on your honeymoon, make sure your beach time is relatively easy to access.
It can be difficult to find slices of paradise which are untouched by tourism and also easily accessible. However, we know a little gem on the East African coast which may be just the ticket; Kenya’s Diani Beach. With a turbulent recent history, it was off the radar for quite a few years. However, as this has settled and it is officially back on the map. We would recommend getting to the Kenyan coast before everyone else jumps on the band wagon – the beaches are pristine and there are some excellent boutique hotels to choose from for a really intimate and (now) off the beaten track beach honeymoon. Less easily accessible from your safari is the dreamy Seychelles and the Maldives. These are seriously spoiling honeymoon destinations too and the epitome of Indian Ocean relaxation… If you don’t mind more travel!
Which African beaches to choose for your action packed off the beaten track adventure
If you get twitchy lying on a beach and are looking for an action packed beach experience, Africa also has some fantastic adventures in store for you. If you are looking for the classic beach underwater activities, then all our favourite areas in Kenya, Zanzibar, Mozambique, The Maldives, Mauritius and The Seychelles have these in abundance. However, if you are looking for something a little different and more “out there” you should look into Madagascar and South Africa…
Madagascar offers an adventure in itself; it is not just about the beautiful Indian Ocean Beaches but also in the unique nature on the island, and the fact that you can spend a whole two-week trip there without getting twitchy as it really is huge and full of surprises. With astonishing bio diversity, glorious beaches and some seriously world class accommodation options (see Tsarabanjina and Manafiafy), it is like nowhere in Africa for an off the beaten track beach holiday with a twist.
South Africa is fabulous for those who love putting on a wetsuit and tearing up the coastline. From shark cage diving for the serious adrenaline seekers out there, to surfing, diving, swimming with seals and paragliding… For those who want an adventurous and unconventional beach experience, South Africa is your place.
There is no doubt that Giraffe Manor is world-famous, and for good reason. It offers one of the most intimate wildlife experiences on the planet, with one of the most majestic and gentle animals on the continent. As the name suggests, the focus of this fantastic boutique hotel is its long-necked friends which also call this 12 acre stretch of private land home. However, the overall experience, even without the giraffes is that of a bygone era of safari romance.
Enjoy breakfast with the giraffes and leave your room windows open for a surprise visit from the very tame and extremely content Rothschild giraffes. Having the giraffes in the vicinity epitomizes the elegant history of Giraffe Manor and this old school atmosphere is palpable from the giraffes themselves through to the bed frames, to the food, to the dining room and to the warm and welcoming staff. There are 12 rooms in this grand manor house, and all are beautifully decorated. You have to be careful about which one you choose though, as a few of them don’t have verandas and therefore don’t make the most of the hotel’s giraffe interaction potential!
If you are looking for an overnight stop, then Giraffe Manor will give you a seriously different Nairobi experience. However, it does tend to get booked up years in advance, so if you want to be in with a chance of staying here then please let us know far in advance. Because of it’s fame, it has also acquired a bit of a price tag to match – at prices beginning at $620 per person per night, it is certainly not a cheap pit stop, but one which will linger on in your memories until way after your return home.
TIP: If Giraffe Manor is booked up and/or you don’t want to pay a premium for a one night stop on top of an already expensive safari, there is actually a giraffe feeding point which you can visit in the grounds even if you are not staying at Giraffe Manor itself. Although staying is really very special, we sometimes feel as though the fame of the hotel sometimes supersedes justification for visiting. If you really want to interact with the Giraffes give us a call and we can check availability for you and advise on how to proceed in order to make your wish come true.