Where the Wild Things Are
11 Mar 2020
How do you capture the essence of Africa on paper without using up every cliché in the book? No other continent comes close to Africa for sheer scale, more choice than a variety store and pure, unadulterated impact. Africa offers a travel experience greatly different from probably any other holiday you’ll have ever been on. Where else on earth can you fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, witness a million pink flamingos take flight from a great soda lake or a quirky migration of wildebeests? Africa boasts scenery so spectacular, it’ll blow your mind and quickly deplete the memory chip of any digital camera as that shutter moves into action. Beyond anything else, you’ll be struck by the warm-heartedness and vitality of the African people.
On safari, savour the best Continental Africa has to offer including de luxe lodges and luxury permanent tented camps that rival any luxury resort you may ever have stayed. At this level, one can expect tents with hotel beds dressed in fine linens with private roll top baths, butler service, mini-bar and a host of pleasing amenities for example swim pools at some lodges, an expansive bar and restaurant serving haute cuisine and the best of the Continent, small vehicle morning/evening game drives and your every whim catered for.
Phil Hoffmann Travel offers an enviable array of choice in Africa.
Try Africa once. It doesn’t matter where. The guarantee is you’ll dream about coming back for the rest of your life. Captured here are some of Africa’s jewels.
Come to Kenya
For its size, Kenya packs a lot in: a Great Rift Valley, plenty of mountains and deserts, lakes, beaches and coral reefs, colourful tribal culture and platinum wildlife viewing possibilities.
There is a swag of different reasons to come here, and picking just one is impossible. Stunning landscapes set the scene. From stunning Indian Ocean beaches to the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara; the Great Rift Valley, home to Hell’s Gate National Park, cleaving a massive gash through it all.
Kenya is justifiably world-famous for it wildlife. Several Kenyan parks, like Tsavo National Park, are among the finest places in Africa to see elephant, lion, leopard and the famous wildebeest migration. Kenya is also an ornithologist paradise, rating in the top five. Balloon across the Masai Mara, enjoy dinner at Nairobi’s famous Carnivore Restaurant, visit Karen Blixen’s home, try jumping as high as the Maasai and be sure to enjoy an ice-cold Tusker lager as the sun sets on yet another day in Kenya.
Immediately exotic, Tanzania is stuffed to the gunnels with a roll call of Africa’s most alluring destinations including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Resonating with hints of the wild and exotic, these four alone are reason enough to justify packing your bag and heading off to Tanzania. Billy Joel belted out a tune about Zanzibar and launched the travel dreams of the masses intent on finding Shantytown on the legendary spice island.
A vast, unbroken volcanic crater ring, Ngorongoro’s crater floor plays host to a list of animals Noah would be proud of. Zebra, buffalo, black rhino and wildebeest graze under the watchful eyes of the predatory lion, cheetah and hyena.
The Serengeti offers a chance to view the wonder of the wildebeest migration, whilst Mt Kilimanjaro offers the ultimate African challenge to folk wanting to reach their peak!
Betwixt all the excitement, over 100 ethnic groups amicably rub shoulders. Chances are that you’ll want to come back for more, to which most Tanzanians will say ‘karibu tena’ (welcome again).
Sandwiched above South Africa and below Zimbabwe and Zambia, landlocked Botswana is high on the radar of travelers wanting to visit the largest inland waterway on earth. In Northern Botswana, the Okavango River flows in from Namibia, and soaks into the sands to form the Okavango Delta. Here, vast open savannas teem with wildlife, accessible on relaxing mokoro (dugout canoe) safaris. A ride in a mokoro is perhaps Botswana’s answer to the Venetian gondola! As the Okavango Delta and neighbouring Chobe River provide a year-round water supply, nearly all southern African mammal species are present at Moremi Wildlife Reserve and Chobe National Park. Big elephant populations are present at both parks. In the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans National Park herds of wildebeest, zebra and other mammals migrate annually in search of permanent water and stable food supplies.
Actually sitting on a bedrock of diamonds, Botswana is a perfect gem and easily enjoyed with South Africa.
Now for Namibia
Wedged between the Kalahari and the South Atlantic, Namibia boasts wild seascapes, rugged mountains, lonely deserts, stunning wildlife, colonial cities and nearly unlimited elbow room.
The jewels in the Namib crown include the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park in Northwestern Namibia, the stunning apricot dunes and desert plains of Namib-Naukluft Park in Western Namibia, a little slice of Deutschland in the shape of Swakopmund, the awesome Fish River Canyon and the exceptionally friendly capital. In this country, the sky is so thick with stars you can’t differentiate between constellations. Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that make you question whether something so visually perfect could actually exist. If you go to only one place in Africa, make it here.
Select South Africa
Positioned at the southern extreme of this epic continent, South Africa is brimming with geographical, scenic and cultural diversity. Sometimes called ‘a world in one country’ South Africa has it all. The luxurious Rovos Rail carries passengers in style across the Great Karoo past iconic Table Mountain into Cape Town. The Garden Route rewards visitors with beautiful towns dotted across vintage wine country and stretches along a dramatic coastline dotted with nature reserves, ostrich farms and beaches. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, the majestic Drakensberg Mountains which running all the way from the Kingdom of Lesotho past Rorke’s Drift battlefield north towards the wildlife Kruger National Park’s wildlife-stalked savannah of Kruger and Limpopo.
Beyond the wildlife and breathtaking scenery, the gastronomic scene is enticingly good. Whether you tuck into Cape Malay classic such as Bobotie (curried lamb with an egg custard topping), a flamed-grilled sosatie (kebab often featuring exotic proteins) or a braii (barbecue) be sure to add a liberal daub of monkey gland sauce – a piquant blend of fruit and spices, washed down of course with a fine drop of Meerlust Rubicon.