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WE KNOW AFRICA

Welcome to the African Travel safari blog. In this space, we share inspirational stories and ideas on adventures in Africa, plus our latest social posts! 

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5 Reasons to Travel to Africa Now

April 6th, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

As travel begins to re-emerge, Africa has become a coveted vacation destination for adventure, romance, and family travel and space on safaris is filling up fast. 

“Africa is proving to be a very popular destination for 2021 and 2022 because it offers a diversity of bucket list safaris for every travel style and interest,” said our president, Sherwin Banda. “Africa lends itself to outdoor and social distancing experiences that many luxury travelers are looking for right now.”

Now is the time to reserve a spot, as space is limited. Here are the top five reasons to place Africa at the top of the list:

 

1. Africa is Open and Accessible 

 

With easing travel restrictions, airlines are increasing flights to Africa, which you can lock in now. Delta and United Airlines recently announced that they will have new routes to Africa in June. Our team has access to great flight rates with United Airlines to Cape Town later this year. There are also more choices in visiting other destinations in Africa due to increased internal flight options in Africa, such as more flights from South Africa to Victoria Falls starting again.

As a top award-winning safari operator selling the destination for 45 years, we know how to match the right Africa with the right client.  African Travel has strong relationships across Africa, with plenty of space reserved, and can help craft the right safari for each guests. We have enhanced our experiences to bring the best of Africa while offering flexibility in travel and five-star service. 

 

2. Find Exceptional Value This Green Season 

 

Robin Pope Safaris zebra foal, Zambia

 

While you can travel to Africa year-round, one of our favorite times to visit is during the Green Season.

With the rains of Africa comes bright, blossoming flowers, thousands of migrant birds, and ideal breeding grounds for all types of wildlife. You’ll have a high chance of spotting baby animals with their mothers and predators of all kinds.

There are less crowds and favorable rates during the green season. It also creates ideal conditions for incredible photography opportunities of wildlife and colorful landscapes. 

The Green Season varies in Africa. East Africa is in November, December, and April, with Southern Africa from December to March.

Additionally, guests can save thousands of dollars on our most popular trips when traveling this year, receiving an additional 10% savings. See special offers.

 

3. Amazing Private Options

 

With luxury safaris comes ultimate private experiences from highly vetted lodges. This means less – or at times nearly absent- crowds that makes for an ideal safari experience. Although our safaris are naturally more intimate, the private conservancies and camps we partner with offer great exclusive options for guests.

Our new South Africa Private Villa Safari unlocks the 'rainbow nation's' hidden secrets.  Exploring the most exclusive private reserves in the country, you’ll experience Ellerman House villa’s sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, discover Tswalu Tarkuni’s ultimate off-the-beaten-track escape and indulge in The Farmhouse at Royal Malewane’s own private deck and outside shower, with spectacular views of the bush.

 

The Farmstead private villa at Royal Malewane, South Africa

 

“Tswalu simply excels at accommodating privacy for families, especially in the Tarkuni Private Villa that accommodates up to ten guests. Because each party is assigned a private vehicle and dedicated guide, everyone enjoys total flexibility and peace of mind,” - Yvette DeVries, Safari Consultant

For adventurous luxury, Rwanda and Uganda boast secluded small and intimate lodges where you can trek the lush green forests for endangered gorillas and chimpanzees. Uganda’s Wildlife Authority has extended their promotional discounts until the end of June, with exciting offers on gorilla and chimpanzee permits and discounts in park entries and birding fees.

If you love stargazing, opt for an incredible private night-sky experience in Kenya on our Under Kenyan Skies safari. It’s just you, your handcrafted four poster bed on raised wooden platforms, and the bush, as you sleep in Loisaba Conservancy’s Star Beds for uninterrupted views of the galaxy from above.

 

4. New Camps Deliver Bragging Rights

 

By traveling to Africa now, you’ll be one of the first to visit and indulge in Africa’s new and renovated lodges and camps before others do.

Botswana is a hot spot for new lodges this year, such as Red Carnation’s Xigera Safari Lodge - set in the heart of the Okavango Delta with a capacity of just 24 guests and is 100% solar-powered.  Xigera’s spacious suites look out onto lily-filled lagoons, providing a front-row seat to the theater of the African bush and its interiors are filled with exceptional artwork that matches the unique location.  

 

Xigera Safari Lodge suite interior, Botswana

 

Another newer option on the fringes of the Okavango Delta is Tuludi in the private Khwai Private Reserve. There are plenty of spots to chill whether in one of the seven tented rooms, Sky Suite or treehouse library.  

Venture to Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans where you can stay at Jack’s Camp -- just one of three camps in a one-million-acre private wildlife reserve, newly fashioned in a classical 1940’s style. The camp now has larger tents embellished with little touches like Natural History Museum cabinets and a private veranda with plunge pool. Don’t miss the bushman walks, meerkats and desert game drives.

DumaTau’s renovated ten-roomed luxury tented camp is in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve bordering Chobe National Park, set on a lagoon on the Linyanti River between two “elephant highways” with sweeping dramatic river views. The rooms have doubled in size and there is a new wellness center and gym which is shared with its brand-new sister camp Little Duma Tau.

For ultimate seclusion, Namibia’s new Kwessi Dunes is set in the country’s vast desert wilderness with unique ‘star-gazer’ rooms, where time seems to stand still. During the day you’ll be actively exploring the red desert dunes, hot air ballooning and spotting desert adapted wildlife.

Classic under canvas options are getting reimagined in two iconic spots. On our Tantalizing Tanzania safari, the new Singita Sabora Camp boasts intimate 1920s-style letting you explore the untouched wilderness area of the Serengeti in the private Grumeti Reserve.  Opened right before COVID-19 arrived, South Africa’s Sindile tented camp gives you a secluded, luxury getaway in the Shamwari Private Game Reserve that’s elevated above the surrounding bush with uninhibited views.

If you’re looking for a more tropical scene, the new Xanadu resort in Zanzibar offers eight tranquil villas with on a stretch of pristine white sandy beaches.

 

5. Wellness in Wide Open Spaces 

 

Africa has always been a destination suited to wellness with its open spaces and connection with nature. There are plenty of places to recharge and keep your distance, with camps and lodges offering spacious settings and gorgeous natural surroundings.

One of our wellness and luxury specialists Anais Chavez recommends Greystoke Mahale Camp in Tanzania to recharge among nature. A remote lodge on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, it’s among the best places to enjoy a break from a vehicle safari, offering time on the water as well as hikes up the mountain visiting a thriving population of chimpanzees. The camp boasts an African-style beach castaway vibe. The upstairs viewing deck is the best spot to enjoy the soothing sounds of the waves.

 

Greystoke Mahale's remote beach bliss

 

Another element of wellness beyond reconnecting with others is safely visiting destinations. Africa is vigilant on maintaining the utmost safety and wellbeing of its visitors — something that has and always will be at the forefront of safaris. 

Now, more than ever, it is important to work with experts that have an extensive database of protocols to navigate the country with ease.

Your safety is always at the top of our minds, with 24/7 concierge service on the ground and support of our safari specialists in North America.

 

Call 1-800-421-8907 or fill out a safari questionnaire and
submit it to a specialist to plan a trip. 

 

9 Wild Ways to Celebrate World Wildlife Day

March 3rd, 2021, by Kristen Malaby

Today we are virtually celebrating World Wildlife Day. We cherish Africa's beautiful and various forms of flora and fauna every day, and would like to share how to have a positive impact while having immersive wildlife experiences on safari.

Some of Africa’s most endangered species are at risk right now so one of the best ways to help is going on safari. Tourism helps to fund conservation efforts at many lodges and camps. 

 

THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL

 

It is exciting to see how far Africa has come in its wildlife efforts. As our President shared recently in a Fodor’s article on conservation-based vacations in Africa, there are many ways to not just view animals but have a more active and responsible experience.     


African Travel, through its partnership with the not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation, is committed to a new How We Tread Right (HWTR) sustainable strategy and supports the UN’s goal that all wildlife experiences are ethically responsible. We also provide tips while on safari to protect wildlife like how to use social media responsibly

 

9 IMMERSIVE WILDLIFE EXPERIENCES

by Chelsea Todoro

 

To celebrate World Wildlife Day, we are highlighting nine immersive experiences where guests get up close and personal and even participate in conservation efforts. From gorilla trekking to animal tracking, explore opportunities beyond typical wildlife safari drives including:

1. Help save rhinos and big cats at Shamwari on our Majestic South Africa 

2. Celebrate big and small wildlife at Sabi Sabi (watch video)

3. Share elephant moments at Jabulani in our South Africa Regal Retreat 

4. Discover Pristine, Desert-Adapted Wildlife and Track Black Rhinos on our  Deserts and Dunes of Namibia

5. Protecting primates in our Rwanda in The Mist and Uganda on our Pearl of Africa

6. Join researchers at Tswalu and learn about pangolin, meerktats, and wild dog projects in our South Africa Private Villa Safari

7. Amazing birdwatching across Africa, including Lake Manyara in our Tanzania Explorer

8. Unique Water and Desert wildlife experiences in Botswana

9. Protecting wildlife with man's best friend at Bushman's Kloof and Loisaba

 

To view more information about each experience above, read our Top 9 Immersive Wildlife Experiences Across Africa

Africa Experiences Celebrating Black Heritage

February 3rd, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

Africa is famous for its wildlife, yet the continent’s people are as equally fascinating. There are over 2,000 languages spoken and a myriad of cultures, including some of the world’s oldest, that call this beautiful continent home. To explore the diversity of Africa’s culture and heritage is one of the most rewarding experiences.  

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to launch a collection of experiences that resonate with this year’s theme of celebrating diversity and the black family. At African Travel we strive to connect our guests with local cultures who bring their personal stories to life,” said African Travel, Inc. President Sherwin Banda.

The following are ways guests can learn how art, nature and culture has helped shape Africa’s black heritage and how each guest can celebrate it in the future. 

 

KENYA: INSPIRING CHANGE

 

Kenya is a magical mix where both the modern and ancient exist. It is also a place where many family roles have evolved, and people have learned to adapt to changes in modern society. You’ll hear these stories in conversations with your Masai or Samburu guides while on your safari plus enjoy the following experiences. 

 

A Conservation Success Story

During the World's Greatest Show & Safari - Mara, you will see first-hand the progress taken to promote education and wildlife conservation at the Lewa conservancy. The local Samburu are learning to live in harmony with wildlife by eliminating poaching, which was once a normality for their pastoral lifestyle to protect their grazing herds. You’ll participate behind the scenes and meet the extremely proud members of the tracker dog unit and see the research and security team in action. You can also see how this work impacts classrooms with a school visit.

 

Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp tracker dogs, Kenya

 

You can also invest in the next generation of East Africa conservationists. For every couple visiting Kenya and Tanzania, African Travel will sponsor a child to participate in the Land & Life Foundation Wildlife Warrior program who works with local communities, including ones in Lewa.

 

A Walking Safari with a Purpose

 

A walk with a Samburu guide is also a wonderful way to learn about the flora, fauna, culture and history of the area while hearing stories about their ancestral traditions and their life today. This can happen any time of year but if you time your trip right, you can also glimpse the singing wells as Samburu warriors chant and collect water for their cattle. Sometimes it is worth stepping back in time to appreciate the future. 

 

 

The Women of Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

 

On Captivating Kenya, your stay at the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy provides the opportunity to explore Kenya’s first elephant orphanage, the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and learn about the awe-inspiring women of Kenya. Here you can meet some of the Samburu women who proved they are great at taking care of elephants, but also are a living example of how gender equality in the workplace empowers not just women in her community but in her country and the continent. 

 

Beautiful Beads with a Big Impact

 

Another empowering experience where you meet women and participate in their story is a visit to the Kazuri Beads Factory in Nairobi. Kazuri, meaning “small and beautiful” in Swahili, and here can meet one of the 340 women skilled in crafting beads into beautiful and colorful jewelry and ceramics. You’ll take away interesting gifts and stories. 

 

Kazuri Beads Factory, Nairobi, Kenya

 

SOUTH AFRICA'S VOICES

 

South Africa is one of the most recognized places to celebrate black heritage. Figures like Nelson Mandela has helped bring attention to the region. The artists, musicians and makers in this ‘Rainbow Nation’ are helping to advance the country’s story.

 

In the Footsteps of Mandela

 

A historic figure for equality and peace, Nelson Mandela paved the way for human rights in South Africa and is one of the most respected black leaders in modern history. We can arrange to meet Christo Brand who can share his experience as friend and guard during Mandela’s infamous 27-year prison stay at Robben Island. Or you can visit the island during In the Footsteps of Mandela and also see how Nelson Mandela’s South Africa is brought to life in Cape Town and Johannesburg through a collection of soulful encounters with the people and places he touched in his efforts to end apartheid. 

 

 

Meet South Africa’s Next Generation 

 

Because of limited resources, Africa’s sustainable art is out of necessity, borrowing from what is available and from the past and present. From Johannesburg’s spoken and street art scene to Cape Town’s famous galleries, restaurants, and shops, we tailor art, design and food tours to understand South Africa through its local artists and makers. In Cape Town, you can visit District Six, Bree Street near colorful Bo-Kaap, and Woodstock. On our last visit at What If The World Gallery we learned about works by Athi Pathra Ruga who has collaborated with Dior and Thania Peterson who finds her identity by exploring history.

On Experience South Africa, you can also hear about the fascinating history of South Africa through its artists while exploring the Ellerman House collection and spend some time with artists at Ardmore who create colorful home decor, lively paintings, beautiful jewelry and delicate ceramics that demonstrate Zulu traditions. 

 

NAMIBIA'S WILD EXISTENCE

 

Home to 13 distinct cultural groups still enriched with ancient traditions, Namibia’s desert and coastal landscape offers some of the most authentic experiences with Africa’s people and wildlife which is probably why it is one of Africa’s new hotspots. 

 

Visit the Last Nomadic Tribes

 

The starkly beautiful Kaokoland, with its sand dunes and desert adapted wildlife is famous for having the largest population of free-ranging black rhino, a fascinating cheetah population, and opportunities to help monitor endangered desert-giraffe with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Namibia is also home to the statuesque Himba people who are one of the last true nomadic tribes on earth. On Deserts and Dunes of Namibia, you’ll learn about their fascinating way of life. While based at Hoanib Valley Camp, you can visit one of the remote villages and learn why they live in cone-shaped homes, why Himba women famously rub their bodies with a red ochre cream to protect their skins, and how the Himba are able to continue their traditions today.

 

Meeting the Himba tribe, Natural Selection, Namibia

 

RWANDA: A SYMBOL OF HOPE

 

For a country that was in turmoil just 25 years ago, today a united Rwanda stands as an extraordinary example of the best of humanity. The country’s unbeatable gorilla trekking experiences will leave you with a smile on your face, but the people will steal your heart. 

 

Learning from the Past

 

A guided tour of Kigali Genocide Memorial gives a deeper insight into Rwanda’s darker history. The museum uncovers the history of the divisive colonial experience in Rwanda and background of the horrific genocide against the Tutsi tribe in 1994, which spanned 100 days.  While it is a sober experience, it also offers a lesson in forgiveness and illuminates the hope you’ll see throughout Rwanda.  

 

Inama Art Center, Kigali, Rwanda

 

Rejoicing in Kigali’s Future

 

It is exciting to see the energy in Rwanda and especially in Kigali. We recommend a few days in Kigali, perhaps staying at The Retreat in our Discover Rwanda, which showcases Rwandan arts, photography and more.  Take a guided tour to see the changing façade which is attracting investment because it is hailed as one of the friendliest cities in Africa. Meet local artisans at the Inema Art Centre and revel in colorful dance and musical performances. With the help of an interpreter, you can visit the Nyamirambo Women’s Center  and work with a local weaver who educates you on importance of the craft, where the vibrant colors come from, and helps you make your own earrings or small Agaseke baskets.
 

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