With a slew of friends and family members planning safaris to South Africa later this year (some for the first time) I decided to highlight eight safari tips to maximize your time in the bush. These eight safari tips are hardly exhaustive, but I hope they will adequate prepare anyone for an incredible experience.
After extensive renovations, &Beyond Matetsi River Lodge has reopened and no expense has been spared at this expansive property situated along the Zambezi River. There is something about the wide, tranquil Zambezi River that is hypnotic and instantly puts your soul at peace. The lodge, the flowing mighty river left us mesmerized and a tad speechless. These are the moments in life that I find enthralling and rare. Being present and in the moment is something I strive for and rarely obtain. Yet, within 20 minutes of arriving at Matetsi this was exactly the feeling that had overcome me.
Upon arriving at Somalisa Camp, I knew this would rank as one of my favorite Southern African camps. Actually, the photos on the website convinced me that I would love this camp long before I arrived. The camp is stunningly beautiful. You will almost want to skip a game drive to fully luxuriate in the space.
Londolozi is the place where I fell in love with safari. It is the place where I saw my first leopard. It is the place where I met a ranger named Callum who fetched me from the airstrip and transferred me to Founders Camp. That seven minute moment led to a date in Johannesburg a year later. It is fair to say that I have raved about Londolozi to all who will listen. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that my Dad suggested we ring in new years overlooking the bush on the Varty deck after reading the Londolozi blog about their annual New Year Eve’s party. We booked our rooms nearly a year in advance and in the meantime, my parents read the blog daily in anticipation of the trip and I fell in love with that ranger who met me at the airstrip.
Neither words nor photos can capture the chaos of the great migration. It is a wildlife spectacle that needs to been seen to understand the scale on which it unfolds. Every year an estimated one and a half million white-bearded wildebeest travel over 300 miles in a giant loop across Kenya and Tanzania in search of fresh grass. Along this trek they birth their young; attempt perilous river crossings where many wildebeest drown or are eaten by crocodiles; and they fall prey to awaiting lions. The entire display is filled with drama and suspense and was something I had wanted to see since I moved to South Africa.
South Luangwa is famed for walking safaris with two notable companies (Norman Carr and Robin Pope) offering multi-day walks or shorter walks between permanent camps. I wasn’t spending enough time in the park to take advantage of either of these options, but Tena Tena, the camp I was staying at, offered walks in place of the standard game drive. Unlike walks I have done in other countries, a walking safari in South Luangwa National Park feels more wild and remote.