WHY DO IT
There is no doubt the main reason people visit Africa is to get up close to the native wildlife. The Big Five – rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo – is usually at the top of the must-see list, and to see them, you must go on safari.
Safari Africa is generally considered the region from Kenya, down the eastern seaboard to South Africa, taking in the inland countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
The Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti is a big drawcard, as thousands of animals journey in search of better grazing ground and water. The movement also includes large numbers of zebra, impala and gazelle.
But animal experiences are not the only thing to do in this vast continent, says Fiona Hay of 318Africa.
Learning a little about the local tribes and cultures is also high on the list of must-have experiences, and the most popular is the Masai Mara in Kenya and Tanzania.
“A lot of the lodges and properties will have an arrangement with local tribes who may provide crops for the lodges and welcome their guests into their villages to see how they live,” Hay says.
“But there are other lesser known tribes worth visiting as well, such as the Himba tribes of North Namibia and those in the river camps along the Zambezi River in Zambia.”
Another African attraction is the range of different and beautiful natural landscapes, from the beautiful coastal beaches of Zanzibar, off Tanzania, and along the Mozambique coast, the desert sand dunes of Namibia, and mountain peaks such as Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Table Mountain in South Africa. mid-June to the end of September in the safari regions. Hay says this weather makes for the best wildlife viewing.
“The dry weather means the animals are forced out to congregate around water holes and the low grass helps with animal spotting,” she says.
However, this also means the calendar period will attract the biggest crowds and getting into the smaller lodges may prove difficult.
If you want your visit to coincide with premium great migration viewing, Hay suggests the period from February is best, as this is when wildlife give birth and you can see the animals moving with their young.
IN PLAIN SIGHT: Elephants with Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance. Picture: iStock