It goes without saying that first time visitors to South Africa and southern Africa should go on safari. The national parks and private reserves dotted across the unique landscapes are home to a wealth of wildlife that thrive in their natural habitat which varies from coastal splendour to riverine forest, dry savannah, mixed acacia woodlands, sparse arid deserts and rocky terrain dominated by tumbling boulders. A standard safari includes either a self-drive trip into the Kruger National Park or stay at a lodge in a private reserve with guided daily game drives.
There are a few standard components to a safari holiday that are consistent across most lodges – two game drives a day, sundowners and dinner around the campfire in a traditional boma. But, what if you want something different? Something to spice up a standard safari holiday? There are plenty of distinct safari options that incorporate either a hobby or sport into your conventional safari. These options are ideal either for the adventurous or the second time safari-goer that wants something different, but still wants to ogle over wildlife and track the big five.
So, here are our 5 distinct safari ideas for your 2018 bushveld holiday.
A Water Safari in a Traditional Mokoro in the Okavango Delta
The network of waterways and channels of the Okavango Delta make for the ideal place for a water safari. The open channels are home to huge bloats of hippo, breeding herds of elephant and plenty of other wildlife. The birdlife is exceptional, and there are over 450 species of bird in the area. The best way of seeing wildlife is at “ground level, making a mokoro the perfect vessel for a water safari. A mokoro is a dug-out canoe made from the wood of a sausage tree (some are fibreglass) and is used by locals as a means of transport. Most of the camps in the Delta will offer daily mokoro trips, but it will depend on water levels and activities on offer at your chosen camp.
Recommended for Mokoro Safaris : Delta Camp, just south of Chief’s Island
Guided Walking Safari in the Kruger
There are numerous Kruger walking safari outfitters in the Kruger and it’s yet another way to see wildlife. Trained trails guides will lead you on foot through the Kruger, teaching you how to track for wildlife by following spoor, scat direction and various natural indicators. Walking safaris also allow for guests to learn about the medicinal uses of plants and how the variety of flora is used in the animal kingdom. A knowledgeable trail’s guide will teach you the etiquette of bush walking – so much is learned while spending days traversing the bushveld on foot! Guided walking safaris generally come in two different formats and are highly focussed on hours of walking during the day. You either have a base which you return to at the end of each day, or you will head out into the bushveld and camp in a different location each night.
Recommended for Guided Walking Safaris in the Kruger :
Set Photographic Safari with the Professionals
Whether you’re a professional photographer or hobbyist, Pangolin Safaris has the perfect safari itinerary for you. A standard safari might not lend itself to the perfect camera positions, locating of specific animals and you might not have the best seat on the game viewer. Also, if your f-stop is out of place and you’re ISO has gone haywire, it’s nice to have a professional on hand to guide you in the right direction. Pangolin is the perfect option for lens fanatics. And, what’s more, is that they already have pre-planned itineraries in wildlife hotspots and have two of their very own lodges.
Hot Air Ballooning in Kenya
This is such a unique and spectacular way to see the vast landscape of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, a popular area for a Kenya safari. Home to the famous annual migration and an abundance of other wildlife, this northernmost part of Kenya truly is a wildlife world of wonder. Witness parts of the migration from a bird’s-eye view. The downside? You will need an extensive budget to enjoy a hot air ballooning excursion.
Horse Back Safaris
Imagine cantering through the swampy Selinda on your choice of steed, and being led through game-rich areas with qualified guides at the helm. Both South Africa and Botswana offer the best of horse back safaris, with one of our favourite experiences being the option of horse riding on the Selinda Spillway with experts RAW Botswana. Riders visiting Botswana will need to be experienced riders and have the ability to control their horse. In South Africa, there is the option of enjoying a riding safari to the malaria-free area of the Waterberg with Ant’s Hill. Here a range of riding abilities is welcomed, but riding groups won’t be mixed. Nothing compares to the thrill of riding your choice of horse while tracking wild animals !
Botswana : RAW Botswana
South Africa : Ant’s Hill