Flying over Sossusvlei, Namibia - Photo by Kili McGowan

Photos from Kili’s group trip to Namibia

This past September Kili led her first safari to Namibia. Read our 5 reasons for loving this spectacular destination.

Here’s the itinerary in brief:
Day 1 Arrival in Windhoek, The Olive Exclusive All-Suite Hotel
Day 2 & 3 Fly to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, NamibRand Nature Reserve
Day 4 & 5 Fly to Mowani Mountain Camp, Damaraland
Day 6 & 7 Drive to Ongava Lodge, Southern Etosha National Park Boundary
Day 8 Drive to Okonjima Villa, AfriCat Foundation
Day 9 Drive to Windhoek, The Olive All-Suite Hotel
Day 10 Depart from Windhoek International Airport

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See Kili’s full gallery of photos here.

Happy Lion near Selinda

A Safari for Sisters in Botswana & Cape Town

Myra came to Next Adventure looking to share a special, once-in-a-lifetime, first-time safari with her sister Toby. After getting to know them and their preferences, we settled on a slightly off-season safari in Botswana followed by a visit to Cape Town.

Early November is fast becoming the ‘not-so secret season’ because it still offers great wildlife viewing but with better availability and lower rates. Here’s what we came up with:

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Marataba has it all!

We spent several memorable days enjoying boat cruises on the dam, a herd of 100+ elephants and informative walking safaris. I was so excited about the area that I can’t wait to come back and stay at their newly-opened Marataba Trails Camp offering the only Big 5 walking trails in a malaria-free environment!

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Sample Itinerary – Cape Town, Kruger & Marataba

9 nights from USD $5,995 per person sharing (minimum 2 people sharing)

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Flying over the Okavango Delta

Jeremy’s Botswana Camping Safari

Spending nine days in the bush, camping & traveling through Botswana’s most spectacular parks, encountering wildlife, dining & sleeping under the stars listening to the hippos jostle and the lions roar, all without having to cook a single meal or pop a tent or worry about a single thing other than keeping your camera charged!

It is beyond words.

Starting with a light aircraft flight into the Xaxanaka region of the Moremi Reserve for two nights, we went on to a camp near the Khwai River. After a five hour bumpy, sandy drive through the Mababe Depression, we were met by a few elephants checking out our campsite in Savuti. Then we continued on to the Chobe River, and finally ended up in Livingstone, Zambia for a hot hotel shower and a drenching at the edge of Victoria Falls.

Here is the full itinerary.

So many thanks to my traveling partners and the wonderful team, Mike, Bafana and Talu from Wilderness Dawning.

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Entering the Virungas Mountains

Jeremy’s Rwanda Gorilla Experience

Rwanda is so many things, and my time there was magical. Here’s the first video from my visit, starting with the gorilla tracking experience. I did two treks: first to the Susa group, and then to the Hirwa group.

The Susa trek was nearly a two hour climb into the misty highland. It is the largest tourist-accessible group with multiple silverbacks, some young babies and a rare set of twins, and it is one of the original groups studied by Diane Fossey. The hike was exhausting and my legs were shaky with fatigue, but it was so rewarding to spend an hour observing the young gorillas tumbling around.

Hirwa Family Tree

Hirwa Family Tree

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Photo by Carole M.

The noise was incredible!

Every sunrise and sunset, I found the African skies to be as beautiful as the animals. On arriving at my first camp, I saw zebras right across the river! And, elephants, elephants, elephants!

For Redge and Carole’s safari, we developed a 15-day itinerary in Botswana that included the Kalahari, Moremi, the Okavango Delta and Savuti as well as a visit to Vic Falls.

In Moremi, we followed wild dogs. They cornered a lion by jumping in a circle about 3 feet in the air. At the same time on the other side of the car, a leopard showed up stalking wildebeest, and then, because the dogs were noisy, a hyena came as well. All within 30 minutes!

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Safari Portraits by Bruce M.

Bruce and Patty’s South Africa, Uganda and Kenya Safari

Bruce & Patty first travelled with us 5 years ago on a Wilderness Dawning camping safari. This time around they wanted to return to some of their favorite camps on a self-driving safari in Kruger National Park.

They also planned their own visit to Uganda for Gorilla-tracking, and we wrapped their month-long safari up with a few days camping in Kenya.

Here are their top 7 moments…

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Our Rock – Kenya’s Maasai Mara – Photo by Taylor Phillips

Anisa & Taylor’s Semi-Extreme Honeymoon Safari

Both Anisa & Taylor were eager to get out of the vehicle and experience the African wilderness first hand. Check out this awesome video to see how they did…

Not only did we arrange a variety of activities, we also developed their itinerary around a diversity of environments and camp styles. We opted for private or community-owned reserves allowing for greater flexibility, privacy and special arrangements like impromptu picnic lunches, romantic bush dinners, private vehicles and specialist guides.

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namibia kunene river valley

Five Reasons We Love Namibia

1. A Landscape Like No Other

Maybe this is true of any place, but there is nowhere on earth like Namibia. In population density, it ranks right there between Iceland and Mongolia.

namibia dune drive

Namibia Dune Drive

The Atlantic’s north-flowing Benguela current brings 180 days a year of fog to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast which is dotted with whale bones, shipwrecks and lions. Meanwhile, twenty mile long dunes crest at 1000 feet above the vast sand seas of the great Namib Desert. From gravel plateaus and bushveld to fossil forests and quivertrees, Namibia is a fascinating world of contrasts and extremes.

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Zarafa Zebras - Selinda Reserve - Botswana

Grant & Miriam’s Grand Tour of Southern Africa

Grant & Miriam’s three week trip in August of this year included some of our favorite destinations in Zambia, Botswana and South Africa, and they have the photos to prove it… (click thumbnails to enlarge images)

It wasn’t easy culling 4,000+ shots, but here’s a glimpse into some of the things we saw. What you won’t see are the places we stayed, people we met and many, many other pictures of the wildlife and surroundings where we traveled.

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Fig the Leopard - Olare Motorogi Conservancy - Kenya

Kili’s Kenya Safari – October 2013 – Trip Report

After a few days of meetings in Nairobi and a stay at the lovely new Hemingways Hotel, my Kenyan safari began with a flight past Mt Kenya to the Northern Laikipia Plateau. Here, I spent 2 nights at Sabuk Lodge perched on a cliff overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River. This privately-owned lodge remains a family home run by the entertaining owner, Verity, who hosts all the meals regaling with stories of her rich history in the safari industry. Verity coordinates each guest’s schedule with unique adventure activities such as walking or hiking excursions and Masai-guided camel safaris with stunning views of the Laikipia plains, Mount Kenya, the Karisa Hills and the Mathews Mountains in the North.

For me, the real highlight was a surprise breakfast out in the bush after we had just walked past a breeding herd of female elephants and their young. I also really enjoyed jumping into the Ewaso Nyiro River for a refreshing swim in the heat of the day and can’t wait to return to do a longer overnight walking safari sleeping out with a simple mosquito net under the stars!

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Andy & Melinda’s Zambia and Botswana Safari

Andy and Melinda’s first trip with Next Adventure was three years ago to Tanzania and Kenya. For this year’s trip Kili put together a 17-night safari including Zambia’s renowned South Luangwa National Park, Victoria Falls, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and a day tour of Johannesburg exploring South Africa’s history.

We had a spectacular time! Our camps in Zambia—Kaingo and Mwamba—cater to photographers and each has a hide (blind) from which we got stellar opportunities to see a leopard kill and photograph hippos and elephants.

We got an overview of Botswana’s ecological diversity, from the watery Delta to the barren Kalahari. Selinda was probably our favorite camp (though it is nearly impossible to choose) where an intrepid guide led us to wondrous sightings of African Wild Dogs, cheetahs, and a pride where a lioness dragged a roan antelope to feed seven hungry cubs.

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Elephant in Marsh - Camp Shawu - Kruger - South Africa

Memories and Photos from Bill & Cindy

We asked Will & Cindy if they would share some of their stories and pictures from their past trips, and we got this wonderful array of safari memories and their ten best pictures from over the years…

We’ve done three African Safaris with Next Adventure, as well as a more recent India trip that Kili and Louise planned for us. We have so many stories…

The glass-walled cabins in a forest where I opened my eyes from bed in the middle of the night and was looking directly into the eyes of SOME large animal on the other side of the glass, having baboons swarm our jeep in Kruger with “Old Bob” and refuse to leave without handouts…

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Mekoro at Sunset - Botswana Migration Routes Safari

Five Friends’ Flying Safari

Earlier this year, we put together a private group camping safari for five friends. The trip started with everyone meeting up in Johannesburg and then moving on to Livingstone for a visit to Victoria Falls. From there, they embarked on a 9-day “Migration Routes Safari” with private air charters to three different mobile camps throughout the Okavango Delta, a great introduction to Botswana’s diverse ecology.

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Chindeni Veranda Zambia

Small Safari Camps for Groups & Families

Traveling with your family or a small group of friends can be complicated: making restaurant reservations for a group can be tough or impossible, getting around isn’t easy with tourist maps and a couple of rental cars, and hotel arrangements for groups are expensive and inconvenient. Families and small groups of friends can avoid those complications and experience some great benefits by teaming up on an African safari.

Safari Houses can be a great choice, but one of the most authentic safari options for families and small groups is to buy-out or exclusively reserve small tented camps or private mobile safaris.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Chindeni Bushcamp – Zambia

Sublime, peaceful, tranquil and perfect are just a few of the words guests use to describe Chindeni Bushcamp. Located on the edge of an oxbow lagoon in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, Chindeni Bushcamp accommodates up to eight guests in classic canvas tents with vaulted ceilings and private verandas that reach out over the lagoon.

Spend the day watching birds, hippo and elephant visit the lagoon, or go deeper into one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa on a guided walking safari or game drive.

Naibor Tented Camp – Kenya

Somewhere in the middle of the vast Masai Mara Game Reserve’s 1500 square kilometers sits a small collection of luxury tented camps called Naibor. With three separate camps, Naibor is a great choice for a group or family to explore the Mara. It is perfectly situated to experience the wildebeest migration crossing over the Mara river, plus cultural visits to the nearby Masai communities just outside the reserve can be arranged.

Of course, spectacular sundowners are on the menu, but guests can also enjoy a “bush meal” far out in the rolling grasslands.

Wilderness Dawning Mobile Safaris – Botswana

Wilderness Dawning offers the adventurous family or group 10-day & 14-day overland safaris that “endeavor to enrich our guests and enhance their love of Africa.” Days are spent with some of the best guides in the business game-driving through Botswana’s renowned wilderness areas including Nxai Pan, Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango and Chobe National Park.

Experiencing diverse habitats and a tremendous variety of wildlife while relaxing night after night in a rustic camp under the stars makes Wilderness Dawning’s mobile safaris the ultimate adventure.

Selinda Explorers Camp is also a great tented camp option for families and groups. Read about it here as a Featured Destination.

Get in touch to learn more about these or other safari options for families and small groups.

Photos are courtesy of the camps.

Chongwe House - Zambia

The African Safari House

When our clients come home from safari, they usually say, “We’re going back?” followed by, “Next time, we’re taking friends.” Increasingly, families and small groups of friends are taking advantage of the benefits of sharing a safari. Traveling as a small private group opens up a world of value and possibilities unavailable to couples or solo travelers.

The growing availability of “Safari Houses” is one of the most exciting new offerings for safari goers. These private, exclusive-use accommodations are specifically designed to allow for the privacy and personalized service families and small groups enjoy. Safari Houses can usually accommodate 8-12 guests, and they can come with exclusive amenities like customized activities, flexible schedules, private vehicles, specialist guides and a dedicated house manager, personal chef and dining team.

Here are three of our favorite Safari Houses:

Chongwe Safari House – Zambia

Located on Zambia’s Chongwe River near the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chongwe River House sets the standard for the classic African Safari House. This four-bedroom house looks like it has literally grown out of the riverbank. Earthen walls mimic the lines of the surrounding terrain, and the sitting room furniture was carved from a single fallen winterthorn tree.

Wildlife viewing doesn’t get any better than in the Lower Zambezi with hundreds of species of bird, large herds of elephant and lion and leopard viewing.

The Villa at Grootbos – South Africa

The Villa at the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve might be one of the most unique and distinctive Safari Houses in Africa. Located 2 hours from Cape Town in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Grootbos is a luxury eco destination that has grown from one family’s passion for the unprecedented marine and botanical diversity found on the Southern tip of Africa.

The Villa offers spectacular views, stunning contemporary design and architecture, and exclusive opportunities to explore: guided fynbos nature tours, Milkwood forest walks, breathtaking coastal drives, marine safaris, wine tours and tastings and cliff-side cave excursions.

Singita Serengeti House – Tanzania

Singita Serengeti House sits on the slopes of the Sasakwa Hill, near the world-renowned Singita Sasakwa Lodge, with a wide, endless, unobstructed view of the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve and the wild Serengeti Plains. This private, exclusive-use lodge accommodates 8 guests with 2 suites in the expansive main house and a garden suite on each side.

The decor is a stimulating mix of contemporary European design with classic safari artifacts and details, and the world-class amenities include a private 25-meter infinity pool, a tennis court, an 18-horse equestrian center, and one of the most extensive wine cellars in all of Africa.

Each one of these Safari Houses boasts extensive children’s activities like tracking animals, star-gazing, flower-pressing, cooking and baking, young ranger programs as well as babysitting services and kid-friendly menus.

To learn more about these and other Safari House options, get in touch.

Click here for more safari options for families and small groups.

Photos are courtesy of the camps.

Selinda Explorers Camp - Main Tent Interior

Selinda Explorers Camp – your private safari getaway

Sometimes, you just want to find a hammock and sway next to a lazy African river. Sometimes, you want to hike far into the bush to listen to the wilderness. Sometimes, there is nothing more important than watching wild elephants drink from the river in which you’re canoeing.


Selinda Explorers Camp is just the place to get up-close and personal with one of Africa’s most treasured wild places. Selinda Explorers Camp is a private, exclusive-use camp remotely-set in Botswana’s remarkable Selinda Spillway, a crucial gathering point for wildlife in the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve. Depending on the day, guests can enjoy a guided wildlife walk, a canoe safari or traditional day and evening game drives.

The camp is easy to miss, accommodating a maximum of 8 guests and having a minimal environmental footprint. Four classic campaign-style tents, furnished with unique and exotic soft goods from north and east Africa, are set in a forest of jackleberry and mangosteen. Selinda Explorers Camp comfortably balances a rustic “bohemian flair” with simple, relaxed luxury.


Due to its size and setting, Selinda Explorers Camp offers families and small groups of friends a private and exclusive opportunity to view the best of Botswana’s wildlife including lion, elephant, hippo and wild dog, as well as Slaty egrets, wattled cranes and sometimes hundreds of buffalo.

Selinda Explorers Camp is the newest in the Great Plains Conservation family of camps. Great Plains Conservation is a unique “conservation organization, which operates ecotourism to maintain conservation as a sustainable land use alternative.” Their executive team consists of some of the world’s most well-known conservationists including Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the renowned filmmakers behind National Geographic’s “The Last Lions” and “Eye of the Leopard.”

Selinda Explorers Camp is a great fit for families and small groups and can be easily added to itineraries with destinations throughout Botswana and neighboring countries.

Get in touch to explore how to include Selinda Explorers Camp in your next safari.

Photos of Selinda Explorers Camp are courtesy of Great Plains Conservation.
Handsome Lion in the Serengeti

Peter & Ellen’s Pics from Tanzania

Peter & Ellen visited some of our favorite camps and lodges during their trip to Tanzania earlier this year.

Here are just a few of Peter & Ellen’s amazing photos… Thanks for sharing! 

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Yawning Lion

Jerry & Patty’s South Africa Safari

Rhino-marking at Tswalu

Rhino Marking at Tswalu

Jerry & Patty’s safari earlier this year included visits to Sabi Sands near Kruger National Park, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and the Cape Winelands as well as some very exciting wildlife conservation encounters including witnessing a rare Rhino-marking.

In the ongoing battle between poachers and wildlife conservationists, we’re proud to support the efforts of partners like Tswalu Kalahari, and we’re especially glad that Jerry & Patty could experience this important work firsthand.

Here’s what Jerry had to say:

Once a year they look for young rhinos (about 18 mos) and tranquilize them for about 15 mins. They notch their ears for identification, take blood samples, microchip the horn, complete a general description, and when that is all done they reverse the tranquilizer and the rhino is up and ready to charge in about 3-5 minutes.

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elephant trunk tarangire

Tanzania Family Safari Trip Report

Arrival in Tanzania
Our guide, Emanuel, met us at Kilimanjaro International Airport for the 45 minute transfer to Lake Duluti Lodge. We enjoyed a small late dinner before a good nights’ rest in a comfortable forested cabin.


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Overland to Maramboi Tented Camp
After a delicious breakfast, we drove through bustling Arusha Town to Maramboi Tented Camp located between Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Parks. This medium-sized, classic tented camp is spectacularly set with open views on Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley Escarpment. While Kili enjoyed a sundowner, Jeremy and Rainier took a dip in the pool, and herds of zebra and wildebeest surrounded the deck and took advantage of a waterhole near the main lounge.

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Bridge over the Mbagthi - Nairobi National Park

Something Special at The Emakoko

In May of this year, we finished our Northern Circuit family safari with a great stay at The Emakoko. Not only is it beautifully set, stylish and comfortable, it’s deep in the African wilderness of Nairobi National Park, less than an hour from Nairobi city center and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Anton and Emma Childs, owner-managers of The Emakoko, have achieved a chic modern lodge that celebrates it’s surroundings. Game driving from the park gate to the lodge, we encountered a magnificent baby white rhino. Upon arrival, we crossed a footbridge over the Mbagathi River and felt hundreds of miles away from the airport we’d left only an hour before, and, from the open-air bar & dining room, we could feel a late season rain drench the forested valley.

The rooms are simple and sophisticated with wide-open spaces, curving walls and panoramic views. Dining at The Emakoko felt more like enjoying excellent home-cooking than fancy restaurant fare, and the service and hospitality was personal and friendly, more like visiting with locals than staying in a hotel.

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Pat and Charley’s Birthday Safari

Maybe our favorite thing is receiving detailed trip reports from our clients after they’ve returned from their custom safari, and this might be the best one yet. Pat and Charley celebrated his birthday on a safari that took them through Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Selous Canoe Trail and Kalahari Desert. We’ll let Pat tell you all about it:

Hi Kili, we had the most amazing trip, thanks to you and Louise. It was a dream come true, and Charley loved EVERY camp, even though he initially had concerns they would be too “fancy” (as I had expressed, he’s a real low-key guy).

He said many times that he was so impressed how you had responded to our discussions and came up with such a perfect itinerary. We loved the diversity of the locations, from the desert to the woodland and waterways.

Of course he loved the canoe trip best, as did I. It was a wonderful end to the journey and I’m glad the sequence worked out as it did.

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Art and Alison’s Mahale Chimp

This is a great photo of a great subject. Just look at this wise old chimp shot in the Mahale Mountains National Park.Chimpanzee in Mahale Mountains National Park

Art and Christine brought their kids along for this safari that took them through Tanzania…

Rosemary’s Kenyan Lake Safari

Sitting at Lake Elmenteita listening to the frogs with Bombay Sapphire gin martini in hand.  Fabulous day at Lake Nakuru National Park…both black and white rhinos, baboons galore, zebras, Rothchild giraffes, so many wonderful birds I cannot count…flamingos, pelicans, storks, eagles, etc. Scenery wonderful…

Il Ngwesi was so amazing in its own way. The leopards and baboons were vocalizing under the almost full moon while we slept under the stars on the deck of our Banda… Wonderfulness all.

– Rosemary R., Sunnyvale, CA