African Parks is a non-profit conservation organization that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks currently manage 19 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries covering over 14.2 million hectares in: Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
The organization was founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and lack of funding. African Parks utilizes a clear business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas, securing vast landscapes and carrying out the necessary activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife. African Parks maintains a strong focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities to ensure that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable in the long-term
The Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) is a Zambian-registered non-profit organization dedicated to conserving large carnivores and the ecosystems they reside in through a combination of conservation science, conservation actions, and a comprehensive education and capacity-building effort
ZCP now works across Zambia in most of the country’s key ecosystems for large carnivores and their prey following a three-pronged interdisciplinary approach to fulfill its goals, and the success of this work fundamentally rests on our diverse and effective collaborations with local, national and international partners, agencies, organizations and institutions that collectively provide the expertise, resources and energy to address the myriad conservation challenges facing Zambia and the region.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the prevalence of disabilities in children aged 0 – 14 years is unknown, with published estimates ranging from 6% to over 20%. What’s more, 90-98% of children with special needs are assumed to be out of school. This leads to incredibly low literacy rates (only 3% of adults with special needs in Sub-Saharan Africa are literate) and severely limited professional opportunities
To overcome these challenges, children with special needs require the same opportunities to attend formal school and learn in inclusive environments. Through the Home-Based Education Programme, we provide individualised education plans for children and their families with the objective of seeing 95% of these children enrol in primary schools. These education-plans are delivered firstly in children’s homes, in conjunction with their parents, by community caregivers who have received extensive training on the biological, psychological and social challenges faced by children with special needs
The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (VCS ID 1202) is Zambia’s first Verified Carbon Standard verified REDD+ project. Lower Zambezi National Park forms part of a globally significant trans-frontier conservation area home to important elephant, lion and other wildlife populations. The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project provides a vital buffer area to this important park, protecting over 60 kilometers of threatened boundary. This project partners with 7,182 people in Rufunsa District to conserve the forest through a set of livelihood and community development initiatives
The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project has achieved 7 successful VCS verifications and has also achieved `gold` level validation against all three categories of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard for its exceptional climate change impacts and community and biodiversity benefits
Project Luangwa is a charitable organization formed by a handful of Safari Operators of South Luangwa as a part of the commitment to responsible tourism. Their aim is to create an effective, coordinated approach to helping local communities improve their long-term economic prospects whilst avoiding a negative impact on the environment and wildlife
Project Luangwa believes as a charity operating in Zambia that by developing and improving education in schools and creating training opportunities families have the chance of a lasting and sustainable income
Conservation South Luangwa was formed in 2003 by a handful of like-minded safari operators and concerned stakeholders whose vision was to help protect South Luangwa. CSL is dedicated to protecting South Luangwa, it’s wildlife and habitat through a combination of law enforcement support (anti-poaching), human-wildlife conflict mitigation, veterinary work and community outreach
Since CSL was created, there has always been a firm belief in keeping it a majority Zambian staffed organization, the most obvious reason being sustainability and ownership. What started as a team of 5 dedicated staff fifteen years ago, has now grown into a team of 85 wildlife conservationists
Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) is a non-profit organization committed to the protection of wildlife and to the sustainable use of natural resources in the Lower Zambezi in Zambia
Since its humble beginnings with basic support to the wildlife authority, CLZ has grown and increased its activities and efforts in the Lower Zambezi. Not only has CLZ’s support to DNPW increased substantially over the years, the organization now also runs an Environmental Education Programme (2004), a Community Scout Unit (2013), a Community Engagement Programme (2013), a Detection and Tracking Dog Unit (2015) and a Rapid Response Unit (2018). CLZ also hosts the annual Safari Guides Training courses and exams for the Lower Zambezi (2001)
Charity Begins At Home supports education, wildlife, land conservation, infrastructure and health programs impacting South Luangwa, Zambia. It is the charitable arm of The Bushcamp Company, a National Geographic award-winning safari lodge also located in South Luangwa. Donations from U.S. residents are collected through Friends of Charity Begins At Home, a 501(c)(3) registered charity, and distributed to responsible local organizations in South Luangwa that support the people, wildlife and sustainability of the region
Through borehole drilling, health education, and better access to medical support, Charity Begins At Home is helping improve many of the health services that most people would take for granted
Bushcamp Company Online Magazine – 2020
The Wildlife Conservation Network created the Rhino Recovery Fund (RRF) with the goal of protecting rhinos from wildlife crime and restoring their landscapes, improving the health of rhino populations and benefiting local people
RRF targets the two biggest threats to the world’s five species of rhino: the illegal rhino horn trade and rampant habitat loss. To combat the rhino horn trade, RRF invest in projects aimed at stopping rhino poaching in Africa and ending the trafficking and demand for rhino horn. RRF also support projects that are restoring habitat so that Africa and Asia’s remaining rhinos can recover in intact, functional landscapes.
Created by the Wildlife Conservation Network in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Lion Recovery Fund funds game-changing conservation actions by the most effective, vetted partners who work collaboratively to bring lions back
Through strategic investments and collaboration with other public and private donors, the Lion Recovery Fund aspires to double the number of lions in Africa, regaining those lions lost over the past 25 years. Lion Recovery Fund are committed to seeing thriving savannah landscapes where Africa’s people, its economic development and its lions all co-exist
To battle this surge in ivory poaching, the Elephant Crisis Fund is identifying and supporting the most effective projects and partners in Africa, and in ivory consuming nations, to end the ivory crisis and secure a future for elephants. The ECF exists to fuel their efforts, encourage collaboration, and deliver rapid impact on the ground – even within 24 hours of a poaching crisis
Launched by Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Elephant Crisis Fund is the most flexible and responsive fund geared towards emergency assistance and innovative investments in both NGO’s and governments combating the poaching, trafficking, and demand elements of the ivory crisis
The Elephant Crisis Fund supports the best efforts from the most trusted organizations working to save elephants. The ECF funds the best ideas. It provides equal access to funding for both large and small, international or grassroots organizations, based on the merit of their projects to deliver impact for elephants and to stop wildlife crime
Pack for a Purpose travelers have taken over 194,783 kgs (428,522 pounds) of supplies meeting essential needs in over 60 countries
Packed for a Purpose makes it possible to have a big impact in the communities you visit by simply using a small amount of space in your luggage to pack supplies needed by community projects around the world
A commitment to conservation and responsible tourism has been an integral part of the construction of the properties and daily operations ever since Sanctuary Retreats opened our first camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara in 1999
Sanctuary Retreats continues to build long lasting relationships with the rural communities in the areas in which we operate. The goal is to identify and sponsor long-term, viable and self-sustaining projects that will have the support of staff and visitors
The African Bush Camps Foundation is a registered not-for-profit organization (registration no: MA121/2016) that began operating in 2006 with the vision of creating opportunities that empower rural communities located in vulnerable wildlife areas.
The Foundation’s mission is to partner with these communities to improve their quality of life and achieve long-term conservation through programs focusing on education, conservation and community empowerment.
By directly linking these benefits to tourism these communities learn to positively value wildlife and nature as resources for improving their well being.
We’re excited to see African countries safely reopening and welcoming international travelers back to their borders. With a careful understanding of new protocols and entry requirements, it may be a great time for some travelers to take advantage of a safari in the near-term over the next 3-9 months.
Some considerations for travel in the near term
- Uncrowded parks & nearly-exclusive wildlife viewing and trekking
- Great value especially during the green season
- Plenty of availability at preferred camps
- Guides and camp staff are eagerly awaiting guests
- Camps can pull out all the stops with upgrades and added value experiences
- Your presence safeguards wildlife and benefits community programs in the areas you visit
- Navigating flight and airport protocols is more onerous and uncertain
- Countries have implemented advanced health screenings and entry requirements
- Reduced options for multi-country itineraries
- Some camps and domestic flights have not yet resumed operations
- Travel insurance policies vary by provider and specific coverage and benefits can be unclear
The following countries have now opened their borders with responsible Covid protocols, and commercial international flights have resumed:
Kenya – Rwanda – Tanzania – Zambia
Tips for developing an itinerary in the coming months
- Single country itineraries are key
- Reduce interactions with other guests through:
- Less moving around in country
- Longer stays at fewer camps
- Private charters for transfers
- Families or groups of friends can take advantage of exclusive-use of camps, lodges and safari villas.
- Get familiar with the risks associated with air travel
- Review the specific health protocols at the camps. Some examples below.
The camps and communities in these destinations have done an incredible amount of work to sustain vital services in the absence of tourism and to prepare for the resumption of tourism through extensive staff training and implementation of stringent new protocols.
Here are some favorite achievements and messages from our colleagues who are keen to welcome guests back to their countries:
Epic 350km fundraising walk in the Luangwa Valley
Zambia Migration Safari in December 2020 is on!
Enhanced health protocols at safari camps and lodges:
Safaris are inherently a lower risk travel option as good quality safari experiences steer clear of crowds and offer intimate camps, small professional teams and wide open spaces. However, our colleagues have gone above and beyond to design and implement the highest health and safety protocols. Here’s a few examples:
The big takeaway for me was that South Luangwa should be on more peoples’ lists, and travelers should consider really exploring the park with a 6-8 night stay visiting a few different areas. For me, I think a wonderful trip would start off in Livingstone/Vic Falls, then continue on to the Luangwa Valley for big game wildlife viewing followed by canoeing and river safaris on the Lower Zambezi, and maybe a nice city finish in Cape Town.
The good news is that connections into and around Zambia are getting better every year. I flew directly into Lusaka from Dubai, and there are now direct flights from Nairobi to Livingstone to Cape Town, so Zambia can be easily combined with other destinations in East and Southern Africa.
Photos & Report by Jeremy Townsend
Early-November was an exciting time to visit Luangwa, right at the end of the dry season when all the guides and the animals are eagerly awaiting the first rains. I was lucky to visit some of the remote bush camps as most were getting ready to close in preparation for the coming rains, and it was fascinating to see the variety of landscapes and ecosystems at this dynamic time of year.
You can see the evidence of the park’s dramatic seasonal changes everywhere. It seems impossible that the vast sandy river banks, some half a kilometer across and 10 feet high, could fill and overflow during what is known as the Emerald Season in January and February. When the rainwater from the Muchinga Escarpment at the southern end of the Great East African Rift funnels into the Luangwa River and its tributaries, the area becomes a waterworld with boating safaris over what was parched open plains during the dry season of June-October.
With these seasonal fluctuations, the backcountry dries up, and an amazing diversity of wildlife congregates along the river and the oxbow lagoons scattered throughout the park. Over the course of 9 nights, I saw lion and leopard on almost every drive. I saw impressive numbers of zebra, Thornicroft Giraffe, Cookson’s Wildebeest, huge herds of buffalo and families of elephant making their way from the forests to the dry riverbeds and across the plains in search of water or mangos.
I saw 4 packs of wild dogs which was unbelievable, and a very rare sighting of wild pigs, a wide variety of antelope including eland, kudu, reed buck, bush buck, waterbuck and the first of the tiny baby impala and warthogs that arrive with the first rains. The night drives were especially exciting with genets, civets, hyena, lots of different mongoose and porcupines, twice!!!
There’s such an amazing contrast between the cracked dry earth and the busy waterholes. In one area, we watched a lonely hippo and a baby crocodile sharing a shrinking puddle with yellow-billed and saddle-billed storks, a hammerkop, kingfishers, egrets, spoonbills and a fisheagle awaiting its turn on the bank.
Out near the hot springs in the Nsefu sector, I watched a five-minute boxing match between two Egyptian geese that will go down as one of my most interesting and exciting wildlife sightings as they locked their beaks and traded punches while the rest of the flock cheered them on!
And perhaps the best part was that we weren’t crowded or jostled by multiple vehicles; it seemed like we had the park all to ourselves… The guides are excellent, and they take special care to spread out into the park and give guests a great experience.
There are so many things that make Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park a special destination, but perhaps it’s best feature is that it is relatively unknown to the masses. In terms of wildlife viewing and the quality of camps and guiding, the park offers incredible value while avoiding the crowds that we find in more popular destinations.
I was struck by the intimate size of most of the camps and lodges in the park. Mfuwe Lodge, famous for the elephants who stroll through its lobby during the mango fruiting season, is perceived as being a big lodge, but, with only 18 chalets, it’s still pretty cozy compared to the safari resorts found in some other destinations.
Once travelers get out to the more remote parts of the park, most camps have only 4-6 units which makes for a truly special and personalized experience. The small camp size has roots in the park being the home of the walking safari, and a lot of the camps still offer morning or even multi-day hikes so you can really immerse yourself in this wild environment. With a wide range of options from top-of-the-line luxury like Chinzombo and the new Puku Ridge Camp to comfy classic lodges like Kapamba and Nsefu to true backcountry adventure camps like Nsolo, there’s something for everyone at every budget.
We’re so grateful to see Zambia staying true to its wild African character as a leader in conservation and ecotourism with exceptional guides, spectacular wildlife and so many possibilities!!!
“I always cry when the small plane lands on a dirt airstrip, and I always cry when I leave.” — Gayle
I’m a writer, but I would have to be a poet to be able to describe what it’s like for me. This was my fifth trip to Africa, and it still takes my breath away to see my first elephant. But it’s more than the animals, and it’s more than the remarkable Zambians, Botswanans, and South Africans I’ve met.
It’s the sensuality of the place – the way it looks, smells, sounds, and feels. It’s the light and the sense of pre-history I feel when I first set foot in the bush; a sense of having returned home to where we all began. I always cry when the small plane lands on a dirt airstrip, and I always cry when I leave.
Gayle’s Wish is Granted
Three lions attempted to separate a buffalo from a small herd. The lions took turns going in for a buffalo, only to be chased out by the large bulls. It was a game of cat and mouse, and mouse and cat, for several minutes.
The dust was flying, the buffalo were freaking out, and I was hoping to NOT see a kill. I ended up getting my wish when the buffalo made their escape across the river.
I had a skilled tracker and expert in animal behavior. He read the warning behaviors of different animals such as baboons, impala, and birds in order to successfully locate this leopard (pictured to the left).
“We’re a gay couple that has traveled the world all on our own, from the Galapagos Islands to the Bosphorus Strait, but, given the vastness of the African continent and the remote, seasonal safari areas, we benefitted greatly from Kili’s expertise and thoroughness. We found the whole experience rewarding and truly, not one person missed a beat.” — Rick S.
This was our very first trip to Africa, and the first thing we noticed was the vastness of the continent. Even though we conceptually understood the size, and Kili had certainly prepped us, we truly had no idea how big Africa was. I mean, as we were flying over Morocco, we still had 9 more hours before landing in Cape Town. We just didn’t really get it.
What was impressive was that immediately upon landing, we were in a jeep and transferring to the lodge while incredible wildlife was running all around us. We were instantly ‘in the experience,’ and we were giddy like two kids on Christmas Eve. There are so many stories from our trip that it’s impossible to identify a single favorite story. It’s interesting – we used to say that about the countries we’d traveled to (that we couldn’t identify a favorite), but now we say that about Africa…that there really isn’t one story that stands out. The entire trip stands out.
I still vividly remember the first night, falling asleep while listening to lion roars and hippo grunts. One day we woke up from our siesta to an elephant staring into our tent…maybe 15 feet away. We had another, similar experience where we woke up, and we heard rhythmic crunching. It turned out there was a hippo eating in the daytime, which was rare, right outside our tent. He was essentially mowing the grasses.
We watched a cheetah eating an Impala – it sounds gruesome, but it wasn’t. They kill quickly and methodically. We were so close that we could hear the crunching of the bones. We watched the Cheetah lick the blood off its face. We were that close! It really sounds gruesome, but it honestly isn’t. It’s also odd because we cheered for the predators. It isn’t like the TV programs you see where you hope the prey gets away. You simply understand the order, and see that there are millions of Impalas, and only a handful of lions. They have to eat, and they work incredibly hard for a meal.
Deepening Our Ecological Awareness
The other impression, too, is what a closed ecosystem it is. Every animal has a little niche to play. It’s why you can get behind the predators. We thought there would be smells and bones everywhere, but there isn’t. It was an ecological lesson; it really was. We try to do our bit in terms of reducing, reusing and recycling and our footprint – but this really helped us realize what a puzzle of a world we live in, and how each thing plays its part. You just kind of see how it all works. It was a very sensory experience – very visual. There were smells, but they weren’t bad. The kills didn’t last long, so there was no rotting meat. There is a sort of pecking order of everything and it all just goes away.
The main predators kill, say, an Impala, and eat the main parts of the animal. Then, the Jackals and Hyenas take what they need, and then the vultures come…and nothing is left. I mean absolutely nothing. We did find some hippo skulls, which was fascinating…with the jaw…because we got a real sense of just how powerful they are. But, that was about it.
The guides were fantastic – every day was like one long school day in the best possible way. We watched a pack of wild dogs hunt, and try to spook a herd of Cape buffalo. There is a strategy to the hunt. The dogs were on the track, and we were following. Their strategy was that they worked as a group, and they tried to spook the group so they’d run, and in the panic, the dogs could single out their prey.
At one point, we also found some lionesses that had climbed into trees, which is rare. There were only a couple prides where this was happening. Our guide said that it was only the second generation of lionesses that were doing that – climbing into the trees. One was calling to her cubs, but they couldn’t find her because it didn’t occur to them to look up. It felt like we were watching an ecological shift in real time.
Emerging with a Thirst for More
In our planning phase, we gave Kili our wish list of animals to see – which didn’t include birds (we aren’t birders), so she designed our trip around our wish list. And unbelievably, we saw them all.
The food was excellent. We didn’t really have expectations. We did a lot of research once we decided on places, but we weren’t there for the food, if that makes sense. The camps were really luxe. We were really pleased with that. I mean one of the places was off the charts; just the presentation of their food alone was impressive. This was a surprise because it’s so remote. They don’t have access to a lot of stuff, food and otherwise, and they don’t even have a cell signal, so they have to fly everything in. We were confused as to how would they begin to understand the levels of luxury that they did. It really was excellent.
We are very well traveled – we started out hesitant to take a trip that was all planned, and we don’t do group tours. We’re a gay couple that has traveled the world all on our own, from the Galapagos Islands to the Bosphorus Strait, but, given the vastness of the African continent and the remote, seasonal safari areas, we benefitted greatly from Kili’s expertise and thoroughness. We found the whole experience rewarding and truly, not one person missed a beat. Kili had designed the itinerary for us to see a wide variety of species and surroundings. We usually saw elephants, but each time, it felt different. We never got bored. We were always a little sad to leave, but eager to see the next place. Kili had the camps build upon each other – the first one was nice, but unbeknownst to us, it was the least special. She was very thoughtful.
We are definitely going to go back to Africa, but we are going to go to different countries. We’ll go back and to Kenya and Tanzania, and we might go to Namibia, and certainly Rwanda. Some places you travel to see the terrain, and others you go to see the buildings and the history. I see now that traveling to see history and architecture means having a more static experience. When we go back to Africa, it will probably be completely different. It’s dynamic; always changing. You can never go and have the same experience twice.
Next Adventure is excited to announce an opportunity to travel with our Managing Director, Kili McGowan, on a truly unique small group itinerary to experience some of Zambia’s most remarkable wildlife destinations.
This Zambia Migration Safari for November/December 2018 begins after Thanksgiving 2018, which hopefully is a nice time for everyone’s calendars. We’re especially excited as this itinerary will satisfy first-timers with excellent big game wildlife viewing as well as repeat travelers who are interested in visiting lesser-known regions.
With the unusual addition of walking to see migrating fruit bats in Kasanka and the chance to witness first-hand a phenomenal conservation & wilderness rehabilitation project in the very remote Liuwa Plains of Western Zambia, this is a one-of-a-kind itinerary.
We’ve currently got a few interested parties, and space is limited. If you’d like to learn more about this unique opportunity or custom safari options, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
NA Zambia Migration Safari 2018 One Sheet
Next Adventure is honored to offer an India Wildlife Safari in February 2017 and two exclusive small group departures to Zambia in June and October of 2017 with Specialist Safari Guide and Naturalist Allen Bechky. Each itinerary is uniquely designed around prime seasonality and excellent wildlife viewing activities. Read more from Allen below, and get in touch if you have any questions.
Greetings from Africa!
I write from the shores of Lake Victoria. Many of you know that I now base myself between a home in Uganda and Villa Gorilla, my little lodge in Rwanda. I do continue my migrations around Africa and the world, with safaris as far afield as Borneo and Brazil.
In the last few years, I have been exclusively doing tailor-made private departures. In June 2016, I guided a couple on a comprehensive tour of Zambia’s best wildlife parks, and it was a truly spectacular experience. Based on the success of that private departure, I will be offering two scheduled safaris in Zambia in conjunction with my friends at Next Adventure.
I’m also excited to offer an India Wildlife Safari focused on tiger viewing in February 2017.
Check out the itineraries below and be in touch with the team at Next Adventure to learn more.
Looking forward to seeing you in the bush!
Elephants of all sizes were splashing in the mud, rolling in the goop, lying in it from side to side, splashing with their trunks. A less than one year-old calf was the only one who didn’t go in. She just ran about, ears flapping, trunk lolling, without a clue how to use it. — Allen Bechky
In June Allen Bechky led a couple on an extensive, privately guided safari to Zambia’s finest wildlife viewing destinations. Read Allen’s trip report below to see why he keeps returning to Zambia! All photos by Kili McGowan.
Another fantastic trip in Zambia. June is the start of winter down there, so the weather was Goldilocks-good. Not too hot, not too cold. Travel was easy as we flew from park to park. Guides, vehicles, accommodation and food were all exemplary.
After a night at Latitude 15 in Lusaka, we started at lovely Chiawa Camp on the Zambezi River. This year is drier than normal, so we were constantly dodging elephants in camp– something that is an every-day occurrence from September through October. My clients, Missy and Clint, are very serious photographers so we focused on game drives, with a few boat cruises on the river. We did not avail ourselves of the opportunity to walk or canoe, or to go fishing.
It was clear to us as our safari unfolded, that Kili listened carefully to us and, through a couple of phone conversations, teased out nuanced information that ultimately translated into specific experiences designed to delight us. Next Adventure nailed it. –Mike R., Fresno, CA
Mike & Trina wanted to celebrate their 30th Wedding Anniversary with a memorable trip to Africa, and Kili connected with them to craft just the right combination of experiences to suit their interests and style. Read their trip report below to see just how Mike & Trina felt about their Next Adventure anniversary safari! All photos are courtesy of Mike and Trina.
Our anniversary safari began after a restful night in Johannesburg and a morning flight to Livingstone, Zambia. Toka Leya Camp, on the shore of the Zambezi River, is a perfect starting point for a safari. We had the chance to walk with Zambian Rangers to locate and observe a rare White Rhino in Mosi Oa Tunya National Park and stand in the soaking spray of the stunningly beautiful and powerful flood-stage Victoria Falls.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.