In 2020 Real Africa is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
In that time we’ve amassed a vast amount of knowledge and first-hand experience. We’ve also built up an extensive and reliable network of contacts to ensure our clients are looked after every step of the way.
Here we look at twenty different ways to explore the magnificent continent of Africa from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Cape of Good Hope.
A classic East Africa safari to Kenya or Tanzania, or a malaria-free safari in South Africa would be our top picks for a first safari experience. With both options you can enjoy a taste of safari within a longer holiday.
South Africa Cape self-drive and malaria-free safari
This trip has a lot going for it – you can fly direct to Cape Town and the exchange rate with the Rand ensures your Pounds go a long way. Start your journey in one of the world’s most beautiful cities: Cape Town before exploring the nearby winelands and glorious Garden Route – a coastal self-drive of 200km linking the Western and Eastern Cape. Stop along the way depending on how much time you have and end your holiday with a superb safari stay in one of the Eastern Cape Game Reserves – 3 nights on safari would be ideal. Fly home, via Johannesburg, from nearby Port Elizabeth.
Now we know what you may be thinking: we can book this ourselves online.
Think again. By booking the whole thing with a specialist you can tap into knowledge and advice, take advantage of special tour operator rates and you’ll have a support network and financial protection through our ATOL bonding should anything go wrong. Holidays are meant to be relaxing – let us do the hard work for you.
Classic Northern Circuit in Tanzania, plus beaches of Zanzibar
This is the perfect combination – first a safari full of excitement and adventure and then time to rest on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar. The Northern Circuit in Tanzania combines iconic destinations: Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. The best way to explore the wider region and to get a feel for the country is to travel in a private 4×4 vehicle with a driver/guide. This means you can explore at a pace which suits you. If you would prefer to spend less time in the vehicle getting from A to B then it is also possible to enjoy a fly-in safari or to substitute some of the longer journeys with a flight – just ask for details.
Safari on a Shoestring
If you’re keen to experience a safari holiday but are scared off by the price then you might be interested in some of these tips! It’s worth remembering before you look at any quotes that the nightly cost includes your guided activities, your accommodation and very often all meals and drinks too. Sometimes it even includes your laundry. It is usual to pay a conservation fee per person per night which goes to maintain the land and wildlife.
Travelling out of peak season is a great way to maximise your budget and still enjoy a fabulous safari. The off-peak or Green Season in East Africa is March – May and in Southern Africa it is November – March (apart from the Eastern Cape of South Africa which is May-August). This is when the camps/lodges are quieter and tend to offer excellent stay/pay special offers (when you get one free night) or reduced rates. You may not get the optimum conditions but wildlife will still be good with many young animals about and migratory birds.
We’d also recommend joining small group tours – these are really competitively priced – we run these in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia and South Africa and they stay at some very characterful small properties. Alternatively in South Africa and Namibia you can combine self-drive and self-catering to reduce and control your overall spend. Distances can be vast in Africa and transfer costs add up quickly so staying in one place – for example 5 nights in the Masai Mara, Kenya or in South Luangwa , Zambia will also help you to reduce the overall cost of the trip – in our experience people often try to cram too much in to their holiday, asking to combine lots of diverse regions and not appreciating he cost of getting between them all. Sometimes it is better to stay in one place and really get to know it and enjoy it – you’ll also give yourself the best opportunity of seeing a wide variety of wildlife.
Family Holidays and Multi-Generational Journeys
Simple is usually the best way forward if you are travelling as a large/family group. We would recommend safari (and beach) houses in East Africa or Zambia as the ideal fix. South Africa also works well with a great choice of self catering apartments, hotels and lodges. Most safari vehicles can accommodate 6, up to a maximum of 7 people so this is worth bearing in mind. Some camps offer exclusive use vehicles for smaller family groups. If you have a young or elderly generation to consider in your plans then a malaria free safari reserve such as Madikwe, the Eastern Cape, or the Waterberg/Pilanesberg would be ideal in South Africa.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion or just prefer the finer things in life then Africa has no shortage of superb luxury camps, lodges and experiences. Choosing a stay in a private conservancy would be our recommendation as you have access to far more activities, including walking and bush dining, and you can off-road allowing you to get closer to the action. These things can really elevate your experience to a whole new level. Botswana in particular excels at offering high quality exclusive safaris with an incredible choice of iconic lodges including Mombo and Zarafa among others. In Kenya, hospitality is excellent and there are many unusual activities to make your trip unique – you can go black rhino tracking on foot from Saruni Rhino, breakfast with giraffes at Giraffe Manor, or go horse riding across the savannah with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro from Ol Donyo. In Mana Pools in Zimbabwe you can get off the beaten track while still enjoying top notch service in a virtually pristine wilderness for instance Nyamatusi Camp, Chikwenya or the new Sapi Explorers Camp are three new properties catering for top-end clients. On our bucket list is a stay at Tswalu in South Africa which perfectly combines luxury with a top level conservation experience and the chance to see some truly rare species. For beach lovers, we have private island stays – our favourites are in the Seychelles, Tanzania and Mozambique.
You’ve safaried in the Serengeti, or seen the migration in the Mara and now you’re looking for a new adventure – well the good news is there are plenty of options to visit some really exciting wilderness areas from Akagera in Rwanda and Zakouma in Chad to more familiar destinations such as Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia where new conservancies or camps offer different experiences , such as Chuylu Hills in Kenya, Mahale and Katavi in Tanzania, Kidepo in Uganda, Majete in Malawi or Kafue in Zambia. Each of these is incredibly rewarding. Our experience of off the beaten track destinations is that you should allow more time to explore them. Many of these areas have regenerated in recent years thanks to conservation efforts so although wildlife density may not be as great as in other regions there will be other attractions from the landscape, the local culture and learning about the conservation process to the activities you can do – these aren’t generally places where just a night or two will cut it.
Bush & Beach
It doesn’t get much better than this – a week on safari followed by a week relaxing on a white sand beach. For us this is the ultimate combo. East Africa works well with the Kenyan Coast or Tanzania’s Spice Islands easily accessible for a post safari break. You’ll find best value on Zanzibar or around Mombasa down to Diani in Kenya. We love Mafia Island and Pemba for rustic simplicity. Mnemba Island costs a pretty penny but has wow-factor in return. In South Africa, a safari in Kruger combines well with Mozambique or Mauritius. We also love Africa’s glorious lake shores and river retreats. Try Lake Malawi for an idyllic break, Tongabezi on the Zambezi River, or Wild Waters on the Nile. For the ultimate beach retreat it has to be the Seychelles – pure bliss for beach lovers. Swap your land safari for marine safari and head to one of the private islands for the best marine life – take your pick depending on your budget – Denis, Bird, Fregate, Felicite, North and Desroche are among your choices.
Climb Kilimanjaro, trek mountain gorillas or chimps in the forest, paddle your way down the Zambezi, camp on deserted beaches and navigate by kayak and dhow around Mozambique’s islands, walk the dry river beds of South Luangwa tracking big cats as you go, canter across the savannah, raft the rapids – for lovers of adventure and activity from walking to mountain biking, there are plenty of opportunities. Victoria Falls offers a good variety and is often a big hit with teenagers/families with ziplines and rafting among the attractions. Whatever you’re interested in, please do ask us and we can recommend the best places.