The 10 Best Ways to Experience the Wilderness of Southern Africa
There comes a moment on certain safaris when there’s no turning back. You look wistfully over your shoulder, one final goodbye to your humdrum life and sanitised existence, take a deep breath and compel yourself forward. It’s in that moment when you give yourself over to the experience – whatever it may be, a boat trip down waters filled with hippos and crocodiles or a walking safari through a Big 5 reserve – put your trust in your guide and take the bravest step of your life: into the wild side of Africa.
That moment – with your heart beating faster and your breath caught in your throat – is a moment to live for, to strive for, to long for. And one you’ll return to on many whimsical nights for the rest of your life. If it’s excitement you’re after, Southern Africa is a serious contender for the best adventure destination in the world. We’ve compiled a list of the best safari trips around, so settle in and start dreaming.
1. Walk with rhinos in Mosi-oa-Tunya
Just upstream from Victoria Falls, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is a hotspot for herbivores big and small as well as the endangered white rhino. It’s here, with an expert guide by your side, that you’re able to walk alongside these magnificent creatures. A humbling, two-hour experience will get you close to these incredible giants, as you walk through the reserve while also learning about the ecosystem.
2. An unforgettable 9-day desert trip in Namibia
With a highly trained naturalist guide by your side, you’ll venture into the far corners of the remote Namibian wilderness. Sharing knowledge with enthusiasm and humour, your guide will lead you through some of the most beautiful wild places, encounter wildlife spectacles and engage with age-old authentic cultures while receiving detailed interpretation – and topped off with the warmest hospitality.
3. Sunset cruise on the Chobe River
Chobe offers some of the most extraordinary elephant sightings in Africa. Here you’ll see the gentle giants frolicking in the waters, or moving slowly through desert-like stretches of sand, ears flapping to the slow rhythm of nature. Take to the waters on a sunset cruise to see them, with large numbers of bird species, hippos, crocs and other wildlife!
4. Walking Safaris at Tanda Tula Field Camp
Nothing beats walking on foot in the African bush, with the Tanda Tula Field Camp in the iconic Greater Kruger National Park offering one of the best trails around. You’ll awaken your senses as you walk through the bushveld, learn to track game during a sunset safari walk and take in the beauty of the bushveld as your senses come alive.
5. The exceptional safari experience of Tswalu
South Africa’s largest private wildlife reserve, Tswalu offers a range of premier safari offerings across its vast area of open plains and classic Kalahari dunes. The wildlife is as rich as it is rare – from mighty lions to scaly pangolins, meerkats, aardvarks, pangolins, aardwolves, bat-eared foxes and African wildcats. It’s also home to the training ground for the Kalahari’s Khomani San (Bushmen) communities to become professional trackers.
6. Sleep on sky beds in Khwai
Khwai Private Reserve in Botswana offers a thrilling and unforgettable way to experience the African bush with a night under the stars on a sky bed. Each ingenious five-metre-high platform provides an ideal vantage point from which to view the sparkling celestial show above – but remember to keep an eye out for any late-night visitors below too…
7. Elephant Express Tram
The Elephant Express runs regular trips between Ngamo sliding and Dete Railway Station in Hwange National Park, with the chance to view elephants crossing the tracks, plains game going about their business on the plains and so many more interesting sightings along the way. The 22 individual coach-seater with teak tables in between makes for an innovative game viewing experience and includes a lite lunch and drinks to start your safari.
8. Hot air balloon over the Namib Desert
Hot air balloon adventures in Sossusvlei promise a truly unique way to experience Namibia’s brilliant vista and Namib desert. This soul-satisfying journey dishes up excellent photographic opportunities and lifelong memories.
9. Mangrove snorkelling in Mozambique
Plunge into the warm, turquoise depths of the Indian Ocean, where you’ll discover pristine coral reefs and a profusion of fish species and other fantastic beasts – from crazy crabs, frogfish, pipefish, cowfish and pufferfish. You’ll start off with a scenic 30-minute walk with your professional guide through the mangroves and over mudbanks of the estuary to the snorkelling reef for an underwater adventure trip to see the beautiful sea horses in the Barra estuary.
10. Explore the Makgadikgadi Pans
Jack’s Camp offers a wonderfully unique and immersive experience of Botswana’s salt pans. This iconic and elegant camp overlooks the Makgadikgadi Pans, the largest salt flats in the world, and an area consisting of stunning scenery and fascinating, desert-adapted animal species. From sleepouts to horse safaris, the number of ways to experience this special corner of Africa is long and varied.
If you’re ready to delve into the wild side of Africa, get in touch with one of our expert travel curators today, and we’ll start planning your once-in-a-lifetime experience of the unmatched African wilderness.
We’re based in Southern Africa and have first-hand knowledge of the experiences that await our travellers.
All the experiences and destinations we recommend support their communities and environment.
Our goal is to connect curious-minded travellers to the essence of the place they’re visiting.
We specialise in showing our travellers how to discover unique, locally-infused experiences.
Our bespoke journeys feature stylish, owner-run properties in exceptional locations.
Our consultants are widely travelled and vastly experienced, with expert knowledge of Southern Africa.