There can be few experiences in the world of horse riding that can come anywhere close to the sheer joy that riding in Africa's endless wilderness areas will give you. Indeed it is our firm belief that there is nothing that compares to cantering alongside a journey of giraffes, riding through the great Wildebeest migration of Masaai Mara or Serengeti National Parks, or galloping through the flood waters of Africa's most beautiful wetlands, the Okavango Delta in Botswana. In themselves those experiences are fantastic but entwine them into the fabric of a traditional mobile safari or fixed safari camp setting alongside some of Africa's most experienced professional safari guides and you have the ultimate trip of a lifetime.
Botswana and Kenya perhaps are the kings of this extraordinary medium of viewing and experiencing Africa's wildlife and wilderness with both having dedicated safari companies to operating these specialized experiences. At Tailormade Africa we align with only the very best of these as client safety is of course our main concern. This is not for the novice or part time rider as you may spend up to 6 hours a day in the saddle and be approaching big game species such as Elephant, Buffalo and even Lion. There are set departure trips of small groups of people to some camps but we much prefer arranging small private horseback safaris for just your particular group. Please do get in touch and speak with one of our team on designing the ideal itinerary for you.
A Botswana Safari is considered by many to be Africa's finest offering on the continent in terms of raw, unadulterated wilderness and most exhilarating experiences.
Clyde is your Botswana safari expert having spent many years working as a professional guide and also more recently countless visits to keep up to date with what is offered at the various lodges and camps across the country. If you would like honest advice contact Clyde or call him on +44 780972 6266 or email him on email@example.com.
Whilst most of the country is swallowed up by the massive Kalahari Desert, the northern parts are crisscrossed by a rich network of beautiful waterways which makes for fantastic contrasts of different and varied safari adventures. The region is most famous for three things. First, its massive private concessions within safari areas where you will share your safari with very few other people. Secondly, a great variety of activities including, day and night game drives, walking safaris, boating and Makoro safaris. Finally the incredible concentration and diversity of wildlife.
There are six main areas of interest in Botswana where safari of the highest order takes place. The Okavango Delta is the primary focus of every Botswana Safari with its unique myriad of habitats, wildlife and birdlife. The Linyanti Reserve just a little north of the Okavango Delta, partly connected by the Selinda Spillway, where the larger herds of Elephant and Buffalo can be found along with extraordinary numbers of predator species and sightings. To the east of these Botswana Safari areas are the much-lauded Chobe National Park and Savute famous for insane numbers of Elephant and excellent dry season general game viewing both on land and along the Chobe River. Further south we have the Makgadikgadi which is made up of large expansive grassland plains and seasonal migrating herds of Zebra and Wildebeest.
Epic Landscapes complimented by very cool activities such as San Bushmen cultural experiences, Quad Biking over the baron salt pans and spending time with wild "too cool for school" Meerkats. Finally, we have the Central Kalahari. A region that is virtually the polar opposite of normal Botswana Safari Landscapes, being incredibly dry with little natural permanent water present. This sensational national Park provides the ultimate contrast and foil to the rich waterways of the Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Chobe National Park and affords the chance to see some unique wildlife and birdlife in a completely immersive ecosystem. Black Maned Lion, Brown Hyena, Caracal, African wildcat Bat Eared Fox, Pangolin and Honeybadgers, whilst not exactly commonplace, are much more readily spotted and available to you here.
We love Botswana for its all-out dedication to conserving and protecting its natural resources. Nowhere else in Africa will you see wildlife on top of the agenda as it is here. The original driving force behind their economy – diamonds - is set to dry up around 2026. In light of this, the government has taken the decision to truly focus on tourism as one of their main income spinners.
Although Botswana can be quite pricey in comparison to the rest of safari Africa you will be rewarded with access to massive wilderness areas that you will share with very few other people. There are ways of getting around these exceptionally high prices and many of our clients will choose to travel in the “shoulder season” in April-June and again in November.
The concentrations of wildlife are simply staggering in the dry season but the viewing remains fantastic throughout the year, so don’t write it off in the wet season! The habitats here are some of the most pristine anywhere on the planet. You simply have to experience places like this whilst they are still around for us to enjoy.
Located in the remote far eastern corner of Botswana where the Limpopo and Shashe rivers meet, Mashatu Game Reserve lies in a vast landscape of open plains, grassland, riverine forests, rocky hills, marshland and majestic sandstone ridges. The reserve comprises 29,000 hectares (72,000 acres) of privately owned land in the conserved wilderness area known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and is where Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa meet.
Mashatu, translated as "Land of Giants”, takes its name from the locally-sacrosanct Mashatu or Nyala berry tree (Xanthrocercis Zambesiaca). These magnificent dark green trees, which are found along the rivers in the reserve, provide refuge, shade and food to a vast array of wildlife. Mashatu, which is one of the largest privately owned game reserves in southern Africa, is home to one of the largest herds of elephant on the continent and provides excellent sitings of Africa's big seven giants including the giraffe, eland, ostrich, the kori bustard, the iconic baobab tree and the king of beasts: the lion.
Mashatu enjoys an ecological biodiversity uncommon in other game reserves due to the diversity of the landscapes. Three members of the Big Five : leopard, lion and elephant are complimented by some lesser well-known, species, including the aardwolf (or “earth wolf”), the bat-eared fox, the African wildcat, the honey badger, the spotted hyena and the black-backed jackal. Mashatu is also home to more than 350 bird species, ensuring it is an alluring spot for those interested in bird life and bird photography.
There are two camps at Mashatu Game Reserve - Mashatu Lodge (Main Camp) and Mashatu Tented Camp
This is quite possibly the quintessential African destination. When it comes to safari, Tanzania really does have it all and it is certainly one of the most popular among our clients. It is the kind of place which experienced safari hands could easily visit four or five times, but it also makes for a fantastic first-time safari. Here are our reasons why we love a Tanzania safari.
Both Clyde & Rob have vast experience in creating top quality Tanzania safaris. Clyde having been a professional safari guide there for many years and Rob having also spent a huge amount of time in Tanzania over the last decade. So for honest expert advice on Tanzania contact Clyde or call him on +44 7809 726266 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively contact Rob - call him on +44 7791 360170 or email him on email@example.com .
The country can effectively be split into three distinct safari circuits, the first and most popular of which is the Northern Parks. Most itineraries through here will make use of a vehicle and guide who will stay with you for at least some of the trip. Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Ngorongoro make a wonderful introduction to safari and help to set the atmosphere. However, the Serengeti is the crown jewel of the region and plays host to the Great Migration where approximately two million wildebeest, zebra and antelope move in a constant cycle in search of the rains and good grazing. Other fringe areas that are well worth making the effort to visit are Lake Natron, Lake Eyasi and Lake Victoria.
The southern circuit offers a safari experience more akin to those in Southern Africa. The burnt red earth and phenomenal predator population of Ruaha make for an action-packed adventure and incredible game viewing. This is wonderfully contrasted in the Selous, where time is whiled away in a more leisurely fashion. Boating safaris allow you to search the lush waterways for hippos and crocodiles whilst sipping on gin & tonic.
The western circuit is the least travelled region due to the expense and difficulty of getting there. Most visitors are safari aficionados who are rewarded with very low visitor numbers indeed. Katavi is an extraordinary wilderness area and Mahale offers the very best Chimpanzee trekking experience in Africa.
As if this wasn’t enough, the beautiful Islands & Coast region includes the wonderful remote Tanzania Coast and tropical beaches of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Islands lie within easy reach. A combination of safari and beach is very popular amongst honeymooners and families and can be one of the most affordable safaris you will find because of the lower cost of the beach lodges. A few visitors will even extend their trips to include a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro – the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
Zimbabwe, in our humble opinion, is Africa's finest safari country. It boasts extraordinary and diverse habitats, ecosystems, wildlife and birdlife along with the continents best professional safari guides. The country also has an approach to safari tourism that others try to emulate and fall short more often than not.
Zimbabwe is back to her best and we are all very excited to share her with you!
Widely regarded for many years prior to 2000 as the ultimate safari destination, Zimbabwe’s tourism recovery over the past 7 or so years has been incredible. The tourism industry as a whole and the countries national parks and wilderness areas remain one of the most well organised and managed in all of Africa is a testament to the passion and commitment shown by all operators and stakeholders who stuck out the hard times.
The Iconic Victoria Falls and the nearby behemoth of a safari park, Hwange National Park , attract most of the tourists to the country and have done so for many years due to their safe proximity to multiple border points. For the initiated among safari travellers, there is so much more to Zimbabwe and some gems that will blow you away.
Mana Pools National Park in the north and Gonarezhou National Park in the south-east are perhaps two of the wildest and most untouched safari areas on the continent. Mana Pools is undoubtedly our favourite and the contender for Africa's best national park.
Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Lake Kariba and Matusadona National Park , on an exquisite and exciting houseboat safari option atop this watery wilderness. Matobo Hills in the south completes the set and is home to a number of the majestic yet endangered Black and White Rhino.
The cost of a safari here is incredibly low considering the experiences on offer. In fact, many travellers are converted to Zimbabwe’s charms when they compare it to the higher cost of safari in Botswana. The two countries are in essence able to offer a very similar experience.
Whilst the camps are not necessarily the most luxurious you will find, they are generally of a very high quality and retain a real air of authenticity and sense of safari identity. The spectacular Victoria Falls adds an extra dimension and makes a fitting beginning or end to any safari in the country.
Wildlife numbers and the concentration of animals can be truly staggering between the dry season months of May – November. Elephant, in particular, can number in the hundreds at any one time and are some of the most impressive we have seen anywhere. It is also worth mentioning that Hwange National Park supports the largest diversity of mammals in Africa.
In the rainy season months of December - April the herds tend to scatter somewhat but game viewing can still be very rewarding and the cost of safari drops even further.
It is the high quality of safari experience, authentic in its best form, and the highest possible standard of safari guiding that is most likely to strike you here though. Zimbabwean guides undergo a very thorough and extensive apprenticeship in order to obtain their professional licences. This process often takes between 4-6 years to complete and results in some of the best guiding skills you will find anywhere. They truly set the gold standard against which all others are measured.
One of our founders, Clyde , is himself a Zimbabwean professional guide and we can speak first-hand for his complete dedication to the task of keeping others happy and enthralled on safari!
One of Africa’s lesser known countries, once the thriving hub of British East Africa, many people still associate Uganda with Idi Amin’s dictatorship of the early 80s or the infamous Entebbe Airport hijacking.
Visitors to Uganda are often surprised and taken aback by the shear natural beauty of Uganda’s diverse landscapes and the genuine friendly welcome from the people. From the mountainous rain-forests in the south, to the northern savannahs, to picture-perfect crater lakes Uganda is truly one of the most geographically remarkable countries in Africa.
Uganda’s star attractions are the mountain gorillas, with just under half of the world’s remaining population found in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. While access has improved over recent years with better roads and the introduction of affordable internal flights, the forest still lives up to its “Impenetrable” tag offering a real jungle adventure. Gorilla trekking is a true bucket list adventure, journeying through the dense jungle to spend an hour with the completely wild and imposing giants of the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking, often overshadowed by their more glamourous gorilla cousins, is different and fascinating experience. Chimpanzees live in large communities of up to 100 individuals (gorillas remain in family units of 8-20), so visitors to one of Uganda’s four different chimpanzee trekking sites can witness a variety of antics from feeding and grooming to clashes for ranking seniority.
Uganda also has a range of National Parks to visit on safari. Animal numbers are on a steady increase after a drop during the lawless years of Amin’s regime. You won’t find the teeming herds of the Masai Mara, but you are more likely to have a safari experience where you are the only people viewing animals at one time.
Uganda’s profusion of lakes and rivers also means there are many chances to experience safaris from a boat. On The Nile in Murchison Falls, the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Albert in Semliki and Lake Mburo.
For those with a more active outlook there is Jinja – East Africa’s adventure sport capital with white water rafting, kayaking, quad biking and bungee jumping. Sipi Falls on the slopes of Mount Elgon offers great Mountain Biking and Rock Climbing excursions. The Rwenzori Mountain range can be climbed in 3-14 day expeditions, the unique experience of being above the snow-line on the equator.
South Africa is often referred to as a world in one country and it certainly deserves such a title. There are very few places on earth which offer such a diversity of landscapes, cultures, wildlife and activities. Whether it is safaris or cities, beaches or winelands, surfing or skiing that you are looking for, you can find it all here.
In terms of safari, the Kruger region is an area which stands head and shoulders above the rest. We tend to prefer the private Sabi Sand and Timbavati reserves which adjoin the national park. The big 5 game viewing here is the most consistent you will find anywhere, with leopard and rhinoceros sightings being especially phenomenal. South Africa is also the only country which offers non-malarial reserves. Coupled with the stable political situation and easy style of safari, this makes it the best family destination in Africa.
Cape Town is Africa’s most beautiful city and also its food and wine capital. With Table Mountain straddling it on one side and the Atlantic Ocean stretching out on the other, it creates a very special presence. With so much to see and do, most visitors will allow for at least 4 nights here. The Winelands towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl are a mere hour’s drive from here and offer more incredible food, wine and spectacular mountain scenery. Slightly further on down the coast lies the town of Hermanus, which also deserves a mention for its whale watching between June – November.
To add to its appeal, the lodges and hotels here are the most luxurious in Africa. The standards of food, hospitality and service are truly world class. In addition, the country can be enjoyed throughout the year and the weak exchange rate makes it very affordable at the moment. What’s not to love!
At Tailormade Africa we are absolutely convinced that the key to a successful trip is in the small details. In combination with your own travel personalities, quirks and nuances, likes and dislikes, the planning of your safari is only truly possible if we, your South Africa specialists, understand who you are. Please do take a look at the overviews of each region below, but do drop us an email or call to have an informal chat. As South Africa has so, so much to offer, by us passing on our first-hand experiences it will save you a lot of time and possible confusion and will immediately assist us in being able to find the very best trip to meet your wishes, budget and time considerations.
Due to its arid nature, Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries on earth. The feelings of sheer space and freedom that can be felt here are unlike anything else you may have experienced before. This comes with an understanding that a safari to Namibia is mostly about spectacular desert scenery and wide open landscapes. The exception being in the spectacular Etosha Pan National Park where the wildlife sightings can be relatively few and far between but they are made that much more special by their infrequency and the backdrops which they are seen against. We therefore do not usually recommend Namibia for a first time safari, unless it is combined with Botswana or South Africa.
Self-driving safaris or guided vehicle safaris are very popular as the road network is in good condition and this form of travel can be one of the most affordable ways to experience safari in Africa. Unfortunately, this involves long distances on the road and will only afford you the chance to experience the more accessible parts of the country. Having said this, the massive and majestic dunes of Sossusvlei are not to be ignored and neither is Etosha Pan. Although some may question the authenticity of safari here, it will certainly provide a heavy dose of large animal sightings with relative ease. The Atlantic Ocean provides a welcome relief from the desert at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, where the marine wildlife is especially rich.
In order to reach the most remote and truly special parts of Namibia though, you will need to fly. The distances involved are again immense and this can amount to three times the cost of a driving safari. It is well worth it in our opinion though, as these flights are the most spectacular you are likely to experience anywhere. You will be rewarded with almost unshared access to the untouched Skeleton Coast and Kunene regions. This wilderness is also home to the fascinating Himba and Herero tribes who still maintain their traditional way of life.
This country has become something of an institution over the years and is where the lavish and luxurious hunting safari was pioneered and perfected. It is no surprise then that when tastes shifted toward the photographic safari in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Kenya was again at the forefront. Being spread out over a fairly large landmass means it offers a diversity of different habitats to explore, from endless savannas to snow-capped mountains, from harsh deserts to tropical coastlines.
The crown jewel is without doubt the world-famous Masai Mara reserve. It plays host to the most spectacular portion of the Great Migration, where up to two million wildebeest, zebra and antelope follow the rains in constant search of good grazing. The herds only move through the Mara between July – Nov but their time here is action-packed and chaotic river crossings are the norm. During the rest of the year, however, you will still be rewarded with healthy populations of resident game and much lower visitor numbers. Other safari areas which deserve serious consideration when planning a trip are Meru, Laikipia, Samburu and the Chyulu Hills.
Another drawcard that few safari countries are still able to offer is truly authentic cultural interaction with local tribespeople. Kenya will afford you the unique opportunity to visit Maasai, Kikuyu or Pokot villages.
After a rigorous safari schedule, there is no better way to round off your trip than with a week on the tropical beaches that line the coast. Only Kenya and Tanzania offer such an effortless combination of safari and beach. Unfortunately, Malindi has fallen victim to the large resort syndrome but the areas around Lamu still offer that laid-back barefoot atmosphere that most of our clients are hoping for. Even the spectacular Seychelles is easily connected via the main hub of Nairobi.