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.
We have travelled and explored extensively in Rwanda with the Rwanda Development Board and are extremely passionate about promoting travel to this stunning and diverse country.
Rob is one of only a handful of true Rwanda experts in the UK. He has explored most of the country in depth, spent time in all three of the main national parks over the years and has also stayed at almost all the best accommodation establishments. For honest expert advice contact Rob or call him on +44 7791 360170 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please do note it is not just about the Gorillas here, so plan to not only visit Volcanoes National Park , but also its two sister parks - Akagera for wildlife including Lions, Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo and more; Nyungwe for the variety of primates including Chimpanzees and of course relaxing and exploring beautiful Lake Kivu . With plans to add a tourist lodge in Rwanda's newly established 4th National Park - Gishwati-Mukura National Park - conservation and tourism are thriving in Rwanda.
Mention the name Rwanda and most people remember the protracted civil war that escalated into a horrific genocide and claimed the lives of nearly a million people. However, over twenty years later this resilient and safe country is now truly thriving and has become one of the most economically vibrant and socially progressive on the continent. We do encourage our clients to explore Kigali, one of the friendliest and cleanest capital cities on the continent, and visit the Genocide Museum, to gain a background in this remarkable country to see how far it has come, and head off and explore as much as possible of this sensational country. We at Tailormade Africa love Rwanda!!
Geographically, it’s also one of Africa’s most remarkable countries. Labelled ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’, its verdant forests offer one of the top wildlife experiences on the planet: meeting the mountain gorillas studied by Dian Fossey in the Volcanoes National Park. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’.
Other Apes are on offer too: Rwanda is one of only three countries in the world where you can track both Gorillas and Chimpanzees. Found inside Nyungwe National Park – the largest and oldest montane forest in East Africa – this biodiverse park also shelters the endangered Golden Monkey endemic to the Virunga Mountains, the black-and-white Ruwenzori colobus and close to 300 species of bird.
To the east, you can explore the off-the-beaten-track savannah of Akagera National Park home to elephant, hippo and – after a 15-year absence – a newly re-introduced pride of lions and also rhino that are the subject of a fascinating conservation story led by the non-profit organisation African Parks .
You can hike to the summit of dormant volcano Mount Bisoke, pick up woven handicrafts from villages, watch tea pickers at work, and relax at a lakeside retreat on the shores of Lake Kivu – the eighteenth-deepest lake in the world – where Amato fishing boats ply the depths.
If you are travelling from the UK or mainland Europe there are various flight options: RwandAir flies directly to Kigali from London Gatwick three times a week alternatively Kenya Airways fly via Nairobi, KLM via Amsterdam and Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa, all from London Heathrow. Other airlines serving Kigali include Fly Dubai and Qatar Airlines.
Access into Rwanda is easy and all points are easily accessible due to the fact that Rwanda is a small country. Agakera National Park is roughly a 2-hour drive at 100 km from Kigali, Nyungwe is a 5 to 6-hour drive at just over 200 km and Volcanoes National Park is a 2.5 to 3-hour drive at just over 100 km. Lake Kivu is just over 100 km from Kigali: a 2.5 to 3-hour drive.
Mountain gorillas live at high altitude (1,700 metres) in the Virungas, Volcanoes National Park. There are currently 10 habituated gorilla families each of which can be visited by a maximum of 8 visitors per day. Viewing time is limited and people are permitted to stay with the gorillas for a maximum of 1 hour only. Gorilla trekking involves walking long distances through thick vegetation and up steep, wet and muddy terrain which may prove a challenge for some visitors.
We recommend you pace yourself: walk slowly and drink plenty of water. On the track, carry as little as possible in a waterproof bag: hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, etc. No one should, however, feel deterred from making this trip as mostly, average fitness levels will be sufficient for the treks. Porters are available to help you carry your daypack for a small fee. Children under 15 years of age are not permitted on gorilla treks.
Being a rainforest, Virunga Volcanoes experiences a changeable climate and you can generally expect rain or sunshine, or both, on any day of the year. At 1,700m above sea level, it is also generally quite cold, especially in the mornings and evenings. Warm clothing is therefore recommended. Please bring sturdy, waterproof walking shoes or hiking boots, gators (if possible) and a light raincoat. We recommend long, thick, waterproof trousers and a long-sleeved top to protect against stinging nettles. A pair of thick gloves is helpful when you are grabbing for holds in thorny vegetation. If you feel safer with a walking-stick, pack a folding one. The park can provide wooden walking sticks if necessary.
To minimise the possible transmission of human diseases you are required to maintain a distance of 7m (22 ft) from the gorillas. If you are unwell with a cold, flu or any other contagious illness please do not visit the gorillas. Spitting in the park is strictly prohibited. Should you need to cough please cover your mouth and turn away from the gorillas. Eating and drinking near the gorillas and smoking anywhere within the park is strictly forbidden. Photography is permitted, but you may NOT use flash. Please keep your voice low when with the gorillas and do not make any rapid movements that may frighten them. Should a gorilla charge or vocalise towards you, do not be alarmed. Stand still, look away from the gorilla and follow your guide’s directions. The safety of visitors is of the highest priority for the park guides and there is no need for concern about your personal security. To enhance your enjoyment make sure you carry at least 1 litre of drinking water with you. You are permitted to bring small snacks to eat during your hike but do not litter.
Fees for mountain gorilla tracking permits are US$1500 per person for foreign non-residents, foreigner residents in East African countries, foreigner residents in Rwanda and for Rwandan citizens - this is inclusive of park entrance fees. Tracking only takes place in the morning and always starts at the Volcanoes National Park HQ in Kinigi at 0700 hrs every day. Many of the park’s team of trackers and anti-poaching officers speak English or French.
Rwanda is a destination for all seasons, however, visiting Rwanda to trek the mountain gorilla is best during the drier season from June to September. This is also the optimum time for tracking chimpanzees. Temperatures hardly vary throughout the seasons due to Rwanda's position just south of the Equator. Days are warm and nights are cool, especially at altitude.
Rwanda is an elevated country in the African Great Lakes region of the continent. The geography of the country is dominated by mountains in the west and savannah to the east with numerous lakes throughout the country.
The population of Rwanda is young and predominantly rural with a density amongst the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from one cultural and linguistic group called the Banyawanda although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, the Tutsi and the Twa. The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since pre-colonial times and there are five provinces delineated by borders which were introduced in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.
Since the genocide of 1994, when Rwanda's economy suffered greatly, the country has now strengthened. The economy of Rwanda is based mostly on subsistence agriculture and coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country's leading foreign exchange earner. Rwanda is one of two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture: particularly drums and the highly choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country including imigongo: a unique cow dung art.
On the last Saturday of every month from around 8.00am to 12.30pm all Rwandans, from all walks of life, take a break from their everyday chores and come together with neighbouring communities and villages to work together for the benefit of the whole society. Work often includes chores such as general cleaning, breaking fallow ground for farming, unblocking trenches and roadside drains and sweeping streets. Once the work has been completed, communities hold a short meeting to discuss society issues and then head home. Their afternoon is then free to continue their daily lives and revert back to personal engagements.
Due to a combination of tropical location and high altitude Rwanda enjoys a year-round temperate climate. Temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius during the day and 15 degrees Celsius at night through the year. The upper slopes of the Virunga mountains can be cooler however generally, variations in temperature throughout the country are insignificant.
Most parts of the country receive in excess of 1000mm of precipitation annually with the wettest months being February to May and the driest months being July to September.
Madagascar is an abyss of wildlife birdlife, variant habitats and ecosystems. Madagascar also boasts wildlife found nowhere else on Earth. Here are some reasons we love a Madagascar safari.
With this in mind, we highly recommend speaking to Rob, one of only a handful of highly experienced Madagascar experts in the UK. He has designed countless trips across the country over the last decade and spent a huge amount of time exploring the majority of Madagascar.
To help with the understanding of this vast and diverse country we have split our website into four distinct areas - Northern Madagascar, Eastern Madagascar, Southern Madagascar and Western Madagascar. Most people will only visit one or two of these areas in a trip, due to time and budget considerations, so it is all about finding the right area for your interests, travel personality and budget. A combination of speaking to us and getting a feel for the areas will achieve this. On the whole, in each area, you will find Lemurs, reptiles and amphibians, birdlife, diverse scenery and landscapes, and beautiful beaches. However, each have their own species and differences, so we can walk you through this.
Described as the eighth continent, it separated from mainland Africa 165 million years ago and today 93 per cent of its mammals, 98 per cent of its reptiles and amphibians, and 89 per cent of its plants are endemic. Chief among them are 90 species of lemur, including the enigmatic aye-ayes and sifakas; chameleons the size of your fingernail; frogs; snakes; over 100 species of bird; humpback whales; dolphins; turtles and so much more.
Habitats run the full gamut from tropical rainforest and huge fields of razor-sharp limestone pinnacles to massive baobab trees, caves, mangroves swamps and white-sand beaches and islands. Its the destination for wildlife fanatics, but also offers diving, snorkelling, flavourful cuisine, trekking and, of course, a warm and friendly welcome from the Malagasy people.
Madagascar is Africa’s ninth-poorest nation, deforestation (due to charcoal production) is spreading rapidly but, by visiting, tourists are supporting local communities and reaffirming that investing in the protection of their unique ecosystems is essential for future generations.
Madagascar is a vast and extraordinary country, where tourism is still in its infancy; any trip must be well planned. There are simply too many areas and experiences to mention, so a good chat to discuss your interests is certainly needed. We have explored the country extensively and have strong local connections built up over many years of travelling there, to ensure you get the most out of your trip to a country like no other, so we look forward to planning this together.
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 Madagascar specialists, understand who you are. Please do drop us an email or call to have an informal chat. This will save you a lot of time and possible confusion and will immediately assist us in being able to completely tailor a Madagascar safari to your wishes, budget and time considerations.
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 email@example.com . Alternatively contact Rob - call him on +44 7791 360170 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org .
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!
Congo is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. Remote in the best possible sense of the word, this is safari in the original sense of the word – a voyage into the unknown. A journey of exploration and discovery that will whet even the most jaded of travel appetites. Congo is far from the beaten track – indeed, vast tracts of its pristine rainforest are far from any tracks at all. The very name ‘Congo’ conjures up powerful images of the heart of Africa, a place of marvels and wonder that few have ever visited.
Calmer and much more stable than its larger namesake, (the Democratic Republic of Congo) the "Republic of Congo" is approaching a vital crossroads. Despite its sparse human population, pressure is mounting to fund development by exploiting its natural riches – particularly oil and timber.
Ecotourism, although in its infancy, offers a viable alternative. Far-sighted conservationists have established a handful of sensitively designed and managed Camps in and around Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the north of the country.
One of Africa’s oldest protected areas, Odzala boasts the world’s highest density of western lowland gorillas, and many other charismatic species of bird, mammal and reptile in its 13 600km2. A vivid mosaic of habitats supports incredible biodiversity – several new species have been discovered there in recent years, and almost every day (and night) brings new discoveries.
There are few places left in Africa where you know that your footprints are among the first, and that by placing them there, you are making a real and lasting contribution to the conservation of the globally significant rainforests of the Congo Basin.
We love Congo for the chance it offers to intrepid explorers to have close encounters with habituated groups of gorillas and to spend time with the pioneering primatologists who have dedicated their lives to studying them.
In addition to the gorillas, Odzala has eleven species of diurnal primate and megafauna such as forest buffalo and forest elephant. These more visible species share Odzala with a whole host of fascinating creatures, many of them unknown to the uninitiated. If you’ve ever wanted to see a bongo in the Congo, or a potto, anomalure or tree pangolin, then Odzala is a must-visit destination.
Remember that palpable sense of excitement you felt the first time you set foot in Africa? Odzala is your chance to feel that way again, and discover much more besides
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.
Zambia is often referred to as the connoisseur’s safari destination. It is one of few places where you can still experience the Africa of old and much of it has remained pleasantly undeveloped. Due to the very adventurous and immersive nature of safari here, the country is generally suited to more outdoorsy travellers who may have been on a few safaris already. Having said this, the healthy dose of big game and flagship species will satisfy even those on their first safari.
Zambia has become synonymous with walking safaris, especially in South and North Luangwa National Parks. Here the good visibility and concentrations of animals near the river mean that close encounters with lion, elephant, hippo and crocodile are almost guaranteed. Night drives in South Luangwa in search of the smaller nocturnal creatures are particularly successful and the density of leopards here is higher than anywhere else in the world.
Many will combine their time here with a few days in the spectacular Lower Zambezi. The boating and canoeing safaris here add a refreshing aquatic contrast to the dry activities. You could even try your hand at catching the ferocious tigerfish. Ask many safari experts around the world where they would choose to go on safari tomorrow and most of them would choose this park without a doubt.
Few travellers find their way to the North Luangwa or the remote Kafue region to the west, though for us at Tailormade Africa we would consider them to be absolute hidden gems. Many more will begin or end their journey at the alluring Victoria Falls. This massive sheet of falling water is the largest on the planet and is one the the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Many areas become inaccessible during the rains, so game viewing is at its best in the dry season between May – November. The latter months are known for their very high temperatures so many will aim to avoid them. In the wet season the bush becomes wonderfully lush and alive with baby animals and colourful migratory birds so it can be a worthwhile time to visit considering the lower cost of safari.
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.
Think of white sandy beaches, coconut palm trees, azure blue waters and a diversity of incredible marine life. These simple ingredients are what Mozambique is all about. Combine these with a rich blend of Portuguese-inspired culture, abundant seafood cuisine and a very strong rum and you have the makings of a magical and exotic destination!
The mainland in the far south of the country has unfortunately become very accessible to local South African visitors and this means over-crowding during peak seasons. Few of our trips visit this region, although there is one stand-out option called White Pearl Resorts situated in a quieter stretch of Ponta Mamoli.
Travel further north and you reach the spectacular Bazuruto Archipelago. This group of six sandy islands is still relatively accessible from Johannesburg or Kruger via Vilanculos, but the number of visitors is kept down due to the high cost and small number of lodges. Azura Benguerra and &Beyond Benguerra Island are by far the best options here. The snorkelling and diving are simply outstanding and the deep-sea fishing to be had here is world-class. Something to keep in mind is that these islands are not completely deserted and you will be sharing them with the local villagers. You will often see them on their fishing dhows and they are some of the friendliest people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting!
To reach the truly deserted and idyllic paradise islands you must venture all the way up north to the Quirimbas Archipelago. Here it is possible to step off your veranda into the ocean and instantly be surrounded by a plethora of fish and other marine creatures, as these islands are comprised of coral and therefore attract more life. The mantle of Mozambique’s most luxurious beach lodges falls to Vamizi and Azura Quilalea, offering some exceptionally lavish villas for those who can afford them.
This small and oddly shaped country in South-central Africa is dominated by the massive expanse of water from which it takes its name – Lake Malawi. So much so that the main reason why most travellers visit the country is to experience the beautiful inland beaches and wide array of water-sports. The lake supports more species of fish than any other lake in the world, including approximately one thousand species of cichlid. It goes without saying that the snorkelling and diving is fantastic and can be enjoyed alongside sailing, canoeing, fishing, wind-surfing and water-skiing.
Likoma Island offers some wonderful accommodation options but we tend to recommend the area around the southern side of the lake more often. The main reason for this being the easy accessibility from Lilongwe and the proximity to the main safari area of Liwonde. Although the large predators are notably absent here the area still offers very good boating safari in search of elephant, hippo, crocodile and the numerous species of birds. A little gem has emerged further south in the form of Majete Wildlife Reserve. This park was practically devoid of all wildlife until 2003 when an extensive reintroduction program was undertaken. Over 2000 animals were translocated and today the park is home to all of the big five. The community upliftment that has taken place is quite inspiring and it is a region we would like to support going forward as it completely embodies our values.
The country is most often combined with a safari in Zambia, which provides a big game fix before allowing some time to enjoy the laid back atmosphere on the lake. This makes for an interesting variation of the safari and beach recipe. The people here are also some of the friendliest you will meet anywhere on the continent – we think it is well worth a visit!
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.
Still under the impression Ethiopia is plagued by drought and famine? Think again. This landlocked country receives more rain than London and its lush green hills are carpeted with coffee plantations. It’s politically stable and unique among African nations because it was the only territory not to be colonised during the turn-of-the-century ‘Scramble for Africa.’ Consequently, people carry themselves differently and the country is brimming with quirks: it has its own calendar and way of telling the time – the days start at 6am not midnight – and its population of just over 100 million speak over 90 languages.
Here culture and history are the main focus. Credited as the ‘Cradle of Mankind,’ where homo sapiens originated, Ethiopia is brimming with ancient sites and is famous for far more than producing the world’s greatest long-distance runners. Whether it’s the UNESCO-listed rock-hewn churches at Lalibela or the animist tribes of the Omo Valley, there are plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track.
Wildlife enthusiasts won’t be disappointed though. In place traditional safari game viewing, travellers can track the endangered Ethiopian wolf across the plateau of Bale Mountains National Park and twitchers can tick off 856 species of bird, including twenty that are endemic – more than any other country in Africa, after South Africa.
Tailormade Africa can design an itinerary to show you a side of Africa’s tenth-largest country you never imagined, whether its mastering how to eat injera and wat with your right hand, exploring a khat market, or side-stepping the bubbling magma of the Danakil Depression – the hottest place on Earth. This ancient country will surpass all your expectations.
The Seychelles is widely considered to be one of the most pristine paradises left on earth today. The massive granite and coralline boulders which make up the 115 islands are cloaked in tropical forest, lined with the whitest sand imaginable and surrounded by coral reefs bristling with life. In fact there is a rich diversity of unique animal life both above and below the water. Most are completely uninhabited and the entire archipelago is strung out over more than a million square kilometres, lying 1000 miles off the African mainland. Despite this remote location, connections are fairly good with both Johannesburg in South Africa and Nairobi in Kenya.
It may come as a surprise to hear that the three main islands are fairly heavily populated and well developed, which has allowed a profusion of cultures to flourish. Mahe is the largest of the three and also functions as the regional hub. It tends to work well for those who prefer the larger resorts or if only a couple of nights are required. La Digue is the smallest and enjoys a very laid-back atmosphere, with no motorised transport and simple accommodation. For many, Praslin represents a happy medium between the two. It still offers peace and quiet but also the standard of accommodation and activities to match.
It is, however, for the smaller, more isolated islands that the country has become so well known. Most of them are home to just one small and exclusive property each. North Island steals the show with its splendour and comes with a matching price tag. Fregate Island offers top-end exclusivity, a step down in cost from North Island, and Denis Island offers something a little more affordable but still very special.
The Seychelles requires a lot in terms of both time and money but has much to offer because of the different characteristics of each island. Many travellers will therefore choose to spend their entire trip here, rather than combining it with a safari on the mainland. Barefoot luxury awaits!
Safe, friendly, and English speaking: it’s no surprise Ghana is billed as the ideal destination for first-time visitors to Africa. And yet, it’s still largely devoid of mass tourism, meaning off-the-beaten-track experiences – attractive to established Afrophiles as well – are plentiful.
Just a six-hour flight from Europe, it’s a country of immense natural and cultural diversity with an assortment of UNESCO-listed 17–19th-century Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, German and British castles and forts dotted along the coast, especially in the towns of Cape Coast and Elmina. While the city of Kumasi served as the royal capital of the Ashanti Kingdom for more than three centuries. Ancient mosques can be found around the northwest and not forgetting the significant role Ghana played in the Atlantic slave trade.
Ghana also offers the unique opportunity to track elephant on foot inside Mole National Park. Sightings of waterbuck, kob, hippo, warthog, bushbuck, water buffalo, hyenas and baboon are common and you can be among the first to stay at a brand-new lodge being built inside the park.
Closer to the coast, Kakum National Park protects a large part of Ghana’s remaining rainforest and is home to forest elephant, leopard, 300 species of bird – of which eight are of global conservation concern – duiker, bongo, bushbuck, and 650 species of butterfly (more than the whole of Europe). Get a bird’s eye view of the forest on a 40 metre-high canopy walkway.
Meanwhile, eastern Ghana is ideal for hikers and ramblers thanks to its beautiful waterfalls and mountains of the Volta region. While, those who prefer to take things at a slower pace can relax on the white-sand beaches of Busua and Kokrobite.
Ghana is an adventurers dream and a real favourite of ours here at Tailormade Africa. Co-founder Rob Morley has spent a considerable amount of time in country and we are proud to work with fantastic local operators who will show you all of what this vibrant country has to offer.
Sierra Leone is an undiscovered paradise that has been a dealt a poor hand. Tourism and investments were blossoming after the end of the civil war in 2002 and then, just as it was finding its feet, Ebola struck. However, the World Health Organisation has now declared it officially Ebola free and Tailormade Africa is spearheading the campaign to develop eco-tourism in the country and reintroduce intrepid travellers to this truly beautiful corner of West Africa.
Relatively small by African standards, it’s packed with travel highlights and stunning beaches, making it an ideal alternative winter-sun destination for 7-10 nights.
In place of the ‘Big Five’ are chimpanzees and the elusive pygmy hippo; its rainforests – with over 330 species of bird – are a haven for twitchers; its communities are steeped in traditional beliefs; and its palm-fringed islands and miles of pristine sugar-sand beaches – one of which even featured in a Bounty chocolate bar advert – are ideal for those seeking to wind down at the end of an adventure.
Furthermore, by travelling to Sierra Leone you will be helping directly with the re-building process and as an added bonus Tailormade Africa will donate a portion of each booking to UK education and child welfare organisation Street Child that provides shelter and education for the 13,000 children orphaned by Ebola. We actively encourage anyone travelling to Sierra Leone to see the work they do.
We are one of only a handful of companies in the world who offer tailormade trips to Sierra Leone and Rob Morley, one of our co-founders, is one of the only true Sierra Leone travel experts with extensive first hand knowledge of the country.
Sierra Leone is not Africa for beginners, but with our strong local connections, superb guides and first-hand experience you will be well looked after and come back with memories to last a lifetime! To hear more about Sierra Leone and plan a trip there please do get in touch with Rob.
African Parks is a non-profit organisation that assumes direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks currently manages 15 national parks and protected areas in 9 countries cumulatively covering 10.5 million hectares: Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zambia. At the end of 2017, HRH Prince Henry of Wales was appointed the president of African Parks. He is very much involved in various capacities within the organisation to advance wildlife conservation in Africa and across the globe.
By staying in an African Parks national park you are contributing to the long-term cause and the protection and rehabilitation of these vitally important areas of Africa.
African Parks was founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas. This was mostly due to poor management and lack of funding. While securing vast landscapes and carrying out all activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife, African Parks utilises a clear business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas. African Parks maintains a strong focus on economic development and the reduction of poverty in surrounding communities to ensure each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable for the long term. Their goal is to manage 20 parks by 2020 protecting more than 10 million hectares.
African Parks is responding to the conservation crisis that is occurring around the world which is resulting in the catastrophic loss of countless species and the devastation of large expanses of landscapes. The number of well-managed parks is swiftly declining. Those that remain will be under even greater threat from human demand for high-value commodities. Animals are being killed by militarised poachers fuelling an annual 20 million dollar business and as the human population increases, demand for land, bushmeat and fish is escalating.
African Parks is the only organisation that works with governments to secure contractual agreements for 20 years or more. The mission of African Parks is to ensure that each park remains sustainable for the long term.
Wildlife across Africa is under extreme threat whether for their ivory, for their horns or for bushmeat. 100 years ago there were over 10 million elephants across the continent but now just 350,000 remain. Wildlife habitats are under strain and are almost entirely restricted to the national parks. The increasing demand of the growing human population is putting huge pressure on forests, woodlands, wetlands, savannahs and forests and Africa's ecosystems urgently need to be protected before they collapse completely.
African Parks have already seen some progress: having carried out surveys in eight parks in 2016, National Parks collared and tracked 175 animals over nine species including lion, elephant, giraffe, cheetah, black rhino, buffalo, eland, hyaena and the shoebill. In 2015 three lion cubs were spotted in Akagera National Park in Rwanda and in 2017, they brought black rhinos back to Akagera National Park. Cheetahs also made a comeback in Liwonde National Park in Malawi. They were also successful in locating 500 elephants to Nkhotakota National Park also in Malawi. In Chad, African Parks documented 80 new elephant calves in Zakouma, and have practically stamped our poaching. With HRH Prince Harry's help, the elephant population now exceeds 500: the first recorded increase in over a decade.
Protection of Africa's national parks is crucial and very much down to effective law enforcement. As a non-government organisation, African Parks has one of the largest ranger force, currently totalling almost 1,000 law enforcement rangers across all the parks they directly manage. In 2016 alone, African Parks rangers carried out almost 76,000 ranger patrol days: 644 arrests were made, over 32,000 snares removed and more than 941 confiscations were executed across all the parks. They are often the only security force across entire regions responsible for the security and welfare of more than 10.5 million hectares of land.
African Parks provides a range of benefits to surrounding communities including establishing ways local people can engage with the park and ensure their views are taken into consideration when making park management decisions.
African Parks have constructed schools and actively provide educational support to local communities. Local environmental educational programmes have been established to promote understanding amongst the local community and teach local people to conserve natural resources and use them sustainably. African Parks also work with organisations in the field of education and health to provide social welfare programmes to the communities around the parks. Parks are a choice of land use, therefore, local communities need to benefit from the existence of the parks to value them.
Local environmental education programs are established to promote understanding among the local population of the need to conserve natural resources and use them sustainably. Where possible, we also engage with development organisations to provide social welfare services around our parks, particularly in the fields of education and health.