Africa is a chance to reconnect with nature, a place to escape the trappings of modern society. To visit Africa is to experience and appreciate all that is wild and untouched. At night, when the temperature drops, the servals emerge from the bushes to hunt for food, followed by the civet cats with their beautiful spotted fur. The savanna pulsates in the light of the torches flickering in front of the camps. Visitors to southern Africa can choose from a variety of safari programs, by jeep, canoe, on horseback or on foot, guided by a ranger who knows how to track animals for a closeup view of the world’s most famous wildlife. In the old days, adventurers came here to hunt the “Big Five”: lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo. Attitudes have changed since then, and the wardens who patrol the game reserves today are there to restore and protect biodiversity. In Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, in the midst of landscapes celebrated by Hemingway, who roamed the region on a quest for trophies, a thousand elephants now live free and without fear under the snowy peak of Kilimanjaro.
The Maasai people are their elusive guardians, appearing as though from a mirage, in the ripples of heat that rise up from the bush.
Of course, African fauna is more than just the large mammals. Further south, in Botswana, the Selinda Reserve harbors more than 300 species of birds, drawn here by the Linyanti River and its swamp. In the rainy season, its waters flow on, reaching the Okavango Delta in the middle of the Kalahari, the desert that halts the river’s progress toward the sea and whose name means “great thirst” in the Tswana language. Around the countless islands of this labyrinthine delta, red sand dunes dotted with acacia trees seem to come ablaze in the setting sun. In Kruger National Park, the baobabs are silhouetted against the blue sky.
South Africa’s largest reserve (20,000 sq.km./7,700 sq.mi.), the park is a world unto itself, home to a unique and extraordinary zoological diversity. Birds, reptiles, big cats and large herbivores live in close proximity, an easy flight from the country’s economic capital, Johannesburg, founded during the gold rush that galvanized the region in the late 19th century. The Sabi Sands Reserve in Greater Kruger Park is not far off, home to luxury lodges and unrivaled wildlife viewing.
Travel to Kenya often involves multiple destinations. The distances are vast and safari logistics can be complex. Drop us an enquiry and Icon Expeditions, a team of African travel experts based in Cape Town, will plan your dream trip to Relais & Châteaux properties in the region.
Lodge and restaurant in a game reserve. On the northern border of the Maasai Mara, you’ll find Mara Plains canvas tents are tucked away amongst the lush vegetation on the banks of the Ntiakitiak River river. This camp is one of the smallest in the region and offers the opportunity to get really close to nature and the local wildlife in the heart of a private conservancy with a very low density in vehicles and with abundant big cats. The programme is customised and very flexible – it is organised on a daily basis so that you can make the most of the unique experiences that nature constantly offers. The traditional safari-style tents, which are raised on decks and have a marquis ceiling, blend into the beautiful countryside and offer sweeping views of the savannah. ... Learn moreless
Lodge and restaurant in a game reserve. Wake up to snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro and the distant roars of lions. Ol Donyo is a pioneer amongst safari lodges, and a forerunner of sustainable tourism: by working with the local Maasai people, it has been able to blend conservation and livelihood benefits. On the slopes of the Chyulu Hills, this lodge blends contemporary and traditional design. To stay here is a chance to explore Africa in an uncommon way – by horseback or four-wheel drive or in a hide twenty paces from some of the largest elephants in the world. Ol Donyo enjoys a stunning location, with the savannah at its feet stretching as far as the eye can see. This is the Africa of the mind's eye. ... Learn moreless