KENYA AND TANZANIA
Kenya and Tanzania are Africa’s greatest safari destinations, home to the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinos). From the Masai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti in Tanzania, these two countries have some of the most extensive populations of wildlife in Africa, as well as beautiful white sandy beaches on the Indian Ocean.
Our own Tal McKelvey visited Africa a few years back and had a chance to spend a day with the Maasaipeople in Kenya, by far one of the best experiences on her trip. No matter how much we travel, we are always reminded of how much we have in common with the people whose countries we visit. Tal says she will always remember the Maasai people for their big smiles and their warm welcome. Her husband David’s visit was an exhilarating one, having participated in their local jumping dance (photo below).
ZAMBIA AND ZIMBABWE
These two countries may have less tourist traffic than its neighboring African nations, but they are the home to some spectacular sights. Livingstone in Zambia is the gateway to the mighty Victoria Falls, the largest bodyof falling water in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Marvel over Victoria Falls, search for lion tracks and enjoy sundowner cocktails cruising along the Zambezi River. On my visit to this stunning region, I stayed at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel on the Zimbabwean side, offering spectacular views of the Falls. View a short video of the Falls and the hotel HERE.
While in Zimbabve, my group had an opportunity to walk with lions in a lions’ sanctuary with no leashes or collars. Full disclosure, I considered this to be a “high adventure” activity and proudly bowed out of participating, later regretted it.
Botswana safaris are equally as exciting, just not as crowded, most of which are done by boat. I experienced its beautiful landscapes and plentiful wildlife on a cruise down the Chobe River. I was aboard the Zambezi Queen for 5 glorious days, and I watched many an orange-glowing sunset with a cocktail in hand.
This was a magical experience; we got close to very relaxed wildlife: elephants, hippos, birds – all indulging in the fresh waters of the Chobe River, an experience I will never forget.
Other sights to visit in Botswana include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve where you will have the opportunity to view some spectacular landscapes of fossilized river valleys, and the Okavango Delta, a lush animal habitat, to name a few.
South Africa’s beauty will take your breath away and leave you with lifetime memories.
It has a seductive appeal for many travellers as they visit its superb beaches, world-famous game reserves, sophisticated cities, great wineries and much more.
On my visit there, I spent a day touring the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Point National Park. Cape of Good Hope is a narrow peninsula jutting out into the ocean. It was believed that it was the southern-most point on the African continent, but that is not exactly true. With dramatic cliffs, tranquil beaches, two old lighthouses and a plenty of baboons scattered around, Cape Point is a photographer’s paradise. The sky, the ocean and the rocks make one of the most dramatic landscapes you have ever seen.
I then spent an hour watching penguins going about their day at Boulders Beach. The colony, which lives incongruously in the middle of a residential area, is one of the few sites where African penguins can be observed at close range, as they wander freely in a protected natural environment.
South Africa has some of the best and most accessible safari destinations in the world. My safari experience took place at Kruger Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa, offering a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. On my very first day there on the drive from the airport to our lodge, our ranger spotted all of the Big Five animal species in a matter of few minutes. Local rangers are very experienced, and they know the “hanging out” spots of the lion families, the rhinos…My best safari experience was the moment when the ranger told us to get off the truck and stretch our legs in the middle of the savannah where just a few minutes earlier a family of lions was roaming around. We thought he was joking but turned out this is a planned activity that takes place every evening at dusk to take in the breathtaking beauty of the landscape basking at the golden glory of the sunset. It is a moment engraved in my memory forever!
South Africa is also known for its beautiful city of Cape Town, or “ the Mother City”, as it is also known as. It is here you will feel Nelson’s Mandela’s anti-apartheid legacy and learn the history of Robben Island where Mandela spent 18 years of his life as a political prisoner. Proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 1999, visitors have a chance to see the prison for themselves on an organized tour.
In Cape Town, you must take a tour of the Winelands, and Wine Tram is the best way to do it. You don’t have to worry about driving or directions—you can just relax and journey through rolling vineyards, stopping at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates.
There are many ways to experience these stunning places and in our next posts, we will tell you more about the land, river and ocean cruise itineraries that will take you there. You can request more information on the available tours HERE.
Many more countries call Africa their home… Morocco, Egypt, Uganda… are all countries of the African continent, I will get back to them on another occasion.
CHECK OUT THE STARS OF SOUTH AFRICA RIVER CRUISE TOUR OFFERED BY AMAWATERWAYS IN OCTOBER 2022.
MULTIPLE TOUR DATES ARE AVAILABLE, BUT SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER ARE FAVOURABLE MONTHS FOR ULTIMATE WILD LIFE VIEWING.