How to plan the ultimate African safari based on your unique approach to travel
Whether you’re after lavish indulgence or you’re keen to get back to basics and ‘rough’ it the old-fashioned way, the African bushveld is waiting to provide you with a getaway that you won’t be quick to forget.
The global travel and tourism industry is on the mend, with worldwide international tourist arrivals having improved by a whopping 130% in January 2022 compared to January 2021, as reported by the UNWTO in a March 2022 report.
The travel revival in Africa, specifically, looks promising too, showing a 51% increase in arrivals from last year.
There’s no doubt that anytime is a good time to embark on an African safari, and if a bushveld getaway is indeed on the cards, you may be wondering what’s on offer and how to make the most of it.
Here are some ideas on how to spend your African safari based on your unique ‘traveller type’
The snap-happy photographer
Never leaves the lodge without: a camera slung around their neck or their smartphone in hand.
Can usually be found: snapping a breath-taking African sunset or zooming in on the Fish Eagle.
This traveller is all about enjoying – and capturing – those special moments, of which there are guaranteed to be many.
“It doesn’t matter where in Africa you travel, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice when it comes to photo ops,” says Kate Powell, General Manager marketing, sales and reservations for the Zambezi Queen Collection, a member of the Mantis Collection of luxury hotels, eco-lodges, waterways and impact experiences.
The Zambezi Queen Collection comprises boutique houseboats that cruise the Chobe River as well as a lodge on Namibia’s secluded Impalila Island.
“Visiting the Chobe region in southern Africa which runs through both Botswana and Namibia and touches Zimbabwe and Zambia, presents keen photographers with those epic wildlife shots you’ve been dreaming of,” says Powell.
“You’ll be able to snap the sunrise from your houseboat balcony or capture herds of thirsty elephants as they flock around the river’s edge for a drink – right in front of your lens while you sip your morning coffee.
The get-up-and-go adventurer
Never leaves the lodge without: a sturdy pair of walking shoes and sunblock.
Can usually be found: trekking through the bush at every possible opportunity.
Countless adventures await in Africa for those who are keen to get down and dusty. From game drives to guided walking tours, there are plenty of enthralling activities to choose from.
Walking safaris are especially popular amongst travellers who want an up-close-and-personal experience and aren’t satisfied merely spectating from afar.
A knowledgeable guide will assist you in tracking animals on foot, often including the Big 5, as well as point out some of the smaller creatures, crawlies and spectacular birdlife that might not be visible from the comfort of a safari vehicle.
Never leaves the lodge without: why leave the lodge at all?
Can usually be found: sipping on a sundowner poolside or revelling in the many luxuries on offer inside their lodge.
Southern Africa is heaven for luxe-seekers who can’t think of anything better than kicking back and savouring every second of their time off.
Imagine soaking up the peace and quiet with only the sounds of the crickets, cicadas and distant roars and snorts of various wildlife to interrupt the stillness, all while enjoying the idyllic warm weather and comforts beyond compare.
“Staying at a ‘bush chic’ 5-star lodge or ultra luxurious safari tent are especially popular and promise the ultimate in luxury while still keeping travellers as close to nature as possible.”
The more-the-merrier traveller
Never leaves the lodge without: emergency snacks (usually in the form of dry wors and dried fruit or trail mix) for the kids.
Can usually be found: making memories with their nearest and dearest.
Whether travelling with just the kids in tow or encouraging the in-laws to tag along too, this traveller believes in bringing the whole family along.
Luckily, most African bushveld accommodation is suitable for young kids (although it might be best to steer clear of anything unfenced if you have small children). The kids and teens will enjoy spotting the wildlife on game drives, while the parents will love the chance to reconnect during a romantic dinner under the stars.
“At Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, we make it easy for parents to enjoy a well-balanced vacation. It’s easy to book a family tent together with an adjacent standard tent. The kids are right next door and get to revel in the adventure of staying on their ‘own’, while mom and dad get some well deserved quiet time,” Powell says.
“Another must for families of all sizes is embarking on an ultra-unique water-based safari. Children aged 12 and up are welcome on the Zambezi Queen while the Chobe Princess houseboats welcome kids seven years old and up.”
The relax and reel-it-in vacationer
Never leaves the lodge without: their bait, fishing rod and sunhat.
Can usually be found: reclined in a fishing boat or picnicking on the riverbanks.
Keen fisherfolk will find a broad array of incredible fishing spots scattered throughout Africa.
According to Powell, “It’s no secret that reeling in a tigerfish is on every fishing bucketlist.
The great news is that it’s possible to lure in this voracious ‘catch of the day’ at any time of the year when visiting the Chobe region. However, May through September promises optimal conditions. This is when the water recedes back off the floodplains, drawing baitfish back into the main channel, making for the perfect hunting grounds for hungry tigerfish.
Opt for catch and release fishing to travel sustainably,” recommends Powell.
In short, whether you’re after lavish indulgence or you’re keen to get back to basics and ‘rough’ it the old-fashioned way, the African bushveld is waiting to provide you with a getaway that you won’t be quick to forget. Africa awaits – so go on, grab it by the horns.