With tens of hundreds of wildlife parks, reserves, sanctuaries and conservancies, Africa is the obvious choice for adventure travels – safaris. The safari leaves an indelible impressions on the memory. The unforgettable thrill of seeing wild animals roaming freely through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, stays forever.
Great African Safaris
Great African Safaris are more often than not, the ones that involve contrasts. It would be a wasted opportunity to visit a continent as diverse as Africa without indulging in the diversity itself. Take a safari that combines a variety of destinations. Experience the different faces of Africa – the people, landscapes, sounds and lights.
Take a look at this 16 day African Adventure Safari. This is one of my inspired Safari itineraries. Starting at the watery colossus of Victoria Falls in the southern part of Africa for the first few days, you then find your way to Eastern Africa, to the amazing Serengeti-Masai Masai – Ngorongoro wildlife ecosystem. The Mountain Gorillas of Volcanoes in Rwanda make up part of this inspired itinerary.
Consider this safari a snap preview of Africa’s physical and wildlife wonders. Jet into Africa, landing either at Victoria Falls town, Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia. From day 1 to day 4, enjoy the wonders of the falls. On the 4th day, fly to Nairobi for a night before heading to Masai Mara Game Reserve. Revel in the abundance wildlife in Masai Mara for 3 days before entering Tanzania’s Serengeti for another 3 days. After Serengeti, your next stop is the Ngorongoro Crater including a full day tour taking you to the floor of the crater. After Ngorongoro, your next stop is Kigali, to get ready for the gorilla trek.
The Victoria Falls Part of This Great Safari
The locals call this spectacle Mosi- oa-Tunya, “The Smoke That Thunders. Victoria Falls may not the highest or the widest but the world’s grandest and most booming waterfall, a large lakesworth of water flinging itself 360 feet straight down every minute of every day, right before our delighted eyes.
On this safari, we have a the first 3 days to appreciate the Victoria Falls, cruising on the Zambezi River, watching elephants and giraffes. You may take a helicopter ride over the Falls on the Flight of Angels, or just wander around. It is up to you.
Victoria Falls is a Natural Wonder of the World. Do not plan to travel half way around the world just to spend an hour or so at the Victoria Falls. Do you really want to travel miles and miles just to take a few photos of the falls? Come and enjoy the spectacle. There is so much more than a great waterfall; it is a bird-waters paradise, and botanists would not want to leave. The rain forest is wet 24/7.
One of the beauties is that the Victoria Falls area has not become over commercialized. In fact, once you are standing by the Falls your view will not be much different to that of David Livingstone’s who first saw the Falls in 1855. There are a few buildings on the Zambian side, but if you get your angles right you can blot these out.
While enjoy this great landmark, it is worth remembering a few facts. Most importantly is that Victoria Falls is part of a Protected Nature Reserve and therefore care must be taken to treat it with respect adhering to the rules and the pathways provided so as not to damage the finely balanced ecosystem. As the old saying goes take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but foot prints.
The Masai Mara Part of This Inspired Safari
The Masai Mara Game Reserve is the small section of the huge Serengeti ecosystem that stretches vastly from Northern Tanzania. The Mara is the scene of the annual wildebeest migration that begins anytime from late June to end of October. A million-strong herd of wildebeest make their annual journey northwards from the Serengeti into the Mara and head south again.
Besides the migrants herds, the Mara hosts resident populations of elephants, hippos, topis, hartebeests, buffalos giraffes, impalas, dik dik and a few black rhino. Predators are plentiful, notably cheetah leopard, and unusually large pride of lions. The pastoral Masai people lead a semi-nomadic life just outside the Mara reserve.
Reachable by road or air from Nairobi, the Mara is Kenya’s premier place for seeing wildlife. It features many excellent game lodges and camps and a wide network of dirt roads slice its open rolling grassland and wooded savannah. Most camps have open-side vehicles used for game drives and a few (located outside the reserve) will permit and conduct night game drives.
The Serengeti Park Part of the Inspired Safari
The Serengeti National park is certainly one of the best-known wildlife areas in Africa. ‘Serengeti’ means ‘endless plains’ in the local Masai language. Within the borders of this reserve, there are over 3,000,000 large mammals. Put differently, over 35 species of animals, mostly mammals can be found inside this park. These include the so-called Big Five – elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.
With 14,500 square kilometres, the Serengeti plain is undoubtedly the most famous wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and the greatest concentration of plains game anywhere. It lies between the shores of Lake Victoria in the east and the Maasai Mara to the North West.
Serengeti is renowned for its black-maned lions and other predators including wild dogs, spotted hyena, jackal, cheetah and leopard. The wealth of birdlife is of a special interest including colorful rollers, bee-eaters, kingfishers and sunbirds and a large number of birds of prey.
During May and June, Lake Ndutu at the foot of the Ngorongoro highlands, is the starting point for one of the great natural wonders of nature – the famous annual migration. Nearly 2 million wildebeests and a quarter of a million zebra move in winding columns several miles in length towards the Maasai Mara. An African Safari scheduled to coincide with this event is one that you are not likely to forget.
On the western side of the Serengeti is the Grumeti Reserves – a complete protected and patrolled private wilderness area. Here you can feel that you are truly one-on-one with the limitless African wildlife. Only the wild animals and visitors have free rein here.
However, it is when you step outside your safari camps in Grumeti that you meet the magical and special quality of Grumeti Reserve. In going out, you may opt to go on the guided wildlife game drives or arrange for equestrian tours or take a guided walking safari along the river.
Those who take the walking safari will never forget the unique feeling that comes with it. By walking, you experience the wilderness of Serengeti the same way our most ancient ancestors did…… on foot. Walking along the river bank or in dry season, walking in the riverbed puts you on alert in way that being in a vehicle cannot. This experience of sound often comes as a wonderful surprise to those who may be well acquainted with the appearance of wildlife from documentaries, videos and films.
The Ngorongoro Crater Part of The Safari
Certainly one of Africa’s true wonders of the natural world and an extraordinary place of haunting beauty, with its grand majestic mountain ring and lake, Ngorongoro, an active volcano some 8 million years ago, covers an area of 264 sq. km and is the largest intact caldera in the world.
Approaching Ngorongoro Crater is a unique experience. The road winds upwards through a beautiful area of tropical rain forest and meadows carpeted with wild flowers. Its enduring charm stems from its overwhelming physical beauty and the abundance of wildlife permanently resident on the crater floor.
The Mountain Gorillas Of Rwanda
The grand safari ends with gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The good people of Rwanda and Uganda aside, the most celebrated residents of the majestic Virunga Mountains, are the mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are distinguished from other forms of gorilla by several adaptations to its high altitude home, most visibly a longer and more luxuriant coat.
Estimates place Rwanda’s & Congo’s gorilla population at slightly more than 300 (being approximately 50%). About half of this number moves around in 2 large groups of between 30 and 40 individuals, and the remainder in smaller groups of between five and 15 animals.
Mountain gorilla tracking in the Virungas is an experience like no other, and remains one of Africa’s indisputable travel highlights. It is difficult to describe the simple exhilaration attached to first setting eyes on a wild mountain gorilla. These are enormous animals: the silverbacks weigh about 3 times as much as the average man. And yet despite their fearsome size and appearance, gorillas are remarkably peaceful creatures, certainly by comparison with most other primates – vervet monkeys, baboons, or even human beings.
On planning your African Safari, you can choose to take a private, individual safari, or pick from a wide selection of group tours and safaris offered by reliable tour operators. Many tour operators offer a wide choice of schedule group tours and self-drive safari in Africa, enabling you to make your choice. Each of the different types of safaris offers particular advantages. But private Safaris give you the privacy together with the flexibility on routes and pricing.