Into Africa: Five of the best African adventures

Into Africa: Five of the best African adventures

Emily Bamber takes a look at a handful of emerging destinations to tempt clients who love Africa

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It may be 200 years to the month since the birth of Britain’s most famous explorer, Dr David Livingstone, but there are still parts of the African continent that feel untouched by European visitors.

So there’s no need for Africa-phile clients who have ticked off the big five in the Kruger and the Masai Mara to stop exploring.

While the likes of South Africa and Kenya will always lead the pack when it comes to diversity of safari lodges and quality of infrastructure, the countries below are emerging as off-the-beaten-track alternatives for adventurous holidaymakers looking to go home with their own Dr Livingstone moment to boast about.

MALAWI


It may be land-locked – wedged between Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique – but Malawi is blessed with beaches nonetheless. These sandy stretches are along its Great Rift Valley lake, once dubbed Lake of Stars by David Livingstone.

Today, visitors love the white sand, abundant marine and bird life, and luxury lodges. Robin Pope Safaris operates Pumulani on the southern shores of Lake Malawi, and also has a property in Majete Wildlife Reserve, which, since the reintroduction of lions last year, now has the big five. Liwonde National Park offers hippo-viewing along the Shire River and has a luxury property in the shape of Wilderness Safaris’ Mvuu Lodge.

All this means you can sell a safari and beach combination within one unspoilt, welcoming, English-speaking country. Flights are via Johannesburg, Nairobi or Addis Ababa.

Book it: Audley Travel has a nine-night trip combining four nights at Mkulumadzi in Majete Wildlife Reserve and five nights at Pumulani on Lake Malawi from £4,045 full board, including flights with South African Airways via Johannesburg and transfers, all safari activities and most watersports.

audleytravel.com
01993 838540

MOZAMBIQUE


With the warm Indian Ocean lapping its 1,500-mile white-sand coast, paradise islands ringed with coral and abundant marine life, Mozambique has long been one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. But a crop of new eco-chic hotels and improved air connections are transforming this quiet stretch of east Africa into the next hotspot for barefoot luxury.

The wild north in particular is opening up, with SA Airlink and Kenya Airways increasing their flights into Nampula, gateway to an untouched coast and colonial gem Ilha de Moçambique, plus a new direct flight from Dar Es Salaam into the Quirimbas Islands. Qatar Airways began flights from Doha to capital Maputo last October.

Wildlife populations are recovering post-civil war, particularly in Gorongosa National Park. However, game are still skittish and relatively thinly spread. If you don’t feel confident selling it as a safari yet, why not package Mozambique as a beach add-on to South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania.

Book it: Expert Africa has an 11-night holiday combining four nights at Kubatana Camp in Gorongosa and five at Coral Lodge 15.41 in Nampula Province from £4,430 on a full board basis, including flights with South African Airways via Johannesburg, domestic flights, transfers and safari activities.

expertafrica.com
020 8232 9777

CONGO


Not to be confused with volatile neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congo is peaceful and beautiful, and also has one of Africa’s oldest national parks. Odzala-Kokoua was proclaimed a national park in 1935 to protect the famous inhabitants of its tropical rainforest – large populations of western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants.

Wilderness Safaris opened two lodges here in June, between them offering day and night safaris, boat trips on the Lekoli and Mambili Rivers and of course, gorilla tracking and the chance to spend time with researchers.

This is one of the least-explored places in the world and finding the gorillas can be arduous – guests should be prepared to walk up to five miles a day – but they’ll be rewarded with wildlife viewing experiences that will stay with them forever. Flights to Brazzaville are via Nairobi, Johannesburg or Paris.

Book it: Rainbow Tours’ eight-night Gorilla Trekking and Wildlife trip to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park starts from £6,350, including international and internal flights (Air France via Paris or Kenya Airways via Nairobi), all transfers, pre and post-trek accommodation in the capital Brazzaville, three nights’ accommodation each at Lango Camp and Ngaga Camp with all meals and local drinks included, laundry at camps and all trekking activities.

rainbowtours.co.uk
020 7666 1250

ZIMBABWE


For direct views of Victoria Falls, big five game-viewing and keen prices, repeat Africa visitors and adventurous first-timers alike are choosing Zimbabwe.

Before the unrest it was credited with some of Africa’s most beautiful national parks, best-trained guides and warmest people, and that hasn’t changed.

Hwange National Park has one of the largest elephant populations in the world plus a new crop of upmarket lodges – African Luxury Hideaways opened a lodge here this year, plus another at the Falls, just an hour away.

Although there are still no direct flights from the UK, British Airways connects to Harare via Johannesburg with Comair, while South African Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines and Emirates all fly via their hubs. Get your clients in ahead of the pack – as international confidence grows and president Robert Mugabe’s influence inevitably dwindles, Zimbabwe is heading for a comeback.

Book it: Imagine Africa has a 10-night holiday combining Victoria Falls Hotel, The Hide Safari Camp in Hwange National Park and Kanga Camp at Mana Pools from £3,600 mixed board, including flights via Johannesburg with South African Airways, internal flights, transfers and safari activities.

imagineafrica.co.uk
020 7622 5114

Africa

RWANDA


Peaceful now for more than a decade, Rwanda is rightly reclaiming its place in brochures as a premiere wildlife-viewing and beach destination.

More than a third of the world’s mountain gorillas live among the mist-shrouded hills of Volcanoes National Park, made famous by zoologist Dian Fossey, and luxury hotels such as Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, sister-property to Kenya’s famous Governors Camp, are leading an upmarket drive.

Africa’s sixth-largest waterway, Lake Kivu, is enjoying something of a renaissance too, with the opening of a four-star Serena Hotel on its white-sand shores. Airlines are following suit – Qatar Airways and South African Airways introduced flights to Kigale this year, making it easier to sell Rwanda as an add-on to Kenya, Uganda or South Africa, or as an unforgettable holiday in its own right.

Book it: Travel 2 has a five-night ‘Gorilla Encounter’ tour combining Kigali Serena Hotel, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and Lake Kivu Serena Hotel from £2,964 mixed-board, including safari activities and transfers. International flights with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa cost from £619.

travel2.com
0800 678 1497

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