This destination alongside giant Lake Malawi is only now opening up for safari, but don’t expect the best game sightings, though Majeti does now have the Big 5. But it makes up for this with the dramatic scenery of the Rift Valley, superb birding (palmnut vulture, Bohm’s bee-eater, Lilian’s lovebird, Livingstone’s flycatcher) and up north on the Nyika Plateau, animals adapted to high altitude grassland. Malawi.
There are 2 main reserves in Zambia, both with vast plains and few visitors, so they have a wild and unexplored feel. South Luangwa with lakes and rivers is famed for walking safaris, hIgh density of leopard, and endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s zebra. Kafue has even fewer camps and is closer to Vic Falls. This is serious safari country – don’t expect pools, a/c etc; camps are intimate, low impact and close to nature. Zambia.
I fell in love with Pamushana when i spent a week drawing baobab trees, but had the most amazing sightings of all the Big 5 plus cheetah and wild dog. Singita’s super lux Pamushana is the only camp on a vast private reserve, which has been a great conservation success. Spend at least 4 nights. It borders Gonarezhou where other camps have opened, but wildlife there is skittish. Zimbabwe.
About 200 miles downstream from Victoria Falls is the world’s largest man-made lake, Kariba, which is surrounded by safari areas, and below that the national parks of Mana Pools and Lower Zambezi straddle the mighty river – elephants cross between them. Simpler camps, mostly tented with nice pools overlooking the Zambezi. Zimbabwe/Zambia.
The world’s largest waterfall can be seen from both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides. Although wildlife roams this area don’t think of it as a real safari. It’s rather a great place to spend a few days relaxing before or after your main safari – spa treatments, river cruises, fishing, craft markets, cultural tours, awesome range of adventure activities, and of course viewing the falls. Camps are lux, with pools, a/c and other indulgences. Zimbabwe/Zambia.
Various reserves lie between the Okavango and Victoria Falls, at the only place on earth where 4 countries meet. In dry season, big herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra are attracted to rivers and waterholes. Camps tend to be simpler and tented, with that wild, remote African feeling, a/c is rare and some have pools. Botswana.
The world’s largest inland delta is the holy grail for safari-goers, a magnificent combination of wetland (explore by boat or wooden mokoro) and dry islands (game drives and walks) which attracts one of Africa’s most exciting concentrations of wildlife and birds. It is the 1000th World Heritage Site. The scenery flying in to your camp is breathtaking. Most camps are tented, and only some have pools and a/c. Botswana.
These immense, dry pans are an unusual safari experience, the best place to view cheetah, and good for meerkats, elusive wild cat, porcupine, aardwolf and honey badger. In the dry season the Makgadikgadi Pans are surreal in their moonlike appearance. In the rainy season it’s all transformed; flamingoes in the pans, zebra migration and the black-maned kalahari lion. Simple tented camps allow a close-to-nature experience. Botswana.
In Namibia where the rest of the country is desert, Etosha provides a more conventional safari area, with large amounts of game. Vast dry savannah surrounds the salt pan where flamingoes breed; expect to see lions, elephants, black rhinos and giraffes gather at waterholes. Camps are simpler, most have pools but not all have a/c. Namibia.
The desert experience isn’t just about the rare, desert-adapted lion, elephant and rhino – it’s also about huge orange sandunes at Sossusvlei, the desolate Skeleton Coast, unusual plantlife and rock paintings. Camp designs can be dramatic, and offer a variety of experiences including walking, quad-biking and star-gazing. They usually have a pool and some have a/c. Namibia.