Game drives, khaki clothing, and sundowners overlooking the savannah: these elements of a safari are essential, but they aren’t unique. That’s not a bad thing — after all, that’s what makes it a safari! — but for travellers who like thinking outside the box, it’s a starting point rather than the entire experience. Here are our suggestions for ways to have a really unique safari in different places all over Africa, and keep an element of the unexpected in your travel.
1.Walking safari in northern Kenya
Far from the safety of a game vehicle, the bush comes alive. Walking through the savannah is an immersive experience that brings you face to face with the smells, sounds, and textures of the wild. With an experienced guide who can point out the minutiae of the wildlife, you’ll learn more about the entire ecosystem of the area, and come to a new appreciation of its diversity. A walking safari is a good idea anywhere in Africa — but in the northern region of Kenya, you have the added benefit of getting away from the crowds.
2.Horse riding safari in Botswana
Most people think of Kenya or Tanzania when they hear the word “safari,” but that doesn’t have to be the case. Botswana is host to the big five, the Okavango Delta, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa, including baobabs and the magnificent Makgadikgadi salt pans. And when you explore from horseback, you have something of a disguise — you can usually get much closer to the hartebeest, springbok, zebra, and other animals without spooking them. After five days in the saddle, you won’t just look like a grizzled explorer; you’ll feel like one, too.
It’s no wonder that most people’s first brush with photography is through travel. Exploring an exciting new place can be intoxicating, and it’s only natural to want to keep some evidence of the moment forever. But if you want to take your snapping to the next level, being in the field is the only way to go. By spending time with an experienced professional photographer, you’ll learn the practical skills that aren’t communicable via Youtube tutorial. That means that in addition to having a wild adventure, you’ll also have the tools to get the best photos of your life.
4.Birding in Ethiopia
While many people chase the big five, birders have their eyes on much smaller prizes — and southern Ethiopia is one of the best places in the world to do so. The dedicated twitchers can concentrate on the incredibly rich and diverse bird species, and equal-opportunity wildlife enthusiasts can keep an eye out for Simien red wolf, Bat-eared fox and Beisa oryx.
5.Gorilla-tracking in Uganda
You can call a trip to see Uganda’s gorillas many things—intense, life-changing, bucket-list—but you can’t really call it a “safari.” But the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where half the world’s population of wild mountain gorillas are found, is just a few hours away from Queen Elizabeth National Park and its abundance of wildlife. So if you plan your cards right, you don’t have to choose: you can hike with gorillas, spot tree-climbing lions, and watch thousands of acid-pink flamingoes in the crater lakes, all in one unique trip.
Change your perspective
No matter what your destination is, there’s one tip that you can always apply to add a unique angle on your safari — change your perspective. That could mean seeing the Great Migration from above, in a hot air balloon, or it could mean looking at the mainland of Tanzania from the shores of Zanzibar on a beach adventure after your safari. Wherever you’re heading, even when it’s a very well known destination, there’s always an opportunity for adding something new.
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