When it comes to ‘life-changing’ travel experiences; Africa always delivers. But in 2018 there are even more ways to enjoy the wildlife and get lost in the culture of this ever-evolving continent. From pioneering eco-projects to paragliding safaris; you can still escape the crowds and find yourself stranded on sweeping beaches or wild open plains and experience the magic and beauty that only Africa can provide. That is if you know where to go…read on for our top 5 ways to do Africa in 2018.
Escape the crowds in Tanzania
A few nights in the bush will always be magical, but there’s more to Africa than crowded National Parks. Sand Rivers Lodge is a wonderfully tiny lux lodge that plunks you right on the banks of an IMAX-like landscape that is the Rufiji River, a gorgeous sweeping web of sand river channels, open plains and oxbow lakes. Pick a spot in the shade of a Tamarind or Mahogany tree and watch hippos bath and fall asleep under the stars. This is a true African hideaway.
For people who have already summited Kilimanjaro, witnessed the Great Migration and kayaked the Okavango, Uganda should be top of your Africa bucket list. Here you can venture into the very heart of Africa, where the human population is still far outnumbered by the wildlife. You can tiptoe amongst chimps in Kibale National Park, learn herbal medicine and how to make wild honey from the Batwa forest people, and have a better chance of spotting a leopard in the thickets of Mweya Peninsula than any run-of-the-mill game drive elsewhere.
Get off the beaten track in Zimbabwe
For a quintessential safari experience, try Zimbabwe’s perfectly remote, Somalisa Tented Camp. Nestled within a private concession inside Hwange National Park – one of the most wildlife-rich territories on the savanna – your time here will be made magical by your neighbours… the wild elephants that gather around the camp’s natural water pool. Relax and watch these gentle giants as they enjoy their daily wash in the pool just a mere few feet in front of you.
Eco-chic in Zambia
African luxury lodges are really leading the pack when it comes to conservation and responsible tourism, and this privately owned hideaway perched on the Zambezi River was founded by the pioneers of eco-tourism in Zambia. Stay amongst the bush canopy in the Tree House, decked out with locally handcrafted furnishings, and dine by candlelit on your own private floating deck while your courses are transported to you by canoe; we dare you not to fall in love.
Paraglide safari in South Africa
Swap lounging in the truck on a game drive for an adrenaline-fuelled paraglide over South Africa’s wildlife-rich coast with an A-lister guide. Pete Wallenda is considered the man to have brought paragliding to SA, and you’ll get a completely new perspective as you dune-skim and spot Southern Right Whales from the sky. When you land, refuel with the food and wine of buzzing Cape Town.
Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato. Black Tomato is an award-winning luxury travel agent and part of The Black Tomato Group, with partner brands including Studio Black Tomato, The Black Tomato Agency and Epic Tomato.