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Journey to Africa: East vs. Southern

Shelley Fry

Journey to Africa: East vs. Southern

Shelley Fry

Sep 2014

"I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy," wrote Ernest Hemingway. For lovers of wildlife and wild places, it's easy to understand why. Going on safari will touch you deeply. It will fill you with a childlike sense of wonder and awe, at once fulfilling a lifelong dream and igniting a hunger for more. Gazing across the African plains, being in the presence of mighty elephants or regal lions, and walking with the Maasai, you can't help but be swept away by the beauty of it all. Yet it takes careful orchestration to have the perfect Africa experience on a massive continent that's the size of Europe, Asia, India, and the United States combined!

We are excited to announce we're expanding our wildlife safaris to Africa. One of our world’s most iconic and wildlife rich destinations, Africa offers incredible opportunities for your next trip of a lifetime. The first step on your journey is deciding whether to focus on East or Southern Africa.

The allure of wide open vistas, massive herds of exotic wildlife, and old world scenes straight from Out of Africa make East Africa a classic safari destination. Whether you sleep under canvas or you opt for a lodge, Kenya and Tanzania never fail to delight. The Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania are some of Africa's richest game lands, and the wildlife can be seen year round. Imagine millions of large animals—zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, elephants, giraffes "floating across the plain", lions, and rhinos. Can you picture yourself there on a game drive, or floating above the plain yourself in a hot air balloon? Smaller jewel-like parks and conservation areas dot the countryside and give a different perspective. Mount Kilimanjaro provides an epic backdrop for Kenya's Amboseli National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater—the world's largest inactive unfilled volcanic caldera—is a unique habitat for an impressive concentration of wildlife, and Samburu is home to species only found north of the equator. For a first-time safari experience, travelers who dream of old world Africa, and multi-generational families, East Africa is unsurpassed.

Safaris in Southern Africa—Botswana and South Africa—have a distinctly different flair. In the south, the parks, camps, and the herds of animals are on a completely different scale. Imagine exploring smaller private game reserves by open 4x4, going off-road as you track a lion. Night drives are allowed, and you may have the opportunity to explore the Okavango Delta by dug-out canoes called mokoros. After seeing only one or two other vehicles on your day's adventures, you return to an exquisite camp to watch animals meander by as you enjoy sundowner cocktails. There is plenty of iconic wildlife to be seen in the bush in Southern Africa, and Botswana's Chobe National Park has a fantastic concentration of elephants, but there is also specialty game that's particularly appealing to travelers who have already seen the abundant herds on the East African plains. A couple parks in South Africa are also in malaria-free zones. Beyond the wildlife, the accommodations in Southern Africa tend to be more exclusive and luxurious, and cosmopolitan Cape Town and the thunderous Victoria Falls can be added to make a wonderful adventure even more perfect. Travelers who are attracted to a more diverse experience with wildlife viewing plus a beautiful coastal city and waterfalls, those who have been to East Africa on a more traditional safari, or those who simply prefer more intimate and off-the-beaten path places will find Southern Africa irresistible.

Whether you dream of being surrounded by herds of wild animals on the wide open plains of East Africa, or tracking elusive game through the bush in Southern Africa, we’re certain there is a wonderful safari waiting for you. May you know the joy of waking up in Africa feeling truly happy...and may the experience leave you feeling, in the words of Karen Blixen as she described safari life, “as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne—bubbling all over with heart-felt gratitude for being alive”!

To start planning an incredible safari—whether it's your first or your fifth—we invite you to call us and chat with an Expedition Specialist. Let's travel to Africa.