Paddle around in BotswanaWhile crowds of tourists head to South Africa each year to visit the Big 5, its landlocked neighbor, Botswana is a quieter experience. One way to explore and see wildlife is to get in a boat and paddle up the Selinda Spillway.
While heading through the Linyanti Swamps to the Okavango Delta, you will be surrounded on all sides by wild open plans and riverine forests. It is easy to see the elephants and hippos freshening up in the water or watch the sable and roan antelope roam around in peace. All this, without the crowds of humans generally associated with a safari trip.
Horseback safaris in South AfricaInstead of being crammed into a jeep with other travelers, rather head out on horseback through the exquisite scenery of the Cape Winelands, or the gorgeous Garden Route. Even if you are a beginner, you can try it out, slowly trekking on a pony or horse surrounded by the beautiful Cape Fynbos, with mountain and ocean views along the way. One particularly beautiful place to explore on horseback is the Walker Bay Nature Reserve where you can gallop along on the golden sands.
Alternatively, head up to Mpumalanga and Hazy View to enjoy a sundowner horseback ride through the bush. While admittedly, there isn’t much wildlife to be found, you could come across the occasional elephant in these scenic surroundings.
Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, or UgandaRather than trying to see all African wildlife in one trip, consider meeting up with the gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. This is a must for anyone who watched the movie, Gorillas in the Mist, where Sigourney Weaver played naturist Dian Fossey. The film followed the true story of the naturist’s amazing work with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
For a once in a lifetime adventure, you can experience something similar by heading out with a professional guide. Visit the western lowlands of the Congo, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda, or the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Once there, meet the gentle gorillas face to face in their natural habitat, surrounded by their families.
Explore lovely TanzaniaWhen looking for a remote and unique safari location, the south-central region of Tanzania has several national parks, including Ruaha and Katavi. However, likely the best of them all is the Selous Game Reserve, which hosts the largest populations of elephants, buffaloes, lions, zebras, gorillas and hippos in the country. Once again, you won’t see many humans, just the wildlife you traveled there to see.
While in Tanzania, visit the Mahale Mountains National Park. This park is accessible only by boat or air and offers some of the best chimpanzee trekking in its rainforest, close to the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Try an alternative safari this year, experiencing some of the best safari experiences available in Africa. Always remember to take only photos, not trophies, and leave only footprints on your African adventure.