WHY SOUTHERN AFRICA?
While Kenya and South Africa are synonymous with awesome safari experiences, they aren’t the only safari hotspots on the continent. (Who doesn’t want to safari?!)
In Zambia—where adventure travel is growing by leaps and bounds—South Luangwa National Park is one of the finest game reserves in all of Africa. Larger than PEI and once the domain of only the most intrepid of safari goers, the 9,059-square-kilometre park is now accessible to most travellers, with accommodations from luxury lodges to budget campsites.
With an abundance of wildlife including lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe and more than 400 species of birds, South Luangwa is the match for any of the continent’s parks and is one of the few that permits both night game drives and unforgettable walking safaris (in fact, the park pioneered the concept in the 1960s).
To the southwest of Zambia sits Botswana, home to Chobe National Park and huge herds of elephants, as well as the Okavango Delta with its game-rich network of waterways and islands. To the south of Chobe is the less well-known Makgadikgadi Pans: one of the largest salt pans in the world and a place where the wildlife outnumbers the visitors!
"The regions of Damaraland and Kaokoland are among the few places in Africa where wild wildlife still exists outside of protected game reserves and parks"
Though desolate in the dry season, once the rains arrive the pans burst with nature. Vast herds of zebra, wildebeest and other antelope are drawn to its brief lush greenery, and with them come lions, cheetah and the rare brown hyena. Visited by few and only recommended for experienced off-road drivers, Makgadikgadi can captivate the most veteran of safari devotees.
To the west of Botswana is Namibia, famed for its towering sand dunes, buffeted Atlantic coastline and Etosha National Park, where visitors are enclosed and the wildlife roams free. Yet it’s the country’s northwest that holds the greatest treasure for intrepid travellers.
The regions of Damaraland and Kaokoland are among the few places in Africa where wild wildlife still exists outside of protected game reserves and parks. Set against a stark and beautiful backdrop, the combined region is home to gemsbok, lions and desert elephants with their unusually long legs, adapted over time to cope with the rolling sands.
And while the roads are good, the area is so remote that travellers have reported going for days without seeing another vehicle!