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Big Five Reasons to visit Southern Africa

Big Five Reasons to visit Southern Africa
 

Diverse, beautiful, vast – the superlatives to describe holidays to Southern Africa are never ending. But why should you visit now? Here are our big five reasons to head south for the winter.

WILDLIFE

What could be more ‘big five’ than the Big Five? A highlight of any trip to Southern Africa is the chance to spot the elusive leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino in their natural habitat. Botswana affords the most immersive safari experience, with a high chance of wildlife sightings and exclusive experiences, including staying on a houseboat and a flight over the Okavango Delta.

Our Botswana Wildlife Safari takes in the game reserves of the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, staying in special accommodation such as a houseboat and safari camps and lodges. The trip also heads into Namibia’s wildlife-rich Caprivi Strip and Zambia, to view Victoria Falls for a fully-immersive experience through the heart of Africa.

DIVERSITY

From fertile floodplains to arid desert, nowhere on Earth has such a diversity of landscapes as Southern Africa. Take Namibia for example: here you’ll find the world’s highest sand dunes, shimmering salt pans and lush, green plains – not to mention the inhospitable Skeleton Coast and quirky German-colonial towns. South Africa also offers amazing diversity, including desert, marshland, mountains, scrub and wild coastlines.

You’ll see enormous variation on our Namibia Lodge Safari trip, scaling the towering dunes at Sossusvlei and staying in the charming German-colonial coastal town of Swakopmund. Wildlife in Namibia has adjusted to the country’s harsh environments, so keep your eyes peeled for desert-adapted elephant and lion in Damaraland and Etosha National Park – a stark contrast to the Waterberg Plateau’s vibrant plains.

ACCESSIBILITY

It may be at the opposite end of the world, but getting to Southern Africa is surprisingly easy. An overnight flight to Johannesburg or Cape Town means you’ll arrive relatively refreshed, and minimal time difference ensures no jet lag – ideal for getting straight out on your bike to explore the coastal scenery and winelands of the Cape, or if you’re travelling in the school holidays and time is at a premium.

Choose a direct flight to Cape Town and you can fall asleep in London and wake up in the Mother City – just in time to join our Cycle the Cape trip. Explore the slopes of Table Mountain by bicycle, the Cape of Good Hope and the rolling winelands of Stellenbosch. The journey also takes in part of the Garden Route, pedalling along the coast to Knysna.

VALUE

For safari, staying in intimate lodges or enjoying a braai-cooked steak, South Africa offers incredible value for money. The Rand-Pound exchange means that South African safaris provide the best value on the continent, and combining the popular Kruger National Park with lesser-visited Swaziland is a best-of-both-worlds choice. This is an additional benefit for families or groups, who can make savings as well as lifelong friends.

Combine the wildlife of Kruger National Park, secluded sanctuaries in Swaziland and smaller game reserves in a well-rounded exploration of South Africa on our Zululand and Kruger Wildlife trip, making the most of the exchange rate in South Africa and the region food and wine that offers exceptional value for money.

COMMUNITY

Warm and hospitable, Southern Africa’s communities are welcoming to visitors and keen to share stories with strangers. Cultural history is writ large across the region, from the ancient rock art of the San people to the Zulu battlefields of Rorke’s Drift and the survivors of apartheid in Cape Town. Our local partners and Explore Leaders will introduce you to new cultures along the way, with talks tailored to the group demographic – it’s a hands-on way for young, inquisitive minds (and older ones too) to learn about world history.

Our walking holiday in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal – Drakensberg and Wildlife Safari, includes the chance to learn about the battles between the Zulu and Boers at Blood River. Spending time in KwaZulu-Natal offers a different view on the Rainbow Nation, less influenced by tourism and home to famously friendly and welcoming communities.

Take a look at all of our Southern Africa trips