Establish the time of year in which you are looking to travel. If you are completely flexible, then choose either the country, region or activity which interests you (such as a gorilla safari, watching chimpanzees, seeing the wildebeest migration, horse-riding, the best time to see the concentrated wildlife, going on a camel-trek, watching whales, wild flowers, vineyards etc).
Look at our calendar list on where and when to go for guidance on what the highlights are for each month by country, especially if you are not flexible and need to travel in certain months, as that will help further determine your choice.
Let us know your interests, whether as an individual, as part of a group or a family. We can then discuss what will be most appropriate for you. Often, a good idea is that everyone writes down on a piece of paper exactly what they want to get out of their holiday, and we marry the ideas together – whether that’s walking, canoeing, sailing, riding, game-viewing, hot air ballooning, swimming pool, fishing or relaxing!
What sort of accommodation are you looking for? An authentic tented camp, perhaps just for you or your family, complete with your own private safari guide, with bucket shower and flush or long-drop loo? Or a permanent tented luxury safari camp with en suite facilities, or perhaps fly-camping beneath the stars with a bedroll and mosquito netting? Or more basic camping with a Meru tent on a camel-trek, or perhaps staying at a designer lodge or a beautifully designed private house? For further information on what each of the above offers, see our Accommodation in Africa guide.
Consider whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday, an action-packed, adventurous safari or something in-between.
Would you like a diversity of areas, perhaps beginning somewhere with beautiful scenery, cultural interaction, some walking, then onto the big game areas, culminating with a beach or a lake? Perhaps you might like to do some sailing, either spending the time on a catamaran visiting islands, or by traditional Arab dhow? If in Botswana, we could arrange a mokoro safari, plying the waterways by wooden, dug-out canoe, and camping on the islands. In Zimbabwe we can offer various canoe safaris led by the very best specialist guides. Or perhaps you might like to spend one week in one game-rich area, followed by another week on a lake or a beach?
If in South Africa, you might like to visit the winelands? We could assemble a gastronomic retreat, as one of our staff members has their South Africa diploma in vini and viticulture, and knows the all the best restaurants and vineyards. Walk in the Drakensberg Mountains, visit the battlefields of Rorke’s Drift, perhaps ride at an Arab stud farm, game-view and end up whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and tracking the loggerhead and leatherback turtles on the border of Maputaland. Visit the wild coast in South Africa. Visit the non-malarial areas of the Waterberg and Marakalele National Parks. We will arrange the most wonderful flying or self-drive holidays imaginable for you. Have the ocean to yourself at Plettenberg Bay, which is the perfect place for children, offering so much to do!
If you are interested in seeing the work we are doing at the charities that we support and are seeking a more altruistic-style safari, we would love to arrange that for you, as well. We support many African cultural establishments where the proceeds directly benefit the local communities, and we would be delighted to incorporate these lovely places into your itinerary – after all, one feels so much better staying somewhere which is part of a good cause!
Look at the geography of the country/ies you wish to travel to, (not forgetting that we are also here to advise you accordingly!). We will ensure that you travel in a sensible direction and pace where possible, and where necessary, making the most of any one area (although we mainly fly our guests from place to place, so distances become less of a concern).
Do not attempt to do too much – you will be doing both yourself and the country a disservice, and only end up requiring another holiday at the end! And ultimately – pick up the telephone and call us, or get us to call you! If you are part of a group, then we shall come and see you, if you prefer, or do come and see us. There is no substitute for first-hand knowledge, and often a telephone call saves sifting through reams of information that one simply has to digest especially when time is short!
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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