What is there to do in Victoria Falls?

Walk the Falls

This is a very wet experience particularly during and after the rains. Depending on where you are staying you can also cross over to Zimbabwe or Zambia to view the falls, but you’ll need to negotiateimmigration which can take a bit of time and is fairly typical of a brush with African bureaucracy – disorganised and a bit of a pain.

White Water Rafting

These are all day or half day trips and in the dry season start right under the falls. When the river is high, they start further down. Depending on the time of year, it can be a fun day out with a few thrills, or a hair-raising experience with a lot of swims.  It is a steep climb down into the gorge and a very steep climb out – although there is now a cable car on the Zambian side, but it is not always working.

Microlite over the Victoria Falls

This is a 15 minute flight and some of the magic is taken out by the fact that it is a bit like queuing up for a fair ground attraction and the poor pilots just go up and down every 15 minutes. It is however an exciting way to see the Falls and really appreciate how huge they are, but also how narrow the chasm that the water falls into. You can also see where over 1000’s of years the Falls started. You are linked into the pilot who gives information on the Falls and then you fly back along the river, looking down at hippos.

Helicopter flight

Here you fly over the falls and then fly down in the gorge up to the falls which is quite spectacular. As with the microlite flights, you can do 15 minutes or 30 minute flights. You have to be aware that in the helicopter, the best view is in the front seat and there were complaints when we were there that people could not see well out of the back seats.

Livingstone Island (Zambia only)

Lying right as the giant Zambezi plummets over the Falls, there can be few places which provide such unusual and special access to one of the World’s Wonders.  Visit for high-tea, lunch or during the full moon to see the lunar rainbow.  You can also access the daring Devil’s Pool if you fancy a dip on the very edge of the waterfall…not for the faint of heart.

Other activities you might be interested in:

  • Elephant back safaris – whole day or half a day in Zimbabwe and Zambia
  • Quad biking tours in Zambia
  • Walking in Musi o Tunya National Park
  • Walking with Lions in Zimbabwe and Zambia

 

About the Serengeti Plains Formation

The plains cover more than 5000 sq km of the Serengeti and surrounding areas – almost a third of the park area and are probably what most people think of when you mention the Serengeti (it’s actually what the word means in Maasai – “endless plains”). It’s really worth looking for at why they are there and how the whole landscape fits together with the rift valley and Ngorongoro.

The base rock of the plains is Precambrian. This period spanned between 4600 and 500 million years ago, a not insignificant chunk of time a very long time ago. This base layer is made up of metamorphic rocks like gneisses and schist mixed with quartzes. Overlaid on top of this is a blanket of fine volcanic ash from eruptions along the edge of the rift valley in the Ngorongoro Highlands.

The principle eruption in the formation of the plains was apparently Kerimasi, although this is hard to believe when you see it – a modest looking dormant volcano just south east of Lengai near Lake Natron. It erupted in what was clearly a major way 150,000 years ago. Subsequently Ol Donyo Lengai has kept things topped up in recent years, erupting 15 times since the end of the 19th Century, most recently at the end of 2007. If you climb it today and hear it boiling away like a cauldron you can’t help wondering when the next big one will come (like maybe before you have a chance to get down again).

The prevailing wind direction in the Serengeti is from the east, so what you see when you look at the pattern of the plains is what amounts to an enormous vomit of ash which has blown down wind from the source of eruption. The plains extend from the Selai plains in the northeast near Lake Natron, south through Gol Kopjes and around the base of the highlands to Ndutu and from there west as far as Seronera.  They are at the heart of the wildebeest migration; the birthing ground for the calves during the green season, but dry, barren and unable to sustain life during the dry – hence the need to migrate.

Five Extraordinary Experiences in Mongolia

Head to one of the world’s last great frontiers and discover vast open spaces, wonderful nomadic people and the chance of a true adventure. here is our round up of some of the most extraordinary private experiences to be had along the way.

1. DISCOVER BACTRIAN CAMELS AND DINOSAURS IN THE GOBI

The vast gobi dominates southern Mongolia. Our private expedition takes you into some of the 33 different types of gobi that make up the desert steppe, and dinosaur country.

Setting out from the capital of Ulan Bator you will head into the rocky wilderness inhabited by nomads, their flocks of goats and small herds of domesticated Bactrian camels, the main source of milk and transport here. Along the way you may meet with local over a steaming cup of boiled salty tea and learn more about their way of life in this harsh environment. From your private mobile ger camp hike among the giant dunes of Hongor Sands standing up to 80m high and 100m wide – or reaching 20km in others – and climb to the top for far reaching views and spectacular sunsets.

With your private guide you are likely to spot some native wildlife including Goitered Gazelle, fox, argali and pika. Bird-watching is rewarding with Bearded Vulture, or Lammergeier soaring high above, and rare Wallcreepers. Travelling through a glacial canyon and the Saxaul ‘forests’ of Banyanzag you will reach the Flaming Cliffs, made famous by American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews, who discovered the first fossilized dinosaur eggs here in the early 1920s.

2. FLOAT THROUGH THE CANYONS OF NORTHERN MONGOLIA WITH A PRIVATE GER CAMP

Work your way through picturesque valleys and canyons and enjoy far-reaching views of the stunning landscape.

This unique river trip takes you through the Hövsgöl Canyons, Mongolia’s most scenic river valley. Staying in a string of comfortable ger camps along the river you float from camp to camp over three or four mornings, often passing nomads living in gers along the steppe, with optional afternoon hikes above the limestone and granite canyons; it’s a brilliant addition to any Mongolian adventure in one of the remotest areas of the country.

In the company of professional river guides and equipped with safety gear you can choose to participate in paddling your raft or sit back and enjoy the ride, plus the thrill of some Grade II and III rapids. Remote and difficult to access, the river is prime habitat for an endangered giant trout, the Taimen, and we work with the surrounding communities in conservation partnership. Lunch is served stream side so you can re-energise and enjoy the peace of this pristine wilderness.

Each night is spent in a private camp with views over pristine landscape at 2000 meters above sea level close to the border with Tuva Republic of Russia. Your traditional Mongolian ger is simply but comfortably furnished with proper beds and colourful wall hangings and dining is in a separate tent with cuisine created from traditional recipes.

3. EXPERIENCE THE EAGLE FESTIVAL OF THE ALTAI MOUNTAINS

In the far west of Mongolia ethnic Kazakh nomads continue to practice their ancient tradition of hunting with eagles.

The Altai Eagle Festival is an incredible opportunity to join them as they showcase their age-old skills, flying domesticated female golden eagles; it’s one of the last great nomadic spectacles. Our private expedition uses comfortable Land Cruisers to cross the dry steppe where Saiga antelope and Takhi wild horses roam free beneath towering mountains home to snow leopard. On the way you are likely to encounter eagle hunters making their way to the festival with their eagles on horseback, motorbike and truck.

Your base for the festival is a private camp with cosy heated ger complete with proper beds and separate dining tent located in the vast unspoilt landscape. The festival begins with opening ceremonies and eagle hunters on horseback riding in parade, followed by displays of expert horsemanship including Kok Boru, a tug-of-war on horseback. The highlight is the Golden Eagle competitions and the opportunity for numerous photos. Lunch is brought to at the festival grounds so there’s no need to miss out on any of the action.

4. SLEEP UNDER A MILLION STARS IN A PRIVATE TRADITIONAL GER CAMP

Mongolia’s massive wide-open spaces and endless unfenced landscapes lend themselves to limitless exploration.

The best way to experience this incredible freedom and enjoy flexible, slow, off-grid travel is to live like a nomad with your own private mobile camp.

Step inside your traditional ger (yurt) via an intricately patterned wooden door – conventionally facing south to receive the sun – and you’ll find a comfortable and spacious living space. Ivory canvas pulled taut over a wooden latticework frame and luminous orange roof poles forms the basis of your tented home. Beds are made up with crisp linen and fluffy blankets, there’s a wash basin and pail, and plump cushioned chairs from which to soak up the panoramic views.

Wholesome three course meals are served in a cosy mess tent lined with colourful wall hangings or al fresco beneath the Milky Way; Mongolia’s star gazing opportunities are spectacular. By morning, after breakfast, camp is deftly dismantled and packed up; Mongols are experts at moving and any sign that you were there quickly disappear in the sea of grass.

5. JOURNEY THROUGH WILD MONGOLIA IN SEARCH OF THE PRZEWALSKI HORSE

Named after a Russian explorer who is credited with discovering them in the 1800s, the iconic wild horse roams the plains of Mongolia.

Head to the steppes of Mongolia in search of the world’s last true wild horses in Hustai National Park. The Przewalski horse, or ‘takhi’ in Mongolian meaning ‘spirit’ or ‘worthy of worship’, has been brought back from the brink of extinction in recent years and remains critically endangered. Stay in a traditional ger (yurt) moved between your private camps by woolly Bactrian camels.

Plan your Perfect Family Safari Holiday

With the right planning, a safari holiday can be the ultimate adventure for parents and children – the holiday of a lifetime, sharing incredible experiences, witnessing awesome wildlife and creating magical memories that will last forever. If you’re thinking about planning a safari holiday over the coming year, here are some steps to help you get the ball rolling:

  1. Involve everyone in the planning process
  2. Accommodation options for the whole family – big and small
  3. Decide what safari experience your family will enjoy
  4. Before you go – get organised and take some stress out of travel
  5. What to pack for your safari holiday

 

1. Involve everyone in the planning process

This will be a trip of a lifetime and perfection is always in the planning. Find an expert you can trust and start planning early. Many of the best safari camps are small and fill up a long way in advance so you want to ensure that you have maximum choice. There is so much to think about and sometimes can feel rather daunting for first timers, but involve the whole family in lighting the touch paper of imagination. You’ll know your family best and while you may not know what to expect on safari, an experienced travel consultant will take the time understand the sorts of things you’ve enjoyed as a family before and make recommendations based on that. Take some time to get lost in YouTube looking at some of the wonderful safari videos on offer. Check out our family safaris video too.

NH Tip: Keep it short and sweet. Particularly with younger children, less can be more. Four or five nights or intensive safari action will be plenty before heading off for some R&R at the coast.

2. Accommodation options for the whole family – big and small

As you can imagine, in national parks and reserves populated by large numbers of wild animals, many safari camps have age restrictions in place. That said, there are plenty of places that cater specifically for families. We’ve travelled extensively in Africa with our own kids, so have the first hand experience to advise on the best places for families with children of all ages. Make no bones about it, safaris can involve long days, but time spent spotting wildlife in awe-inspiring, remote locations, dinner cooked over an open fire under the stars and bedtime stories accompanied by roaring lions mean there is rarely a dull moment. Each family is different, but here are our favourite three safari accommodation options:

Savour the seclusion of a private house 

Possibly the greatest luxury on a safari holiday when travelling as a family is exclusivity – do what you want, when you want. A private safari house affords the privacy to do just that, to be a family, share meals, enjoy the pool and take your own drives and walks led by a superb guide, when and how you want.

Simple but brilliant light tented camps

Light tented camps offer the wonder of flexibility – set up in unspoilt, wildlife-rich areas often in places where vehicles are not allowed. Get off the beaten track to experience real wilderness enjoying your sundowner with not another soul.

On the move with mobile fly camps

Particularly for families with older children, a mobile camp has the ability to access properly wild areas, with ingredients that give a safari its unique flavour – an excellent guide, access to the best areas, great food and a comfortable camp – while minimizing the cost on things that most people can do with out in the context of a safari holiday.

NH Tip: For something more simple, use light tented camps to combine the highlights of the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti with quieter, lesser visited areas of Northern Tanzania –  Sit watching elephant drinking at a waterfall in the Great Rift Valley escarpment.

Mobile Fly camps are a fantastic way to move slowly, stop often and experience great wildlife with a dedicated private guide.

3. Decide what safari experience your family will enjoy 

Private guide

For us, having an experienced private guide to look after you is pretty much non-negotiable as a family. The amount of time they can devote to you (as opposed to answering questions from strangers with differing interests and priorities) will have a massive impact on your experience. The knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of a good guide is infectious. Having him all to yourselves will ensure he keeps your kids spellbound. Ask questions, learn from them and they will make your safari.

Self-drive

There are one or two areas of Africa where a self drive is worth considering. In Namibia particularly it’s a great way to give you the independence to explore on your own while also keeping costs under control. Read more about a self-drive safari in Namibia. 

Walking safari

For families with older children there are few experiences as memorable as a walking safari. Staying in mobile camps and lead by experienced armed guides, this will be a proper education for the whole family. Learn to track big game, identify birdsong and use the wind to silently approach wildlife on foot. Read more about walking safaris.

Combine with beach luxury

One of two countries are ideally placed to offer the perfect combination of safari and beach; time to relax and enjoy lazy days after an exhilarating time in the bush. White sandy beaches in Zanzibar easily combine with Tanzania or KenyaMozambique is an excellent bolt-on option to enjoy the turquoise waters and colourful marine life.

NH Tip: Your safari doesn’t have to be one thing or the other – it’s easy to combine different styles of accommodation and experience for variety.

4. Before you go – get organised and take some stress out of travel

Passports and visas

Be sure to understand the visa requirements for all the countries you are visiting or travelling through on your safari. Make sure all passports have at least six months validity from the date of your return to the UK and ensure that there are at least 2 blank pages for each country. Visit the government’s official travel advice website for more information on visa requirements. The more you can do ahead of time, the better. If you’re travelling to South Africa you will need to have original birth certificates for your children so you must be prepared for this.

Health considerations

Consult with your doctor or GP about your travel plans as soon as you know your travel dates. They will be best placed to advise you, but you will need a yellow fever vaccination for travel to East and Southern Africa. Other vaccinations you may need include hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Malaria is common in certain parts of Africa and although there’s no vaccination you can protect yourself by taking an anti-malaria treatment and avoiding mosquitoes using a mosquito-repellent spray and mosquito nets.

Travel insurance

Since you will be in a remote location and will probably be spending a significant amount of money on a safari, travel insurance is a necessity. It is a condition of booking that you have travel insurance in place from the time of booking to ensure you are covered in the event you have to cancel your plans. Look out for family cover packages which include cancellation cover and emergency medical coverage when setting up your policy – also don’t forget about those gadgets which you may need additional cover for.

5. What to pack for your safari holiday

The main thing to remember is to travel light and it is not a fashion show – think comfortable, think practical and never pack more than you can carry – most domestic flights in Africa limit you to 15kg of hold luggage. Depending on your itinerary, there may be other luggage restrictions on flights so be aware of this when you are sitting on your suitcase forcing the zip into submission.

Here’s a brief checklist:

  • Loose layered clothing that protects you from the sun and biting insects
  • Colours matter – choose olive, green or khaki (white attracts animals, black/blue attracts insects)
  • Use a soft bag or duffel bag – wheeled suitcases are not suitable in the bush
  • Good quality sunglasses (UV protection)
  • Sunscreen for protection against the strong African sun
  • Small first-aid kit packed with bandages, hand sanitizer and over the counter medications for you and your children
  • Insect repellent and malaria medication
  • Pack an extra travel toothbrush for freshening up on long haul journeys
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Light hikers or sports footwear are best for most safaris
  • Flip flops for wearing in your tent and around camp
  • A pair of good, mid-size binoculars – probably the most essential piece of safari kit in your bag – one pair each to make sure no one misses out
  • Extra memory card so you can snap away and capture every precious moment
  • A small flashlight/headlight is essential for the evenings
  • Bring a backpack to keep your travel documents safe

 

Month by Month Guide to Visiting Madagascar

With the right planning, a safari holiday can be the ultimate adventure for parents and children – the holiday of a lifetime, sharing incredible experiences, witnessing awesome wildlife and creating magical memories that will last forever. If you’re thinking about planning a safari holiday over the coming year, here are some steps to help you get the ball rolling:

  1. Involve everyone in the planning process
  2. Accommodation options for the whole family – big and small
  3. Decide what safari experience your family will enjoy
  4. Before you go – get organised and take some stress out of travel
  5. What to pack for your safari holiday

 

1. Involve everyone in the planning process

This will be a trip of a lifetime and perfection is always in the planning. Find an expert you can trust and start planning early. Many of the best safari camps are small and fill up a long way in advance so you want to ensure that you have maximum choice. There is so much to think about and sometimes can feel rather daunting for first timers, but involve the whole family in lighting the touch paper of imagination. You’ll know your family best and while you may not know what to expect on safari, an experienced travel consultant will take the time understand the sorts of things you’ve enjoyed as a family before and make recommendations based on that. Take some time to get lost in YouTube looking at some of the wonderful safari videos on offer. Check out our family safaris video too.

NH Tip: Keep it short and sweet. Particularly with younger children, less can be more. Four or five nights or intensive safari action will be plenty before heading off for some R&R at the coast.

2. Accommodation options for the whole family – big and small

As you can imagine, in national parks and reserves populated by large numbers of wild animals, many safari camps have age restrictions in place. That said, there are plenty of places that cater specifically for families. We’ve travelled extensively in Africa with our own kids, so have the first hand experience to advise on the best places for families with children of all ages. Make no bones about it, safaris can involve long days, but time spent spotting wildlife in awe-inspiring, remote locations, dinner cooked over an open fire under the stars and bedtime stories accompanied by roaring lions mean there is rarely a dull moment. Each family is different, but here are our favourite three safari accommodation options:

Savour the seclusion of a private house 

Possibly the greatest luxury on a safari holiday when travelling as a family is exclusivity – do what you want, when you want. A private safari house affords the privacy to do just that, to be a family, share meals, enjoy the pool and take your own drives and walks led by a superb guide, when and how you want.

Simple but brilliant light tented camps

Light tented camps offer the wonder of flexibility – set up in unspoilt, wildlife-rich areas often in places where vehicles are not allowed. Get off the beaten track to experience real wilderness enjoying your sundowner with not another soul.

On the move with mobile fly camps

Particularly for families with older children, a mobile camp has the ability to access properly wild areas, with ingredients that give a safari its unique flavour – an excellent guide, access to the best areas, great food and a comfortable camp – while minimizing the cost on things that most people can do with out in the context of a safari holiday.

NH Tip: For something more simple, use light tented camps to combine the highlights of the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti with quieter, lesser visited areas of Northern Tanzania –  Sit watching elephant drinking at a waterfall in the Great Rift Valley escarpment.

Mobile Fly camps are a fantastic way to move slowly, stop often and experience great wildlife with a dedicated private guide.

3. Decide what safari experience your family will enjoy 

Private guide

For us, having an experienced private guide to look after you is pretty much non-negotiable as a family. The amount of time they can devote to you (as opposed to answering questions from strangers with differing interests and priorities) will have a massive impact on your experience. The knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of a good guide is infectious. Having him all to yourselves will ensure he keeps your kids spellbound. Ask questions, learn from them and they will make your safari.

Self-drive

There are one or two areas of Africa where a self drive is worth considering. In Namibia particularly it’s a great way to give you the independence to explore on your own while also keeping costs under control. Read more about a self-drive safari in Namibia. 

Walking safari

For families with older children there are few experiences as memorable as a walking safari. Staying in mobile camps and lead by experienced armed guides, this will be a proper education for the whole family. Learn to track big game, identify birdsong and use the wind to silently approach wildlife on foot. Read more about walking safaris.

Combine with beach luxury

One of two countries are ideally placed to offer the perfect combination of safari and beach; time to relax and enjoy lazy days after an exhilarating time in the bush. White sandy beaches in Zanzibar easily combine with Tanzania or KenyaMozambique is an excellent bolt-on option to enjoy the turquoise waters and colourful marine life.

NH Tip: Your safari doesn’t have to be one thing or the other – it’s easy to combine different styles of accommodation and experience for variety.

4. Before you go – get organised and take some stress out of travel

Passports and visas

Be sure to understand the visa requirements for all the countries you are visiting or travelling through on your safari. Make sure all passports have at least six months validity from the date of your return to the UK and ensure that there are at least 2 blank pages for each country. Visit the government’s official travel advice website for more information on visa requirements. The more you can do ahead of time, the better. If you’re travelling to South Africa you will need to have original birth certificates for your children so you must be prepared for this.

Health considerations

Consult with your doctor or GP about your travel plans as soon as you know your travel dates. They will be best placed to advise you, but you will need a yellow fever vaccination for travel to East and Southern Africa. Other vaccinations you may need include hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Malaria is common in certain parts of Africa and although there’s no vaccination you can protect yourself by taking an anti-malaria treatment and avoiding mosquitoes using a mosquito-repellent spray and mosquito nets.

Travel insurance

Since you will be in a remote location and will probably be spending a significant amount of money on a safari, travel insurance is a necessity. It is a condition of booking that you have travel insurance in place from the time of booking to ensure you are covered in the event you have to cancel your plans. Look out for family cover packages which include cancellation cover and emergency medical coverage when setting up your policy – also don’t forget about those gadgets which you may need additional cover for.

August – has a similar climate and conditions to July and you will need to book well in advance during this peak travel month.

September – becomes much quieter as European school holidays end. The cooler season ends and temperatures increase again bringing chameleons, snakes, lizards, small lemurs and rodents out of hibernation. There is also still a chance to see the last remaining humpback whales off the coast of Ile Sainte Marie.

5. What to pack for your safari holiday

The main thing to remember is to travel light and it is not a fashion show – think comfortable, think practical and never pack more than you can carry – most domestic flights in Africa limit you to 15kg of hold luggage. Depending on your itinerary, there may be other luggage restrictions on flights so be aware of this when you are sitting on your suitcase forcing the zip into submission.

Here’s a brief checklist:

  • Loose layered clothing that protects you from the sun and biting insects
  • Colours matter – choose olive, green or khaki (white attracts animals, black/blue attracts insects)
  • Use a soft bag or duffel bag – wheeled suitcases are not suitable in the bush
  • Good quality sunglasses (UV protection)
  • Sunscreen for protection against the strong African sun
  • Small first-aid kit packed with bandages, hand sanitizer and over the counter medications for you and your children
  • Insect repellent and malaria medication
  • Pack an extra travel toothbrush for freshening up on long haul journeys
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Light hikers or sports footwear are best for most safaris
  • Flip flops for wearing in your tent and around camp
  • A pair of good, mid-size binoculars – probably the most essential piece of safari kit in your bag – one pair each to make sure no one misses out
  • Extra memory card so you can snap away and capture every precious moment
  • A small flashlight/headlight is essential for the evenings
  • Bring a backpack to keep your travel documents safe

 

November – temperatures continue to rise and wildlife is active so you should see lots of lemurs, chameleons, frogs and geckos. Birds are breeding too so there is plenty to see. It remains a good time for trekking in the warm rainforests when there can be the odd shower.

December – is the start of the wet season in Madagascar, but this doesn’t necessarily mean heavy rain all the time everywhere. It’s the hottest time of the year with few visitors. The further into the month the more likelihood of heavy rain; tropical storms rage and temperatures climb over 30C in the humid rainforests. Lemurs, tenrecs and reptiles can often be spotted.

The Best Small Safari Camps in Tanzania

With the right planning, a safari holiday can be the ultimate adventure for parents and children – the holiday of a lifetime, sharing incredible experiences, witnessing awesome wildlife and creating magical memories that will last forever. If you’re thinking about planning a safari holiday over the coming year, here are some steps to help you get the ball rolling:

  1. Involve everyone in the planning process
  2. Accommodation options for the whole family – big and small
  3. Decide what safari experience your family will enjoy
  4. Before you go – get organised and take some stress out of travel
  5. What to pack for your safari holiday

 

1. Kichaka – Ruaha

The best safari camps are often the owner-run ones. These days, though, they’re few and far between in Tanzania. However, Kichaka Safari Camp in Ruaha National Park stands out as one of the best. Set up by Andrew Molinaro after 10 years guiding in Southern Tanzania and offering wonderful walking safaris, it’s run by him and his charming partner Noelle Herzog. This camp combines real bush know-how, a stunning location in the thick of Ruaha’s best wildlife area and a refreshingly simple, but stylish approach. It’s a great example of how the right people, from the owners to the excellent Tanzanian crew, contribute far more to the experience of a safari camp than the trinkets and baubles many choose to cram their tents with these days… We would wholeheartedly recommend this very special camp to anyone looking for an authentic safari experience.

1. Involve everyone in the planning process

This will be a trip of a lifetime and perfection is always in the planning. Find an expert you can trust and start planning early. Many of the best safari camps are small and fill up a long way in advance so you want to ensure that you have maximum choice. There is so much to think about and sometimes can feel rather daunting for first timers, but involve the whole family in lighting the touch paper of imagination. You’ll know your family best and while you may not know what to expect on safari, an experienced travel consultant will take the time understand the sorts of things you’ve enjoyed as a family before and make recommendations based on that. Take some time to get lost in YouTube looking at some of the wonderful safari videos on offer. Check out our family safaris video too.

It’s easy to overlook the logistical problems involved in running a small safari camp, hundreds of miles from your supply base. Add to this a dogged determination to leave as little imprint as possible on the environment and the task Chada sets itself is a challenging one. 400 miles from Arusha it’s stuck to its pioneering credentials (it was the first camp in Katavi National Park) and pulls off a seemingly effortless style in a remote and beguiling wilderness. Often the game is right in front of you on Chada flood plain, but Chada’s guides are well known for their excellent standards and will take you on game drives in open 4x4s to encounter truly massive herds of buffalo or walking safaris to sleep beneath the stars in flycamps. It’s a brilliantly run little operation in an exhilarating park. Like the proverbial swan, though don’t underestimate quite how much paddling goes on beneath the surface to pull it off.

3. Manyara Light Tented Camp – Northern Tanzania

At Natural High we’ve long been advocates of the less-is-more approach to camps. But it requires some intelligence and a good eye or you quickly cross the line from intelligent simplicity, to plain uncomfortable. The Manyara Light Tented Camp is a shining example of how to make the best of a very special remote location without trampling all over it. There are no permanent structures – in fact there’s very little of anything, beyond the things you really need. These camps use bell-tents with comfortable beds, sheets and duvets. There’s also a lightweight dining tent in case of rain, but much of the living is outdoors. Show us a dining room that can compete with eating beneath a canopy of stars. Climb up to lie on a sun-warmed rock by a waterfall beneath the Rift Valley wall and watch as elephant come to drink just metres below you. This camp is all about what’s happening outside your tent. Not the interior design within it.

NH Tip: Keep it short and sweet. Particularly with younger children, less can be more. Four or five nights or intensive safari action will be plenty before heading off for some R&R at the coast.

Kuro Camp is a triumph of imagination and creativity. Built from lightweight sisal poles, the main building manages to be strikingly stylish despite being built mostly out of thin air. The constriction, with poles laid horizontally in rungs, gives it a contemporary, but pleasingly organic look. And the whole structure is more or less compostable. But of course the look of the camp is only the cream on the cake. Everything at Kuro is underpinned by Nomad’s impeccable credentials and the experience is built firmly on an excellent game experience at the hands of one of Nomad’s renowned guides. Game drives in Tarangire National Park are excellent all year round (elephant sightings are exceptional in the often overlooked green season) and it’s possible to walk from Kuro too.

2. Accommodation options for the whole family – big and small

As you can imagine, in national parks and reserves populated by large numbers of wild animals, many safari camps have age restrictions in place. That said, there are plenty of places that cater specifically for families. We’ve travelled extensively in Africa with our own kids, so have the first hand experience to advise on the best places for families with children of all ages. Make no bones about it, safaris can involve long days, but time spent spotting wildlife in awe-inspiring, remote locations, dinner cooked over an open fire under the stars and bedtime stories accompanied by roaring lions mean there is rarely a dull moment. Each family is different, but here are our favourite three safari accommodation options:

Savour the seclusion of a private house 

Possibly the greatest luxury on a safari holiday when travelling as a family is exclusivity – do what you want, when you want. A private safari house affords the privacy to do just that, to be a family, share meals, enjoy the pool and take your own drives and walks led by a superb guide, when and how you want.

Simple but brilliant light tented camps

Light tented camps offer the wonder of flexibility – set up in unspoilt, wildlife-rich areas often in places where vehicles are not allowed. Get off the beaten track to experience real wilderness enjoying your sundowner with not another soul.

On the move with mobile fly camps

Particularly for families with older children, a mobile camp has the ability to access properly wild areas, with ingredients that give a safari its unique flavour – an excellent guide, access to the best areas, great food and a comfortable camp – while minimizing the cost on things that most people can do with out in the context of a safari holiday.

The Serengeti National Park is best known for it’s wildebeest migration, a phenomenon that sees 1.5 million animals move from one end of the park to the other and back again over the course of the year. The driver for the migration is the intense seasonality of the plains around the base of the Ngorongoro Highlands and Serengeti – green and lush in the rains, dry and dusty the rest of the year. The great advantage of places like this is that their unpredictability means it doesn’t pay to build permanent lodges. This makes them ideal to explore with lightweight mobile camps safe in the knowledge that you’ll have the place to yourself. These truly expeditionary camps (expect comfortable camp beds, great food and a crew to look after you) are also the base for forays into wilderness zones in the Serengeti for walking safaris. Try a camp like this for a couple of days to add a bit of spice to your safari.

Top 5 Wildlife Safaris

Observing incredible wildlife in their natural habitat on safari is un-forgettable and the first encounter is always a special, spine tingling experience. Here is the pick of wildlife safaris for 2020:

 

1. THE SERENGETI & WILDEBEEST MIGRATION

The Serengeti – Each year millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles take their annual migration from the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti to the lush grasslands on the banks of the Mara River. Even if you exclude the wildebeest migration, the animal life and big game in the Serengeti simply defies belief.

Roughly a million wildebeest gather on the short grass plains to give birth in February –extraordinarily all 400,000 calves are born within the space of weeks with the plains becoming home to many wobbly legged infants. A sight enjoyed not only by safari-goers but also numerous predators that stalk and follow the migrating herds; leopard, lion, cheetahs and hyenas.  In the dry season between July and October, the herds face their most dramatic challenge as they cross the swollen Mara and Grumeti Rivers home to many fearsome crocodiles – expect scenes fit for any David Attenborough documentary right in front of you.

2. UGANDA WITH GREAT APES AND SENSATIONAL BIG GAME

Uganda, where the East African savannah runs into Central African Rainforest, generating astounding diversity and bringing together truly memorable great ape experiences and authentic safari – the only country where this possible under one roof.

Uganda’s mountain gorillas live high in the mountains of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park holds approximately 300 mountain gorilla; a third of the surviving global population and several habituated families in the park can be visited in well-organised, small trekking parties.

Uganda also has a premier chimpanzee-tracking destination in the Kibale Forest; dominated by rainforest, interspersed with grasslands and swamps this destination is a primate hotspot with 13 recorded species from Chimps to Red Colobus.

For an authentic big-game safari within only hours of the great apes, head to Semliki where you’ll find the famous fig-tree climbing lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and for bird lovers, an astonishing 547 bird species.

3. SVALBARD AND THE KING OF THE ARCTIC

With the largest density of resident polar bears in Europe, Svalbard is the place for a stellar polar bear experience. The first impression of Svalbard is one you will never forget with crisp white mountains emerging from the deep Prussian Blue of the Arctic Ocean. This is intense wilderness that will take you out of your comfort zone to explore the wonderful territories 80 degrees north.

Travelling in search of the enormous polar bear will take you into deep into hostile wilderness but you’ll do it in safety and style with expert polar guides at the very top of their game. Our team have guided the likes of Blue Planet and National Geographic in these very locations.

In winter/ spring – between February and May take a private expedition camp with fully heated tents and expedition chef to the East Coast of Svalbard and the sea ice of the Barents Sea. By summer, travel by private ice-rated expedition vessel to the north of the archipelago.

Svalbard and the Barents Sea are home to thousands of polar bears so you have a good chance of seeing them in their natural habitat – we take a respectful and calm approach to witnessing this majestic predator from a safe distance. Travelling gently through this extreme wilderness many miles from the nearest civilisation is a wonderful experience.

4. KENYA – SAFARI GIANT WITH UNBEATABLE GAME

As a showcase for African mammals Kenya is incredibly hard to beat, everything from aardwolf to zorilla (sic) can be found here. An astounding twenty-six species of antelope, from hulking eland to diminutive dikdik; fifteen predators including six cats – and probably the best chance of finding a pack of critically endangered Wild Dog on the continent.

Visit the Masai Mara – unequivocally Big Cat Country – enjoy the tremendous freedom of the Laikipia Plateau where normal rules don’t apply, or take a private expedition to one of the country’s lesser known gems such as Meru, Turkana or Lakes Baringo & Bogoria.

5. TIGERS IN THE JUNGLES OF INDIA

Wild and untamed, India’s jungles are the last remaining stronghold of the enigmatic tiger. Asia’s alpha predator lives and hunts alone and with its unique pattern of stripes blends effortlessly into the undergrowth; a good sighting is an intoxicating experience that will leave you wanting more.

Post monsoon, India’s national parks open in October for safaris made in highly manoeuverable open jeeps that scramble over rocky tracks, through dense vegetation and past striking specimen trees. By June the searing heat deters all but the most passionate of wildlife enthusiasts and the rains return and finally stop play.

Wrapped in blankets and armed with a hot flask of sweet milky chai to stave off the chill in the air, morning mists hang in anticipation and tension builds until the silence is shattered by the sound of sambar deer barking their alarm call in unison. The presence of a tiger is announced – but this time it remains hidden and the search continues.

Each park has its own beauty, character and balance of species and our approach is to get you to the right areas at the right time of year – and most importantly in India, with the right people who are dedicated to conservation and have a genuine enthusiasm for all India’s wildlife. Using expert local guides and staying at small owner run lodges and camps all our fellow travellers have spotted tiger; it’s an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Top 5 Safari Destinations to see Wild Dog

Observing incredible wildlife in their natural habitat on safari is un-forgettable and the first encounter is always a special, spine tingling experience. Here is the pick of wildlife safaris for 2020:

 

LAIKIPIA PLATEAU, KENYA

The Serengeti – Each year millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles take their annual migration from the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti to the lush grasslands on the banks of the Mara River. Even if you exclude the wildebeest migration, the animal life and big game in the Serengeti simply defies belief.

Roughly a million wildebeest gather on the short grass plains to give birth in February –extraordinarily all 400,000 calves are born within the space of weeks with the plains becoming home to many wobbly legged infants. A sight enjoyed not only by safari-goers but also numerous predators that stalk and follow the migrating herds; leopard, lion, cheetahs and hyenas.  In the dry season between July and October, the herds face their most dramatic challenge as they cross the swollen Mara and Grumeti Rivers home to many fearsome crocodiles – expect scenes fit for any David Attenborough documentary right in front of you.

SELOUS GAME RESERVE, TANZANIA

Uganda, where the East African savannah runs into Central African Rainforest, generating astounding diversity and bringing together truly memorable great ape experiences and authentic safari – the only country where this possible under one roof.

Uganda’s mountain gorillas live high in the mountains of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park holds approximately 300 mountain gorilla; a third of the surviving global population and several habituated families in the park can be visited in well-organised, small trekking parties.

Uganda also has a premier chimpanzee-tracking destination in the Kibale Forest; dominated by rainforest, interspersed with grasslands and swamps this destination is a primate hotspot with 13 recorded species from Chimps to Red Colobus.

For an authentic big-game safari within only hours of the great apes, head to Semliki where you’ll find the famous fig-tree climbing lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and for bird lovers, an astonishing 547 bird species.

MOREMI, BOTSWANA

With the largest density of resident polar bears in Europe, Svalbard is the place for a stellar polar bear experience. The first impression of Svalbard is one you will never forget with crisp white mountains emerging from the deep Prussian Blue of the Arctic Ocean. This is intense wilderness that will take you out of your comfort zone to explore the wonderful territories 80 degrees north.

Travelling in search of the enormous polar bear will take you into deep into hostile wilderness but you’ll do it in safety and style with expert polar guides at the very top of their game. Our team have guided the likes of Blue Planet and National Geographic in these very locations.

In winter/ spring – between February and May take a private expedition camp with fully heated tents and expedition chef to the East Coast of Svalbard and the sea ice of the Barents Sea. By summer, travel by private ice-rated expedition vessel to the north of the archipelago.

Svalbard and the Barents Sea are home to thousands of polar bears so you have a good chance of seeing them in their natural habitat – we take a respectful and calm approach to witnessing this majestic predator from a safe distance. Travelling gently through this extreme wilderness many miles from the nearest civilisation is a wonderful experience.

LUANGWA VALLEY, ZAMBIA

As a showcase for African mammals Kenya is incredibly hard to beat, everything from aardwolf to zorilla (sic) can be found here. An astounding twenty-six species of antelope, from hulking eland to diminutive dikdik; fifteen predators including six cats – and probably the best chance of finding a pack of critically endangered Wild Dog on the continent.

Visit the Masai Mara – unequivocally Big Cat Country – enjoy the tremendous freedom of the Laikipia Plateau where normal rules don’t apply, or take a private expedition to one of the country’s lesser known gems such as Meru, Turkana or Lakes Baringo & Bogoria.

MANA POOLS, ZIMBABWE

Wild and untamed, India’s jungles are the last remaining stronghold of the enigmatic tiger. Asia’s alpha predator lives and hunts alone and with its unique pattern of stripes blends effortlessly into the undergrowth; a good sighting is an intoxicating experience that will leave you wanting more.

Post monsoon, India’s national parks open in October for safaris made in highly manoeuverable open jeeps that scramble over rocky tracks, through dense vegetation and past striking specimen trees. By June the searing heat deters all but the most passionate of wildlife enthusiasts and the rains return and finally stop play.

Wrapped in blankets and armed with a hot flask of sweet milky chai to stave off the chill in the air, morning mists hang in anticipation and tension builds until the silence is shattered by the sound of sambar deer barking their alarm call in unison. The presence of a tiger is announced – but this time it remains hidden and the search continues.

Each park has its own beauty, character and balance of species and our approach is to get you to the right areas at the right time of year – and most importantly in India, with the right people who are dedicated to conservation and have a genuine enthusiasm for all India’s wildlife. Using expert local guides and staying at small owner run lodges and camps all our fellow travellers have spotted tiger; it’s an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Top 5 Safari Destinations to see Lions

Observing incredible wildlife in their natural habitat on safari is un-forgettable and the first encounter is always a special, spine tingling experience. Here is the pick of wildlife safaris for 2020:

 

1. THE MAASAI MARA, KENYA

The Serengeti – Each year millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles take their annual migration from the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti to the lush grasslands on the banks of the Mara River. Even if you exclude the wildebeest migration, the animal life and big game in the Serengeti simply defies belief.

Roughly a million wildebeest gather on the short grass plains to give birth in February –extraordinarily all 400,000 calves are born within the space of weeks with the plains becoming home to many wobbly legged infants. A sight enjoyed not only by safari-goers but also numerous predators that stalk and follow the migrating herds; leopard, lion, cheetahs and hyenas.  In the dry season between July and October, the herds face their most dramatic challenge as they cross the swollen Mara and Grumeti Rivers home to many fearsome crocodiles – expect scenes fit for any David Attenborough documentary right in front of you.

2. RUAHA & KATAVI, TANZANIA

Uganda, where the East African savannah runs into Central African Rainforest, generating astounding diversity and bringing together truly memorable great ape experiences and authentic safari – the only country where this possible under one roof.

Uganda’s mountain gorillas live high in the mountains of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park holds approximately 300 mountain gorilla; a third of the surviving global population and several habituated families in the park can be visited in well-organised, small trekking parties.

Uganda also has a premier chimpanzee-tracking destination in the Kibale Forest; dominated by rainforest, interspersed with grasslands and swamps this destination is a primate hotspot with 13 recorded species from Chimps to Red Colobus.

For an authentic big-game safari within only hours of the great apes, head to Semliki where you’ll find the famous fig-tree climbing lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and for bird lovers, an astonishing 547 bird species.

3. LUANGWA VALLEY, ZAMBIA

With the largest density of resident polar bears in Europe, Svalbard is the place for a stellar polar bear experience. The first impression of Svalbard is one you will never forget with crisp white mountains emerging from the deep Prussian Blue of the Arctic Ocean. This is intense wilderness that will take you out of your comfort zone to explore the wonderful territories 80 degrees north.

Travelling in search of the enormous polar bear will take you into deep into hostile wilderness but you’ll do it in safety and style with expert polar guides at the very top of their game. Our team have guided the likes of Blue Planet and National Geographic in these very locations.

In winter/ spring – between February and May take a private expedition camp with fully heated tents and expedition chef to the East Coast of Svalbard and the sea ice of the Barents Sea. By summer, travel by private ice-rated expedition vessel to the north of the archipelago.

Svalbard and the Barents Sea are home to thousands of polar bears so you have a good chance of seeing them in their natural habitat – we take a respectful and calm approach to witnessing this majestic predator from a safe distance. Travelling gently through this extreme wilderness many miles from the nearest civilisation is a wonderful experience.

4. OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA

As a showcase for African mammals Kenya is incredibly hard to beat, everything from aardwolf to zorilla (sic) can be found here. An astounding twenty-six species of antelope, from hulking eland to diminutive dikdik; fifteen predators including six cats – and probably the best chance of finding a pack of critically endangered Wild Dog on the continent.

Visit the Masai Mara – unequivocally Big Cat Country – enjoy the tremendous freedom of the Laikipia Plateau where normal rules don’t apply, or take a private expedition to one of the country’s lesser known gems such as Meru, Turkana or Lakes Baringo & Bogoria.

5. QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK, UGANDA

Wild and untamed, India’s jungles are the last remaining stronghold of the enigmatic tiger. Asia’s alpha predator lives and hunts alone and with its unique pattern of stripes blends effortlessly into the undergrowth; a good sighting is an intoxicating experience that will leave you wanting more.

Post monsoon, India’s national parks open in October for safaris made in highly manoeuverable open jeeps that scramble over rocky tracks, through dense vegetation and past striking specimen trees. By June the searing heat deters all but the most passionate of wildlife enthusiasts and the rains return and finally stop play.

Wrapped in blankets and armed with a hot flask of sweet milky chai to stave off the chill in the air, morning mists hang in anticipation and tension builds until the silence is shattered by the sound of sambar deer barking their alarm call in unison. The presence of a tiger is announced – but this time it remains hidden and the search continues.

Each park has its own beauty, character and balance of species and our approach is to get you to the right areas at the right time of year – and most importantly in India, with the right people who are dedicated to conservation and have a genuine enthusiasm for all India’s wildlife. Using expert local guides and staying at small owner run lodges and camps all our fellow travellers have spotted tiger; it’s an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Zambia’s Top 5 Family Safaris

Observing incredible wildlife in their natural habitat on safari is un-forgettable and the first encounter is always a special, spine tingling experience. Here is the pick of wildlife safaris for 2020:

 

1. GET WET AND WILD ON THE ZAMBEZI

The Serengeti – Each year millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles take their annual migration from the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti to the lush grasslands on the banks of the Mara River. Even if you exclude the wildebeest migration, the animal life and big game in the Serengeti simply defies belief.

Roughly a million wildebeest gather on the short grass plains to give birth in February –extraordinarily all 400,000 calves are born within the space of weeks with the plains becoming home to many wobbly legged infants. A sight enjoyed not only by safari-goers but also numerous predators that stalk and follow the migrating herds; leopard, lion, cheetahs and hyenas.  In the dry season between July and October, the herds face their most dramatic challenge as they cross the swollen Mara and Grumeti Rivers home to many fearsome crocodiles – expect scenes fit for any David Attenborough documentary right in front of you.

2. SAVOUR THE SECLUSION OF A PRIVATE HOUSE

Uganda, where the East African savannah runs into Central African Rainforest, generating astounding diversity and bringing together truly memorable great ape experiences and authentic safari – the only country where this possible under one roof.

Uganda’s mountain gorillas live high in the mountains of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This park holds approximately 300 mountain gorilla; a third of the surviving global population and several habituated families in the park can be visited in well-organised, small trekking parties.

Uganda also has a premier chimpanzee-tracking destination in the Kibale Forest; dominated by rainforest, interspersed with grasslands and swamps this destination is a primate hotspot with 13 recorded species from Chimps to Red Colobus.

For an authentic big-game safari within only hours of the great apes, head to Semliki where you’ll find the famous fig-tree climbing lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and for bird lovers, an astonishing 547 bird species.

3. WILDLIFE AND WATERFALLS

With the largest density of resident polar bears in Europe, Svalbard is the place for a stellar polar bear experience. The first impression of Svalbard is one you will never forget with crisp white mountains emerging from the deep Prussian Blue of the Arctic Ocean. This is intense wilderness that will take you out of your comfort zone to explore the wonderful territories 80 degrees north.

Travelling in search of the enormous polar bear will take you into deep into hostile wilderness but you’ll do it in safety and style with expert polar guides at the very top of their game. Our team have guided the likes of Blue Planet and National Geographic in these very locations.

In winter/ spring – between February and May take a private expedition camp with fully heated tents and expedition chef to the East Coast of Svalbard and the sea ice of the Barents Sea. By summer, travel by private ice-rated expedition vessel to the north of the archipelago.

Svalbard and the Barents Sea are home to thousands of polar bears so you have a good chance of seeing them in their natural habitat – we take a respectful and calm approach to witnessing this majestic predator from a safe distance. Travelling gently through this extreme wilderness many miles from the nearest civilisation is a wonderful experience.

4. TAKE A WALK ON THE WILDSIDE

As a showcase for African mammals Kenya is incredibly hard to beat, everything from aardwolf to zorilla (sic) can be found here. An astounding twenty-six species of antelope, from hulking eland to diminutive dikdik; fifteen predators including six cats – and probably the best chance of finding a pack of critically endangered Wild Dog on the continent.

Visit the Masai Mara – unequivocally Big Cat Country – enjoy the tremendous freedom of the Laikipia Plateau where normal rules don’t apply, or take a private expedition to one of the country’s lesser known gems such as Meru, Turkana or Lakes Baringo & Bogoria.

5. MAKE A JOURNEY

Wild and untamed, India’s jungles are the last remaining stronghold of the enigmatic tiger. Asia’s alpha predator lives and hunts alone and with its unique pattern of stripes blends effortlessly into the undergrowth; a good sighting is an intoxicating experience that will leave you wanting more.

Post monsoon, India’s national parks open in October for safaris made in highly manoeuverable open jeeps that scramble over rocky tracks, through dense vegetation and past striking specimen trees. By June the searing heat deters all but the most passionate of wildlife enthusiasts and the rains return and finally stop play.

Wrapped in blankets and armed with a hot flask of sweet milky chai to stave off the chill in the air, morning mists hang in anticipation and tension builds until the silence is shattered by the sound of sambar deer barking their alarm call in unison. The presence of a tiger is announced – but this time it remains hidden and the search continues.

Each park has its own beauty, character and balance of species and our approach is to get you to the right areas at the right time of year – and most importantly in India, with the right people who are dedicated to conservation and have a genuine enthusiasm for all India’s wildlife. Using expert local guides and staying at small owner run lodges and camps all our fellow travellers have spotted tiger; it’s an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

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