Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari


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Trip Overview

They seemed in no hurry to mosey on. Retreat and adapt became my safari motto. This is what I heard from my neurotransmitters.

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I headed through the Kingdom of Swaziland —which I found to be a surprisingly alpine country—on what was the most direct route to 7,square-mile Kruger National Park. At breakfast a vervet monkey leaped on my table and stole my banana. Day visitors to Kruger should plan on being at the gate—in my case, the Kruger Gate near Skukuza—at 6 a.

There is presently a drought in southern Africa, which is bad, but for someone on a self-guided safari it made spotting otherwise reclusive animals almost painfully easy. Elephants and giraffes walked among umbrella thorn trees. Wild dogs sheltered in the nook of a marula tree. A leopard cast a furtive glance from across the river. Hippos did hippo things, while enormous crocodiles sunned themselves on the rocks.

I maneuvered the Fiesta onto the dirt roads that extend like tributaries throughout the park. I was beginning to feel at ease in my car. Perhaps too at ease. I pulled into a spot next to the Sabie River. A South African couple in a weathered SUV were staring intently at something through their binoculars.

Yes, I did. I stepped out of my car and reached for the field glasses. There, a short distance across the river, was a lion, a male with a rock-star mane that suddenly perked up at the sight of a human walking freely in his domain.

That seemed like the prudent thing to do, and as I settled into the Fiesta, I felt giddy. I have seen a lion in the wild. Rest Camps Reservations are recommended at the rest camps inside the parks, including Hilltop Camp hilltopcamp. Accommodations range from basic camping sites to family cottages. In some places the best—and often only—option is the hotel restaurant. Inside the parks, day visitors can grab lunch inside the official rest camps.

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Discover vast savannas, forested hills, and extraordinary animals on this self-guided mile drive. Read Caption. Maarten Troost. Photographs by Ken Geiger. Arrive at Cape Town International Airport and transfer to your accommodation to unpack and unwind. After you settle in, spend the rest of your day exploring the city.

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Known as the 'Rainbow Nation,' Cape Town and South Africa have a long and complicated history involving a multitude of ethnic and cultural groups. The area's history starts with the indigenous Khoisan and Bantu people, who were the primary residents of the area until the Portuguese and Dutch arrived in South Africa, beginning a centuries-long occupation.

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These days, South Africa is home to a diverse population. The remainder of the community is made up primarily of European, Asian Indian, Chinese, and others from the formerly enslaved and indentured population , and mixed-race Cape Coloured ancestry. Meet your local guide in the city center for a 4-hour walking tour of the historic city. You'll explore the different eras of Cape Town and learn about South Africa's history, as well as the people who shaped it. The Company's Garden dates back to the s when European settlers farmed the land to grow fresh produce to replenish ships rounding the cape.

Around the corner is the Iziko Slave Lodge, a national history museum dedicated to exploring the history of slavery at the Cape. Since its construction in , the building has functioned as a center for the bustling slave trade primarily operated by the Dutch East India Company as well as a government building and supreme court.

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Nearby sits the historic Green Market Square, which has served as a slave market, vegetable market, and center for political protests under Apartheid. These days it hosts a flea market with African souvenirs and crafts for sale. On the way, you'll pass by several memorials and monuments, including the We Are Still Here Street Memorial to destitute children and the District Six Museum , which commemorates forced relocation under apartheid.

After strolling the streets of Cape Town, stop for lunch in the city center. In the afternoon, give your legs a rest with a hop-on-hop-off tour aboard the distinctive red open-top bus.

From the bus stop, continue to the summit on the cable car for spectacular views of the city, mountains, and ocean. Get an early start for your full-day Cape Peninsula tour. The Cape Peninsula is a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the African continent. Afterward, head to Simons Town and visit the penguin colony before breaking for lunch at a local seafood restaurant along the water in the sleepy fishing town.

End your day with a visit to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens , one of the world's most exceptional botanical gardens. Set against the slopes of Table Mountain, this lush paradise houses thousands of unique species of indigenous and exotic plants. Walk along the curved steel and timber Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway informally known as the 'Boomslang' to see the views from the treetop canopy.

End the day with dinner in the city before returning to your accommodation for a relaxing evening. Enjoy a full-day cheese, wine, and chocolate tour—a heavenly combination.


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You'll sample dark chocolates, creamy cheeses, and superb wine while experiencing South Africa's stunning scenery and acclaimed hospitality. Start your day with a 1-hour drive to the Fairview Winery.

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With several hundred years of wine-making heritage originating on the farm, it's no wonder that Fairview wine has become a cornerstone of South African wine history. Enjoy a wine and goat cheese tasting in an intimate setting, then head outside to visit the winery's furry mascots baby goats! I like to say that Kenya is perfect for families, culture vultures, and those looking for a more natural, rustic experience, while Tanzania is the better option for big spenders who are hell-bent on seeing some animals and anyone hoping to work Kilimanjaro into their itinerary. Kenya has a whole host of lodges that are extremely family-friendly, with child-focused programing and staff that are especially welcoming to little ones.

One is Sosian Lodge , a private ranch situated on 24, acres in the Laikipia Plateau, which has a whole family program with discounted rates for children.

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In Kenya, there are also more opportunities to engage with and join in the practices of local tribes. The Ol Malo ranch, for example, is deeply involved with the indigenous Samburu tribe, and offers an experience where you can visit the tribe during one of their weekly festivals where members trade livestock and celebrate their heritage.

Accommodation-wise, the Nomad brand has a circuit of camps located around the country in all of the best locations, including some mobile tents and the only private house in the Serengeti. No request is too large, no detail is overlooked, and their properties are the epitome of comfort. Tanzania also offers one of the most epic climbs for the truly intrepid traveler. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

It's usually accomplished in a six to eight-day day climb and can be topped off with a safari in Tarangire National Park using Chem Chem as a base. It's estimated that Tarangire is home to the highest density of elephants in Tanzania with some herds reaching more than elephants! Do people ever ask you to plan a trip with the objective of seeing one particular animal? The Ugandan government also offers gorilla habituation permits, which Rwanda does not. Basically, Uganda is a better standalone, budget destination, where you could do a full ten-day safari and never get bored.

It seems like a lot of travelers particularly honeymooners want to pair a safari trip with a beach retreat to top it off.

Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari
Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari Eight Days in Africa: The Story of an African Safari

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