Luxury awaits at Africa’s best kept nature sanctuaries

A hot air balloon ride with views of zebras on the African plain. Picture: Unsplash

A hot air balloon ride with views of zebras on the African plain. Picture: Unsplash

Published May 6, 2024


May is Africa Month.

Naturally, African travel is in the spotlight.

It is also the month when Travel Indaba, Africa’s largest tourism and hospitality showcase, will be held to highlight the vast array of destinations and experiences available across the continent.

There is no doubt that with its abundant natural and unique beauty, the continent is a premier tourism destination.

Africa is home to the world’s oldest desert, one of the places on earth where the sand meets the sea and also a place where one can still view wildlife in its natural habitat.

Africa is a premier destination ready to be uncovered with top-class experiences to rival any in the world. As we look forward to celebrating the continent and all it has to offer, here is inspiration to ignite your travel bug.

Mosi-oa-Tunya: Livingstone Zambia

Zebras on the lawn at Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara. Picture: Website

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, set in the heart of Victoria Falls, presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming a natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The waterfall gets its name from the Kololo tribe living in the area meaning ‘The Smoke that Thunders’.

This is due to the immense spray and incredible noise caused by the rushing water.

A room at Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara. Picture: Website

There are plenty of activities in Livingstone, including visiting Mos-oa-Tunya National Park or walking with lions and cheetahs with Mukuni Big Five.

A visit to this destination would not be complete without getting a test of the waters and taking a swim in Devil’s Pool or Angel’s Pool, depending on the season.

Consider a stay at the Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara with views of the Zambezi River starting from R15 365 a night for 2 guests.

Mana Pools National Park: Zimbabwe

An elephant eats fruit from a tree infront of a Chikwenya Camp villa. Picture: Website

A hidden gem in the northern region of Zimbabwe and on the southern banks of the Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park will leave you breathless with its beauty.

A paradise for walking and canoeing safaris, Mana Pools is a wildlife-rich, biodiverse wonderland that will delight at every turn.

Explorers can spot hippopotamus, crocodile, elephants and a wonderful array of aquatic birds within this UNESCO World Heritage site, and there’s a good chance of seeing lionesses hunting around waterholes, where prey are seemingly easy pickings.

A suite at Chikwenya Camp. Picture: Website

The landscapes are beautiful too, dotted with acacia trees, whose shade becomes vital to the parks’ more than 12,000-strong elephant population in the dry season, as well as a sprinkling of vibrant plant life.

Consider a stay at Chikwenya Camp for a once in a life-time game viewing experience starting from $477 or R8 931 a night.

Kruger National Park: South Africa

Sunset views from a Nsala Wilderness Camp chalet. Picture: Website

Kruger National Park has long been one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting more than a million visitors a year.

For most, it is understandably the main attraction. The park’s sheer size and variety of wildlife means that you could spend days exploring it and still not see everything.

It’s also worth noting that a high proportion of visitors to the park are repeat visitors, with some families going back at least once a year.

A room at Nsala Wilderness Camp. Picture: Website

The park is home to the 'Big Five’ – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo - and has a variety no less than four distinct types of veld and several smaller areas of distinct vegetation.

It is larger than Qatar, Switzerland and Slovenia and home of luxury safari experiences. Consider a stay at Nsala Wilderness Camp Nsala Wilderness Camp overlooking a waterhole frequented by elephants starting from R8 890 a night for 2 guests.

Chobe National Park (Chobe River): Botswana

Guests enjoy a water safari on a boat on the Chobe River. Picture: Instagram

This destination in Botswana is just a hop, skip, and jump over the South African border. It boats an unspoilt paradise of adventure and relaxation.

The Chobe River region serves up the winning combination of adventure and abundant wildlife sightings at any time of year.

This destination is perfect for water-based safaris and on a river safari, the game-watching comes to you.

A tented suite at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. Picture: Instagram

You can also stay on the Chobe on a river hotel if you’re looking for endless sights and sounds of the bush.

One can easily spot elephant herds, lions lazing about, and baby antelope by the dozen in the Chobe National Park and also take part in walking safaris and fishing at this destination.

Consider a stay at the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, on a secluded island on the Chobe River, starting from R4 990 (local rates) a night for 2 people.

Namib Desert: Namibia

Dead Valley Lodge in Sesriem Canyon. Picture: Website

The Namib Desert is considered to be the oldest desert in the world. It is also iconic as it is one of the few places in the world where the desert meets the sea.

This ancient desert lies between the icy Atlantic Ocean and the escarpment of Namibia's interior plateau.

The ochre-coloured dunes of the Namib Desert are iconic of Namibia as a country and the renowned Sossusvlei Dune area of this arid desert region is especially well-loved for its towering red-orange dunes and is a must-see.

A suite at Dead Valley Lodge in Sesriem Canyon. Picture: Website

The Namib is an ideal place to experience the vastness of Africa's desert landscapes, soaking up the peace like nowhere else on earth.

One can go on walking safaris, and scenic desert drives, enjoy star-gazing and spotting rare flora and fauna or just climb the dunes making for a truly authentic African experience.

Consider a stay at the Dead Valley Lodge in Sesriem Canyon starting from R7 800 a night for 2 people.