with Patrick Clementson
There’s really nothing to compare to a classic safari in East Africa
Patrick Clementson, Abercrombie & Kent’s Africa Product Manager, has visited Southern Africa more than 30 times. Here are his personal tips and recommendations for the continent’s best-kept secrets, the lesser-known wildlife reserves and conservancies, and the very best places to see Africa’s iconic species.
Kenya – Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: Rhino, Lion, Cheetah, Giraffe
The Masai Mara will feature on everyone’s itinerary (as it should), but a fantastic reserve to combine with the Mara is the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, one of Africa’s conservation success stories. The conservancy, which was created in the 1990s, is home to all of Africa’s iconic species including both black and white rhino, cheetah and myriad other wildlife. The area is also one of the few places in Kenya where you can see the Northern Specialty Species: the reticulated giraffe, the Somali ostrich, the Beisa oryx, the gerenuk and the Grevy’s zebra.
Sabi Sand Reserve offers excellent game viewing without the crowds
Zambia – South Luangwa National Park: Leopard, Hippo, Lion
The South Luangwa is well known in the safari industry as having very high densities of leopard, and the fact night drives are allowed within the park vastly increases the chances of viewing these famously secretive cats. But the South Luangwa is not all about leopard, and also offers very high concentrations of many other species. It’s the place where walking safaris were first pioneered and is also one of the best parks in which to see huge pods of hippo, especially during the height of the dry season when real estate in the ebbing South Luangwa River is at a premium.
South Africa – Sabi Sand Reserve: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant
Adjacent to the world-famous Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Reserve offers excellent game viewing without the crowds – not to mention some of Africa’s most luxurious super camps and lodges. The reserve is renowned for its quality leopard sightings and also offers outstanding viewing of lion, rhino and, if you’re lucky, African wild dog.
See the wild rhino before they are hunted to extinction
Selinda Reserve – Botswana: Lion, Cheetah, Wild Dog, Elephant
This 136,000ha private reserve is one of the best places in Africa to see huge herds of elephant, big prides of lion and regular sightings of African wild dog. The area has been made famous by award-winning National Geographic filmmakers Dereck & Beverly Joubert who filmed several of their documentaries in the reserve.
South Africa – Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve: Meerkat, Pangolin (the most trafficked animal in the world and the Holy Grail of safari sightings)
In addition to sighting some of the larger mammals, including lion, cheetah and rhino, this reserve is one of the best places in Africa to see (if you’re lucky) two of the rarest and most elusive animals: the pangolin and aardvark. It is also possible to spend time here with the curious meerkat.
At Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, you can see brown hyena
Botswana – Makgadikgadi Pans: Meerkat, Brown Hyena
While exploring the stunning landscape of huge salt pans (the remnants of an enormous super-lake), this is an excellent area to see some of Africa’s most elusive desert species, with highlights being brown hyena and mobs of meerkat which you can spend a whole morning watching as they duck in and out of their burrows. This is also home to Africa’s second-largest mammal migration when zebra and blue wildebeest head to the area to feast on the sweet summer grasses.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe - has excellent sightings of lion and cheetah
Zimbabwe – Hwange National Park: Elephant, Lion, Cheetah, Giraffe
Home to some of the largest elephant populations in Africa, this is a great place to view the world’s largest land mammal – especially when a herd takes over one of the waterholes to wallow and play. It also delivers excellent lion and cheetah sightings as well as some of the most beautiful antelope species, including kudu, sable and roan.
The best time to go on safari is during the Great Migration
Tanzania: Mahale Mountains: Chimpanzee
One of the best places in the world for close up viewing of wild chimpanzee, this park isn’t easy to get to but is well worth the effort. It’s located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika which means you can trek to see chimps in the morning and end your day gazing at the sun setting over the second deepest lake in the world.
Of course, if travellers are first-time visitors to Africa, there’s really nothing to compare to a classic safari in East Africa, ideally timed around the Great Migration, the greatest wildlife spectacle on Earth. Accommodation can be hard to come by during that period, but A&K has a unique safari adventure, The Great Migration Safari in Style, which reveals all the drama of Africa on an exclusive luxury small group journey of no more than 18 guests. There are a number of departures from June 2019 onwards. Prices start at $22,645 per person.
For further information contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 590 317 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au