Riding up close to elephant, lion and buffalo, or galloping with wildebeest and zebra is without a doubt one of the most adventurous ways to experience safari in Africa. If you are a rider, there is simply no better way to see Kenya than from the back of a well schooled and fit horse. Sure, getting close to big game in Africa from the quiet perspective of horseback (instead of from the back seat of a safari vehicle) is pretty special. But there are a few other reasons why a riding safari in East Africa is on the list for TOP trips for 2017. Here’s why!
#2 DINE WITH A LOCAL BERBER FAMILY IN MOROCCO
Morocco, steeped in ancient history, colorful culture and dramatic landscapes, continues to deliver WOW experiences now more than ever. While travelers to Morocco love experiencing highlights such as Casablanca, Marrakech and the coastal town of Essaouira, it’s often the simple encounters with locals that really make an impact. Interacting with and learning about the Berber culture in the Atlas Mountains is one particularly memorable experience.
South Africa’s largest private game reserve now protects over 110,000 hectares of spectacular grasslands and mountains. Conservation is a top priority. Here, one of top safari properties is home to more than 30 guests at a time, and an ideal place to discover the beauty of this arid savannah, its diverse wildlife and the serenity of what is one of the most favored wilderness spaces. One of the favorite experiences here is the sleep-out deck, called Malori, which means ‘dreamer’ in Tswana, the local language. This is a fabulous experiences to sleep safely in the wilderness, under the fabled “diamond skies.”
#4 HIKE PERU’S INCA TRAIL WITH PERSONAL MASSEUSE
Rothschild Safaris operates the most luxury trek Machu Picchu on the market--complete with mobile massage tent! There are several ways to reach the gate and experience the famous view, but none quite as adventurous (and awesome) as this!
Kakadu National Park is a timeless place nearly half the size of Switzerland, and the best opportunity to experience living Aboriginal culture. This is an opportunity to experience the breathtaking rock art galleries created over thousands of years with a traditional Aboriginal guide and to learn more about the traditional culture of the Kunwinjku people. Many of Injalak's artists live and work in the community. Some of the rock art is over 8,000 years old.
#6 CAMP ON A REMOTE ISLAND DEEP IN BOTSWANA’S OKAVANGO DELTA
There is perhaps no better travel experience on earth than spending a night under canvas, listening to lion and hyena calling in concert with all the unique sounds of the nighttime African bush. Drifting asleep, cozy and warm in a comfortable bed, full from a multi-course meal, in remote Africa, a wilderness all to yourself, is the ultimate luxury.
This safari is action packed! Hop on your mountain bike in Tarangire, well known for massive herds of elephants and good predator sightings, before heading to Lake Manyara National Park. Then it is off to Ngorongoro Crater, a 100 square mile natural amphitheater, where you might see black rhinoceros, wildebeests, zebras, eland, hyenas, cheetahs, and more. Hike some less-traveled paths in Empakai Crater and Olmoto and finish at a traditional safari camp in the Serengeti. There is no better way to get off the main road and experience Tanzania off the beaten path!
#8 ENCOUNTER ELEPHANTS IN THE WILD
Elephants are usually the top of the list of “animals I can’t wait to see in the wilderness.” And it’s no surprise. These magnificent creatures are smart, incredibly sophisticated in their social structure, and the largest land mammals in the world. If you are eager to encounter elephants in the wilderness on your next African safari, here are some destinations not to be missed!
While in the past connecting Rwanda with other destinations involved a series of flights, often taking up a full day of travel, we are thrilled that now it is possible to fly direct from Kigali to the plains of Serengeti National Park, saving precious time and money. Now you can literally get from your hotel to breakfast in the bush in only a few hours, making for a perfectly epic safari itinerary in East Africa.
#10 TAKE THE FAMILY ON SAFARI
While children will have many highlights over the course of an African safari, including experiences like beading with Maasai ladies, spotting Lion cubs and even flying a small plane (!), younger travelers will agree that the walking safari was a favorite experience. Here are a few reasons why.
BONUS TRIP TIP: #11 GET LOST IN NEPAL’S ANNAPURNAS
From Kathmandu to the dramatic Annapurnas and the Pokhara Valley, there is so much to experience in Nepal. The Annapurnas, a mountain range part of the greater Himalayas, offers superlative panoramas and an opportunity to experience the cultural traditions of a whole spectrum of ethnicities. Discover why trekking along the ridgeline in the lower foothills of the Annapurnas, and taking in the surrounding views of the Pokhara Valley is one of the top travel experiences for 2017.
See some ideas for your 2017 travel plans? Have you already been on any of these trips or visited these destinations? Would love to hear your experience so leave me a comment below!