From national parks to natural wonders, adventure hotspots to cultural gems, Africa can rapidly fill your holiday itinerary to overflowing. There is such an overwhelming diversity of highlights waiting to be experienced across the continent that it can be difficult to decide where to go, what to include and what to leave out. Choices have to be made. Compromises must be accepted.
Take Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa. Well known destinations like the Masai Mara, Serengeti or Kruger attract the lion’s share of visitors — and for good reason: each one is not only an African icon, but you can almost be guaranteed a superb wildlife experience.
But there is a swathe of other, lesser-known places that also offer a deeply rewarding safari experience, with far fewer tourists. And that’s where we’d like to help. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next safari, we’ve picked five ‘under-the-radar’ destinations that take you beyond the obvious — and the crowds.
None are too far off the beaten track or so obscure that they’re a challenge to reach. Four of them would slot comfortably into itineraries to established tourist destinations. And the other? Well, it’s just too darn delightful to ignore and deserves a special visit in its own right. Enjoy.
Meru National Park, Kenya
Once one of Kenya’s most visited parks, Meru is now seldom included on safari itineraries. Yet it has been revived, and is once again that rare and revered thing that most wildlife-lovers yearn for: a vast, untamed wilderness in which to lose yourself. The sort of reserve we think we should be seeking out.
Read the full article, by Lizzie Williams, in issue 85. Order it here.
Príncipe Island, Sao Tomé and Príncipe
Príncipe is a tiny island in the Gulf of Guinea, punctuated by towering basalt peaks, dense with rain forests and fringed by perfect white beaches. Once home to pirates, slaves and cocoa barons, today it’s being transformed into a model of African conservation. This is how we wish tourism operated everywhere.
Read the full article, by Justin Fox, in issue 85. Order it here.
Limpopo Province, South Africa
South Africa has a ridiculous wealth of attractions, such as Cape Town, it’s famous national parks and glorious beaches. Step off the tourist trail, though, and you’ll find a depth of experience that reveals the soul of the country in surprising ways. One such region is the northern Limpopo Province.
Read about Guy Mavor’s road trip through the Limpopo region in issue 85. Order it here.
Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia
Long-neglected, Liuwa Plain, on the western boundary of Zambia, is one of Africa’s most underhyped yet rewarding national parks, in part because it is so little visited. It offers an exciting wildlife experience for visitors to the Victoria Falls who are feeling intrepid.
Read Sophie Ibbotson’s article on Liuwa Plain in issue 85. Order it here.
It seems unbelievable that Lake Kariba has remained under the tourist radar for so long; perhaps dominated by other better-known attractions that make up Zimbabwe’s embarrassment of riches. But, easily reached from Victoria Falls, Kariba offers a safari experience unlike any in Africa and makes a contrasting complement to conventional wildlife destinations like Mana Pools or Hwange. Here’s why.
Read the full article, by Sue Watt, and an accompanying look at the houseboat experience, by Lauren Jarvis, in issue 85. Order it here.