Kenya has been Alex's family home since the early 1900s, Hunter safaris have been led throughout East Africa for the last 3 generations. His grandfather, J.A. helped set up Kenya’s first national parks and with that inheriting responsibility for the local wildlife and communities, Kenya will always hold a special place in Alex’s heart. With vast and varied landscapes, mountains, savannahs, deserts, a stunning coastline and rich history, Kenya easily offers the most diverse experiences – from luxury mobile safaris of a bygone era to climbing Mt Kenya, walking with camels in the northern frontier and tracking black rhino on foot to photographing the world's last ‘Big Tuskers' - it opens up the true meaning of safari unlike any other country…
Having grown up in Tanzania until the age of 7, this country has always felt like Alex's second home. Larger in landmass than both Kenya and Uganda combined, distances are far greater, but the destinations are no less rewarding. Follow the Great Migration and watch the Serengeti come alive, explore one of the natural wonders of the world – the Ngorongoro Crater – boat down the majestic Rufiji River, home to legendary hunter Frederick Selous, or climb the Mahale Mountains, the only place where chimpanzees and lions naturally co-exist, before its habitat becomes lost forever.
Forests are the order of the day here and trips to Rwanda are not complete without walking out into the dense jungle in search of the mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park. The lesser-known Nyungwe National Park has been termed the Galapagos of Africa, believed to be one of Africa’s oldest forests and home to thirteen species of primates, 120 butterfly species and chameleons! Magical Lake Kivu offers a place to rest and relax after arduous treks in the forest away from the madding crowds.
A trip to Rwanda is not complete without passing through Kigali. The land of a thousand hills has come a long way from its genocide-ridden past and the country and its people exude a genuine warmth, despite the horrors and atrocities committed nearly thirty years ago.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
This is truly “Heart of Darkness” country and an unfettered spirit of adventure is needed to explore the Democratic Republic of Congo. Putting even the most intrepid travellers through their paces, this country is mysterious, complex and diverse and much of it is still relatively unexplored. The steamy rainforests of the Virunga National Park, newly reopened after years of civil war, are home to the mountain gorillas and a myriad other species, whilst the active volcano Nyiragongo has a lodge right on its rim, overlooking the glowing maw of molten lava in the crater below. A safari here is rewarding and so unlike anything else, you will be dining out on your safari stories for years to come!
With 40-plus percent of the country designated as protected game-viewing areas, Botswana's safaris are wild, breathtaking and guaranteed to be jam-packed full of animals. In fact, the conservation-focused government is doing more than any other African country to protect its wildlife heritage. The Okavango Delta, Africa's largest wetland wilderness, is the crown jewel in any safari and teems with animals year-round. Much of the rest of the country is made up of the Kalahari Desert, with the Central Kalahari home to the ancient San people, whose culture is the oldest in the world. The lunar-like Makgadikgadi salt pans are the definition of isolation. What better place, then, to explore on a quad-bike safari before spending a night under the shimmering sky a million miles from anywhere?
Namibia is totally different to any other country on the continent. It’s 80 percent desert, so each place feels more remote than the last, and the landscape is home to desert-adapted wildlife (even beneath the dunes), breathtaking landscapes and fascinating cultures.
Although not the most likely of safari destinations, Uganda holds some of the world’s most beautiful lakes and rivers, making it the perfect destination for bird watching and attracting extraordinary wildlife, including the elusive waterbird, the Shoebill. With the source of the river Nile running from Lake Victoria, Uganda hosts visitors from all over the world looking for an adrenaline fuelled adventure. Experience grade 5 white water rafting in Jinja, kayak the Nile and head up to Murchison’s Falls or trek through the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to some of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Seriously wild and untamed, this destination runs alongside the DRC as one of those places you won’t be able to stop talking about once you have visited! This is truly pioneering travel and not for the faint of heart. As its name suggests, the Central African Republic is landlocked and combines both savannah plateau and southern equatorial rainforest.
Encounters with some of the rarest wildlife are possible here: from shy forest elephants - much smaller than their savannah counterparts – to the western lowland gorilla – this is somewhere which will take even the most well-travelled aback.
The Phoenix rising from the ashes, Zimbabwe is fast becoming one of Africa’s top safari destinations again, from the roaring Victoria Falls in the north, to the wild and beautiful Hwange National Park and Mana Pools, where elephants abound, there is something for everyone. This is rugged and no-nonsense safari territory, where walking safaris are a firm favourite of Alex’s.
The landlocked gem with the “Lake of Stars”, the shimmering expanse of the second largest African lake, Lake Malawi, might make you believe that you are on the edge of the Indian Ocean. Crystal clear waters invite you to dive, swim, and snorkel and the discoveries beneath the surface are nothing short of breath taking, with a myriad of fish. Kayaking around the forested and beached shores or fishing offers a peaceful and laid-back safari. This is the ultimate place to relax and wind down to the sound of the water lapping the shores.
Wild, and beautiful, Mozambique came back on the tourist scene about twenty years ago, after the country’s brutal civil war ended. Mozambique has unrivalled beaches and crystal azure oceans, teaming with sea life, including Humpback whales, turtles, Whale sharks and Dugongs. Teamed with a history dating back to the spice traders, the coastline of this country is packed with stories and culture, should you wish to take time away from the swish of the palm trees and gentle lapping of the ocean.
Inland provides spectacular wildlife and scenery, for the most part untouched for years owing to its desertion during the civil war. Lands once fabled for their wildlife are being stoked back to life, making it an exciting and off-the-beaten-track safari destination.
Whilst South Africa has its own reputation as a wildlife and safari destination, this is not what we want to give you: we believe that other destinations provide a far more authentic safari experience than South Africa. However, this is a great hub for those travelling into Southern Africa and can provide an easy add – on to a safari. Vibrant cities and gourmet restaurants and winelands are a far cry from what you would normally expect in Africa, but complement a safari nicely. Drive the famous Garden Route – the wind in your hair as you wind along the coastal roads, marvel at the West Coast flowers in spring or sit back and let the wine do the talking in the world-famous Cape Winelands. It might not be a safari as we know it, but it will put a spring in your step!