Travel to Africa bounces back – introducing the best trips to book now for 2023
2022 has seen a dramatic resumption of holidays to Africa. Those who had their 2020 and 2021 trips postponed by the pandemic are eagerly travelling this year, and new bookings are coming in thick and fast.
“Travel to Africa has renewed with gusto, such is the relief and enthusiasm of those who have long had their hearts set on an Africa trip, be it a first visit or the umpteenth for devoted Afrophiles. The demand for trips is both challenging and invigorating for our passionate and knowledgeable team.
“Africa is relatively busy this year already. For travellers looking to stay at some of the most exclusive or coveted lodges, or places offering very specific activities, booking now for 2023 is essential.”
Chris McIntyre, MD of Expert Africa - the award-winning travel company specialising in high-quality, tailor-made and sustainable safaris to Southern and East Africa
Here are a few of the best trips for families, couples, friends and solo travellers with a range of interests and requirements:
For keeping children enthralled: Botswana
Safaris geared for adults can be boring for children. Think tedious long drives, guides talking at an adult level, and long camp meals taken on fixed schedules. The team at Expert Africa have road-tested their safaris with their own families – finding our which lodges and camps are truly family-friendly. They’ve found those which offer genuine flexibility around meals and safaris; guides who bring the bush alive with great stories; and activities specially tailored to keep younger ones engaged, learning and keen for more.
The seven-night Tsessebe Safari combines three sister camps in and around Moremi Game Reserve, in Botswana’s aquatic Okavango Delta. Two of the camps operate the Young Explorers Programme, offering guides with plenty of experience guiding children (aged seven-plus) in the bush, and activities that include making bows and arrows, playing football with the camp staff, fishing, identifying tracks and learning to cook over a fire. Youngsters will be enthralled by open-topped 4WD game drives and motorboat trips, and wowed by wildlife including wild dog, zebra, elephant, hippo and Chacma baboons. The camps have a more relaxed child policy than most of Botswana’s safari camps, and triple rooms and chalets make it comparatively economical for families. Cost is from £4,030 pp (sharing) including full board and activities, most drinks, all transfers, laundry and park fees.
For solo travel with the option of companionship: Tanzania
Expert Africa has found the camps and lodges which are ideally suited to the solo traveller. These tend to be the smaller, more intimate bush camps which have the atmosphere of an expedition with a great sense of camaraderie. A safari can be a very sociable experience where you’ll meet like-minded people, join in group activities and dine together. Some properties also refrain from charging a single supplement.
The six-night Dwarf Mongoose Fly-in Safari stays at two eco-friendly camps, in Tanzania’s Nyerere National Park and Ruaha National Park. Both of these rustic, remote and informal bush camps are single-friendly, with particularly low single supplements, communal safari activities and shared mealtimes. Explore the Rufiji River by solar-powered boat, relax by candlelight in the porch of your tent, and experience a new perspective on a walking safari. Cost is from £3,700 pp, including full board and activities, some drinks, all transfers, and park fees.
For luxury rooted in exclusivity: Zambia
Luxury means different things to different people. Expert Africa recognises that, for some, it centres on high-quality accommodation and top-class service; for some it is purely about amazing environments; and, for others, it can be about visiting one of Africa’s vibrant cities in great style.
For travellers who measure luxury in terms of exclusivity, the eight-night Greater Bushbaby Safari is split between two double-storey, four-bedroom ‘safari houses’. Each has its own unique, open-fronted design with wilderness views, a central lounge, and a pool. Each comes with a private guide and chef – and is perfect for a family or group of friends. One ‘house’ overlooks a waterhole frequented by elephants in the South Luangwa National Park; the other stands beside the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park. There’s a variety of activities on offer – 4WD drives (day and night), walks, boating, fishing and canoe trips. Cost is from £7,270 pp (sharing) including full board and activities, most drinks, all transfers, and park fees
For unique wildlife encounters: Kenya
Spotting a magnificent black-maned lion on a Kalahari dune, relaxing to watch elephant mud-bathing in the midday sun, or following a pack of wild dogs at high speed as they hunt – Expert Africa will do its best to realise your wildlife fantasies. The interactive map on its Wildlife page summarises the tens of thousands of species-sighting reports sent to them by hundreds of their travellers, giving some very precise ideas about the best areas and camps at which to see wildlife across Africa.
For a truly one-off animal experience, the eight-night Rothschild Giraffe Safari begins with a night at the magical Giraffe Manor – frequently sold-out a year or more ahead – including close encounters with the resident Rothschild giraffes, which invariably stick their necks through the windows of the Sun Room while you’re having breakfast. There are also stays at Giraffe Manor’s sister properties, one located in its own private sanctuary in Laikipia, not far from the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains, and the other in the deep south of Maasai Mara National Reserve, close to the Tanzania border. Cost is from £8,300 pp (sharing) including full board and activities, most drinks, all transfers, and park fees.
For the ultimate beach holiday: Mozambique
For sun-kissed Africa beach holidays beneath a brilliant blue sky, head to the east coast of Africa where the Indian Ocean meets some of the world’s most beguiling tropical islands. With countless white sandy beaches and clear blue reef waters, the coastline and the islands of Mozambique are very well known for wonderful beach holidays.
Expert Africa’s six-night Benguerra Beach Holiday stays at Benguerra Lodge, situated on its own palm-fringed bay along the western coast of Benguerra Island, within a marine national park. Each room has its own plunge pool and is open plan, facing out over the Indian Ocean. Activities include fly-fishing, snorkelling trips, diving, island-hopping tours, kayaking, horse riding and 4WD Land Rover tours. Cost is from £4,200 pp (sharing) including full board and activities, most drinks, and transfers.
*For all safaris, international flights can be arranged at an additional cost.
For further information, or to talk to a safari specialist, call Expert Africa on 020 3405 6666 or visit www.expertafrica.com.
Ends/Editors’ notes: Chris McIntyre, MD of Expert Africa, is the author of the Bradt Guides to Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, and co-author of the Bradt Guides to Tanzania and Zanzibar. All of the Expert Africa team know Africa well, have been to the places they feature, and can advise you from first-hand experience.
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