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Five Unexpected Highlights of African Safaris

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There’s a favorite quip some of our safari guides like to share with guests when they come upon a herd of impala grazing the savanna. “Do you know what this impala’s name is?” asks the guide, pointing. “No!” everyone replies, eager to hear the answer. “His name is ‘Justin’. As in “Just-another impala!”
The joke is a hit. It never fails.

Yes, our guests encounter many, many impala, one of the most graceful and tranquil creatures on any safari circuit. “They are a joy to see every time,” is how our guides bring their little joke back into the very real and very sublime moment of witnessing Africa’s untamed wildlife.

Of course, safari-goers expect to see animals—from elephants and giraffes to lions and hippos. So you might be wondering: what about the unexpected elements of a Country Walkers safari? Turns out, there are plenty.

Getting Out of Your Vehicle and Walking

Walking adventures are our specialty. Still, our guests have one burning question about walking in the African bush: Is it safe?

Naturally, we’re not in the habit of putting anyone in harm’s way. “This is not like our other walking adventures,” says Katerina Bacevicius, the Country Walkers travel director who works closely with expert guides to develop our safaris. “We do not go on long hikes. Rather, we take short walks in well-defined areas where guides are intimately familiar with the comings and goings of wildlife. And we never leave our safari vehicle completely behind.”

As an added precautionary measure, your eagle-eyed guide has scouted out your walking area ahead of time—often at the break of dawn—reading tracks and taking stock of the bush. Once you join him, just follow his lead. Stay alert. Look for clues like tracks and scat. And maintain a barrier between you and whatever game you spot.

We think you’ll agree: walking in the bush is a thrilling and humbling adventure. No other experience brings you closer to the African wilderness.

Luxurious Accommodations in the Middle of the Bush

Who knew you could enjoy such comfort in the middle of the bush? Don’t get us wrong: your accommodations are not extravagant, city hotels graced with artsy, urban stylings. We think of them as “safari chic,” with distinct touches like fabrics and furnishings inspired by the surrounding wilderness. Stand-alone treehouses built into the canopy, deluxe tented camps with private en-suite bath and shower, and even elegantly fashioned suites help you explore the wilds in style.

Our lodges offer swimming pools so you can stay cool during the siesta part of the day (more on that below!), sitting areas where you can relax and take in dramatic vistas (perhaps spotting some animals on the roam), bars for sipping a midday beverage, Wi-Fi service for keeping in touch back home, and even air conditioning. Depending on where you’re staying, you can even indulge in spa services.

Meals Fit for Royalty

On safari, you never go hungry. Food and supplies are brought in regularly to ensure that every meal is fresh, delicious, and plentiful. A far cry from simple bush cuisine, meals are thoughtfully and creatively prepared by skilled chefs who pride themselves on pleasing the palate and catering to different diets and restrictions.

You might make your own pie on pizza night, indulge in a stir-fry buffet, experience an authentic barbecue in the bush, or (if you’re feeling brave) even sample mopane worms, the famed local delicacy. Early morning snacks greet you before you head out on your first game drive, and you’ll appreciate the generous snacks during sundowners—the traditional sunset cocktail served out in the bush.

Exploring the Wilderness by Boat

Some of the most unforgettable safari sightings happen from a boat. Water, after all, is a major draw for wildlife of all sorts: elephants, lions, baboons, and even giraffe (once they outstretch their forelegs enough that they can reach down for a drink!).

There are several opportunities to witness wildlife taking to the waters. Embark a pontoon boat to skim along the surface of the Zambezi or Chobe River, perhaps encountering a pod of hippos along the way. Or climb into a traditional, handcrafted mokoro (canoe) for two, and your pilot will punt you—Old English-style—among the reeds of the Okavango Delta, keeping watch for the profusion of colorful birds that follow the waters here.

How Relaxing It is to Be on “Safari Time”

Perhaps what’s most surprising is how relaxing it all feels. Exploring the African wilderness, you’re on “safari time,” a leisurely rhythmic pace that mirrors the cycle of the wilderness. You wake with—or before—the sun and head out after coffee and a snack in search of animals when they are most active, many of them just winding down from the night hunt. Return to camp at midday for lunch and siesta time, when you lay low for the hottest part of the day. Another game drive precedes dinner. Then you thank your good fortune that you’ll do it all again the next day.

Experience the African wilderness up close and on foot during a Country Walkers Walking Adventure.

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