When most people imagine a safari, they picture a 4×4 full of travelers marveling at lions and elephants on the savanna. And while game drives are a remarkable part of any adventure to Africa, they’re not the whole story. CW Safaris puts incredible care into all facets of your journey, from finding the best boutique tented camps to incorporating active elements (like walks or school visits) into your itinerary. Here are a few of our other favorite safari experiences.
Savanna stretches as far as the eye can see, with a vast sky illuminated by the setting sun, and snowcapped Kilimanjaro on the horizon. It’s sundowner time at Kambi Ya Tembo, a tented camp in Tanzania. Savor the moment, drink in hand beside the blazing fire pit, sharing today’s stories and anticipating tomorrow’s adventures. Sounds of the African night begin to fill the air as a zebra passes just feet away. At this remote retreat down a rugged back road, it’s easy to feel like you’ve been in Africa for weeks—but it’s only day one, and your safari is just getting started!
Dawn is just breaking as you and your guide board a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) and navigate into the Okavango, the world’s largest inland delta. All around you, tongues of intense greenery stretch out toward the Kalahari Desert, providing habitat for countless species of birds and mammals. The sounds of stirring creatures join the ripple of water and the swish of reeds as you slip through sinuous channels towards open water, where bird-thronged trees are silhouetted against the rising sun. Look and listen for yellow-bill storks stalking their prey in the shallows, the splash of a diving kingfisher, a distant crocodile slipping into the water, hippos bobbing up in the distance, or an elephant dipping its trunk in for a drink—your expert guide will help you find them all.
Wake to the sounds of the bush coming to life all around you and a knock on the door announcing coffee. After juice and toast at the campfire, you’re off walking with your expert guide into the breathtaking wilderness at your doorstep. This evening, sip sundowners with your feet in the river under the vibrant blaze of the African sky. This is Zungulila, typical of the intimate, remote bush camps where you’ll overnight throughout your Zambia safari. With only four luxurious tents, lantern-lit decks, and priceless views of wild game on the adjacent floodplains, it accommodates a maximum of eight guests, creating an immersed-in-nature, part-of-the-family feeling that will make it hard to say goodbye.
It’s still early morning as you climb into the safari vehicle, but your eagle-eyed guide has been up since dawn—reading tracks, he jokes, like you read the morning paper. Excitement builds as you wait for his signal to disembark and follow him into the bush. This morning’s adventure? Tracking elephants on foot! Zimbabwe is an elephant-lover’s paradise, with some of Africa’s biggest herds, and nothing brings you closer than walking directly into their world. Listening and watching, you learn the secrets of the trade: stay alert and downwind, keep a barrier between you and the elephants, look for clues like scuff marks, damage to vegetation and dung. By day’s end, you will have seen more elephants than you can count, and have tracking stories to last a lifetime.
How fast can a cheetah really move? Find out first-hand, feeling the raw energy of these spectacular creatures as they chase the lure at breakneck speed during an exercise session at Namibia’s AfriCat Foundation. For over two decades, AfriCat has been rehabilitating injured carnivores for a return to the wild—and part of that is simulating the experience of wild hunting. On our Namibia safari, you won’t just see Africa’s great animals; you’ll also learn their secrets from the biologists who research them. Even better, our visit helps fund AfriCat’s crucial conservation education work with local ranchers and schoolchildren—among the many responsible travel initiatives that CW Safaris works to support.
It all begins just before sunset, navigating by jeep with your guides to a prime wildlife-watching spot for sundowners. Suddenly you’re drinking fine South African wine or freshly shaken cocktails on a scenic riverbank, with front-row views of hippos and elephants coming down to play in the majestic twilight. As cooler evening air creeps in, the animal kingdom begins stirring again. Time to bundle up with hot tea and warm blankets and set off into the African night. Your driver and spotter single-mindedly search for a telltale flash of eyes, a sudden movement in the bush. What’s out here tonight? Perhaps a lioness and her cubs feasting on a fresh kill? Nocturnal creatures you’ve never even imagined? Here in Kruger, something memorable is likely just around the bend.