Make the most of your safari experience by discovering what lies beyond the average tourist itinerary. This journey should be about exploring lesser-known areas while connecting and learning together as a family.
The team at Elevate Destinations believes there are a few easy, yet out-of-the-box ways to take your travels to the next level. Through traveling deeper, you can have a transformational journey that will create lifelong memories for everyone in your family.
Make your kids drop those smartphones! Get out of the Landrover and put boots on the ground with a walking safari. A guided walking safari captures the spirit of the original African safaris, when travelers moved nightly with mobile camps, waking each morning to fresh vistas.
End your day together around a blazing fire, reminiscing about your close up encounters from the day.
One evening we put on raincoats and ventured out for a walk where we were blessed to come across a striped hyena! He was just as interested in us as we were him. We loved tracking the animals and appreciating their habitats from their perspective. What an amazing way to observe wildlife and get to know the guides strolling through the bush!
– Marychris Fees
Some of the most exciting walking destinations in Africa are Tanzania, where you can traverse the rim of the iconic Ngorongoro Crater, as well as Kenya, where families can travel through the bush accompanied by camels carrying gear along with expert guides from local tribes. Botswana offers unique tracking opportunities in the Okavango Delta, while South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is renowned for camp-to-camp expeditions.
Africa has many remote jewels in its crown and offers fantastic rewards to more intrepid explorers. One such gem is the lesser-known Ruaha National Park in Tanzania. Traverse this vast wilderness with an expert walking guide and camp on sandbars in the park’s namesake river. Most camps contain only six tents – usually fewer for walking journeys – so get ready for an intimate adventure.
In Kenya, consider incorporating the country’s stunning northern regions into your itinerary. Here, you can walk with the Samburu Tribe over the rolling hills of Laikipia.
Our guide Lolo in Maasai Mara is someone who I think we will keep in touch with throughout the years. His knowledge of the ecosystem and culture seemed to be limitless, but he was also interested in us. We chose to dine with him and the other guides instead of with the guests just to have additional time to learn from them.
– Amy Jones
Take the time to visit a new community-run elephant sanctuary in Kenya. While you’re in the area, track elephant and rhino as part of a vital conservation program.
Cultural Experiences and Volunteer Safaris
There are excellent options to get out of your safari bubble and interact with local people in a meaningful way.
It’s true what they say about Malawi – the Warm Heart of Africa – people are kind, open, and generous. As a destination, Malawi is not as well-known for safaris, but there are some terrific opportunities to see wildlife.
On safari, you’ll have a chance to search for recently reintroduced cheetahs and see plentiful hippo pods on a sunrise river cruise. To enhance your trip even further, volunteer in a local village education project by day, then sleep out under the star-filled, African skies by night (or in your safari tent if you prefer!)
Combine Malawi with a Zambia safari for a complete Africa wildlife experience!
Tanzania is one of the best destinations to safari in Africa, but there are also plentiful opportunities to volunteer with vetted non-profit organizations focused on educating local youth. During your volunteer stint, you can stay in a modest guesthouse, learn Swahili phrases from your Tanzanian hosts, visit local markets, and try some traditional foods. You’ll make connections that will go far beyond the duration of your stay.
If you’ve already been on safari but are itching to get back to Africa for an unconventional adventure, head to Namibia! Meet the Bushman and Himba tribes and stay in the uniquely designed Camp Kipwe built to blend in with the granite boulders surrounding the camp.
Even while traveling in locations that are not “off-the-beaten-path,” you can do things differently, such as visiting communities in Cape Town, South Africa:
Spend the day with Uthando (meaning love) to learn about this non-profit organization’s inspiring work in Cape Town’s townships, or hang out with the cool, Rock Girls to get a different perspective on life. This is an excellent way for your kids to meet other youth and learn about their lives.
We learned a lot about the challenges these girls face in advancing their education. We were astounded by the work ethic and dedication towards learning. The value placed on education as a pathway towards opportunity for not only the individual student but to make a positive impact on their tribes was enlightening for our family.
– Marychris Fees talking about Daraja Academy
Combine Cape Town with Grootbos Private Nature Reserve where you can enjoy the award-winning five-star eco-paradise and even take an epic marine safari!
All these suggestions are just a few ideas about how to plan an enhanced safari experience. Getting out of the safari vehicle and exploring a park on foot, or being welcomed into a local community will only enrich your experience. We think you’ll be happy you took the opportunity to do things a little differently!