We are excited to share this guest blog from our valued active travel partner Sherwin Banda, President of African Travel.
My Top 7 African Countries
Africa is a wonderful place to experience with family. While I love showing my son my South African homeland, I can’t wait to take my family to Zimbabwe. The country is somewhat overlooked and unexplored but you’ll not only be awed with a different perspective on Victorial Falls, but also by some of the greatest game-viewing on land and water safaris.
So many travelers want authentic connections and to help the planet. My answer: go to Kenya! At Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, for instance, you’ll learn about their rhino rehabilitation efforts and experience wildlife through horse and walking safaris. In Kenya’s north, visit the singing wells of the Samburu tribe and observe the warriors perform an age-old tradition as they chant and collect water for their cattle. I plan to visit Kenya with my son and experience helping a local northern Maasai Mara community. It’s a great way for him fulfill a class project with real world impact and for us to experience giving back together.
Wherever I travel, I always look for ways to re-connect with nature, so I am very excited about Xijera, the new Red Carnation Hotel Collection safari lodge. It’s set in the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta where wildlife viewing is incredible. The area is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Africa, where over a third of the continent’s elephants roam. I can’t wait!
For my more adventurous friends, and anyone looking to be surprised by the extraordinary, I highly recommend our Rwanda. The country’s variety of wildlife viewing and new lodges is drawing travelers but it’s the people and the beauty of “the land of a thousand hills,” that is stealing hearts. A tip though, permits are limited to see the country’s star attraction—the endangered mountain gorilla—so start planning now.
I always like to look for new ways to go off the beaten path on safari. Namibia Desert Escapes, African Travel’s flying safari, delivers this with a one-of-a-kind desert safari exploration in one of the most other-worldly places on the planet. I’m always amazed by Namibia’s contrasts and love to explore the wildlife rich Etosha National Park, the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei and shipwrecks along the Skeleton Coast. Creatures here continually adapt to their harsh environment, which is really something to behold.
The islands of Africa from Mozambique to Zanzibar are often overlooked but are some of my favorites. They boast pristine beaches and are easily combinable with a safari experience. Often referred to as the eighth continent, this island is home to 5 percent of the world’s wildlife and vegetation. The year-round 70-degree Indian Ocean is also a huge draw to me, as is seeing 11 species of lemurs!
And finally, I can’t miss recommending South Africa! I’m especially eager to tuck into the culinary scene in and around Cape Town. Wolfgat, recently voted #1 in the World’s Restaurant Awards, and beautiful wine regions like Stellenbosch and Hemel-en-Aarde are just a road trip from the city. As a special carrot to kick start a journey, African Travel offering $1,000* off per couple on their most popular trip the Southern Explorer. So, you have no excuses!