We take a look at Africa through the year; the best countries to visit, our favourite lodges, and the unforgettable wildlife encounters you will have.
Spring safari inspiration
Charlotte Mellor and Ben Oxley-Brown
Spring and summer are a popular time for weddings in the UK and we have endless ideas to create your perfect honeymoon in Africa. Take a hot air balloon flight over the vast Serengeti savannah at sunrise, watching the wildlife below; explore Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau by day, searching for elephant, rhino and wild dog and sleep out under the stars at the Loisaba Starbeds; wander the beautiful and unspoilt Lower Zambezi from the lovely Sausage Tree Camp, enjoying the luxurious surroundings when you’re not out on a game-drive, walk or boat safari; or, if relaxation is more what you’re after, spend a day enjoying a secluded sandbank picnic for two in Mozambique.
By Kirsty Leyns
The Botswanan Kalahari is such a unique environment, and spring is the ideal time to explore. Seasonal rains bring numerous migratory bird species, as well as beautiful desert flowers. If you time your visit just right, you may catch the zebra migration where 25,000 zebra move through the Makgadikgadi salt pans on their way to the lush grasses of the Boteti River, with predators following not far behind. Other activities include visits to the meerkats, which often make themselves at home sitting on a visitor’s head or shoulders to enjoy a higher vantage point! This area also offers some superb visits to the bushmen (left), learning about their immense knowledge of flora and fauna as well as their skills in hunting and gathering.
Gorilla tracking, Rwanda and Uganda
By Steve Howes
Nothing can prepare you for the thrill of an exhilarating trek through the rainforest and finding a group of mountain gorillas (above). On my recent trip to Uganda, even though the trek was fairly long and arduous at times, seeing the gorillas face to face was absolutely incredible. The look on our faces when we first came across them was a sight to see – sheer delight mixed with a small dose of fear as we knew we were in their territory. We spent a precious hour watching as the gorillas foraged for food, youngsters climbed trees and groomed each other. If you asked me if the trek is worth it, I’d say yes, a hundred times over.
Summer safari inspiration
By Donna Piccini
On the eastern side of Madagascar lies the tiny island of Ile St Marie. During the summer months, visitors to this idyllic part of the island can enjoy watching humpback whales off the shore. The whales come here to breed and calve, and can be seen from the beach or by boat. Combined with the other incredible wildlife of Madagascar (the lemurs are a highlight for many), this is the icing on the cake of a trip. One of our favourite lodges in this area, Princesse Bora Lodge (below) offers an ideal base for enjoying the whales, palm-fringed beaches and endemic wildlife of the area.
The Great Migration
By Liberty Gilmour
Thousands of thundering hooves passing through the Masai Mara marks the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle. August and September are the peak times to encounter this wildlife phenomenon in Kenya and it’s well worth booking ahead to get a camp in the best location. The predatory lion, leopard and cheetah are out in full force at this time of year, with a veritable buffet of potential meals in their sights. If you’ve seen the documentaries and have always wanted to witness a dramatic river crossing, this is also the time to see it, with the Mara and Talek rivers crisscrossing the Masai Mara. It can take the wildebeest days on end to decide to take the plunge, so a good dose of patience, some luck and an excellent safari guide are required!