EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in 7 natural wonders of africa (2)

Tuesday
Nov212017

The Best African UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit

Curious about how to visit Africa’s best UNESCO World Heritage sites? Amazing African safari experiences can include incredible encounters with exotic wildlife and nomadic tribes, rewarding experiences that contribute to conservation initiatives, relaxation at luxurious lodges and spas, and visits to some of the most interesting historical sites on earth. History or culture buffs looking to cross as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites off their bucket list will find a plethora of fascinating offerings on the African continent, and many of the top UNESCO sites can easily be included on an African Safari trip with Epic Road.

Known by a local tribe as “The Smoke That Thunders,” Victoria Falls makes the UNESCO list and also snags a spot on a the much smaller list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Marking the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this soaring waterfall can be explored in numerous thrilling ways - rigorous rafting on the rapids of the connected Zambezi River, flying by helicopter over the falls at sunset, go bungee jumping, and more daring adventurers can swim at the edge in the famous Devil’s Pool.

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area is perhaps the most wildlife-dense spot on the continent. The protected area’s main feature is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera, which offers a stunning sunset scene from its rim. The area is a prime place for Big Five game viewing, including critically endangered black rhino. The adjacent Serengeti National Park, another UNESCO site, is a prime spot to see the annual great migration wildebeest, zebra, hippos, giraffes and more of their wild friends as they head into the northern plains on quest for food and water. The most magical way to see to see the largest mammal migration on the planet? By hot air balloon at sunrise.

Even on a short visit to Morocco it’s impossible not to immerse yourself in the country’s fascinating cultural history, and it’s possible to hit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on a single trip. For a departure from the frenetic energy of Marrakech, visit bohemian seaside Essaouira’s medina and take in the striking blue and white fortified historic walled city that earns a spot on UNESCO’s list. Stroll through the souks looking for beautifully handmade souvenirs and walk along the beach where the coastal winds make cool Essaouira a go-to spot for windsurfing enthusiasts. A few hours inland in the Ouzarzate province, as a sidestep on a visit to the foothills of the breathtaking Atlas Mountains, the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is made up of castle-like structures made from earthen mud brick architecture that is beautifully emblematic of southern Moroccan culture.

Just a short ferry ride from Capetown’s V&A Waterfront district, Robben Island feels a world away. With a somber history, its buildings are powerful symbols of democracy and freedom. Also within suitable distance for a day trip, botany enthusiasts should check out the Cape Floral Region protected areas that are famous for their unparallelled diversity and density of plants, including many species that are endemic to the region and also under threat.

Learn more about Epic Road’s many different types of luxury safaris throughout southern and eastern Africa.

Thursday
Aug062015

When to See the Great Migration by Epic Road

The greatest migration of mammals on the planet, one of the most spectacular sights in the world and a MUST on any true traveler's bucket list. Each year, millions of zebra, gazelle, giraffe and wildebeest move across the vast plains of East Africa in search of food and water as the seasons change and the drought takes over - from the Serengeti in northern Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in south-western Kenya. 

A frenzy of territorial conquests and mating, grazers and predators alike, Darwin's survival of the fittest at play - let the games begin. As the grazers move, the predators follow and with roughly 18,000 miles to cover year after year, many will fail to reach the finish line. The Great Migration is arguably the most thrilling game-viewing on the continent, not to mention the breathtaking landscape that is the Serengeti - the entire experience is recognized as 1 of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa, and rightfully so. So whether you're partaking from an open 4x4, hot air ballon or on foot, you will undoubtedly witness some of the greatest species on the planet; lions, wildebeest, elephants, giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, leopards, zebras, crocodiles and more.

And lucky for you, this phenomenon lasts the entire year. Read on for a full breakdown of the best ways to experience the Great Migration according to season (and according to us). So pick your season and choose from our favorite award-winning luxury lodges built along the path of the Great Migration, guaranteeing you won't miss a thing.

WHEN: January, February, March - WHERE: Ndutu, southern Serengeti  

A 3-week period in the southern region of the Serengeti marks the birthing season for the wildebeest. The herds remain here until they recuperate and their newborns develop enough strength to make the trip north. Wildebeest babies are literally born to run, they can stand within minutes of being born and run alongside the herd within a single hour, and you have first row seats to the show. As nature would have it, the abundance of young calves renders this prime feeding season for predators - making it very likely that you will also witness a lion, cheetah or hyena kill. 

* We recommend the following luxury safari lodges: Serian (Serengeti South), Olakira Ndutu, and Mwiba Lodge

 

WHEN: April, May - WHERE: Seronera, central Serengeti 

As spring comes to an end and with the start of the rainy season, the herds continue to move north into the central Serengeti. Seronera, located at the heart of the Serengeti National Park, tends to be a cumbersome and less seemingly personal experience due to a high volume of tourists. The onset of the rainy season also more than likely means that many camps will be closed. In short, not our favorite time to go, but if camps are open it's a different story and the surroundings are extra beautiful as heavy rains cover the land with endless flower fields - so make sure to ask us before totally crossing it off your list. 

* We recommend the following luxury safari lodges: Dunia, Serengeti Under Canvas, Four Seasons Serengeti

 

WHEN: June, July - WHERE: Grumeti River, western Serengeti

June and July are possibly the most exciting months out of the year when it comes to the Great Migration. The region implicated is home to the Grumeti River aka the 1st major challenge that the herds will inevitably face. Attempting to cross the river, exhausted from the journey and up against hunting crocodiles hoping to take advantage of distressed zebra and wildebeest, is no easy feat. Understandably not ideal for the herds, but the Grumeti River crossing happens to be one of our favorite moments and places to witness the Great Migration. The surrounding natural beauty is particularly breathtaking and the luxury lodges in the area are truly phenomenal. 

* We recommend the following luxury safari lodges: Faru Faru, Sabora Tented Camp, Sasakwa Lodge and Singita Explore

 

WHEN: August, September, October - WHERE: Lamai Wedge, Mara River & Maasai Mara

Following the strenuous river crossing and with the arrival of fall, the herds move towards the Mara River and settle for a short while in the Maasai Mara. Behold panoramic rolling hills and savannah bordered by deep green forest and acacia woodlands - the ultimate wildlife habitat and well worth the trek (both for you and the animals). It's picturesque and beautiful and with with few visitors, it's also one of the most remote and unspoiled parts of the Serengeti. Not without action however as the Mara River too, is filled with crocs chomping at the bit. 

* We recommend the following luxury safari lodges: Lamai Serengeti, Singita Mara River Camp, Serengeti Bushtops, and Mara Plains Camp

 

WHEN: November, December - WHERE: Lobo & Seronera

Rains begin to dissipate and the herds move south through the Loliondo area (vast last owned by the Maasai, an ethnic group of semi-nomadic people) and back into the Serengeti National Park to birth their young and begin the cycle anew. December is particularly great as it's essentially an end of year migration/ gathering and you have the privilege of seeing a huge variety of game including big cats, always cast in the shadow of their prey. 

* We recommend the following lodges: &Beyond Klein's Camp, Serengeti Under Canvas, and Dunia Camp.

 

Click here to learn about our signature travel for the Great Migration.