EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in best safari 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
Jul142016

The Best Safaris to See Lions - Top 5 Safaris to See Lions by Africa Travel Experts at Epic Road

The lion is perhaps Africa's, if not the world's, most iconic animal. Travelers come from near and far to see the African lion, but sadly there are fewer than you might think. We have lost 98.4% of lions. If you've just read that and paused to reflect on how alarming 98.4% is, you'll be encouraged to know that your travel dollars to Africa's leading national parks often entirely go to the conservation and protection of these big cats. Eco-tourism is alive and well in Africa and the great part about safaris is that you're not only having an extraordinary experience, you're helping to conserve our world's incredible wildlife. Even the safari lodges turn around and contribute a great portion of their earnings to help protect the animals. So now that we've given you the best reason to go on safari, let's run through the best safaris to see lions. The following safaris are in our opinion, the top 5 safaris to see lions: Masai Mara National Reserve, the Okavango Delta, Serengeti National Park, Mana Pools National Park & the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary.

Best Safari to See Lions #1 - Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The Masai Mara is a large game reserve in south-western Kenya, globally famous for its exceptional population of lions (as well as leopard, cheetah and many other species). This is where BBC filmed their series 'Big Cat Diaries' and where Disney filmed their documentary 'African Cats'. So if you plan to visit the Masai Mara for spectacular lion sightings, these two films serve as the ultimate teaser for what's to come. And that is because you will safari along the Mara River and through the territories of the Marsh Pride and a number of other lion families that were actually depicted in both these films.

The Masai Mara is also the stomping ground for Great Plains Conservation, an amazing company founded by National Geographic filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert, and a leading expert in eco-tourism. Their mission is to find the perfect balance of conservation, communities and commerce that allow for a sustainable and long lasting impact on both wildlife and wilderness. Their safari lodges and properties are phenomenal, their guides know the land better than anyone else and their dedication to and deep knowledge of the African continent will make for a truly extraordinary safari experience.

Best Safari to See Lions #2 - The Okavango Delta, Botswana

Botswana's Okavango Delta was named the 1000th site on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Simply put, the Okavango Delta is mind-blowing. It is one of the few places in the world that still feels untouched by man, wilderness and wildlife abound and you truly feel as though you've entered a different world. And to top that all off, the Okanvango Delta hosts one of the densest lion populations on the African continent. The Okavango Delta is an earthly paradise for Africa's big cats which allows for its safaris to boast guaranteed lion sightings.

Within the Okavango Delta is Great Plains Conservation's Duba Plains, a permanent island with exclusive access to a unique lion habitat and particularly know for its confrontations between these hungry cats and big herds of buffalo. The buffalo are trapped by surrounding water, a well-known fact to resident lions and your front seat ticket to epic battles between the two species.

Another camp to keep on your radar is Selinda Explorer's Camp. The property has access to a channel where the Okavango Delta links with the Linyanti and Kwando water systems, and where lions are often seen preying on hippos.

The Okavango Delta hosts an abundance of prey and is considered the predator capital of Africa. It is almost as if the delta was formed to give lions an upper hand in hunting, and this means you'll undoubtedly see a lot of them. A safari in the Okavango Delta is hands down one of the best safaris to see Africa's big cats.

Best Safari to See Lions #3 - Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world, in other words, it's a must on your top safaris list. The Serengeti National Park is home to the Great Migration, the largest terrestrial mammal migration on the planet, and similar to the Okavango Delta, lions and other predators certainly take advantage of the abundance of prey. 1.7 million wildebeest migrate in search of food and water and the lions follow. It's virtually impossible to miss a herd of that size so follow the migration and you can bet you'll see lions trailing behind.

With the right guide, and at the right time of year, you can expect more than 150 lion sightings. You'll see them resting on the ground, wading through the waters, taking down their unlucky prey and climbing nearby acacia trees. And that is why the Serengeti offers one of the best safaris to see lions, as well as one of the best safaris overall.

Best Safari to See Lions #4 - Mana Pool National Park, Zimbabwe

Depending on how close you wish to get to Africa's lions, a safari at Mana Pools may or may not be for you. Zimbabwe's Vundu Camp within the national park conducts walking safaris, enabling visitors to approach wild lions more closely on foot than anywhere else on the continent. So if you're up for it, you'll approach on foot to about 50 yards and then crouch down and continue to inch forwards within 20 yards. The experience is exhilarating and not to worry, you will be escorted and directed by an expert guide. These walking safaris operate from May through November, but a regular safari is available year-round.

Best Safari to See Lions #5 - The Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa

The Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique opportunity for volunteers and avid travelers who are interested in hands on lion conservation. The sanctuary was created by Kevin Richardson himself, often called the 'Lion Whisperer' and you can forego teh typical safari experience or pair with it, and spend 1-4 weeks working with Kevin, his team and the lions under their purview.

Volunteers work from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, 6 days a week and while much of the work is physically demanding, it is incredibly rewarding to know that you're actively helping to conserve one of our greatest species. And if you're lucky, you may get the chance to interact with some of the younger animals.

Head of International Development for Twitter, Marie Sornin, has recently launched an incredibly inspiring personal project involving Kevin's work. She and her husband will volunteer at the sanctuary in November 2016, and will thereafte spend the next year raising funds for another couple to do the very same thing. That couple will volunteer their time in 2017 and fundraise for the next and so goes the cycle. It's a great way to actively encourage people to get involved in lion conservation and help raise awareness about the plight of the species, which is the sanctuary's ultimate vision. To learn more about how to get involved, send us a note at hello@epicroad.com