A Caracal, a wild cat native to Africa (a very rare sighting) (photograph by Distant Horizons Malta)
Fish River Canyon (photograph by Distant Horizons Malta)
The Skeleton Coast (photograph by Distant Horizons Malta)
Sunset near the Desert Homestead Lodge (photograph by Distant Horizons Malta)
The KRUGER NATIONAL PARK SOUTH AFRICA is considered as one of the best destinations for a perfect first-time safari. Safari means "long journey" in Swahili. It summons up images of sweeping, endless plains dotted with gazelle, zebra, wildebeest and the big cats they attract. For most first-timers, the "Big Five" top the wishlist, namely lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino, thus named because they were once considered the safari hunter's most dangerous adversaries.
The Kruger is one of the largest national parks in the world. All the Big Five are found here plus cheetah, elephants, rhino and more than 500 species of birds. If you are lucky you may also encounter a pack of the endangered African Wild Dog. The Kruger National Park is a year-round destination and first-timers will find this park easy to access either as a self-drive option or the more recommended option of an escorted small group tour.
South Africa is a very popular honeymoon destination. An excellent combination with a safari would be a stay in Cape Town and after meandering along the Garden Route. For wine lovers, a stay in the Winelands of Paarl or Stellenbosch is a must. A side-trip to the Victoria Falls and a full day safari at Chobe National Park in Botswana make interesting detours.
NAMIBIA is a photographer’s dream and regularly features in the top ten destinations chosen by travel magazines. It boasts wild seascapes, rugged mountains, stunning wildlife, ancient rock art, bushwalking terrain, lonely deserts and colonial cities. Namibia has one of the world’s lowest population densities, an annual quota of 300 days of sunshine and is home to some of the world’s grandest national parks, ranging from the game-rich Etosha National Park to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park. Namibia evokes emotions of an exhilarating sense of sheer boundlessness.
EXPERIENCE: Game viewing at Etosha NP, sandboarding on the mighty sand dunes near Swakopmund, hiking in the Fish River Canyon, visit Cape Cross to witness Namibia's largest seal colony, walk amid shipwrecks along the eerie Skeleton Coast, taste some of the best calamari in the world…
SUGGESTED COMBINATIONS: Cape Town and/or the Kruger NP, South Africa. A side trip to Victoria Falls. To complete your adventure head out to a beach destination like Mauritius or Seychelles or spend a couple of nights when transiting through Dubai.
TREKKING KILI TANZANIA: Do you think you could climb to a height of 5895m? Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania gives you such a challenge. The advantage of Kili is that it is a trekking peak and no climbing experience is necessary. You don’t have to be super fit either but the trek will be more enjoyable and manageable if some pre-trip training is undertaken. The main reason why people fail to reach the summit is due to altitude sickness rather than lack of necessary strength or stamina.
You don’t have to worry about hurrying as the most common words you’ll hear throughout the day are “pole pole” (pronounced polly polly) which means “slowly, slowly”. Any burst of speed on your part is quickly dampened by the guide saying pole pole to avoid becoming out of breath and tired in the rarefied air!!
Will there be ample food? Definitely, nothing to worry about as meals are large and carb-heavy. So much so, as you get higher, you will be begging not to eat so much!
You also need to prepare yourself mentally for climbing Kili. There will be hardships such as cold nights under canvas, changeable weather and those famous long-drop toilets.
The best time to climb is the dry season Jan-Feb and Jun-Oct. Although the route can be done in 5/6 days the longer and more scenic Lemosho route, 7/8 days, is highly recommended as it gives you more time to acclimatise and therefore a better chance of success.
So are you ready? We climbed Kili in October 2014 and are ready to assist you with getting there, choice of route, training suggestions, pack lists, what to expect, etc…
ZANZIBAR, the name alone is enough to lure travellers to this island. Heavy with the promise of exoticism and romance, Zanzibar is one of the idyllic islands forming part of the Swahili Coast off the East Coast of Africa and is surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with marine life.
You may think that it is only a dream destination…. It’s not! Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul to Zanzibar three times a week. Zanzibar makes a perfect pairing with a safari destination, what more could one ask for?
Stop dreaming, start planning!