5 great things to do on safari other than a game drive

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Think safari and the first thing that normally comes to mind is a group of people on a vehicle wearing neutral tones and watching for animals. This is the core of any safari adventure but with the growth in luxury safari holidays, new and exciting activities are being introduced to add even more to the safari experience.

mowana-spa1. Pamper yourself – enjoy a spa treatment

One of the biggest trends in travel is the growth in wellness holidays and safari is no exception. Being out on game drives can have you returning hot and dusty – and often a bit cramped from sitting. Having a spa treatment after this in the middle of the game reserve feels like complete decadence!

Kasane’s Cresta Mowana Spa – a haven of beauty and tranquillity – offers a wide range of specialised treatment for guests to succumb to the luxury of unadulterated, decadent pampering!

Four private treatment rooms are available for guests, complemented by a raised deck overlooking the mighty Chobe River on which open-air pampering sessions are highly recommended. If you believe that sharing is caring, then the double treatment room is ideal for couple’s treatments.

The spa offers top-class facilities as well as a range of Clarins treatments and therapies, enhanced by the restorative qualities of natural ingredients.

Apart from the Clarins treatments, the Cresta Mowana Spa offers all of the usual beauty and health therapies, as well as unique African and Asian signature treatments, ensuring that the stresses and strains of city living are effectively eased away.

safari-food2. Indulge in a delicious African culinary experience

The meals served at many top end safari lodges would not be out of place in the top restaurants of London and Paris. There is no longer a culinary compromise required to experience Africa’s Big 5!

The general rule of the safari kitchen is that the more remote the camp, the simpler the menu – and the more central the more sophisticated. Having said that, even the most central reserve needs some distance from towns to allow for the wildlife so you will see few a la carte menus at safari lodges.

Due to their locations, many reserves grow their own or only use local herbs and vegetables giving the gorgeous food they prepare a local flavour. Some safari menus also feature game such as antelope and kudu, which admittedly may not be to everyone’s tastes. However, cooked properly, these meats are delicious and offer a different and exciting food experience.

Many safari reserves also utilise their spaces to offer unique dining experience such as dining al fresco right under the magical African stars, pit bbqs outside or near your room or a bush bbq served with sundowners in the middle of the savannah.

One of the loveliest parts of a safari is when the vehicle stops and you are able to enjoy a coffee and a snack in the middle of the reserve with only the sound of birds for company.

photography-safari3. Refine your photography skills

70% of safari guests arrive with only a smartphone to capture their experience. This can lead to moments of longing when on a game drive with others who sport long lenses and know how to use them. However, it is now possible to combine safari and improving your photographic skills.

Pangolin Photo Safaris is one of many operators who can arrange photographic safari excursions at affordable prices. They offer packages ranging from 1-20 day photographic safari adventures.

Pangolin Photo Safaris are geared towards photographers of all levels and focus on wildlife, birding as well both land and water –based photographic environments. They offer visits to some of Botswana’s most iconic photographic destinations such as the Chobe National Park, the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta. Some of their excursions are cross-border trips.

art-safari4. Introduce a splash of colour through art

The amazing colours and light of Africa are perfect for both photographers and artists. Traditionally, the primary artist on a safari has generally been the photographer. However, art safaris now provide current and budding artists with an opportunity to draw rather than photograph the animals. Packages range from offers for beginners to the more advanced and the entire safari can be tailored to this area.

Highlights include an exciting tour of Victoria Falls, excellent elephant sightings at Chobe National Park and sketching and watercolour painting activities.

For this unique take on the African safari, you can head over to bookallsafaris.com for excursions in Zimbabwe and Botswana. The website offers you the opportunity to go on excursions that allow you to sketch and watercolour the breath-taking Victoria Falls, go on a safari adventure in Chobe National Park where you will also enjoy amazing elephant sightings.

botswana-community5. Learn about the community

The community in Africa is more than the local tribes. It also includes the care of the land and the animals that make up any national park or game reserve. Most safari operators of repute will have conservation programs and initiatives with the members of the local community.

Many safari operators now offer guests the chance to learn about these activities first hand. Guests can visit the local communities or join the communities for activities. It is often possible to meet students, local tribesmen or visit traditional homes.

Botswana, already a popular safari destination, is actively diversifying its safari offer to include community-based safari excursions. These are ideal for those of our guests who want to go one further and learn more about Botswana people’s culture and norms. What’s more, a lion’s share of the proceeds earnt through these emerging ventures is to be ploughed back into the communities – a win-win situation for all stakeholders!

Spending an afternoon with the conservation team can provide a totally different type of animal experience. It is fascinating to learn how the animals are tracked, tagged and supported. This also often gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about animal behaviour and how they are used in conservation efforts.

Safari is such a wonderful experience. Absolutely do as many game drives as you can fit in but don’t forget that there is more to a memorable safari experience than just catching a glimpse of the Big 5.


Adapted from Amanda Obrien’s article by the title@aluxurytravelblog.com

Amanda OBrien is Owner of The Boutique Adventurer. The Boutique Adventurer focusses on luxury adventures in emerging destinations that end with a high thread count on the sheets in the evening.


Featured image by Gary Ashworth, Food image: Wilderness Travel, Spa image: Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa, Community image: bahai.org

3 months ago