At Southern Africa Travel we have expert knowledge of the latest travel trends, up-and-coming hotspots and great value escapes. Keeping all of these in mind, we've carefully picked 5 must-visit destinations as rich and varied as the continent of Africa itself.
Add any of these places to your 2015 travel plans, and you’re certain to have a year to remember!
A gemsbok stands out against Namibia's towering dunes (photo: Little Kulala)
As a desert ages its sand grows brighter, so it's little wonder that the Sossusvlei dunes – in one of the world’s oldest deserts - are unreal shades of ochre and red. Here you can seek out desert-adapted wildlife, although visiting Namibia it's not only about the safari experience but also the magnificent landscapes, peace and solitude, tucked-away lodges and nights filled with stars.
And we’re not alone in thinking Sossusvlei is the place to go in 2015. Based on data from the World Travel and Tourism Council Namibia came top in a list of 50 up-and-coming travel destinations, and made it onto both the “Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for 2015” and “Fodor’s Go To List 2015”.
Experience this for yourself: our one-week Best of Namibia Circuit includes Sossusvlei, Damaraland with its desert-adapted elephants, and the exceptional game viewing at Etosha National Park.
2. Cape Town
This fun video by Cape Town Tourism sums it up best: "You Don't Need a Holiday, You Need Cape Town"
Cape Town is no stranger to awards and accolades, the most recent being earlier this month when it was voted “World’s Best City” in the Telegraph Travel Awards. While Africa’s favourite city has long been a favourite for beach lovers, it’s now sits firmly alongside New York, Sydney, Tokyo and Paris as one of the world’s top foodie destinations.
After a couple of incredible days in Cape Town, set out to the vine-covered Cape Winelands to dine on gourmet cuisine and sample fine local wines. Find out more about the culinary treats in store for you in our recent blog post Eat Out Awards: Cape Restaurants Claim Top Spots.
Experience this for yourself: Cape Town, Winelands, Whales & Wildlife is a 2-week journey that includes Cape Town, Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands, and the predator-packed Sabi Sands.
A canoe safari on the Savute Channel in Botswana's Linyanti Region (photo: Savuti Camp)
Linyanti Wildlife Reserve lies sandwiched between Botswana’s Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. The game viewing here is on a par with Linyanti’s better-known neighbour, the Chobe National Park, and the region is particularly good for predator sightings (lion, leopard and wild dog) and dry-season elephant herds.
A private wildlife concession with only a handful of lodges and camps, Linyanti offers one of Botswana’s most exclusive game viewing experiences. Also, being private, your guide is allowed to drive off-road, and add guided bush walks to the mix of game drives and river safaris.
4. Masai Mara
Uncovering the mystery of the Masai Mara with a Maasai guide (photo: Kichwa Tembo)
As CNN pointed out in its “Travel Trends for 2015”, more and more people are seeking authentic experiences with local people. Visit Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve and not only will you enjoy a thrilling big game safari, but you can also spend time with the Maasai people. What’s more, the lodges that we recommend ensure that the local communities also benefits from tourism.
Go on a walking safari with a Maasai warrior and he’ll share his vast knowledge of this, his own “backyard”. Learn about animal tracks and medicinal plants, while gaining a deeper understanding of how the Maasai way of life is intertwined with their natural environment.
Experience this for yourself: with our Kenya Safari: Wildlife & Warriors you can go on safari in Kenya's top reserves, while learning about these destinations from the Samburu and Maasai people.
5. Bazaruto Archipelago
Magical sunset seen from one of the villas on Benguerra Island (photo: Azura Retreat)
Mozambique’s Islands are known for their warm water, white sand beaches and some of the best coral reefs in the world. A few years ago it was the scattering of islands in the north, the Quirimbas Archipelago, that was heading up “Hot Lists” around the world. Now that focus has moved back south to the Bazaruto Archipelago.
This year on Bazaruto Island, Indigo Bay was smartened up and renamed Anatara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa. Now Benguerra Lodge has been taken over by the luxury travel brand andBeyond and, after an extensive upgrade, is scheduled to reopen in April 2015. It’s even rumoured that Singita is looking for a Southern Mozambique beach retreat to add to their portfolio of luxury lodges.
Experience this for yourself: Bush, Beach & City Lights blends Big 5 game viewing in the Sabi Sands with a tropical island holiday in the Bazaruto Archipelago, and a few magical days in Cape Town.