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Best Luxury African Safari Vacations For You
Looking out across the plains you watch the zebra, hundreds ambling past. Deep in a forest you track elephants bulldozing new paths, such ferocity, such beauty. At a waterhole you see lions prowl, buffalo looking uncomfortable nearby. The best luxury African safari is not defined by lavish riches and opulence. Instead, it offers authentic and intimate experiences with the wildest wildlife on the planet.
Luxury is the wildlife experience. Getting closer, seeing more, feeling the rhythm of the wild, tuning all five senses into the animals’ world – it is this pleasure that defines the best luxury African safari. You can have decadent accommodation anywhere in the world, but there are only a handful of wildernesses where you come face to face with the true majesty of nature. Unfiltered, untamed, unbelievable to behold, unforgettable on so many levels.
The Best Luxury African Safari
Lionesses creep through the dawn mist. You hear them, you smell them, you see them. Now they are barely five meters away. Goosebumps rise along your arms. Serenity rushes through your soul. It’s not just the lions – anyone can look at a photo or go to the zoo – it’s the sense of privilege, being witness to great predators roaming their pwn lands. A lionesses looks up at you, curious. Time seems to stand still. So much has happened yet only a few seconds have passed. Then the lions disappear into the grass and you move on, onto another of the hundreds, thousands, of raw wildlife scenes you will encounter today.
Many people define luxury safaris by where you stay. Plunge pools, honeymoon suites, elegant décor, splendor and a spa. We prefer to think of luxury as where you go and what you get to experience. It’s not everyday you go on safari and it’s not everywhere you enjoy such authentic wildlife encounters. At Heritage Africa we believe that planning the best luxury African safari means planning the best experiences with wildlife. We want to show you animals that are truly, wild on lands that have always been wild.
11 LUXURY AFRICAN SAFARIS THAT STIR THE SOUL
Where to Go for the Best Luxury African Safari
The larger the wilderness the greater the free movement of wildlife. That’s a good place to start when you’re planning the best luxury African safari. More space often means more animals as well, although the great wildernesses are seasonal so you won’t see wildlife everywhere in the national parks. There are hundreds of potential destinations, most of them promising a luxury African safari. But there’s an enormous difference between a 10 square kilometer fenced reserve and a wilderness stretching for 20,000 square kilometers or more. Some of the best safari wildernesses are bigger than countries. And you really do get lost in them without a good guide.
Habitat is the next consideration when planning where to go. All mammals are different. Some can only survive in certain habitats, while others have mastered survival in contrasting ecosystems. Elephants mostly feed from trees but they’ve adapted to harsh conditions. You can encounter them all across Africa but it’s only in and around woodland where you experience the great elephant populations. Then again, spend all your time in marula woodland or mopane forest and you may be surrounded by elephants and giraffe, but will miss out on all the animals of the savannah.
The best luxury African safari celebrates diversity and avoids the crowds. By combining large wildernesses you explore a multitude of habitats, each with its nuance and inimitable beauty. Rather than seeing one of each animal in the same place (like in a zoo) you come to understand the behavior and characteristics of great animal populations: how the antelope are always on the move, how leopards protect their range, how hyenas have complex social relationships with their rivals.
We individualize every safari itinerary, combining unfenced private concessions with the best areas within national parks, often sprinkling in one of the unheralded gems we’ve been enjoying for over a quarter century. Private concessions and national parks offer a very different experience, even if they are the same habitat – this article tells you more. And where are these great safari places? We don’t like to prescribe itineraries, preferring to understand a little more about you and your aspirations first. To get started we direct you to our insider guides to the four best African safari countries – South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
9 IDEAS FOR THE BEST LUXURY SAFARI SOUTH AFRICA
Boy do we know how much you spoiled us…Did this glorious trip really happen? We can not ever thank you enough.
-Luci Johnson, daughter of the 36th US President
THE BEST BOTSWANA LUXURY SAFARIS – 9 SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
We really had the trip of a lifetime and I can’t thank you enough for making it all happen.
-Michele and Steve Klausner, New York
11 TANZANIA LUXURY SAFARI IDEAS
One of my most wonderful trips…unforgettable time, friends, hosts, memories and a wealth of beautiful people
-A. Kostapapas, Mansfield, Connecticut
PLAN A KENYA LUXURY SAFARI – 9 PLACES TO GO
Thank you for your excellent service in planning our trip. We had a wonderful time. You did everything perfectly. We would highly recommend you.
-Teresa Riddle, Los Angeles
The Best Luxury African Safari Is Customized to You
Individualization doesn’t just involve where to go and where to stay. It’s about what you do. The best luxury African safari must reciprocate your interests and energy levels. It should respond to the wildlife and the encounters you are most interested in. It should help you follow passions, photography just one example, cheetahs and migratory herds two others. As the itinerary is customized you can satisfy a fascination for a certain scene, realizing that true luxury is a pleasure obtained only rarely.
Most of the best luxury African safaris involve a personal safari program, but the activities are shared with other guests at the camp or lodge. Usually that’s four to six people in a vehicle, and a similar amount on a walking safari. Cheaper safaris are in larger groups or have a less flexible program. This page compares the costs of different safari styles and what is included. It’s a good place for understanding how much of your dream safari is possible.
Upgrade to a Private Safari
Private safaris take the customization to a new level, giving you an exclusive guide and vehicle. Spotting a black rhino in the wild has been a dream for over a decade; the guide arranges the drive accordingly. Your husband has always been fascinated by different antelope; a tailored game walk brings intimate encounters. The last few days have been tiring; drive to a picnic above a waterhole. It’s the final day on safari and you’re desperate to see a hunt; trackers leave before dawn and radio in potential locations for the morning drive. That’s a private safari, luxury elevated.
5 LUXURY SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO EXCITE THE IMAGINATION
Diversifying Your Luxury Safari Experience
Picture the scene. You’re driving across the savannah, coming alongside a herd of female buffalo. There must be a hundred of them and you’re close enough to hear their breathing, above the noise of the vehicle. Now imagine such a scene if you’re on foot, looking up and across at these giants. Diversifying the safari doesn’t just concern where you go. It’s about what you do. And that’s part of the big jump in price between different safaris. Budget or mid-range options involve group tours sticking to daytime game drives and set programs. The best luxury African safari is one that is personalized to you. And that can be an entire world of possibility.
So many new activities become possible when you pay more. Why not game drive at midnight, in search of a caracal or a photo of elephants bathed in moonlight? Why rest at the lodge when there are rhinos to find and picnic spots on remote plateaus? Why not try a horse riding safari? And why should we spoil the surprise by telling you all the little extras that are possible on the best luxury African safari? Talk to us about specific interests or celebrations. Tell us about exactly what you’d like to do on safari. We know the destinations and lodges where it all becomes possible.
This Isn’t Just Any Vacation
We think that the best luxury African safari is beyond once in a lifetime. It’s not just a vacation. Gaze at a zebra herd and you first see black and white stripes; refocus and there are innumerable micro scenes taking place. You can be engrossed in yawning hippos, oblivious to hyenas roaming behind the vehicle. Every hunt can be watched through the eyes of predator or prey, elegance and patience and skill, versus fearful eyes and an emotional tension that’s felt as much as observed.
Even in the same place on the same day, the safari will be different for everyone. And this is what makes it the best luxury African safari for you. Nature’s theater is the setting and it’s always your safari, your individual experiences with the best of the wildlife in wild Africa. In Africa you are always discovering something raw and unscripted, something that can’t be repeated because it is always evolving.
On an authentic African safari you’ll learn how luxury is created by this unfiltered connection to the natural world. Most will say it’s the trip of a lifetime. But you can only say that after following your dreams and coming on safari in Africa.
Planning Your African Safari
We aim to provide detailed unbiased information all across our website. We have definitive country safari guides for Botswana, Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya. Our planning articles cover key considerations such as cost, when to go, what to do and where to go.
Ultimately, the best luxury African safari starts with you. Your interests, passions and dreams. Those ideas that stir your soul and make you think wistfully of the African savannah. By understanding you, we can start putting together a luxury safari that can feel like once in many a lifetime.