As Richard Mullin once mused,“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.”
We couldn’t agree more.
As Covid-19 wreaks havoc all over the world and leaves its trail of destruction, it’s rather difficult to stay positive. Apart from the medical effects of the pandemic, millions of people are losing their jobs, entire sectors are closed, the economy is spiraling downward at an exponential rate, while fear has humans resorting to anger and suspicion. But this is Africa, a continent known for her resilience, her strength and her ability to rise again, and so, as children of Africa, we will be resilient and strong and we will rise again.
As South Africans, we get to call the most beautiful country in the world our home. We get to enjoy its vast and diverse topography and magnificent wildlife, its rich cultures, and an even richer history deeply embedded in its soil. It is therefore easy to understand why so many travellers have South Africa near the top of their bucket lists, and perhaps it’s time that we, as South Africans, start to enjoy our own backyard once the dust settles.
When the travel bans are lifted and we are free to roam again, we implore locals to explore Mzansi and her beautiful neighbours, and to support African travel businesses. Visit the tropical beaches of Mozambique, the sprawling savannahs of Kenya, wake up to a lion’s roar in the lowveld, and bear witness to the unrivalled sunsets of the vast Kalahari. Get lost in the undulating dunes of the Namib desert, and fall asleep beneath the Karoo sky and its brilliant blanket of stars.
With most of us confined to our homes for the next few weeks, now is a great time to start planning our travels. A number of reserves and resorts are offering incredible stays at discounted rates with flexible booking dates to accommodate the uncertainty currently still at play. And it gives us something to look forward to, a reason to dust off the old walking boots and binoculars.
If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve listed a few of our favourite destinations in South Africa for inspiration.
No better way to stretch your legs and get some fresh air after lockdown than a 3 night walking safari in the award winning Gondwana Game Reserve. The pioneer trail will have you traversing through viridescent fynbos and dramatic landscapes with expert trail guides exposing you to the wondrous ecosystems and unique biodiversity of this 11 000 hectare, malaria free Game Reserve. With the Big 5 roaming freely you might just get lucky enough to experience these and other magnificent creatures on foot.
A unique family-owned nature reserve, concealed deep within the expansive bush of the Eastern Cape, encompassing 18 000 hectares of rugged Great Karoo terrain, with four accommodation offerings. A literal oasis in the middle of nowhere, Magic Hills offers discerning guests a sophisticated safari experience, along with luxurious living spaces and activities.
Klaserie Drift Safari Camps are set on prime land in the heart of the Greater Kruger National Park, with 11 000 hectares of traverse, offering a true, exclusive retreat into nature. Klaserie Drift Safari Camps feature the big five, incredibly diverse landscapes and comfortable accommodation with all modern amenities.
Abelana Game Reserve is a 15,000ha (36,000 acre) Big Five game reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park and the Selati Game Reserve, close to the town of Phalaborwa in South Africa’s beautiful Lowveld – the country’s prime big game region.
Characterised by breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, varied topography and a rich diversity of fauna and flora, from the hippos and crocodiles that make the Selati River their home to the famed Big Five – elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo – as well as cheetah and wild dog..