Top luxury experiences in Africa

Image for Top luxury experiences in Africa

"All I wanted to do was get back to Africa. We had not left it yet, but I would wake in the night and I would lie, listening, homesick for it already." - Ernest Hemingway

What is it about Africa that so captivates those lucky enough to visit her? Is it the starkly beautiful surroundings, the stylish and decadent lodges? Is it the abundance of the wildlife, the warmth of the people? Perhaps is it something harder to capture - a single moment so special that it will forever live in the memories of those who experience it.

Those moments don't just happen; they are hand-crafted. Read on for six of Africa's most unique travel experiences - and then come find out for yourself what had Hemingway so hot and bothered.

What is it about Africa that so captivates those lucky enough to visit her? Is it the starkly beautiful surroundings, the stylish and decadent lodges? Is it the abundance of the wildlife, the warmth of the people? Perhaps is it something harder to capture - a single moment so special that it will forever live in the memories of those who experience it.
Those moments don't just happen; they are hand-crafted. Read on for six of Africa's most unique travel experiences - and then come find out for yourself what had Hemingway so hot and bothered.


1. Taking a Bath Under the Stars

Who needs ceilings? At Sanctuary Baines' Camp in Botswana, you can drink in the night sky from the comfort of a bubble bath on your private wooden deck.
Search for constellations, bask in the moonlight, and marvel at the darkness of the Okavango Delta until your toes start to prune. If you're not ready to return to civilization after your soak, fear not - your four-poster bed can be rolled right outside for a night under the stars.

Star bath

2. Soaring Over the Masai Mara in a Hot Air Balloon

Rise with the sun - literally - with a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara at dawn. Float over the savannah with the grace of the area's winged residents, enjoying aerial views of the herds of game below. From mid-July to October, witness the magic of the Great Migration, as the plains are darkened with the figures of thousands of zebra and grunting wildebeest en route to Tanzania and Kenya. When it's time to return to earth, a breakfast of Kenyan delicacies will be waiting, along with champagne fitting your new flyer status.

3. Walking with Elephants

Most visitors to Africa arrive with dreams of spotting The Big Five through their binoculars - but how many get to walk alongside them? At Sanctuary Stanley's Camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta, you can let an elephant lead your safari. This unique interaction, provided in partnership with the Living with Elephants Foundation, introduces lucky guests to Jabu, Thembi and Morula, a trio of semi-habituated orphaned elephants. You'll join the elephants as they lumber through the bush, forage for food, and bathe in the cool lagoons of the Delta. Along the way, you'll stop for a picnic lunch - one you might just consider sharing with your newfound friends.

Elephant Activity

4. Dining in the Savannah

Tanzania's Sanctuary Swala is not the kind of place you leave lightly. So it's a testament to how exceptional the camp's specially prepared bush dinners are that so many guests choose to dine in the middle of the Tarangire. In a secluded clearing hand selected by experienced guides, a traditional East African meal is lovingly prepared over a log fire. It's easy to overindulge in such a setting, but don't forget to leave room for the camp's signature dish, "chocolate Kilimanjaro." The decadent dessert is reminiscent of the white snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, which looms in the distance.

5. Fishing in Lake Victoria

Enjoy a first class fishing expedition to Lake Victoria. Start your day in style with a light aircraft flight to the islands of either Mfangano or Rusinga, where you'll be treated to a full English breakfast. From your perch on Africa's largest lake, cast a line in search of the legendary giant Nile perch, or visit a traditional fishing village for tips from the villagers.

6. Tracking Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to half the world's remaining mountain gorillas, one of the planet's rarest animals. Wander deep into the dense rainforest of southwest Uganda, and take advantage of the rare opportunity to observe some of the 350 wild mountain gorillas that call this World Heritage site home. As one of only eight visitors allowed to view each gorilla family every day, your experience will be truly exclusive. When your memory card is full, return back to Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, one of the most remote lodges in Africa - and one occasionally visited by the curious silverbacks themselves.

Gorillas

7. Safari Cruising the Chobe River

Ditch your wheels for a day and take your safari to the sea - or, perhaps, the river. Safari boats launching from Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero offer photographers and wildlife enthusiasts VIP views of the local wildlife. With a capacity of just eighteen, it's an exclusive ride in which everyone gets a first class seat. The lower deck's bar area provides the perfect place to toast to your wildlife sighting success.

8. Flying over Victoria Falls

Take the flight of Angels - fly over Victoria Falls in a private helicopter. Take off from the Maramba Aerodome and spend between fifteen and thirty minutes in the air - the choice is yours - marveling over the views of the thunderous falls below, listening to the commentary of your personal pilot, and looking out for aerial wildlife spottings. Past sightings include elephant, buffalo, rhino, hippo, crocodile and giraffe. After, return twelve kilometers upstream to Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma, tucked into a lively bend in the Zambezi River.

Helicopter

9. Harvesting Bees in Tarangire National Park

Never has honey tasted so sweet - organic acacia honey, to be precise. At Sanctuary Swala in Tanzania, you can join a beekeeping project first hand in the village of Mwika. The project, developed to preserve the natural environment and provide a source of income to the local community, has been a success since its first harvest in August 2010. Guests have the opportunity to meet with beekeepers, visit the Mwiki village, and experience firsthand how the project operates. Just be sure to leave room in your suitcase for plenty of sweet souvenirs.

Swala 125

10. Taking a Night Safari

Why spend all night sleeping - it's not as if the animals do. As the sun sets on the savannah, take to one of Sanctuary Swala's custom safari vehicles for a moonlight search of the park's nocturnal residents. Possible spottings include the shy African wild cat and the elusive leopard, as well as lions and hyenas. As you drive through the darkness, relish in the rare treat - it's one of the few places in northern Tanzania where these evening safaris are possible.