Africa: Wild Encounters in the Coming Year

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South African Airways Vacations offers self-drive tours of South Africa’s Garden Route.
South African Airways Vacations offers self-drive tours of South Africa’s Garden Route.

Tour operators are showcasing the wonders of Africa in new unique 2016 itineraries. Take Goway Travel’s new Accessible Africa tours which, says Moira Smith, general manager, Africa, Europe & Middle East, are ideal for those who have “dreamed of going on safari, but due to the accessibility of the region, may not have thought it possible.” The tour operator has teamed up with a specialized partner, and now offers a broad range of accessible products and destinations. Its 10-day Botswana Accessible tour, for example, includes visits to Makgadikgadi Pans, the Okavango Delta, Savute and Chobe National Park and is priced from $5,830. “Whether clients have a mobility issue or visual impairment, or require kidney dialysis, we have exciting offers that can be tailor-made to the customer’s needs.”

Goway also has a new destination on its roster, Malawi, which, notes Smith, the company anticipates will sell well through its 13-day Magical Malawi tour, priced from $6,919. SITA World Tours, too, has a new tour that includes Malawi—the 8-day Zambia & Malawi. Priced at $4,995 pp dbl, it includes visits to Lake Malawi, and South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. For 2016, SITA has also added a 7-day Samburu & Mara Fly In safari in Kenya that’s priced from $3,895 pp dbl. The tour highlights its access to the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, which limits the number of tourists who may enter the area, providing a more intimate safari experience.

For pure intimacy, African Travel, Inc., which won Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Tour Operator to Africa, is focusing on honeymoon safaris in 2016. There’s a dreamy 11-day Luxury Safari that starts at $7,145 pp and includes stays at opulent resorts and lodges in both South Africa and Mozambique, sprinkled with romantic inclusions such as spa treatments and a sunset cruise.

Romantic interludes are also served up with South African Airways Vacations’ new self-drive options that include a free car rental. One possibility is the 14-day Garden Route Splendor in South Africa that includes stays at five-star boutique properties throughout the itinerary. Air-inclusive rates from New York’s JFK on South African Airways start at $3,399 pp.

For clients who think about their carbon footprint and yearn to help save the planet while on vacation, booking them on African Safari Company’s 11-day #IvoryFree Safari in Kenya is a no-brainer. The tour takes safari participants into the heart of elephant conservation efforts, interacting with orphaned baby elephants along the way, and also contributes to WildAid and the African Wildlife Foundation. Rates start at $10,720 pp dbl.

wildlife on full display
Tell clients to get ready for days filled with the call of the wild and night skies bathed in stars, because these camps debuting next year are going to be calling their names. Desert & Delta Safaris’ new 24-guest Camp Okavango in Botswana is set to be completed this coming April, and will offer sweeping views—the accommodations are on raised teak platforms—of the Okavango Delta and delve, the company says, into the area’s water wilderness experience, with its deep lagoons, large lakes and hidden, meandering channels.

In March, Tanzania welcomes Asilia Africa’s The Highlands, a stylish retreat featuring seven tented suites located at the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s set high on the slopes of Olmoti Volcano, with views to the Serengeti. It’s going to be a wild 2016!