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What is there to do in Victoria Falls?

Victoria Falls in one of the most iconic travel destinations in Africa, and indeed the world. Magnificent and breathtaking, the Falls are known locally as the “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, or the “Smoke that Thunders”. The name refers to the smoke-like appearance of the spray that is generated as the mighty Zambezi River plummets 100m into the yawning gorge below. The Falls provide the perfect base from which to enjoy a variety of adventure and safari activities.

For the more adventurous, there are several hair-raising activities to try. The Victoria Falls Bungee Jump is one of the most incredible bungee jumps that anybody can experience. It is 111 metres high, one of the highest in the world. Its setting against the backdrop of the Falls only makes it more spectacular.

Adrenaline junkies can also have a go on the Victoria Falls Bridge Swing. The swing is done from the railway bridge that spans the Second Gorge of the Falls, linking the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Those looking for a more relaxed experience can enjoy a leisurely boat cruise down the Zambezi. Or, just take a tour of the Falls, simply to marvel at their brilliance.

The splendour of the Falls can also be witnessed from above. Soar above them in a helicopter or microlight aircraft. Aptly known as the “flight of angels”, this is one of the best ways to see the Falls.

Wildlife lovers will also find plenty to appreciate in the region. The area surrounding the Falls is a national park and protected area. Wildlife species are found here in abundance. Experience a safari in a unique way on a boat, canoe or horseback safari, exploring the channels of the Zambezi and the surrounding forest and riverine bush. Look out for species such as hippo and elephant. You can also embark on a traditional game drive into the adjacent Zambezi National Park, for a chance to spot the famous African big 5.

The Zambezi is also an excellent fishing destination. You can try your hand at catching one of the more than 75 species found in the waters, including the elusive tiger fish, one of the most sought-after fish in the world. Guided fishing tours are offered, and the boats are fully-equipped.

Uganda Safari Tour

Uganda is a small landlocked country located in East Africa. It is one of the continent’s top safari and wildlife destinations, and is known as “The Pearl of Africa”, due to its breathtaking beauty and diverse habitats. These include everything from vast savannah plains, to snow-capped mountains, to dense rainforests. The country offers a host of unique attractions and experiences that will delight even the most experienced safari-goer.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the country’s most well-known destinations. It is made up of thickly forested slopes that are home to one of the most fascinating creatures in the world- the endangered mountain gorilla. In Bwindi, you can hike through the forest to track the gorillas and see these incredible creatures in the flesh in their natural habitat- an awe-inspiring experience. There are a number of well-established lodges, camps and tour operators that offer excellent accommodation and guided treks in the park.

Wildlife lovers can enjoy a big-game safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This stunning park features rolling hills, grasslands and acacia woodlands, and is home to an incredible diversity of big game species, as well as over 600 species of birds. The Ishasha region of the park is famous for its population of tree-climbing lions, a fascinating species.

Visitors to Uganda can also stop by the town of Jinja. It is here that the source of the mighty River Nile is found. The world’s longest river, the Nile goes on to flow through eight other African countries before reaching the Mediterranean Sea.

The snow-capped mountains of Rwenzori and the might Murchison Falls provide fantastic photography opportunities for visitors to Uganda. Murchison Falls National Park is the country’s oldest and largest park. It offers the chance to enjoy a wonderfully comprehensive safari experience: go on traditional game drives or walks to see the big game species, while also getting the chance to enjoy unique boating safaris on the river. Visit the spectacular Falls, and take part in adventure activities on the river.

Another unique destination in Uganda is Kibale National Park. It is found in the south of the country, and is home to one of the richest diversities of primates in Africa. Here, visitors have the unique opportunity to go on a chimpanzee-tracking safari, to see these these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat.

Uganda is also an excellent destination for birders, with over 1000 species recorded, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Try out a special 10-day overland Uganda birding tour, on which you will visit all the main destinations in the country for a chance to experience its incredible birding opportunities.

South Luangwa Walking Safaris

It is a place where time stands still and it feels like you are where “it” all began. South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is popularly described as a wildlife anchorage and is one of the best places to go on a walking safari.

Why South Luangwa?

Any respected game ranger, safari travel agent, bush enthusiast or wildlife blogger will tell you that it’s because the game populations found in this part of Africa are among the densest in the world. From the highest concentrations of hippo in the world, to one of the highest leopard counts in Africa, to the tens of thousands of carmine bee-eaters that nest in the sand banks of the Luangwa River, all find refuge in South Luangwa.

Why a South Luangwa Walking Safari?

Why would any sane person want to do a walking safari in an area with such an abundance of big game such as South Luangwa? Well, we believe that there are a few good reasons …

  1. You get a new outlook on what nature is all about

Think about how much you actually miss when you are on safari in a vehicle. When you are on foot, you are able to see exactly where you are going and what’s around you. You start to observe the “whole package”.

  1. You become part of your environment

It’s amazing how quickly a person adapts to life in the bush. You start zoning in on the natural environment around you. You become part of it and it becomes part of you.

  1. It’s all about the detail

Suddenly the world is just as much about micro as it is macro. You suddenly become aware of every little thing, from the tiniest bug to the beauty and mystery of a certain plant.

  1. You experience nature through 5 senses instead of one

Birdsong becomes more pronounced and you feel the wind on your skin. You smell plants and taste their fruits. You touch dung and feel the texture of bark.

  1. You de-stress properly!

There’s no rush, no traffic, and most probably no cellphone signal either. You have no other choice than to switch off and re-tune yourself with Mother Nature.

  1. The big thrill!

The thrill of encountering a large animal such as a member of the Big 5 on a walking safari is unforgettable.

A South Luangwa walking safari is the new frontier of safari. Go in search of Africa’s wildlife on foot in a remarkably beautiful environment- it will leave you with dinner table stories for life.  A South Luangwa walking safari can range from between two to ten days. The best part is that it is completely flexible. Guests have the option of going on game drives in place of or that form part of the walk in the afternoons and evenings. This allows you to get closer to the big cats like lion and leopard.

Custom-made walking safaris in South Luangwa are made to fit your particular requirements, so if you want to walk decent distances every day and avoid the sounds of motors, you can do so. You can even walk between different luxury bush camps, each with its own look and feel, and all situated in beautiful locations in vast private concessions in the south of the park. This means that you could spend every night in a new camp. Or, base yourself at one camp. The Safari Index team recommends enjoying each camp over a couple of nights. The bush camps on a South Luangwa Walking Safari offer simple luxury at its best.

The daily walks  last, on average, between 3-4 hours, but can be extended or reduced if required. After a long day of walking and tracking, you can sit back and enjoy sumptuous meals, while taking in the stunning views of the game-rich Luangwa river system around you. Or gaze up at the starlit African skies. There is nothing quite like it.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with the Safari Index today. The Safari Index team of safari experts can help you plan the ultimate South Luangwa Walking Safari – it’s that simple.

Gorilla Safari Tour

For many nature and wildlife lovers, an African safari is top of their must-do list. When most people think of an African safari, what comes to mind are images such as vast savannah plains, fearsome predators on the hunt, and spectacular bushveld sunsets. But there are so many more life-changing safari experiences to be had on the incredible continent of Africa. One such experience is a gorilla safari tour.

On a gorilla safari tour, you are given the chance to trek through the dense rainforests of central Africa, as you search for the magnificent mountain gorillas that are only found in a handful of African countries. You are led by armed and experienced guides and trackers. When you finally come upon the gorillas, you spend some time in their presence, observing them as they go about their daily activities. Being in the presence of these gentle giants in their natural habitat is an awe-inspiring experience that will resonate with you on a primal level, and is one that you won’t easily forget.

There are only three African countries in which it is possible to do a gorilla safari tour: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Republic of the Congo. These countries are home to a host of game reserves and national parks, each protecting and conserving the dense rainforests that house the endangered gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda is the prime destination for a gorilla safari tour, with several well-established lodges offering comfortable accommodation and excellent guided treks. In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park offers exceptional gorilla safari tours, as well as a chance to see a host of other species, including buffalo, forest elephant, and giant forest hog. Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of the Congo is lesser-known, but is still a fantastic destination for a gorilla safari tour. This remote park is perfect for those seeking true wilderness, and its luxurious safari lodges complete the experience.

African Budget Safari

Who said that going on an African safari is only for the rich and famous? You can go on an African budget safari and still have an exceptional safari experience with incredible stories to tell.

There are many African budget safari options available. You can tailor-make a fantastic affordable safari with the help of the team of seasoned safari experts from the Safari Index.

First, there are a few things that you need to iron out when planning your dream African budget safari. Let’s take a look at a few questions you can ask yourself when planning your African budget safari:

  • Where would you like to go? South Africans often say that “local is lekker”- some of the best holiday destinations are often right on your doorstep. Southern and East Africa are home to so many parks and reserves that it is safe to say there will be a park or reserve within a couple of hour’s drive of you at any time.
  • Once you know where you would like to go, you need to decide what type of accommodation you would like to stay in. For the very budget-conscious, camping is always popular. For those wanting to sleep under a roof, self-catering chalets in national park camps are a great and affordable option. The facilities at these camps include basic kitchen equipment, linen and towels, and braai (barbeque) areas in which to cook your meals under African skies. When camping and staying in self-catering camps, you will generally travel in your own vehicle and self-drive around the various national parks.

  • Those looking at travelling without any can opt for full-board lodging at a private game lodge. Although these lodges cost more than self-catering camps, they offer an amazing safari experience, as the rate usually includes one or two guided game drives each day. These affordable and cost-effective private lodges offer great value for money, especially to international travellers on their first trip to Africa.
  • Those looking to get the most bang for their buck can also look for last-minute deals and great specials (such as local resident rates), where meals and game drives are often included at a very low rate.

  • Then there are alternative budget safari experiences which offer great value for money. 3 to 4-day wilderness walking trails are an incredible way to get truly in touch with nature at budget-friendly rates.
  • An affordable budget safari tour or overland safari tour is another way to see a lot for very little. If you have 2 to 3 weeks or more to spare, then this is the best bet for you.
  • A cheap safari doesn’t have to be a bad safari. Draw up a budget and give yourself enough time to save up for that trip. One dream trip a year is worth more in memories then several rushed holidays to cheap and nasty destinations.

The Safari Index Africa has some great African budget safaris and budget-friendly game lodges which they recommend in some of Africa’s best game parks and nature reserves. The majority of game lodges, bush camps and safari tours in Big 5 areas are generally expensive, given the costs of getting the various first-world luxuries into the lodges and camps, which are located in remote wilderness areas.

Visit the Safari Index’s list of recommend affordable safari lodges and budget safari tours today – click here to see more.

 

An African Safari Tour- The Adventure of a Lifetime…

Ernest Hemingway once said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.” That is what an African safari tour is all about. There is something about Africa that ensures that one becomes infused with its energy. People say that they never feel quite so invigorated or refreshed as they do on an African safari tour.

Going on a safari will probably be one of the best decisions you could ever make. There are just so many draw-cards to it, and it is the ultimate experience for families, couples, groups and any adventurous spirit.

But why is Africa such a dreamy destination? It can be harsh and unforgiving from the outside, but it swings to its own tune and is in a perfect state of equilibrium. The key is to fit into that rhythm and find your equilibrium.  Although the main attractions on an African safari tour are no doubt seeing the Big 5 or watching predators on the hunt, there is so much more. A safari is about peeling off the layers. There is no place on the planet where you will see such a wide diversity of big game and in large numbers. The savannahs make it easy to see the larger beasts and witness the most breathtaking sunsets.

And then you stop. You listen. You smell. And suddenly you realise how much more is actually happening around you. An African safari tour is about all of that. It’s about experiencing Africa. Do yourself a favour and ask yourself why an African safari tour should not be on your bucket list.

Africa’s beauty is beyond comparison and attracts anyone with even half an interest in nature and photography.  Given Africa’s diverse landscapes, cultural array and incredible wildlife, it’s the best place for a photographic safari tour. You have no doubt seen some of the amazing wildlife photographs out there. Many of us harbour a dream of taking a photograph worthy of blowing up and displaying on a lounge wall at home. On any safari, there is always that one beloved shot that you will show off and talk about for years.

The usual mode of transport on an African safari tour is in an open-top game-viewer vehicle. This gets you up close and personal to the larger game, and is fantastic for photography. But people are coming back for more and want different experiences. A walking safari is a unique and adventurous way to explore the African wilderness, and will slowly surpass the rewards of a traditional safari method. A walking safari adds an extra dimension to the experience.  You feel as though you are part of your surrounding environment- you are able to see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste the wilderness! Encountering Africa’s famed wildlife species on foot is a thrill that you will never forget.

Another unique African safari tour is a primate safari. Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking safaris are once-in-a-lifetime safari experiences. You can now get up close and personal with the big apes of Africa on a primate trekking safari. See our primal relatives in their natural environment in the African jungles of Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

An African safari tour can be tailor-made to fit any budget. You can opt for a camping safari tour or a self-drive safari tour through one of a few national parks, staying in their rustic chalet-style accommodation. And if you really want to do an African safari tour justice, do it in style. A luxury African safari tour is a fantastic way to experience the raw beauty of Africa, while still enjoying a comfortable holiday with all the modern necessities at hand, coupled with Africa’s incredible hospitality and service.

The team of safari experts at the Safari Index plan African safari tours and holidays every day, so if you have any questions or want any advice, get in touch with them today.

Victoria Falls Lodges

 Located on the border of the Southern African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most iconic travel destinations. Here, the mighty Zambezi River plunges 100m over the edge of the basalt cliffs, crashing into the gorge below in a breathtaking rush of raw energy and power. The Falls are known locally as the “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, or “The Smoke that Thunders”, due to the incredible amount of spray that is generated by the force of the water.

The Falls provides the perfect base from which to experience a host of exhilarating adventure activities. Go bungee jumping, with the backdrop of the Falls adding an extra thrill. Take a leap and swing off the railway bridge that links Zambia and Zimbabwe. Witness the majesty of the Falls from above in a helicopter or microlight airplane. There are also options for those looking for a more relaxed experience. Enjoy leisurely cruises down the Zambezi, taking in the sunset, or embark on a unique horseback safari in the surrounding area.

There are a variety of accommodation options for those wanting a Victoria Falls holiday, suitable for various guest preferences and budget ranges.

For those who prefer to holiday in the ultimate style, a number of super-luxury lodges are found in the area. Thorntree River Lodge enjoys a gorgeous setting on the banks of the Zambezi, upstream of the Falls. It features facilities such as private plunge pools, secluded outdoor showers,  WiFi access, and a gym and spa overlooking the river.

The Elephant Camp is set within its own private concession just 10km away from the Falls. It affords wonderful views of the gorges and spray of the Falls from its ultra-luxury canvas suites. Each suite also features private decks with plunge pools, as well as outdoor showers.

Mid-range to luxury options include the David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa. This resort-style lodge features various accommodation types to suit a variety of guest types, including families and disabled persons. Many of the rooms overlook the Zambezi, and the lodge has a full range of facilities, including a pool, spa and conference facilities.

Chundukwa River Lodge is another mid-range to luxury option. It is also set on the banks of the river, in a quiet, tranquil area. It is a 30-minute drive to the Falls, making it ideal for those who want to experience the Falls, but also unwind away from the crowds. Its African bush-style chalets are built on stilts with river views.

More affordable options include Greenfire Lodge Victoria Falls, which is located just outside of Victoria Falls Town. It features comfortable en-suite rooms, a sparkling pool, and a lovely garden.

Taita Falcon Lodge is also suited to the more budget-conscious. It enjoys a spectacular location above the Zambezi, overlooking the famous Batoka Gorge, just 11km from the Falls. Its charming grounds and gardens are home to a variety of plants and birds, with each en-suite room featuring its own private garden with outdoor showers.

Those looking for a self-catering option can stay at the charming and rustic Lokuthula Lodges, which feature fully-furnished units that are perfect for families and groups.