African bush a backdrop to safari holidays out of the ordinary
Combine spotting the Big Five with canoeing, cookery or painting
1. Campfire cookery
Safari chefs know just how to conjure up fabulous meals in remote locations. Learn their craft on a campfire cookery course in the wildlife-rich Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, about 160km from Port Elizabeth. With private tuition from Kwandwe’s culinary team, study the art of braaiing venison like kudu, warthog and impala to perfection, while also making boerewors and creating delicious SA desserts. The course is done in three sesssions and based on a minimum three-night stay at any of Kwandwe’s three sole-use safari villas. Visit kwandwe.com
2. African wilderness walk
Nothing beats the exhilaration of exploring Africa’s wild places on foot – you see, smell and hear more than you ever could in a Land Cruiser. Mapazi, a remote bush camp which opened earlier in September in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, focuses on walking. It is owned by renowned guide Deb Tittle, who will help you interpret life in the bush. Mapazi is simple, but has everything you need, from hot showers to ice-cold G&Ts.
Visit expertafrica.com, click on “Africa”, then “Zambia”, then “South Luangwa National Park” and “Where to stay”.
3. Safari guide training in the Serengeti
Join guides from Alex Walker’s Serian camps in their annual refresher training in Tanzania’s Serengeti. You don’t need to be an expert yourself, but you do need to have an interest in all things wild and wonderful beyond the Big Five. Together you’ll learn about birds, bugs and beasts through scientific facts and local bushlore.
The next five-night Serian Pyramids of Life course departs March 2019. Visit aardvarksafaris.co.uk
4. South African saddle safari
A riding safari gives a different perspective on the bush. Imagine being on horseback in the open savannah among buck, giraffes and zebras, all undisturbed by your presence – the horse is just another animal and poses no threat. Ant’s Nest in the Waterberg has 90 horses ranging from thoroughbreds to ponies, suitable for all riders from beginners to experienced equestrians who want to gallop across the plains.
Contact The Ant Collection (087-820-7233 or visit waterberg.net
5. Painting in Malawi
Keen artists and beginners alike will love the new Rift Valley Painters’ Adventure to Malawi with Art Safaris, taking in Majete Game Reserve, Liwonde National Park and the Shire River, plus Mumbo Island on Lake Malawi. It’s slow travel at its best, with time to study nature’s beauty as you paint dramatic landscapes, wildlife and village life with expert tuition from artist Mary-Anne Bartlett.
6. Budding explorers' camp
Take the children on a special safari in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The Young Explorers Club at Footsteps Across the Delta teaches children bush skills, identifying animal tracks, cooking on a fire, making bows and arrows and fishing. The entire camp is exclusively yours and parents can do their own thing or join in the fun for some unforgettable family bonding.
The nine-night safari includes a stay at Footsteps, and in the Central Kalahari and Moremi game reserves. Visit expertafrica.com
7. Wild camping along the Zambezi
For a spine-tingling safari try canoeing and wild camping on Zimbabwe’s mighty Zambezi River. With exceptional guides, you’ll paddle past big game that looks even bigger at water level, keeping an eye out for crocs and hippos. The Tamarind Canoe Safari takes four days, from Chirundu to Mana Pools National Park – a World Heritage Site renowned for prolific wildlife. You’ll sleep in dome tents on islands under the stars, enhancing that back-to-nature vibe.
Visit the Zambezi Safari and Travel Company at zambezi.com
8. Kenyan writing retreat
Discover your inner author on a creative writing retreat/safari at El Karama Lodge in Kenya’s Laikipia region. With a combination of seminars, practical exercises and discussions focusing on characterisation, description, dialogue and setting, the six-day course offers feedback from acclaimed writers in a place renowned for its exquisite wilderness and tranquillity.
This six-day retreat is open to writers of all abilities. The next one is in spring 2019. Visit elkaramalodge.com
9. Lion conservation camp
To mark its 35th anniversary, Wilderness Safaris is offering “Trips with a Purpose” focusing on its conservation and community partners. As Africa’s lions struggle to survive because of human encroachment, this unique trip focuses on human wildlife conflict in Namibia’s bleak but beautiful Kaokoveld. Staying at Damaraland Camp, you will spend time with rangers and researchers tracking desert-adapted lions and meet the people living alongside them. All proceeds support the Desert Lion Project.
The next six-day Addressing Human Wildlife Conflict trip starts in Windhoek starts on November 26. Visit yellowzebrasafaris.com
10. Safari snapping
Head to Kenya to capture on camera its wondrous wild animals on a photographic safari with award-winning photographer Paul Goldstein. In his own inimitable and enthusiastic style he’ll help you transform your snaps into super shots. Pack a sense of humour and plenty of patience – you’ll have early starts and long days, but those perfect pictures will be worth it.
The next seven-night trip, staying at Kicheche Bush Camp in Olare Motorogi conservancy, departs January 9. Visit exodus. co.uk – The Telegraph