Putting together a wildlife-focused visit to Africa can be a daunting experience. Turn to veteran safari guide and National Geographic Expeditions leader Russell Gammon as he unravels the often-bewildering array of destinations, accommodation options, activities, and lesser-known spots that you won’t want to miss in Southern and East Africa. Covering everything you ever wanted to know about safaris but were afraid to ask—from what to pack to which binoculars to buy to the best time to travel—he offers plenty of practical tips on finding some of the most exciting wildlife encounters on the planet.
10 a.m.–12 p.m. The Best of East Africa
Depicted in decades of Hollywood films, particularly the Oscar-winning Out of Africa, the endless savannahs of East Africa have become a near-mythic place for most aspiring safari-goers. The ease of spotting game here is an attraction, but the main draw is the sheer number of large herbivores for which the grasslands serve as a food source, such as wildebeest and their attendant predators including lions and cheetahs. Gammon guides a virtual safari that focuses on the Serengeti and the Masai Mara and covers some lesser-known highlights of East Africa including Ngorongoro Crater and Amboseli, which offer unique scenic backdrops for photographers; Maswa Game Reserve, an important wildebeest calving area; and Samburu in Northern Kenya where a high preponderance of endemic species such as besia orex, desert warthog, Grevy's zebra, and reticulated giraffe can be found.
12 –1 p.m. Break
1–3 p.m. The Best of Southern Africa
A relative newcomer to the wildlife travel market, Southern Africa has carved out a tourism model that focuses on small-volume, high-value experiences for safari-goers that emphasize access and quality over quantity. Ease of travel, luxurious accommodations, a tremendous diversity of scenery, and picture-perfect herds of giraffes, leopards, and elephants make Southern Africa a must-visit destination for animal lovers and wildlife photographers alike. From the great reserves of Kruger, Hwange, and Okavango to the deserts of Namibia and the extraordinary Zambezi Valley, Gammon explores some of the iconic Southern African safari destinations, as well as several hidden gems.
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