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Off the beaten path

For those of you looking for something “off the beaten path”, these three countries offer true, back to basic opportunities to do some wonderful game viewing, see magnificent and diversified scenery and give you the chance to visit exotic and ancient cultures.

Botswana:

The safari tourism industry is far less developed than their counterparts in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. English speaking and far less touristy. Travellers are greeted and treated as visitors more so than “tourists”. Guides are knowledgeable but less professional and apt to allow for some risky practices to get the “perfect picture”. This is wonderful for the adrenaline junkie but definitely not for the faint of heart.

The largest population of elephant herds in Africa are found in the Chobe National Park. Take an amazing riverfront cruise and see elephants at play along the water’s edge along with the hippos and crocodiles.

The incomparable Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta, known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari”. Glide in a mokoro (canoe) throughout the innumerable water channels and take in the iconic beauty of the scenery as well as the staggering array of wildlife and birds.

Camps range from luxury to self-service campsites and are considerably more affordable than the more established safari destinations in East Africa. Lodges are small and intimate and therefore offer a very authentic “safari” experience of days gone by.

 

Namibia:

A distinctive blend of towering sand dunes, savannah grasslands, mountains and canyons, Namibia is one of Africa’s most beautiful countries. The walking safaris of the Kalahari and Namib deserts include climbing Dune 45 which is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty! The 6000 mile beach called the Skeleton Coast which is littered with the bones of shipwrecks as well as marine life. Etosha National Park encourages self-drive safaris and is one of the best places to see lions. The indigenous Himba tribe are a semi-nomadic people who still adhere to ancient traditions and lifestyles. Community based tourism initiatives allow visitors to gain insight into their harsh existence in the desert landscape and their social structure. Very much a destination for the traveller looking for independence and immersion into a country which in turn offers a stable political base, a safe environment and English speaking inhabitants.

 

Zambia:

Best known for the African “walking safari”. One must be in good physical condition and capable of walking through the bush tracking lion prides, rhino or the elusive cheetah. Exhilarating but also exhausting. Canoeing along the Zambezi River is popular but it is strongly advised to only do so with the accompaniment of a professional guide who can maneuver you through the dangerous hippo and crocodile communities which line her banks. Zambia is the destination if you’re looking to find the “rare” species aside from the Big Five. Kasanka National Park is renowned for its 8 million fruit bats which darken the skies every evening during the months of November and December as well as the elusive semi-aquatic sitatungas. Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall on the planet! A simply astounding sight as you watch one million litres of water plunge down the Zambezi Gorge every second. A difficult country to traverse due to its rough roads and limited air schedules. It’s truly a destination for a seasoned African traveller!

Only Zambia requires Canadian travellers to have a visa to enter. All three countries are easily accessible from Kenya, Tanzania and/or South Africa and are easy add-on to the typical first timer’s East African safari.



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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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