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Pamela Appleby

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

Luxury on an African Safari Adventure

I’ve been to Africa many times and traveled through many areas. One journey that stands out in my mind was a luxury adventure through Kenya and Tanzania with Micato Safaris. We timed our journey so we could see the Great Migration when vast herds of wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle travel 500 miles. It is impressive for the numbers of animals, which seem to stretch from horizon to horizon and I will never forget the sound of their hooves, thundering across the plains. 

The wildlife is reason enough to visit Africa. Nothing equals the thrill of being within a stone’s throw of a pride of lions, watching a leopard stalk an impala or watching elephant mothers circling their young to protect them. On this trip, we also took a hot-air balloon trip and floated over the herds, which felt very adventurous. 

Luxury in Africa is all about the stunning accommodations and engaging guides. You can go glamping in tents that are more luxurious than hotel rooms in most parts of the world and stay in lodges that are the equivalent of six-star hotels with very personal service and amazing food. The decor usually incorporates local designs and materials, helping to immerse you in the experience. Among my favorites are the Singita Lodges. All are spectacular. They are located in the middle of nature preserves, and many also have private pools. Some are quite small, so a family of six to eight could take over the hotel. 

Another key ingredient of African luxury is the guides. They are knowledgeable about the animals, the people, and the land, so a good guide makes the difference between a good safari and an extraordinary one. The guides I use not only know where to take you to see the wildlife you most want to see but tune into the interests of their guests. 

Adventurous travelers can also enjoy gorilla trekking in Rwanda. New five-star lodges are making this a luxury destination, although you need to be in good condition as you can walk up to four hours to find a gorilla family and follow them as they move through the forest. It can feel intimidating because you can literally be just two feet away from a gorilla.  

Africa is also about people. Micato arranged for us to visit villages in the African bush, both traditional and Westernized, and it was fascinating to get a feel for the Africa of old and of the changes, it is undergoing. We also visited a school in Nairobi slum amidst abject poverty, which made the fact that Micato sends a disadvantaged child to school for every safari they arrange all the more meaningful. We brought pencils and supplies to the school, and the kids were curious and happy to have a chance to talk with Americans.  

If you are thinking of visiting Africa, I would love to create your dream journey.