Where to head for an amazing yet affordable safari?

Wild dog caught on camera in South Africa’s Kruger NP

With South Africa’s weak Rand making a safari in the Rainbow Nation more affordable than ever, the country has assured its bucket list status with travellers. For that reason, Acacia Africa claims it could be time to explore more of the Rainbow Nation by venturing into the country’s smaller and even more affordable parks and reserves.

The tour operator’s new 12 day Coast Lesotho & Cape Town accommodated overland itinerary, covers the 28,000 hectare Mountain Zebra National Park. Once reduced to just four stallions and one mare, its zebra population now stands at around 700. A conservation success story, the endangered black rhino, lion and cheetah also reside in the park.

‘Elies’ abound in the Kruger NP and the Addo Elephant Park

Due to its smaller size, Addo is on a par with the Kruger for viewing elephants en masse, its large herds numbering more than 600. Adjoining the coast, the park is home to the Big Seven, including the great white shark and the southern right whale, and released into the wilds this January, Sylvester the lion, who achieved international fame after escaping twice from the Karoo National Park.

Where overlanding comes into its own, Acacia Africa visit both malaria free parks using their all purpose trucks. Ideal for that picture perfect Instagram moment, the elevated seating and large slide down windows allow for 360-degree vistas.

The Impala – said to be the most elegant of all antelopes

Also on trend Acacia’s new 12 day Delta & Chobe Waterways accommodated small group tour features walking safaris in the 3,200 hectare Polokwane Game Reserve. Its main attraction is the amount of ground one can cover on foot in a single afternoon – white rhino, and some very rare game, like the sable and tsessebe antelope often encountered by safari goers.

Watering hole at Okaukeujo camp, Etosha National Park, Namibia

With the South African Rand pegged to the Namibian dollar and various other currencies including Lesotho’s Loti and Swaziland’s Lilangeni, Acacia says it’s also worth exploring countries outside of the Rainbow Nation.

Africa, Lesotho (c) Malealea Lodge

Lesotho is Instagram envy all the way (the specialist’s tours recently featured on Bravo’s list of 22 Essential Places to Take a Selfie Before You Die), but say’s Delport, “it’s the country’s cultural kick that will boost its popularity with travellers”; horseback adventures with the Basotho herdsmen and participatory ‘sheep shearing’ on offer on some seasonal village visits.

Swaziland, the smallest country in the southern hemisphere, is also big on experiences, mountain bike safaris in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary a major highlight. Both countries are listed on the new 40 day Southern African Adventurer accommodated overland tour.

Mountain bike safari, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary (c) @Big Game Parks: Amanda Boonzaaier

The itinerary covers an additional five countries including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Set to be a popular with travellers this year, Namibia featured on the Huffington Post’s 2017 list of “17 Epic Places You Never Thought To Travel To, But Should,” and it secured second place on Lonely Planet’s Best Value travel list.

Mokoro safari, Botswana’s Okavango Delta

Featured on Planet Earth II, the Buffalo versus lion pack scene in Botswana’s Okavango Delta was a definite highlight with lovers of raw, untamed Africa – the nature docu series pulling in more young viewers (1.8 million) than the X Factor.

Viewed as one of Africa’s more expensive safari destinations, there are still ways of experiencing Botswana on a budget.

Overland travellers trucking their way across the continent

Arno Delport, Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa, comments, “Visiting many of Africa’s most sought after wildlife haunts and also getting you off the beaten track, overland travel provides adventurers with the ‘wow factor’ they seek at prices that won’t break the bank.”

“No single supplement overland itineraries are also attractive to the growing number of solo nomads. Based on bookings for this year, more than half of our overland travellers are single, with women taking the lead when it comes to going it alone.”

The number of solo “wo-mads” choosing to travel across Africa is on the rise

Acacia Africa (020 7706 4700). SATSA membership No. 1931, ATTA membership no. 20151, ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.

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