Safaris are mighty addictive: once you’ve done one, it’s virtually impossible not to pine for another. Having likely started off at a big-name park, why not – now you know the ropes – return to a more intrepid alternative?
Seen the Serengeti? Try Ruaha and Selous
It's a tale of two circuits in Tanzania. The busy Northern Circuit encompasses the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater; you'll do well not to see the Big Five, and the hotels, infrastructure and regular flight connections are superb. Alas, those factors also draw constant crowds. Solitude is far easier to come by down in the less-trampled South Circuit. Despite boasting a tenth of the world's lions, beautiful Ruaha National Park has fewer than ten lodges, while the Selous Game Reserve is famed for its wild dogs. Steppes Travel has eight-night itineraries across both parks from £4,095 per person including overnight international flights.
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Driven to Kruger? Try Etosha
Along with fabulous game, a perk of South Africa's Kruger National Park is that you can quite easily arrive by car. For a self-drive safari sequel, consider motoring through Namibia to the Etosha National Park. Compared to South Africa, Namibia feels much more remote and extreme, especially if you follow Expert Africa's suggested ten-night itinerary heading east-west through Etosha's parched salt pans – renowned for rare black rhino. From £1,223 per person excluding international flights.
Ticked off the Big Five? Try the Big Seven
An alternative to the typical bush-and-plains safari is to go mountain gorilla-watching in Central Africa's jungles. Better yet, do both: in Rwanda, not only can you trek above crater lakes to lock eyes with massive silverbacks, but the resuscitated Akagera National Park houses the Big Five, with rhinoceroses having recently returned. With chimpanzees readily spied in Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda is officially home to the Big Seven. Get there aboard RwandAir's just-launched non-stop flight from Gatwick, and travel around with specialist firm Africa Odyssey. Including a stop at the superlative Virunga Lodge for gorilla treks and permits, six-night trips start from £4,528 per person excluding international flights.
Experienced a jeep safari? Try a walking safari
The de facto mode of safari transport is the 4x4. Many lodges also offer half-day walks, but no more. For something different, head to Zambia's South Luangwa National Park – the unofficial home of walking safaris. Travelling on foot allows you to authentically experience the bush's sights, sounds and smells, while guides will identify elephant droppings and leopard tree-scratches to track these beasts. On Expert Africa's seven-night Mobile Walking Safari (June-Sept only), porters erect a campsite in different locations as you traverse a genuine wilderness. From £3,913 per person excluding international flights.
Visited Africa? Try Asia
Safaris aren't limited to Africa. Over in India, you can see elephants, leopards, water buffalos, rare Asiatic lions and endangered one-horned rhinos – as well as, hopefully, the enigmatic tiger – on trips combining the central and north-eastern regions; also likely to appear are monkeys and hyenas. Travel The Unknown has a 14-night tour departing on 22 and 23 November. Kanha Tiger Reserve, where you'll spend two days, was the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. From £4,095 per person including international flights.
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