If you’re looking for something truly unique, there can be no other place than Madagascar. With an astounding array of cool and crazy animals found nowhere else on earth, this island nation is a definite must-see for nature lovers. But natural biodiversity is not the only drawcard. For a single destination, the multitude of different environments and experiences is mind-blowing.
Rappel into the rocky tsingys (think Lara Croft Tombraider-style) and spend your days searching out rare birds and watching the dancing lemurs of Mandrare River Camp’s spiny forest. Or enjoy some beach-time bliss at the remote, ultra luxe Miavana in Nosy Ankao. You can connect Madagascar with both South Africa and Kenya on scheduled commercial flights. It’s one of the last countries in the world where most major brands still haven’t entered and with its French language and diverse heritage, this makes the destination all the more intriguing.
Back on the African continent, Zambia with its sprawling National Parks is your quintessential safari destination and the place where the walking safari was pioneered. New camp openings we are excited about are Puku Ridge in South Luangwa and the new Lolobezi in Lower Zambezi National Park. If it is absolute peace and solitude you’re after, two gems are Busanga Plains in Kafue and Liuwa Plains luxury safari camps. Both of these are limited by air access and are in some of the largest, wildest and least visited parks in southern Africa. We can’t forget to mention one of our favorite lodges in Zambia, Royal Chundu, which is much easier to get to because of its proximity to the world-famous Victoria Falls.
From open plains with seasonal wildebeest and zebra migrations to jungle-covered mountains and gorillas, Uganda is another underrated but completely worthwhile destination. In our experience, guests love this country and the lower priced gorilla permits here make it a boon for conscious travelers. For example, permits are almost half the price of those in Rwanda which means most guests choose to do multiple treks into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest instead of just one. Given that there are only about 1000 mountain gorillas left on earth, you’ll treasure every second you have to spend with these incredible animals.
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