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The African Safari Experience Check List

The romance and adventure of travelling in the unspoiled wilderness of Africa has made safaris one of the most popular tourist activities in the world, with thousands of game reserves throughout Africa offering visitors the opportunity to view the continent’s breathtaking variety of wildlife in a variety of undisturbed natural environments.

With Safari enthusiasts spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing from the wide variety of safari holidays available, we’ve put together a list of several unique safari experiences you won’t want to miss.

The Great Migration

For millions of years many species of African wildlife followed migration routes across the continent, with millions of animals of numerous species thundering across the plains in search of water and food. Over the last century these migratory patterns have mostly been interrupted by the growth of human populations and the expansion of pastured land, and species are now mostly restricted by the borders of various disconnected national parks.

However, this phenomenon has been preserved in some of the world’s largest game reserves. Every year the Serengeti plains of East Africa plays host to the ‘Great Migration’ - the spectacular sight of over 1.2 million wildebeest and 750,000 zebra following an ancient 800 kilometer migratory route from the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya.

The Big Five

The ‘Big Five’ is the label given by colonial-era hunters to the most fearsome game on the African continent. These creatures are renowned for their size, power and aggression, and are dangerous to approach on foot. The animals included in the Big Five include the black rhino, the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, the lion and the leopard.

All five of these species are indigenous to many parts of Africa, and in recent years South Africa, with its excellent infrastructure and sumptuous game lodges, has become one of the most popular destinations for viewing the Big Five. Most game parks organize safari game drives in the mornings or evenings, travelling into the bush during the hours when the Big Five are most active.

Luxury Safaris

An African safari provides a unique opportunity to experience living in a natural environment that has remained untouched by the passage of time. While some see a visit to a game park as the perfect opportunity to rough it out and get back to basics, there’s a growing market for luxury resorts that merge seamlessly with the environment but provide 5 star service and comfort.

Luxury game lodges can be pricey, but are worth every cent. Facilities include gourmet restaurants, sumptuous lounges, outdoor swimming pools, health spas and numerous viewing decks that allow residents to safely view any game that approaches the lodge. All of these facilities are artfully designed to integrate with the surrounding bush, creating the perfect blend of luxury and wild beauty.

The Gorillas of Uganda

For much of the last century visiting and viewing the small surviving populations of mountain gorillas in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was a privilege reserved for only the most intrepid and determined explorers, scientists and conservationists.

However, with the slow but steady improvement in the political climate in central Africa, members of the public are now permitted to view these animals for the first time. Uganda has become a particularly popular destination for ‘gorilla trekking ’, with experienced guides leading visitors on foot safaris through the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to encounter the local population of mountain gorillas.

Thomas Cook Tours offers you the opportunity to enjoy all these unforgettable Safari experiences. With a carefully selected range of Safari tours, expert tour guides and superb planning and organization, Thomas Cook Tours takes care of all the details, allowing you to relax and enjoy some of the planet’s most breathtaking safari experiences.

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