With its celebrity first ensconced with Teddy Roosevelt’s “African Game Trails,” Kenya has long been the top destination for safari seekers. Showcasing a wealth of wildlife and iconic lodging, its ecologically diverse game parks include the arid Samburu and Shaba Reserves, and the lush Masai Mara, encompassing the northern Serengeti plains where nearly two million wildebeest and herbivores make their way during the annual Great Migration. While guests can check off the Big Five throughout their exploration, each park has its own distinct wildlife and prolific birding. Those looking for a more exclusive safari experience can indulge in staying at luxurious ensuite tented camps and lodges within the private concessions. Beyond your expertly-guided game drives and bush walks, immerse yourself in the local culture – join a local family for dinner or take a bushwalk with the stately Maasai warriors. Wrap up your journey with a visit to Mombasa’s beaches.
Wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists are steadily increasing their treks to witness Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas. Rebuilding its tourism since its mass genocide in 1994, Rwanda and conservationists remind visitors that the best way to help save the gorillas is to come see them. Expert guides and conservationists lead you on treks through the rain forest to observe the uncannily human-acting animals in Parc National des Volcans. Spot some 13 other species of primates in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Tanzania’s attractions are superlative – Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest free-standing caldera teeming with one of Africa’s densest concentrations of wildlife; Olduvai Gorge, renowned for the Leakey family’s profound discoveries of early man; and the Great Migration across the Serengeti plains, just to name a few. Building up its safari infrastructure some 50 years after Kenya, Tanzania delivers a less-traveled experience within its prolific game parks. For those seeking a truly wilderness experience, travel south to the immense and untouched Selous and Ruaha game preserves or visit Mahale Mountains National Park at Lake Tanganyika, home to the world’s largest population of chimpanzees. Easily combinable with Kenya, a Tanzania safari can wrap up with a beach getaway to the spice island of Zanzibar.
Once hailed by Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa” for its prolific wildlife and lush beauty, Uganda has been steadily attracting travelers to view its shy mountain gorillas as an alternative to Rwanda since the early 2000′s. Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to observe the gorillas, which are carefully habituated to humans – the gorillas are even known to come into your camp. Uganda’s other pearls include the centrally located Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls and Kibale Forest National Park, where you’ll find the most primates ever recorded in an African forest.
With its Coco-de-Mer palms, white sand beaches and world’s oldest tortoises, Seychelles is the epitome of the romantic and exclusive island getaway. An archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, its three main islands are Mahé, Praslin and La Digue – but our favorite escapes are Saint Anne and Desroches.
The gem of Jordan is Petra, the ancient Nabataean caravan city and UNESCO World Heritage Site which celebrated the 200th anniversary of its European discovery in 2012. Carved into the rose-colored rock faces, the world-famous archeological site was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia.
Evolving since its first democratic elections in 2012, Egypt’s tourism is expected to rebound while its allure as the ancient “cradle of civilization” remains inextinguishable. Just a sampling of the unmatched treasures designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites includes: Historic Cairo, The Great Pyramid of Cheops, the sole survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; Luxor, the ancient capitol of Thebes and its Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens; Abu Simbel, the High Dam at Aswan and the rebuilt temple of Philae. Your expert Egyptologists provide unending enlightenment on your private tours. Stay in five-star Cairo and Luxor hotels and cruise in four- and five-star elegance to view the intriguing sites along the Nile.