East Africa's Kenya is a favourite "beach and bush" destination - with arguably the best safari destinations and the most perfect tropical beaches. The accommodation - whether bush or beach - ranges from rustic and adventurous to family-friendly, romantic honeymoon hideaways to lavish, exclusive luxury. Whether you want to simply relax after a safari or explore and experience the coastal attractions and water activities, Coastal Kenya has a place just for you.
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The Fish River Canyon, in the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, is where Namibia's longest river makes its way through the biggest canyon in the southern hemisphere. One of Namibia's best-kept secrets, this immense natural wonder can still be admired in more or less crowd-free peace. So vast is the Fish River Canyon that one of Africa's most challenging and beautiful hiking trails takes an arduous five days to walk along a gruelling 86km (54mi) section of this 160km (99mi) long fissure.
With four perennial rivers, this is arguably one of Namibia's most verdant areas and is renowned for its top game-viewing opportunities. You'll have every chance to see elephant, lion, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe and many varieties of antelope. It's also a popular fishing destination and a bird lover's paradise with over 600 species, including some rare endemic birds.
The Greater Kruger National Park is South Africa's premier safari destination: it's the largest wildlife conservancy in Africa, set in one of the most accessible yet unspoilt wilderness areas in South Africa. It encompasses the Kruger National Park and a number of adjoining private reserves which share unfenced boundaries with the park; including Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie and Balule Game Reserves, which are home to a wide variety of private game lodges, each with its own brand of style and luxury.
The Kunene Region in north-western Namibia is wild, remote and sparsely populated. A transitional area with a distinctive desert region, Kunene has a surprising wealth of desert-adapted wildlife, including the largest population of free-ranging black rhino, elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, Hartmann's zebra, springbok and gemsbok (oryx). It's also home to the Damara, Himba and Herero tribes who live in this stark and fascinating 28-million-acre arid expanse.
What was once a farming area with huge livestock ranches, Laikipia is today one of Kenya's most progressive and biggest success stories in conservation. It's a vast, sprawling area with a wealth of wildlife said to be even better than that of the famous Maasai Mara.
Straddling a portion of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Lake Kariba is the world's largest man-made lake. Its creation provided perfect conditions for wildlife in Matusadona National Park, located on a section of its shore on the Zimbabwean side, to thrive. Game viewing along Lake Kariba's shoreline can be done by houseboat, canoe or boat, and from inside Matusadona on foot; preferably with an expert guide. The roads are rough and gruelling and 4x4 vehicles are required.
Consisting mainly of sweeping grasslands, the Ndutu area in the northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area joins the Serengeti. As such, it forms part of the annual migratory route of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, antelope and their predators who come to graze and calve between November and March, depending on the rains. The forests around Lake Ndutu and small koppies are also home to prolific resident wildlife.
The Greater Serengeti Migration Area refers to a huge area that incorporates a number of national parks, including Serengeti and the Ndutu region of Ngorongoro. Vast plains, rolling hills, volcanic mountains and forested areas make for breath-taking scenery. Add to that abundant wildlife and the annual circular migration through the region of millions of wildebeest, zebra, antelope and their predators, and you have the perfect safari setting.
Sossusvlei epitomises the exquisite desert experience of Namibia, with its endless sea of dunes. The blazing ochre Sossusvlei dunes rise up to over 320m tall, making them some of the world's highest sand forms. These forever-shifting dunes are constantly reshaped by the wind into the sandy valleys, slopes and peaks that form the ancient Namib desert. The reds, oranges, yellows and caramel browns of the soft dunes, and the bleached whites and washed-out pastel shades of the pans, are continuously transformed as the seasons turn and the light plays on the desert landscapes, making them glow at dusk and dawn.
The Garden Route is the coastal area between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth along the southern Cape coast of South Africa. It is known for its beautiful scenery, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and beaches. A number of interesting, laid-back coastal towns add character to the Garden Route, including Knysna, Wilderness, Plettenberg Bay, Nature's Valley, Sedgefield and, of course, George with its regional airport.
One of South Africa's most scenic areas, the Panorama Route refers to the escarpment in Mpumalanga Province, where the Drakensberg mountains separate the Highveld from the Lowveld to the east. Studded with numerous waterfalls, spectacular viewpoints and geographical phenomena and a breathtaking canyon, it's easy to see why it's such a popular tourist destination.
The incredible wealth of fauna at the Skeleton Coast will surprise you. Its river courses sustain large species such as Namibia's renowned 'desert elephant', giraffe, black rhino, lion and many smaller species, while the plains have springbok, ostrich and gemsbok in large numbers. It's a fascinating area where interdependent dune-dwelling insects, reptiles and small mammals survive against all odds by getting sustenance from frequent sea fog and wind-blown detritus.
Zanzibar island along with Pemba Island to the north are referred to as the Spice Islands. Zanzibar is best known as a tropical beach paradise, which is easily combined with a safari in Tanzania or Kenya. The history here harks back to ancient trade routes. In Stone Town, Indo-Arabic influences intertwine with African Swahili origins to create a heady fusion of sights, sounds and aromas. Whether you're looking for the culture and bustle of historic cobbled streets in Stone Town or the peaceful beaches and warm Indian Ocean with its dhow trips and excellent diving, Zanzibar is simply paradise.