7 Offbeat Things To Do in Africa


Anuja Pradhan


There’s something to be said for the classic African safari experience—looking for game with fellow travel enthusiasts on an open 4x4 is quite a fulfilling experience. However, if your heart’s set on adventure or you’re a seasoned safari-goer looking for something different, you’ll love these offbeat things to do in Africa:

1. Helicopter safari over Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

It's up, up and away as you board the helicopter for a unique flight experience to see Mount Kilimanjaro, soaring over and watching the world beneath! Not many things come close to the magic of this breath-taking flight, from the moment you’re lifted into the air to the second the helicopter settles gracefully back on the ground, it’s an unforgettable experience!

Best paired with: Kilimanjaro Trek Rongai Route. Before you take on the mammoth beast on foot, access your soon-to-be-conquest via flight!

2. Hot air balloon ride over Masai Mara, Kenya

The Masai Mara National Reserve is the Kenyan side of the Serengeti. It’s a photographers’ paradise as it offers almost uninterrupted views of abundant wildlife across open grassland. A hot air balloon ride here can be an experience of a lifetime as you watch the circle of life playing out beneath you. See huge herds of wildebeests and zebras, and spot giraffes, Thompson’s gazelles, African elephants, cheetahs, hippos, African buffaloes, and other interesting wildlife.

Best paired with: Masai Mara Explorer: This short trip is perfect for a refreshing and fulfilling holiday!


3. Mokoro safari across the Okavango Delta, Botswana

A maze of sparkling lagoons, meandering channels, and overgrown islands teeming with wildlife, the Okavango Delta looks like a sparkling jewel at the heart of the Kalahari. Lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs share the floodplains with large herds of elephants and buffaloes. Hippos inhabit the deeper channels and lagoons, while honey badgers can be seen in broad daylight. A mokoro (small boat) ride gives you a completely unique perspective as you watch life unfold across the delta, eye-to-eye with hippos and crocodiles. Mokoros have the advantage of moving uninhibited through shallow waters and get you as close to the wildlife action as possible!

Best paired withFalls, Chobe and Okavango: Try something different in Botswana on this mobile camping safari tour!

4. Horse riding safaris in South Africa

Quite a few private game reserves in South Africa offer the unique experience of horse riding safaris. You can set the riding pace based on your experience and go cantering with wildebeest, or running with giraffes, or simply meander along hillocks to catch a glorious African sunset. The horses usually graze and live outside along with the game. This allows the game animals to get comfortable with the presence of the horses and allows you memorable experiences of getting in among the herds.

Best paired withKruger and Cape. This tour is ideal for wildlife lovers on their first trip to Africa.

5. Quad biking along Makgadikgadi Saltpans, Botswana

The Makgadikgadi Pans are the largest saltpans in the world. It can be quite an overwhelming sight to see thousands of kilometres of absolutely nothing but overpowering whiteness. It is said that you can see the curve of the earth from standing at the edge. Venture out on quad bikes to see one of Africa’s largest zebra populations here.

Best paired withSafaris at Okavango: This is a great tour for those who enjoy offbeat experiences.

6. Walking with lions in Zambia

This thrilling, heartfelt, and unforgettable experience is a must for wildlife lovers travelling to Zambia or even Botswana (a short distance away). Walk with lion cubs as they make their way around the bush, curiously exploring the new areas. Conducted by Lion Encounter, the experience is led by expert guides, lion handlers, and scouts, to guarantee not just yours but the lion’s safety as well. Lion Encounter is a profitable conservation that conducts a 4-stage lion conservation programme:
1. Walking cubs (3 to 18 months) into the bush to acquaint them with their natural habitat. At 18 months to 2½ years, human contact is removed and they are given the opportunity to hone their hunting skills.
2. Lions are released in a pride into a large enclosure (away from human contact) and studied for research purposes
3. Pride is relocated to a larger area where they’ll spend the rest of their lives
4. Cubs born in Stage 3 are raised by the pride and can be relocated to areas in Africa where populations are dwindling
Great care is taken to ensure the lion walking programme does not affect the lion’s acclimatisation to the wilderness in any way, leaving you with a long-lasting memory. Still worried about the lions’ treatment? Check out Lion Encounters’ FAQ page to know more.

Best paired withBotswana Value Tour: On this tour, you can make a quick day trip from Victoria Falls for the lion walking programme.

7. Star gazing in the Kenyan wilderness

The Loisaba Conservancy is possibly the only place in Africa with unique Star Beds in the wilderness where you can wonder at the spectacular African night sky while sleeping. Each Star Bed is dramatically designed, based on a handcrafted wooden raised platform, and partially covered with a thatched roof. This unique experience is a joint venture between the Conservancy and the Laikipiak Maasai people. The cost of the experience goes to the local community so this is a great way to travel responsibly.

Best paired withKenyan Safari. From Samburu to Aberdare, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara, this tour takes you to a lot of places in eight days!

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