African safaris that mix luxury with ecological awareness
An African safari remains one of the most popular long-haul or exotic holiday choices for Britons. For many, ecological concerns and the chance to escape from the developed world are as important as spotting big game. Tour operators are now sensitive to travellers who want to holiday in comfort but in surroundings that are not too intrusive on the glorious wildernesses of Africa.
In Zambia, the Busanga Plains are a superb and remote savannah environment where it is possible to spot lions and hyenas drawn by an abundance of antelope. Expert Africa have a luxury bushcamp within the Kafue National Park with its own private viewing platform and a sunken deck area which is the perfect location for a sundowner while looking out for wildlife activity. A week-long trip in 2013 starts from £3,974 per person based on two sharing, including flights, meals and safaris.
Aardvark Safaris also have a bush camp in Busanga and can combine a visit here with other highlights of Zambia, including the Victoria Falls or a boat trip down the Zambezi. They specialise in tailor-made safaris so you can plan your own itinerary and get a detailed costing.
For ecologically-sensitive luxury accommodation in Zambia, the River Club (theriverclubafrica.com), situated on the banks of the Zambezi, is a peerless destination. It’s a member of the Eco Luxury global network and offers colonial comfort combined with a valuable appreciation of local culture and history. It’s a great base for tours, offering the possibility of meeting Zambian villagers and witnessing the local way of life. They also offer the popular DNA, or Do Nothing Activity, with a very tempting pool to lounge by.
Rwanda, famous for its gorillas, offers a contrasting experience to Zambia. Expert Africa offer luxury and romance at their Virunga Lodge in the Volcanoes National Park. The airy verandahs here offer some of the finest vistas on the continent, overlooking lakes Burera and Ruhondo, with a backdrop of mountains. The stone-walled chalets and candlelit decks are perfect for romantic relaxation after a safari game drive. Six nights cost from £4,392 per person in 2013.