Your favorite Oregon Zoo habitat...come to life! Mango African Safaris is partnering with the Oregon Zoo Foundation and Lewa Conservancy in Kenya to bring conservation enthusiasts such as yourself into the wild to see endangered black and white rhinos. Go on behind-the-scenes experiences at the Lewa Conservancy and a coffee date with the Oregon Zoo rhinos, both exclusively available to The Wild Rhino Safari participants. This is your chance to get an insider’s perspective on how conservation programs in the wild combine with international efforts to create a brighter future for these incredible animals.
What: experience conservation firsthand with 4 nights on safari at Lewa House paired with exclusive experiences at Lewa Conservancy and the Oregon Zoo Foundation.
Set in the rolling foothills of Mt Kenya, this conservancy is one of Africa’s most successful conservation stories with thriving populations of black and white rhinos, innovative elephant monitoring programs, big cats, and unique endemic species.
How much: $3,650 per person
When: available for travel anytime during 2023 -2024
With the travel world fully back into the swing of things, we are seeing numbers like never before. Interest is booming and the camps and animals are thriving with the full return of ecotourism. Some clear trends are defining travel in 2023, chief among them opting for customized trips - particularly focused on interests and passions, planning in advance again, prioritizing sustainable choices, large groups of friends and family traveling together, opting for lesser visited destinations, and wellness focused travel. No matter what is sparking inspiration for your travels this year, we are excited to work with you to plan your perfect trip.
We created these trips to both celebrate our go-to favorite destinations, as well as some more off-the-beaten-track areas that we think you will love! If you've ever dreamed of traveling with your family like Teresa and Casey do, now you can visit their tried and true family favorites. If you can't decide between Egypt and a safari, check out our Iconic Wonders of Africa. If you're a veteran safari-goer, check out a new country with our Zambia: Land of Leopards.
With demand higher than ever, now is the time to dive headfirst into planning for both this year and beyond. The best way to achieve your travel vision is to use an expert and plan with plenty of time. There's still countless great camps to check out for this year during our secret times of year. October through mid-December is an amazing time to travel without the crowds. There's even still time for a last minute spring trip. Dig out your passport and dust off your camera, Africa is calling your name!
For families wanting the ultimate escape, this itinerary delivers the perfect blend of adventure and luxury - something for everyone! Stay in Teresa’s personally tested family favorites from cottages in the central highlands and spacious safari tents to stunning oceanview villas. Explore Kenya’s premier wildlife destinations where larger than life wildlife displays come alive on game drives. Unwind with a stay on a luxurious private island amid the warm turquoise seas and white sands of The Seychelles - the perfect finale to create memories together.
For families wanting diverse wildlife experiences, amazing guides and a huge selection of kid-friendly activities, Casey has you covered! Meet the Kalahari’s habituated families of meerkats and be guided by Super, who won the prestigious Best Guide in Africa for 2023. Discover the world renowned Okavango Delta by boat and vehicle, a watery paradise bursting with wildlife and birdlife. Finish up with seeing the iconic Victoria Falls and explore the area with the many activities on offer, ranging from relaxing to adrenaline junkie thrills - something for everyone in the family.
Explore Kenya’s most iconic natural wonders, from the snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro to the vast grasslands of the Masai Mara where lions and cheetahs rule the land. See the vast herds of the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebra gather together in pursuit of the best grazing. Venutre north to discover Egypt’s ancient wonders, including the Pyramids of Giza, Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings and Queens, Abu Simbel and more. Sail back in time on the Nile River, the life blood of early civilization, on an intimate cruise that stops along the way to explore the countless relics along the banks.
This itinerary is the essence of romance - perfect for honeymooners and couples of all kinds. Stay in luxurious, boutique properties with fabulous service, beautiful design and great locations whether you’re in the bush or beachside. Enjoy Cape Town’s diverse cultural and natural highlights with curated privately guided touring, including the world renowned wine lands. Go on safari in one of the most prolific wildlife areas, the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, known for its epic predator sightings. Relax into the barefoot ease of Mozambique’s white sands and warm turquoise waters on your idyllic grand finale.
This is the perfect itinerary for families looking to explore the astonishingly diverse natural and cultural offerings of East Africa. Staying in exclusive-use, fully staffed houses throughout the trip gives your group space to unwind and make yourselves at home in total privacy. Combining stays in East Africa’s top wildlife hotspots and diverse landscapes makes this itinerary a true celebration of the region. From walking with Maasai Warriors to horseback safaris and action packed game drives, there are activities to excite everyone no matter their age. Explore these wildlife areas with some of the best private guides in all of Africa that we've worked with for years.
Discover brand new destinations and experiences in this smartly planned itinerary that celebrates the unexpected gems of East Africa. Go trekking to see three different types of primates - mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees. Get your fix of action packed savanna safari with a stop in the world famous Serengeti National Park. Explore Ruaha National Park, an off-the-beaten-path wildlife destination with towering baobas, beautiful landscapes and no crowds. For those who have been to Africa before and want something fresh and exciting - this is your perfect trip!
Zambia has stayed largely off the radar of the travel world, which means it delivers epic wildlife without any of the crowds of other areas. Venture into the beautiful Lower Zambezi valley where your days center around the mighty Zambezi River and the plethora of wildlife drawn to its banks. Explore the South Luangwa known for Africa's densest concentration of leopards, huge pods of hippos, seasonal flocks of carmine bee-eaters and so much more. End with a visit to the iconic Victoria Falls, where you relax at a riverside lodge that blends the tranquility of a spa with action-packed activities.
When it comes to affordable family adventures, it doesn’t get better than this with truly outstanding value for money. Explore Cape Town and its beautiful surroundings with privately guided tours tailored to families - from sea-kayaking with penguins to riding the cable car up Table Mountain. Go on a two-stop safari extravaganza in diverse private reserves that deliver top tier game viewing and world class guides. Be ready for plenty of big cats, large herds of elephants and abundant plains game. Stay in family friendly hotels and lodges that are perfect for families of all sizes thanks to flexible rooming options, kids programs and more.
When you want to experience the wonders of Tanzania, but need a budget-friendly trip, this is the perfect itinerary for you! Stay in our favorite camps that have all the creature comforts you need, great guiding and access to prime wildlife spots. Experience an epic safari in Tanzania’s highly varied ecosystems ranging from the savannah and alkaline lakes to the rugged highlands. Enjoy diverse game viewing with everything from predator action and the Great Migration to flamingos and endangered rhinos - truly a country that offers it all!
Discover Botswana's commitment to the true ecotourism model of synergy between camps, conservation and community. Explore with Africa’s only fully female guide team and entirely electric vehicle fleet at Chobe Game Lodge where sustainability and women's empowerment is at the forefront. Stay in two of our all-time favorite camps in Botswana, set in diverse areas that are both jam-packed with wildlife - perfect for game viewing! Have your camera ready for great predator action, myriad bird species, abundant plains game and so much more. Go on a full day helicopter excursion to the Tsodilo Hills to see the ancient rock art and sacred cave sites of the Kalahari’s San people.
Reteti raises orphaned and abandoned elephant calves for release back into the wild herds surrounding the Sanctuary in Namunyak Conservancy. The orphaned elephants, cared for by the Samburu community, are symbols of a new wave of thinking about wildlife and the environment that goes far beyond traditional conservation methods and dives deeper into the core value of what nature represents. It embodies the communities standing up united for wildlife, in recognition of the value that they can cultivate.
An ever-growing grass roots movement, community focused conservation is gaining huge momentum in Northern Kenya, and a new wave of wildlife protection is emerging. Once heavily poached and severely degraded, the northern rangeland is now restoring itself through transparent, self-governed community conservancies that promote the preservation of natural resources in order to create stability, employment, and revenue. Since 2012, there has been a 53% reduction in elephant poaching in Namunyak and partner conservancies due to this changing mindset.
All the keepers are from the local Samburu community and are formally trained in the care, rehabilitation, and release of elephant calves. An elected board from within the community oversee all operational aspects of the Sanctuary. The operations also include a mobile elephant rescue team that works daily on elephant rescue, community awareness and the mitigation of human/wildlife conflict.
Opportunities are being created, livelihoods are improving, and wildlife is returning, proving that nature can provide a sustainable economy for the populations that occupy its magnificent ecosystem. On a fast developing continent where space is at a premium, the Samburu community that occupy the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy is reversing the trends and securing their wilderness landscapes, returning to a learned, age old history of wildlife tolerance and co-existence.
Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.
CCF’s vision is to see a world in which cheetahs live and flourish in coexistence with people within a sustainable system that is protective of the environment, socially responsible, and economically viable.
Their holistic conservation strategy is the key to success in saving the cheetah and its ecosystem. CCF works to develop best practices that benefit the entire ecosystem upon which the cheetah depends. CCF’s programs address the concerns for wildlife populations and the human communities that share the landscape.
CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) program is proven to reduce livestock losses to predators. According to multiple long-term scientific studies, farmers with an LGD are less likely to trap or shoot cheetahs. LGDs are a major part of CCF’s holistic conservation strategy. CCF breeds Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs to become LGDs. Now, and for thousands of years, the breed is used to guard small livestock against wolves and bears in Turkey. LGDs are placed with Namibian farmers as puppies. The puppies bond with the herd or flock. As they grow up, their size and loud bark help to scare predators away.
CCF breeds Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs to become LGDs. Now, and for thousands of years, the breed is used to guard small livestock against wolves and bears in Turkey. LGDs are placed with Namibian farmers as puppies. The puppies bond with the herd or flock. As they grow up, their size and loud bark help to scare predators away.
In Namibia, areas governed by conservancies are more resistant to poachers. The Greater Waterberg Landscape is the conservancy and economic development area in which CCF participates. CCF works with communal farmers and people living around the Waterberg plateau as part of our holistic conservation strategy.
In 2001, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) collaborated to find a habitat improvement program that would be good for both the ecology and the economy.
CCF is working on a long-term research and development project to restore habitat while developing a renewable fuel source. Overgrown thorn bush is harvested and made into high-heat, low-emission, fuel logs for consumer use. As part of CCF’s programs, CCF Bush (PTY) Ltd. leads our Bushblok program. As the Bushblok program grows, CCF creates new biomass energy potential. As of 2017, CCF operates a biomass technology research and education program at the Biomass Technology Demonstration Centre.
The key to securing a future for the cheetah, is to secure the livelihoods of the people who share its habitat. Through livelihood development, CCF assists the communities living in cheetah-country. People learn the skills to expand their income at our Model Farm. CCF helps local artisans by promoting their jewelry craft and cultural art pieces in our on-site gift shop.
The Dancing Goat Creamery creates and sells dairy products made from CCF’s goat milk. The Creamery serves as an example for small stock farmers. Farmers learn how to expand their income by creating new and marketable products. CCF produces honey at our apiary and grows grapes for wine making. CCF continues to develop new ways for communal farmers to boost their income.
The Fallen Rangers Fund was established to provide critical support, employment, and training to the widows and children of those Virunga Rangers killed in the line of duty. Since the establishment of Virunga as a national park in 1925, over 200 Rangers have lost their lives protecting the wildlife and habitats within the Park, as well as the people living around the park’s boundaries. Before the fund was in place, widows received little to no financial support, with their families often becoming severely impoverished.
In 2007, Park management set out to find every widow of a fallen Ranger. Since then, the team has managed to identify nearly all of those Rangers’ families, dating back to 1991, when the regional conflict began. After the tragic loss of a Ranger, a private fund is immediately established to garner support from our community and all donations towards that fund are given directly to the Ranger’s widow.
For six months after the Ranger’s death, the Park continues to pay the Ranger’s full salary to his widow. After six months, the widow receives a pension to provide additional support as the family adjusts to their new way of life. Widows and their children receive free medical services and schooling which are provided through park facilities.
As well as financial support, Virunga endeavors to provide young widows with opportunities for personal development via work-based training within Virunga’s various departments. Having taken advantage of the scheme, which aims to empower vulnerable women, one electrical engineering graduate now works for Virunga Energies, supplying sustainable power to homes and businesses across the region. There are four women currently being trained as chocolatiers in the Virunga Origins chocolate factory, with a further two being equipped with the knowhow for marketing the end product in Goma. In the tourism department, one lady is learning the ropes as a pastry chef while a pair of trainees delve into the world of gastronomy, readying themselves for waves of hungry travelers on the lookout for gorillas.
Painted Dog Research Trust (PDRT) was founded in the strong belief that good conservation must be underpinned by sound science. Based just outside of Victoria Falls, PDRT is situated in a landscape mosaic of national parks, forestry, private safari area and communal lands. The field-based conservation ecology center for data driven trans-boundary research serves as the headquarters for PDRT.
With the Pan-African population of painted dogs declining from 500,000 individuals to less than 5,000, the painted dog is listed by IUCN as endangered. Zimbabwe links the populations of all five neighboring countries making it a keystone corridor for this species. Continuation of long-term research and monitoring within this corridor is crucial to the continued survival of painted dogs.
They give particular attention to monitoring those painted dog packs that are most vulnerable and where possible, take action to reduce mortalities attributable to anthropogenic causes such as cars, snares and shooting by ranchers. This entails being in the field and living in a vehicle for weeks at a time whilst they follow packs and collect data such as: disease (from blood, skin and fecal samples), hunting success, daily movements and predator/prey interactions. An identity file is made for each individual dog.
Problems for dog populations are identified and solutions are formulated based on the work done in our field research. For example, they have identified blind spots where “Painted Dog - Slow Down” signs should be placed to help decrease the senseless death of painted dogs caused by careless and speeding drivers, and then they erected and posted them. They also designed and produced anti-snare collars and retroreflective colored collars picked up by car headlights, saving dogs from collateral death by snares and road accidents.
They collaborate with government ministries, local councils and planning development communities to try and introduce protections for the dogs and their habitat. Amongst these efforts is education with the local communities. It is vitally important to dispel myths about carnivores such as painted dogs and emphasize the important role they play in ecosystem management. Whether talking to school children, community leaders, farmers, or regular everyday people, changing their hearts and minds requires thoughtful, honest communication backed by evidence.
They aim to educate and inspire people to take conservation action. If people don’t know what is happening to animals and habitats, they won’t care enough to do anything about the threats facing them. If they remain unaware of the impact of human activities, they will not change their own behavior nor advocate for change in governmental/corporate/community/individual practices. They teach people to care enough to act, for without action, conservation cannot occur. Connecting the community with animals and nature will increase awareness and appreciation for biodiversity, causing them to care about conservation issues and increase the likelihood of supporting conservation efforts.
As the whole world finds its new normal, the travel industry is no different. Over the past two years we've perfected the imperfect art of planning trips in the age of covid and the results speak for themselves. Last year we had clients exploring everywhere from the banks of the Nile River in Egypt to the Okavango Delta of Botswana to the river crossings of Tanzania and beyond.
As clients returned from their adventures, there was no shortage of smiles and people who came back shouting from the rooftops how AWESOME it is out there right now. The pandemic can feel all-consuming and travel is exactly the escape we all need.
Crowds are still a fraction of what they normally are, and all the camps and guides have finetuned their offerings for optimal safety. With the world likely to continue existing for several years in some form or another of this new reality, it's time to get back out there and dive headlong into exploring the world. The possibilities are endless!
Pairing the natural wonders of Southern Africa with a trek to see Rwanda's mountain gorillas, this itinerary celebrates the highlights of Africa. Start off by exploring the fascinating cultural and natural landscapes of Cape Town, including curated privately guided touring. Spend a week on safari in the highly coveted Okavango Delta, a highly unique ecosystem and one of Africa's premier wildlife destinations. Visit the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, nicknamed the 'smoke that thunders' by the locals. For a grand finale, trek through misty volcanic rainforests to see mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in the wild.
East Africa is home to some of the most iconic wildlife the entire continent. This itinerary brings together these extraordinary experiences into one trip of a lifetime that any traveler will love. Great apes thrive in the lush forests that carpet the hills of the Great Rift Valley. From the majestic mountain gorillas of Rwanda to chimpanzees in the same region where Jane Goodall did her research, you will glimpse the lives of these complex creatures so similar to us. Paired with the magnificent wildlife displays of the Serengeti, this is a trip that truly dazzles.
For the ultimate family getaway, it doesn't get better than this. Blending adventure galore, diverse activities and the finest luxury, this itinerary will please the whole family. From the leopards and rhinos of the Sabi Sands to the habituated meerkats of the Kalahari, your family will get to experience it all. Stay in gorgeous camps and lodges situated in the heart of some of Africa's most coveted wildlife areas. Family tents let you experience the magic of the bush together, while still giving parents some privacy.
This is a celebration of the fascinating culture and history of Morocco. Discover the ancient city of Fez, a haven of traditional ways and artisan souks that continue to thrive to this day. Spend a night under the stars in a Berber-style desert encampment, complete with white canvas tents and sunrise camel ride through the dunes. Tuck your away into a tranquil palm oasis in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains for a few days of relaxation. Venture to the lively city of Marrakech, where Morocco's diverse modern culture has given rise to a vibrant dining and fashion scene.
For those seeking a connection between family, friends and Africa, this itinerary visits secluded places teeming with wildlife. Feel the untouched beauty of nature and ancient cultures. With destinations from vast plains to highlands plateaus, this itinerary delivers a diverse and enriching taste of East Africa’s top safari destinations. Meet playful baby elephants, watch The Great Migration and reflect on your grand adventure on the beaches of Zanzibar.
Spend wild days in some of the most remote corners of the planet exploring secret valleys exploring as a family. A land of striking contrasts and surprising diversity, Namibia is an enchanting destination for those who love adventure. Sip coffee watching wildlife meander around the lively water holes in Etosha National Park. Capture some spectacular landscapes on scenic flights and a memorable sunrise over the tangerine dunes of the Namib-Rand Nature Reserve. Visit a remote village of the nomadic Himba tribe and discover the rugged Skeleton Coast.
A land of natural wonders, Southern Africa is ripe for exploration and adventure. From rugged coastlines and the iconic Victoria Falls to the world's largest in-land delta, the region is outstandingly diverse with something for everyone. Discover its wonders with this itinerary that delivers big on experience while staying affordable. Stay in all of our favorite hideaways, from a charming boutique hotel on the lower slopes of Table Mountain to intimate bush camps in the heart of prime wildlife habitat.
Tanzania is a wonderfully diverse country that offers travelers a wide range of ecosystems and safari experiences to discover. See the famed Serengeti National Park, explore the unique Ngorongoro Crater region, walk with the Maasai in their sacred homeland and venture through Tarangire National Park’s rich wildlife habitat. For those who seek a blend of wildlife and ancient cultures, this is the perfect itinerary for you.
When you want to discover the amazing offerings of East Africa, but want to stay on a shoestring budget, it doesn't get better than this! We have tapped into our favorite budget-friendly properties to create this fantastic itinerary that delivers big on experience. These intimate camps will offer you access to the best wildlife areas and all the creature comforts you need with nothing extra. Reflect on your once-in-a-lifetime safari from the silky white sands of Zanzibar where Swahili culture brings a vibrant flavor to your trip.
From Table Mountain to the Okavango Delta to Victoria Falls, this itinerary celebrates the many highlights of Southern Africa. It is jam-packed with diverse activities, including curated private tours in The Cape, a sunset boat cruise on the Upper Zambezi and a guided tour of the iconic falls. In the delta's prime wildlife habitats, water-based activities like boat safaris and mokoro rides (traditional wooden canoes) complement classic game drives and walking safaris.
If you are a traveler like me, the last 18 months have been stifling, almost claustrophobic, at times. As you reach the breaking point, it is time to plan your next travels. Hit the road with some calculated confidence and limited risk. My passport is out of the safe and I am not letting it burn a hole in my pocket any longer. This is why now is the time for Africa.
Even with extensive safety measures, the safari experience remains largely unchanged since they’re already covid-friendly by nature. You’re always outside – eating al fresco, going on open-air game drives, on walking or boating safaris or sitting around the campfire.
We only use intimate camps and lodges with a small number of tents, so it never feels busy, and you’re always able to social distance from other guests in the open-air common areas.
With the low number of travelers, you practically have these iconic natural parks to yourself. Your sightings will be uncrowded, and you can always get great positioning for photos. These special times won’t last with more people traveling every month, so now is the time to go!
Normally we recommend safaris be booked at least a year in advance to get space in all your top-choice camps, but right now it’s possible to book last minute trips and still get the best of the best.
Americans have flocked to destinations such as Hawaii because of the sense of safety testing that requirements have given. Africa has been operating under the same measures since the pandemic started, so travelers can go there with just as much confidence.
Masked staff, hand sanitizing and contact-free temperature checks feel common place these days, so you’re unphased by their presence and the experience is uninterrupted.
Most African countries have also been prioritizing tourism employees as essential workers so vaccination rates are excellent amid the staff.
With hundreds of thousands working directly or indirectly in ecotourism across Africa, countless families are banking on traveler numbers going up.
Conservation groups are reliant on ecotourism to fund their efforts to protect endangered species. Without travelers visiting these precious national parks and private reserves, they cannot pay rangers, fund habitat restoration projects nor endangered species breeding programs. The return of ecotourism means these efforts can resume at full force in an age when every month counts.
If it all boils down to the numbers for you, then consider this: Thanks to consistent safety measures from entry testing to temperature checks, the Safari Professionals of America have sent nearly 6,000 travelers to Africa in 18 months with only 16 people testing positive – that’s a mere 0.002%. By comparison, over one-third of Americans have tested positive. Numbers don’t lie – if you’re comfortable traveling, Africa is a safe bet. The guides, camps and animals can’t wait to welcome you back and there’s never been a better time!
Luxury travelers, those seeking a little pampering, honeymooners, families and those wanting a variety of Victoria Falls activities
Offered at Thorntree River Lodge: Tours of Victoria Falls, sunset river cruise on the Upper Zambezi, catch-and-release fishing, canoeing, game drives in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, rhino tracking experiences, birdwatching, cultural visits, the Livingstone Museum, spa treatments and the Ngwana Club for children
Additional Livingstone activities that can be booked: guided rainforest walks, bungee jumping and helicopter or micro-light flips over the falls
In a destination as popular as Victoria Falls, the accommodation options are endless, but not all spots are created equal. We love Thorntree River Lodge not only for its gorgeous, Afro-modern design but also for its waterfront location, wide variety of activities and ownership. It’s part of the African Bush Camps portfolio, which is founded and owned by Beks Ndlovu, a leader in the safari world who was born and raised in Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls is perhaps one of the most iconic places in the whole of Africa and for good reason. Spanning the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this magnificent cascade spans 5,600 feet across and 355 feet tall. When it’s at peak flow, there are few sights more spectacular. Voluminous clouds of mist billow skyward from the falls, inspiring their traditional name ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, or the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. While touring the falls, be ready to get wet if you visit during the months of peak flow. The spray drenches the forests that line the banks of the river and many of the viewpoints. You’ll never feel more alive than when thunder fills your ears, your hair soaked with spray and rainbows shimmering in the mist filled air around you.
No matter what time of year you visit, it will be memorable. The flow is high from February to June, with the peak flow in May and June. During this time, the falls form the largest continual curtain of falling water on Earth. We love pairing a stopover at Victoria Falls with a wildlife safari in Southern Africa and time in Cape Town. Whether we use it as a soft landing into Africa, a dip into civilization in the middle of a long trip or a grand finale, it never fails to impress.
Staying at a small, intimate camp such as Thorntree River Lodge gives you the flexibility to shape your days how you please in a way that the larger hotels in the area can’t offer. On any given day you can choose what activities you want to do, so your time there feels more relaxed and less scheduled – just like the river, you can go with the flow. Though the falls are the primary focus of any stay at Thorntree River Lodge, there are plenty of other activities on offer that let you appreciate the full breadth of the area.
A sunset river cruise on the Upper Zambezi is a must – there’s nothing more magical than sipping cocktails while the coral sky reflects off surface of the water. Stop off at an island in the middle of the river for the ultimate sundowner experience. Because Thorntree offers private cruises to only their guests, you will depart right from your lounge area instead of driving to a shared dock. The experience is much more relaxing and intimate as a result, which we love.
Canoeing or catch-and-release fishing are other great ways to immerse into the river setting. Of course, one of the best ways to enjoy yourself is simply relaxing on the gorgeous floating river deck that makes Thorntree so special. Watch as fish eagles hunt right in front of you, listen to the distant rumble of the falls and watch as dragonflies dance through the air.
In nearby Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, you can go on classic game drives in search of big game, go birdwatching or spend time tracking rhinos. For those that just can’t get enough wildlife during their trip, this is a great option. A cultural experience or a visit to the Livingstone Museum are also worthwhile if you have the time during your stay. Livingstone is charming little African town that offers a glimpse into the daily life of the locals. Donkey carts pulling a farmer’s haul amble past your vehicle. Women catch up together as they do their shopping and men sip cold cokes in the shade of a tree.
Stretched along a peaceful section of the Upper Zambezi River, Thorntree River Lodge is all about riverfront living at its best. Panoramic views and understated luxury define the ambiance of our favorite Victoria Falls accommodation. Since Thorntree is located 20 minutes upstream from the falls and the bustle of Livingstone town, it feels like a safari camp instead of a hotel as many of the options in the immediate vicinity of the falls do. We love that its safari-like atmosphere gives it an effortless flow between your time in the bush and there.
With the chic, organic design and plethora of creature comforts, you’d never realize it’s an eco-conscious retreat that works in harmony with the natural setting. The clean lines of the design contrast with the fluidity of the river while a neutral color palette lets the setting shine as the real star. Plush linens, floor-to-ceiling open air design, roomy suites and thoughtful touches create a barefoot luxury that we adore.
It has all the creature comforts you’d expect from a high-end camp, such as a spa, private plunge pools, indoor and outdoor showers overlooking the river, private decks, soaking tubs and a large pool and campfire area. However, thanks to its location near a town, it can offer elevated amenities that you don’t normally find in off-the-grid bush camps. While at Thorntree, you can enjoy extra perks such as a gym, hairdryers, wifi and air conditioning.
The service offers a blend of polished and relaxed feels-like-family hospitality – think freshly baked scones and piping hot coffee delivered to your suite in a butler’s pass-through at your desired wake up time. Simply put, life is good when you’re at Thorntree.
With years of experience taking his own children on safari, owner Beks Ndlovu knows exactly what families need and want in a safari camp. The spacious family suite is connected by a walkway, so parents are close to their children, but still have their own space. With both a private plunge pool and a large main pool, kids will love it. The Ngwana Club for children offers nature walks around camp, arts and crafts projects, cooking lessons and other specialist activities that will keep them entertained. If parents want some alone time, Thorntree also offers childminders on request.
A big reason we love Thorntree River Lodge is what it represents in the wider world of ecotourism. We are deeply committed to supporting any camps, reserves and projects that truly embody the ethos of ecotourism – sustainability, community development and giving back. We’re not the first people to celebrate Beks Ndlovu and his company African Bush Camps, and we won’t the be the last.
He is a born and raised Zimbabwean who has founded one of the most successful luxury safari companies in Africa. With his roots as a professional safari guide in his native Zimbabwe, he saw the opportunity to start his own company in 2006 and has skyrocketed to success from there. With camps now spanning Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, he represents the future of community-led ecotourism that keeps a higher percentage of tourism dollars in the immediate economies. We hope to see more and more of these operations emerge in the footsteps of Ndlovu and look forward to supporting them as enthusiastically as we do African Bush Camps.
If you’re looking for the embodiment of riverfront bliss, Thorntree River Lodge is the place for you. Bringing chic style and a refreshing tranquility to this world-famous destination, you can escape the crowds and enjoy Victoria Falls at your own pace. This is the perfect complement to any safari and a must for first-time visitors to Southern Africa.
Check out our Natural Wonders of Southern Africa itinerary to pair a stay at Thorntree River Lodge with time at a luxurious Cape Town boutique hotel and two diverse areas in the coveted Okavango Delta-Linyanti ecosystem. After the vibrant cultural scene of the city and an action-packed wildlife safari, a relaxing finale at Victoria Falls is the perfect way to reflect on your big African adventure.
After an intense year, travel is the escape you need right now. With numerous promising vaccines now on the market, we can once again dive head first into planning trips to dreamy far-away destinations.
Have you missed the thrill of anticipation and excitement leading up to a trip? The moment you first step off a plane in a new country - full of possibility and experiences waiting to be had? The rush of new sights, smells and sounds engulfing your senses and setting your soul on fire?
We know we have.
In honor of travel planning being back on the table, we have created our Top 10 Trips of 2021 - ten gorgeous adventures crafted for the times. You may notice more single country itineraries than in past years' selections. This is because we have adapted for the current circumstances, opting for itineraries that minimize the hassle of border crossings and additional testing requirements by staying in one country and exploring all it has to offer. These are all about a more relaxed pace of travel and diving deeper into these amazing destinations.
So dig those suitcases out of storage, charge your camera batteries and brush the dust off your passport because travel is BACK!
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