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Throughout travel’s evolution, the term ‘Africa off the beaten track’ has become synonymous with idealistic wanderers who desperately crave new perspectives on the already overworn tourist trail.
But if travel is considered the best form of education, think of this as your introductory masterclass. These destinations go where few have gone before, and offer deeper, richer, and much more fulfilling experiences. Whether straying solo, creating shared meaning with a significant other, or taking the entire family along for the ride, as you’ll soon find out, the following hand-picked options offer rewards that are always worth the extra effort.
For those who enjoy water, tranquillity and all things wild, Botswana is the perfect getaway.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe the entire country of Botswana as a national park. Even the spaces between designated parks are wild and free, and you’ll often find warthog trotting through the towns, big old bull elephant wandering across the highways and even wild dog between farms.
Between the wet and wild regions of the Chobe River and Okavango Delta, to the vast Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans, and even the southern Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that spills over into South Africa, the country offers a smorgasbord of tasty adventures.
Zimbabwe’s conventional safari circuit has never really been well-trodden.
Most of Zimbabwe resides atop a high plateau, forming the watershed boundary between two of Southern Africa’s greatest rivers: the Zambezi and the Limpopo.
However, the country’s main drawcard is its whopping swathes of wonderful wilderness packed full of game and birdlife. Its five fantastic national parks are a nature lover’s nirvana, each one offering a safari experience unique to the next, and contrary to belief, Zimbabwe’s people are some of the world’s friendliest, with a renewed enthusiasm for tourist interest – often welcoming visitors with open arms.
Trust us, the place has a fantastic habit of surpassing travellers’ wildest expectations.
Zambia’s most remote corners feature a slew of untamed wilderness.
Roll all your romantic notions of Africa into one – crashing waterfalls; rivers reflecting the sunrise; kilometres of wilderness hopping with wildlife – and that’s Zambia. Home to the jaw-dropping Victoria Falls and birthplace of the walking safari, which emphasises becoming part of nature instead of simply observing it, Zambia is diverse and wonderfully unspoiled.
The main draw: North Luangwa. It resembles Africa from a century ago. With restricted public access and a handful of tiny temporary camps, ensuring you won’t see many – or any – other tourists around.
Southern Africa’s desert country is the perfect mixture of adventurous, beautiful, accessible, and attainable.
Of the countries on our ‘Africa off the beaten track’ list, Namibia is arguably the most comprehensively tourist-friendly. But it’s also the second-least-densely populated country in the world. And it’s easy to see why: desert takes up the bulk of the landmass and outside of its short rainy season, it’s a very arid place.
Expect exceptional wildlife – including a quarter of the world’s cheetahs and the last free-ranging population of black rhino – along with a well-developed network of parks, reserves and safari lodges, as well as landscapes that are some of the most photographed and gasped at in the world, meriting a visit in their own right.
Every place has hidden gems or lesser-known sweet spots that are just waiting to be discovered.
The true wonder of travel inherently lies in coming face to face with the unknown and getting lost in the beauty of a place on the very brink of mainstream discovery.
From remote islands to unexplored deserts and jungles teeming with wildlife, Africa is constantly at the ready with new untapped destinations to make even the most intrepid traveller swoon in awe-struck delight. For the true adventurers out there, get out and discover the latest trove of unspoiled treasures and find inspiration all your own.
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Daryll is Capetonian to his core. Following an internship in Mexico and a solo trek through the United States, he returned home with a renewed perspective and an uncanny skill for content marketing. Aside from his writing, he enjoys reading non-fiction and rewatching Quentin Tarantino films. When he is not hunched over a keyboard you can find him hiking along the mountainside, unpacking the science behind pop music or crafting the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea.
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