December 5

Our Top African Destinations for 2023

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December 5, 2022

Still determining where your next dream holiday will be this coming 2023? Are you in the mood for adrenaline-fueled, blood-pumping adventure? Or perhaps some laid-back beach time? How about a spot so saturated with natural splendour that you'll feel like you've travelled back to before humankind existed? Well, we know a place to meet your every want and desire. Here are our top African destinations to fulfil all your vacation fantasies for 2023!

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Linyanti: Secluded Water-Rich Wildlife Sanctuary

It's no secret in the world of safari – water equals wildlife. And, if you're craving a cloistered area where animals come in abundance and people are few, well, there's no better African destination than the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve in Botswana.

Linyanti offers a genuinely private escape that allows up-close and personal encounters with wildlife. The region boasts a stunning, untouched landscape with rivers and lagoons, riverine forests, islands and ancient trees. Thanks to its remote location (only reachable by light aircraft), visitors are promised an African vacation of a lifetime, complete with off-roading, night drives, land and water safaris, walking excursions, fishing, and starry-night sleep-outs.

Mokoro safari through the waterways

Boasting two-thirds of the Savute Channel, Image Credit: African Bush Camps

The Maasai Mara: A True Out to Africa Experience

One of our favourite African destinations has to be Kenya's most revered reserve, the Maasai Mara. Made famous thanks to the novel turned film Out to Africa starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, the Masaai Mara will make you feel like you've fallen into a fairytale of natural splendour.

Picture vast open plains peppered with umbrella-shaped acacia trees and animals of all shapes and sizes ambling about. The area is not only known for thriving lion, cheetah, and leopard populations, but it's also the starting point for one of the oldest pilgrimages in history, the Great Wildebeest Migration. The reserve enjoys an excellent year-round concentration of game, but if you're looking for front-row seats to the Great Migration, we'll guide you on exactly when and where you should be.

Elephants beneath an acacia tree

Kenya's most revered reserve, the Maasai Mara 

Victoria Falls: Spectacles and Stuff of Legends

A classic African destination for romantics, safari enthusiasts and adrenaline addicts alike, the famed Victoria Falls is sure to impress no matter your preference. In fact, because it offers something for everyone, it's one of our steady staples on our travel itineraries.

As the home of a seemingly limitless array of adventure activities, including bungee jumping, canoeing, and white water rafting, Victoria Falls proudly claims the title of Adrenaline Capital of Africa. However, you are not only limited to heart-stopping waterfall thrills – there's a bounty of wilderness areas and romantic retreats to enhance your African experience.

Victoria Falls from Aerial View

The largest sheet of falling water in the world

Lower Zambezi: Macrocosm Free From Mankind

One of our Travel Experts' dream African destinations (when it comes to their personal bucket list must-visits) is the Lower Zambezi National Park. It's an isolated land of pristine natural beauty. And – if you've seen it all when it comes to spectacular safaris – the Lower Zambezi should be next on your list!

You'll find the national park downstream from Victoria Falls adjacent to Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. Its location affords stunning views of the Zambezi River, an infinite area of flawless wilderness, and lush riverside surroundings. An absurd volume of animals calls the Lower Zambezi's unique array of ecosystems home, including enormous herds of elephants, leopards, buffalo and lions.

Landscape of the Lower Zambezi at sunset

Zambia’s most bio-diverse national park

Sabi Sand: Luxury Living in Leopard-Rich Lands

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is THE best African destination if you're looney for elusive leopards. However, in this revered Greater Kruger National Park reserve, you'll find that leopards are not that elusive – they're seemingly everywhere! What's more, together with the highest leopard concentration in South Africa, Sabi Sand's Big 5 territory boasts many award-winning luxury lodges and excellent game viewing.

Sabi Sand is clearly a year-round destination because the reserve's sole migratory species are birds, which are magnificent even out of season. Enjoy nature excursions via 4x4 or foot and savour breathtaking views of the biodiverse wildlife population that calls it home. You're likely to see the famed Big 5 in addition to hyena clans, packs of wild dogs, a variety of antelope species, giraffes, hippos, and more.

Londolozi Founders Camp lit up by lanterns

Over a dozen luxury lodges to choose from, Image Credit: Londolozi Founders Camp

Odzala-Kokoua National Park: Tarzan Jungle Terrain 

Are you picturing something with profuse forest greenery and lush leafy canopies? Walking wild paths surrounded by dense jungle? A place filled with sounds of singing birds, chirping crickets and tricklings of distant flowing streams? Something from a Tarzan movie, right? Well, we have an African destination just for you. Say hello to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo!

The Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a tropical rainforest that's so large it's considered the earth's second lung after the Amazon. You'll find this overgrown wonderland within the deep, dark, dense and utterly dazzling Congo Basin. Now, you may not be swinging from trees, but look forward to a rare meeting with the mighty western lowland gorillas.

Trekking through the swampy forest terrain

A place of stunning biological diversity, Image Credit: Lango Camp

Alphonse Island: Azure Waters and White Beaches

Now, you may be surprised that Africa isn't all about wildlife and safaris. No, we actually have some of the world's most pristine and picturesque tropical islands too! One of which is Seychelles' Alphonse Island in the Indian Ocean. Think powdery white sand beaches, coconut forests, azure waters and exquisite marine life.

We absolutely adore this African destination as it's remote and offers stylish accommodation, luxurious experiences, endemic plant life and a range of exotic animals, including sea turtles and ancient Aldabra tortoises. From lazy days on the beach, at the pool, or unwinding at the spa to hours filled with fun ocean and island activities, Alphonse offers the best of both worlds. It's remote enough to soothe your soul but with various facilities to make your stay as adventurous as you'd like.

Woman in a hammock on a palm-fringed beach

Signature island and ocean experiences, Image Credit: Alphonse Island

Mauritius’ West Coast: Add Beach Vibes to Big 5

But what if you want both Big 5 and barefoot beach bliss? Well… in Africa, you can! One place that we often combine with your safari experience is magnificent Mauritius. There's nothing better than rounding off an exhilarating safari with a week of sunbathing, snorkelling and stunning sunsets.

Mauritius is a palm-fringed oasis of dazzling bleached sands, sapphire oceans, multicoloured coral reefs, and tropical rainforests. The island's West Coast is particularly popular due to its sheltered beaches and world-class resorts. Whether you're a family looking to bond, friends wanting some fun, or a couple seeking romance, Mauritius has a place for you.

Snorkeling

Crystalline waters surround coral-studded coasts

Amboseli: Under Kilimanjaro's Watchful Eye

There's nothing more epic than exploring the vast African wilderness beneath the gaze of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa. Appreciate magnificent views of snow-capped Kilimanjaro peaks, all the while experiencing a wonderful world of wildlife in Amboseli National Park.

Amboseli is the second most visited in Kenya after Maasai Mara National Reserve and provides some of the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania. Apart from its tremendous views, some of our favourite highlights include several exceptional lodges, excellent Big 5 game viewing opportunities, and large herds of elephants.

Elephants grazing with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance

Magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro

Skeleton Coast: Where the Desert Meets the Ocean

We're all about places that are unusual and unique. And that's why Namibia's Skeleton Coast is next on our list of top African destinations for 2023. Located on Namibia's isolated western coastline, the eerie Skeleton Coast is one of the most haunting and intriguing sights around. It's named after the numerous ships that have sunk here over the course of several centuries. 

The rusting wreckage of sunken ships is frequently engulfed in swirling mists, creating gloomy and dramatic scenes. Take scenic flights over the area to get a bird's-eye view of the maritime cemetery below. Beyond the coast, the land's vast and diverse topography includes clay hills scattered along the Hoarusib River, old Welwitschia plants, desert, lichen fields, flowering stones known as lithops, and towering dunes.

Ship wreck along the Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast is a favourite for potographers and nature-lovers alike

Nosy Be: A Remote Tropical Paradise

A place of pure magic and wonder, Nosy Be is Madagascar's foremost tropical beach destination. Not only does the Archipelago offer the essentials of any island holiday (think gorgeous beaches and warm waters), but its lush rainforest is home to lemurs and chameleons too.

If you are into diving – we would definitely recommend this African destination. However, there are also plenty of opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, sailing, and fishing, thanks to the area's mostly sunny environment. When you've had your fill of seascapes, find some time to explore the lesser-travelled hinterland, where you'll find miles of dirt roads only accessible by foot or quad bike. Here, you'll discover ylang-ylang and vanilla plantations, crater lakes, waterfalls, and the stunning Lokobe National Park.

The ultimate deserted island experience

Nyungwe Forest: A Plethora of Primates

Shhh...do you hear that? The quiet rustle? Monkeys are swinging from the branches overhead. Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda is an immense tropical rainforest with a huge biodiversity of flora and fauna, including many primates! 

Of these primates – which include Angolan colobus monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys – the chimpanzee is a celebrity in this neck of the woods! On a gorilla and chimpanzee trekking tour of the forest, you'll have the opportunity to view these species in their natural habitat. Alternatively, you can take to the trees on East Africa's highest canopy walk, suspended 50 metres above, to see the forest floor from a different angle.

Chimpanzee in the forest

Observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat

Take Your Pick of Our Top African Destinations 

From island paradise and Big 5 safaris to rainforests and gorilla trekking, the best African destinations await you. Contact our Rhino Africa Travel Experts, and let's start planning your dream holiday today!

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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