4 Wild Animal Encounters to Enjoy in Africa That Aren’t a Big 5 Safari
When touring the continent scrap that cliched safari and enjoy these once-in-a-lifetime, authentic African wildlife adventures.
The African continent is largely known for providing visitors to its shores with unparalleled opportunities for encountering wild fauna in its varying natural habitats. The famous Big 5 animals (lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and buffalo) are commonly used by tourist and holidaymakers as criteria for the ideal travel destination when planning their African wildlife adventures.
Sure, a game drive through a Big 5 park, like Chobe or Kruger can be an exhilarating and memorable experience; one that has delighted and will continue to delight countless tourists.
However, because the safari experience is so synonymous with any travel exploits in and around Africa, it runs the risk of feeling cliched and somewhat expected.
That’s why to keep your adventures fresh and exciting, the experts at Travel Republic Africa recommend the following 4 unique African animal encounters.
Off the African continent’s eastern coast, the world’s fourth-largest island, Madagascar defines adventure. Because of its relatively long geographical isolation over several millennia, the African island nation boasts some of the world’s most impressive biodiversity with a large portion of its native animal and plant species found nowhere else on the planet. Most notable of this is the lovable lemur, a primate species made of 100s of variants found all over the island.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is a protected wildlife and forest preserve in the country’s central eastern region. Offering unbelieve opportunities to encounter many lemur species (including the largest of all lemurs, the Indri), the park is prime lemur-spotting country. There are a variety of lodging options available as well as opportunities to encounter many of the island’s other strange and wonderful creatures, like the giraffe weevil.
Unmatched in intensity, a trek through central African jungles to see gorillas in their natural habitat is arguably the most exhilarating animal encounter possible on the African continent. The commonest and most accessible countries to visit in order to go on a gorilla trek are Rwanda and Uganda.
Though this unforgettable experience is hardly inexpensive and requires far more than a little effort and planning, it is undoubtedly a rewarding and enriching one. Few travel adventures can compare really. The arduous trek through dense jungle followed by the humbling encounter with the giant apes are where travel legends are born. Several reliable options are available for tour guides through the region and it’s definitely recommended to do extensive research before embarking on the expedition… or better yet, chat to an expert like Travel Republic Africa to give you all the relevant information. We can even book your entire trip for you!
GREAT WHITE SHARKS
Whether you wish to overcome a crippling fear of the mighty marine creatures or simply eager to encounter them in person, a great white shark cage dive off the South African coast is an unforgettable adventure, and one that will leave you pumped with adrenaline and filled with lifelong memories.
The picturesque Gansbaai region of the Western Cape is home to a notably large population of great whites and has for decades been the South African capital of shark cage diving and one of the best places in the world to get up close to the planet’s greatest predatory fish. Several tour operators function within the area, making it one of the most accessible animal encounters on the continent.
As with most, if not all, travel itineraries on the continent, it’s a good idea to investigate all options and do your relevant research before leaving. Or consult with the experts at Travel Republic who, based on their decades of experience in the travel and tourism industry can guide and assist in creating the ideal travel plans for your specific needs, wants and budget.
SEALS AND PENGUINS
Surrounded by well over 30,000 kilometres of coastline, Africa’s coastal waters are home to countless species of magnificent marine life. Two of the most iconic and fascinating of Africa’s seaside settlers are surely the Cape fur seal and African penguin (formerly known as the Jackass penguin). Found along the coastal of waters of Southern Africa, any trip to this region, primarily South Africa and Namibia, will yield plentiful opportunities to get up close and personal with these loveable and photogenic creatures.
Boulders Beach, a stunning cove situated along the False Bay side of the Cape Peninsula, is only about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and ostensibly ground zero for everything African penguin. Here you can enjoy prime viewing spots of the breeding colony as well as unmatched opportunities for that #penguinselfie. If crowds aren’t your thing, however, take a drive a bit further afield towards Betty’s Bay along the R44 coastal highway. Another, equally impressive, colony of penguins can be found at Stony Point Nature Reserve, which at approximately 90 kilometres from downtown Cape Town is also reasonably accessible.
Any visitor to Cape Town would surely have enjoyed a memorable encounter with the often-comical Cape fur seal. This playful pinniped can be found along the entire Cape peninsula all the way up to Namibia. When touring the Cape be sure to look out for seals at the V&A Waterfront, Hout Bay and Kalk Bay. In Hout Bay you can take a short boat ride to the nearby Duiker Island, a small rocky island just off the coast that’s home to a vibrant and lively colony of the seal species.
Further north and far off the well-worn touristy South African tracks, Cape Cross is a beach and seal colony along Namibia’s epic Skeleton Coast. Home to some 100,000 individuals the Cape Cross colony is in fact the largest, making it well worth the visit.