Safari holidays aren’t the most relaxing kind of break. And we don’t mean to say that’s a drawback, only that a safari will have you on high alert. Imagine this. You’re moving through landscape after landscape, from prairies to vast deserts to dense bushland, keeping your eyes open for that treasured sighting of one of the Big Five. Will a lone, fierce lion cross your path, or will it be a family of elephants? All the while, you’re feeling the African heat on your skin and the winds beat down as you cruise along in an speedy, open-air vehicle.
Of course, you can take an evening to wind down beneath the starry skies of your camp, but some of us might need a little more out of the holiday. Which is why we would recommend taking a combined safari and beach holiday. Here are our best recommendations for this unique kind of vacation, whether you’re a family, couple, or a solo traveller.
Maasai Mara meets Mombasa
For your dream safari holiday, you can’t go past Kenya. Home to the Maasai Mara, a large national game reserve and renowned biodiversity haven, this part of the world is considered to be one of the best safari destinations. Between the months of July and September, there is the rare opportunity to witness the wildebeest migration, which happens every year. If you’re lucky, you might also see roving giraffe, zebra, hippo, lion, and cheetah on a game drive in the grasslands of the park.
And then the real relaxation begins. Via Nairobi, you can make your way to the southeastern part of Kenya, Mombasa, where there are white-sand beaches and pristine waters. There, you can make yourself comfortable at the beachfront Voyager Resort Hotel. With expansive views of the Indian Ocean - just think of those glorious sunset views - you will get to while away the afternoon in the resort's infinity pool, or treat yourself to a indulgent dinner in one of the resort’s three restaurants and bars.
Suggested tour: Kenya Grand Safari - Four-Night Mombasa Beach Extension
Kruger and a long coastal drive
Over the years, South Africa's Kruger National Park has become synonymous with safari. Africa’s oldest wildlife conservation area will give you the chance to spot wildebeest, giraffe and zebra on an unforgettable game drive, as well as one of the Big Five: lion, rhino, elephant, leopard and buffalo. After what’s sure to be a series of almost surreal moments, you can make that smooth transition from exciting safari escape to beach heaven.
Fly to the lively city of Port Elizabeth, where you can take it all in at one of the region’s popular beach resorts. What’s more, this town will be your starting point. From here, you can explore the scenic Garden Route, stopping for a dip at Plettenberg Bay, for the views at Western Head, for the whale-spotting at Hermanus and for the incredible coastal roads of Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Suggested tour: Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls Extension
Tranquil Mossel Bay and the Garden Route Game Lodge
Now for a bit of a reversal. If you would prefer to be eased into the action, begin in Kenya’s tranquil harbour town of Mossel Bay where you can indulge in a two-night stay at an elegant coastal Garden Route resort. Treat yourself to a relaxing nature cruise at coastal Knysna.
Then comes the safari part. From the Garden Route Game Lodge, which lies in the heart of a privately-owned reserve, you can head out beneath the looming Langeberg mountains and try your luck spotting the Big Five: lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards and buffalo.
Suggested tour: Cape Town, the Garden Route & Big Five Safari
Tempted to make your next trip a safari beach holiday? Check out our full list of safari beach experiences.