The ways that you can experience wildlife in Africa is extremely diverse but not all suit all safari goers.
The most widely utilised of methods to ‘go on safari’ is in a 4×4 open topped safari vehicle – used widely throughout southern Africa but with closed topped ones used in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). You cover a lot of ground and the animals are generally very relaxed allowing you to get incredibly close to them; your guide will know though not to get too close. The wildlife just see a vehicle and know they are not a threat. A little noisy and smelly perhaps; but not a threat………..just don’t stand up as this changes their opinion of what you are instantly.
At the other end of the spectrum you have walking safaris, which are arguably the most romantic way of experiencing a safari. The trouble is that the animals hear, see and smell you before you have any idea that they know you’re there, and by the time you can see them, you can’t, because they’ve long moved away. You also are unlikely to cover much ground but it is a good way to walk off last night’s glass of wine too many and to see the smaller things which you often miss when in a vehicle.
My personal favourite is by boat or canoe (mekoro in Botswana) but this too has its drawbacks as your view is limited to a few yards from the bank, as you are sitting at water level, before the undergrowth comes into play.
So……………….how to see wildlife, without the noise of a vehicle and the limitations of being on foot.
Simple, just approach the problem from a different angle – from the air.
Here are a few ideas for you.
The Busanga Plains in Zambia’s Kafue National Park – the Busanga Plains, a vast network of seasonal floodplains, teems with wildlife with huge herds of buffalo and their attendant predator, the lion. Large herds of lechwe and puku are also often seen and birdlife flourishes here.
The camps in the Kafue only open in the winter months, from June to October, when the early morning mist rising off the channels evoke an almost mystical feeling to the scene. You can float above the wildlife in almost total silence in the locally based hot air balloon. And the great thing is that if you stay for three nights or more at either Busanga Bush Camp or Shumba Camp, your balloon flight is complementary. The flights operate in August, September and October only.