In the introduction to last week’s guest post about volunteer travel in Africa, I mentioned that a South African safari ranks at the top of our baby boomer travel memories. I’ll never forget toasting to a brilliant sunset in the bush with a glass of champagne or the thrill of watching a young lion cub taking a drink with mom at a watering hole. Are you considering a trip to Africa? In today’s guest post, Sandy Salle, the CEO at Hills of Africa, gives us five reasons to travel on an African safari.
While travelers of all ages are susceptible to the magic of Africa, baby boomers have a special appreciation for the continent’s unforgettable culture, wildlife and one-of-a-kind natural energy. The experience is so strong that boomers often consider it their trip of a lifetime.
No matter how discerning or particular your tastes, a trip to Africa can be built to meet your every need, match your personal comfort level and exceed your wildest expectations. Here are the top five reasons a trip to Africa is perfect for baby boomers:
1. Wine and Food
When seeking exceptional cuisine, most travelers think of Europe, but Africa boasts several first-rate wineries and delicious local fare. Visits to South African vineyards and wine safaris can be arranged to include vineyard visits as well as olive oil tastings and wine tasting tours by horseback. Not-to-be-missed vineyards include Stellekaya, known for its outstanding reds and run by Ntsiki Biyela, the first black female winemaker in the country.
Foodies will love exploring the local cuisine, which, contrary to popular belief, is not made from bizarre animals and unseemly parts. Imagine devouring delicious five-star African meals in beautiful settings, such as breakfast in the middle of the Serengeti near residential zebra and wildebeest. Lodge and camp chefs accommodate baby boomers’ dietary restrictions by offering more westernized food in addition to traditional African fare.
2. Comfortable Accommodations
From mobile tents to lavish five-star hotels, and luxurious chalets to romantic tree houses, there are a variety of options sure to satisfy a booomer’s personal comfort level. African safari campsites are often far from the traditional camping experience. With amenities and features such as heated water for morning showers, en-suite toilet facilities, extremely spacious interiors, luxurious bedding and sleeping conditions, plus lavish English breakfasts in the morning, you’ll quickly realize that safari tents are built for luxury, not mobility.
For those hesitant about camping in any capacity, luxury chalets are a good alternative, offering a viable option between five-star hotels and mobile safaris. Along with a permanent location, many luxury chalets incorporate elements of nature in their design, boasting nineteenth century safari décor and romance.
Conservative travelers will enjoy the comforts of home in one of Africa’s world-class hotels. For example, the Victoria Falls Hotel—a highly distinguished and hospitable retreat in Zimbabwe—is refurbished and equipped with contemporary facilities so that guests experience the luxury of nineteenth century décor and the convenience of modern amenities.
3. Personalized Pace
One of the benefits of creating a customized safari itinerary is that your vacation is matched to your physical activity level and interests. Leisurely travelers might enjoy a Zambezi river cruise in Zimbabwe, while active baby boomer travelers switch out the cruise for an exciting canoe trip down the river for safe wildlife encounters. Adventure-seeking boomers can partake in a half-day whitewater river rafting cruise at Victoria Falls or experience chimp trekking at Greystoke Mahale in Tanzania. Whether you came to Africa for the wildlife, culture, adventure, or all of the above, Africa has activities to match your unique tastes.
Perhaps it’s the breathtaking views, the intimacy of creating once-in-a-lifetime memories together, or the seclusion of being enclosed in a luxury tent amidst exotic wildlife—Africa is exceptionally romantic. In fact, a large part of my business is honeymoon safaris.
You don’t need to be a newlywed to experience Africa’s romance. It’s the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary, renew your vows or simply reignite the romance in your baby boomer relationship. For example, the Marlin Lodge in Mozambique lays a trail of rose petals up to side-by-side zinc tubs filled with warm bubble baths on a private deck as well as providing sunset bush dinners. Or, experience the romance of Africa in coastal areas, such as South Africa or Zanzibar, with a champagne picnic on the beach.
Africa’s wildlife is one of its most precious assets. From the endangered rhinos to the elusive leopards, a trip to Africa provides boomers with the opportunity to experience the world’s rarest creatures like never before. Night drives, for example, offer a completely new perspective as predators search for their prey in the dark. Hearing a hippo grunting in the dark or a lion growling at its prey is unlike anything you’ll witness at a zoo.
Animals are an integral part of the African landscape. Camps and lodges are designed to provide direct views of the wildlife; for example, Little Makalolo is known as one of the best game-viewing areas for its large waterhole that attracts a menagerie of wild animals. For added safety, armed guards are always on watch.
Whether tracking rhinos from inside a game-viewing vehicle, following a pack of hyenas on elephant-back or walking with the lions on a guided foot tour, baby boomer travelers will experience African wildlife on their own terms when they take a trip to Africa.
Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. Sandy offered solid information about traveling on an African safari that we thought our baby boomer readers would enjoy.
Have you traveled to Africa? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.