Asia to Africa: Top Jungle Safari Spots
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to heed the call of the jungle (ideally without having to rough it too much)—but are you up to the challenge?
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to heed the call of the jungle (ideally without having to rough it too much)—but are you up to the challenge? If the turquoise waters of Bali have lost their sheen, and the throbbing hedonism of Khaosan Road is simply too tiresome, heading into the jungle might be just what the doctor ordered. One of the latest properties to join the boutique Secret Retreats collection is Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris. The camps are located in Yala and Wilpattu Parks in Sri Lanka, while the campsites are made up of non-permanent structures, ensuring minimal impact on the parks. Worried about braving it in the wilderness? Rest easy on king-sized beds along with other modern comforts. As well as leopards you can expect to come in contact with sloths, elephants, deer, birds, reptiles and other wildlife. The all-inclusive experience includes accommodation, drinks, two game drives per day, all meals and snacks, national park fees and taxes, as well as tailored packages for those traveling with children and those on their honeymoon. All-inclusive rates start from $6,600 for two people per night, secret-retreats.com/leopardsafaris.
&Beyond Tiger & Jungle Safari
India’s a little-thought of safari destination, but the country is rich with easily explored wildlife. &Beyond’s Tiger & Jungle Safari in North India will take you seriously off the beaten track and back to nature. This 11-day India tour visits some of the country’s amazing cultural attractions and jungle safaris, covering five destinations, starting with Delhi, where you’ll spend a couple of days exploring the city’s markets, mosques and minarets. The next stage takes you deep into Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera territory with explorations of Kanha National Park. You can expect to get up close and personal with deer, monkeys, wild boars, tigers, leopards, sloths and more than 300 species of birds, all from the comfort of Banjaar Tola Tented Camp in the park itself. Days six to eight take you to Bandhavgarh National Park, which boasts a thriving tiger population. Spend three nights at Mahua Kothi Jungle Lodge meeting Tigger and pals, before flying to Varanasi, a city on the banks of the River Ganges and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world for sightseeing and a sunset boat ride. From there you’ll fly on to Delhi and catch the train to Agra to explore Agra Fort and of course the Taj Mahal. The fully inclusive rate per person is $72,700 and includes shared accommodation, all transfers, sightseeing and overland trips and most fees. &Beyond is offering a range of discounts and/or free nights; for details see andbeyond.com.
Flight Centre is offering a well-priced, eight-day Botswana & Victoria Falls Adventure which will take you from Namibia to Zambia on an African adventure. You’ll have the opportunity to meet San bushmen, see the elephants of Chobe National Park and explore the Okavango Delta by dug-out mokoro canoes. And you can forget five-star hotels and 1,500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets—you’ll be overnighting in traditional bushmen huts (not every night, don’t worry). The journey all begins in the scorching Kalahari Desert, where you’ll check out traditional dance group performances before hitting the great wildlife habitat of the Okavango Delta on dug-out canoes. You’ll then be paddled deep into the delta before arriving at the bush camp. By the time you hit day six it’s all about the elephants, which you have a decent chance of seeing at Chobe National Park, which is home to the largest pachyderm population in Southern Africa. Day seven takes you to a Zambezi River crossing, Livingstone and Victoria Falls with optional white water rafting on the Zambezi River and bungee jumping at the falls. Flight Centre packages start from $14,399 and include seven nights in a variety of accommodation, most meals, transport between destinations, and some activities and excursions included.
Focusing on the wildlife, Kenya and Tanzania Overland is an equally affordable 10-day trip which offers a lot of Africa action. Heading into the Serengeti savannah you’ll be hunting the Big Five (with cameras. Sorry, American dentists). All-terrain adventure vehicles and camping will keep you close to the action. In addition to game drives in Lake Nakuru National Park, Masai Mara Game Reserve and Musoma/Serengeti National Park, you can expect boat rides, bird watching on the shores of Lake Victoria, Ngorongoro Crater/Arusha, viewing Mount Kilimanjaro and more. Packages start from $17,999 and include nine nights of camping at “simple” hotels, some meals and transport, entrances and game drives. flightcentre.com.hk, 2830-2899.