If you are planning an African safari, chances are that the main reason you are going is to see the wildlife. Whether your interest is the Big 5, the Big Cats or the other animal icons of the African landscape, a safari is one of life’s unforgettable travel experiences.
If you are looking for a way to make your trip even more meaningful, and want a wildlife experience that is beyond the traditional Tanzania safari route, then do consider the following unique wildlife encounters that may just become the highlight of your trip.
1. Serengeti Cheetah Project
If you are thinking about a Tanzania safari, then the Serengeti is probably part of your itinerary. Cheetah are well known to migrate from the central to the southern Serengeti annually, and in order to understand more about this beautiful cat, the Serengeti Cheetah Project has been set up to identify the cheetah’s habits and movements. If you would like to be part of this project and learn more about cheetah on your Tanzania safari, you can participate in the project by staying at a camp or lodge affiliated with it, such as Sanctuary Kusini. Guests at this camp can elect to take part in game drives with the specific aim of finding cheetah and identifying them. They can then submit their photographs to the project in order to track the history of each individual cheetah passing through this route throughout its life. Not only are guests able to learn more about the cheetah, they can also find out which cheetah they have seen and know they are helping in the conservation of this elusive cat during their Tanzania safari.
2. Animal Orphanage Education Centre in Nairobi
If you are travelling on a Kenya safari, at some point you will most likely be passing through Nairobi at the start or end of your stay. Despite seeing a wide range of animals in the wild during your stay, one activity that is highly recommended is a visit to the Animal Orphanage Education Centre in Nairobi – either on the way to or from the airport before or after your Kenya safari. This refuge and rehabilitation centre for abandoned or injured animals includes lion, cheetah, hyena, jackal, leopard, ostrich, monkey and more. A visit here allows you to expand your knowledge about the methods of conservation of Kenya safari animals and gives you the opportunity to see some of these animals very close up – with the highlight for many being able to play with the cheetah.
3. Walking with Lions in Zambia or Zimbabwe
If lions captivate you and you would like to see them from the ground rather than a vehicle, consider the ‘Lion Encounter’ experience offered in Zambia or Zimbabwe. This is Africa’s first programme to reintroduce the offspring of rehabilitated captive bred lions back into the wild, securing the opportunity to see lions on an African safari for future generations. Participating in this incredible experience not only gives you a greater understanding of the lion, it also contributes to the project. You are able to walk with two lion cubs as they explore the bush (in the company of a guide) – no leashes nor collars – getting close enough to touch them. A memory to last a lifetime.
This article was written by Kerry-Anne Smith of Sanctuary Retreats, who can tailor-make a Tanzania safari including assisting the Serengeti cheetah project. They also operate one Kenya safari camp and a number of other lodges and camps in Africa.