1. A guiding life
Join guides from Alex Walker’s Serian camps in their annual refresher training in Tanzania’s Serengeti. You don’t need to be an expert yourself, but you do need to have an interest in all things wild and wonderful beyond the Big Five. Together you’ll learn about birds, bugs and beasts through scientific facts and local bushlore. A five-night Serian Pyramids of Life course costs from Dh15,800 full-board, excluding flights. Departs March 2019. Aardvark Safaris (aardvarksafaris.co.uk).
2. Campfire cookery
Safari chefs conjure up fabulous meals in remote locations. Learn their craft on a campfire cookery course in the wildlife-rich Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa, a country renowned for its braais (barbecues). With private tuition from Kwandwe’s culinary team, study the art of barbecuing kudu and impala, make boerewors (spicy sausage) and create delicious desserts. From Dh10,480 per night for six people at Kwandwe Uplands Homestead, an exclusive-use farmhouse with guide and vehicle. Three nights’ minimum stay for the Culinary Experience, which costs Dh5,030 per person. With Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk).
3. Make it snappy
Head to Kenya to capture on camera its wondrous wild animals on a photographic safari with award-winning photographer Paul Goldstein. In his own inimitable and enthusiastic style, he’ll help you transform your snaps into super shots. Pack a sense of humour and plenty of patience — you’ll have early starts and long days, but those perfect pictures will be worth it. A seven-night trip staying at Kicheche Bush Camp, in Olare Motorogi conservancy, is available with Exodus (exodus.co.uk).
4. Walk the walk
Nothing beats the exhilaration of exploring Africa’s wild places on foot — you see, smell and hear more than you ever can in a Land Cruiser. Mapazi, a remote bush camp that opened recently in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, focuses on walking. It is owned by renowned guide Deb Tittle, who will help you interpret life in the bush. Mapazi is simple but has everything you need, from hot showers to cold mocktails. A 10-day trip with seven nights at Mapazi is available at Safari Consultants (safari-consultants.com).
5. Easel does it
Keen artists and beginners alike will love the new Rift Valley Painters’ Adventure to Malawi with Art Safaris, taking in Majete Game Reserve, Liwonde National Park and the Shire River, plus Mumbo Island on Lake Malawi. It’s slow travel at its best, with time to study nature’s beauty as you paint dramatic landscapes, wildlife and village life with expert tuition from artist Mary-Anne Bartlett. A 12-night Rift Valley Painter’s Adventure costs from Dh18,630 full-board excluding flights. Departs September 4. Art Safari (artsafari.co.uk).
[Check out the landscape from Africa’s highest mountain: A mother writes about her journey to the summit of mount Kilimanjaro, her two young sons in tow]
6. In the saddle
A riding safari gives a different perspective on the bush. Imagine being on horseback in the open savannah among antelopes, giraffe and zebra, all undisturbed by your presence — the horse is just another animal and poses no threat. Ant’s Nest in Waterberg, South Africa, has 90 horses ranging from thoroughbreds to ponies, suitable for all riders, from beginners to experienced equestrians, who want to gallop across the plains. From Dh1,230 per adult and Dh790 per child per night full-board, including horse riding and various safari activities. The Ant Collection (waterberg.net).
7. Living with lions
To mark its 35th anniversary, Wilderness Safaris is offering ‘Trips with a Purpose’ focusing on its conservation and community partners. As Africa’s lions struggle to survive because of human encroachment, this unique trip focuses on human wildlife conflict in Namibia’s bleak but beautiful Kaokoveld. Staying at Damaraland Camp, you will spend time with rangers and researchers tracking desert-adapted lions and meet the people living alongside them. All proceeds support the Desert Lion Project. A six-day Addressing Human Wildlife Conflict trip starts in Windhoek on November 26 and costs from Dh20,000 full-board, including international flights. Yellow Zebra Safaris (yellowzebrasafaris.com).
8. Young explorers
Take the children on a special safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. The Young Explorers Club at Footsteps Across the Delta teaches children bush skills, identifying animal tracks, cooking on a fire, making bows and arrows and fishing. The entire camp is exclusively yours and parents can do their own thing or join in the fun for some unforgettable family bonding. A nine-night safari based on two adults and two children (aged seven to 12) sharing, staying at Footsteps and in the Central Kalahari and Moremi Game Reserves, is available at Expert Africa (expertafrica.com).
9. Get creative
Discover your inner author on a creative writing retreat/safari at El Karama Lodge in Kenya’s beautiful Laikipia region. With a combination of seminars, practical exercises and discussions focusing on characterisation, description, dialogue and setting, the six-day course offers feedback from acclaimed writers in a place renowned for its exquisite wilderness and tranquillity. A six-day retreat costs from Dh9,000, including full board and accommodation, safari activities, conservation fees and transfers to and from Nanyuki. Available to writers of all abilities. The next retreat will be in spring 2019. El Karama Lodge (elkaramalodge.com).
10. Float your boat
For a spine-tingling safari, try canoeing and wild camping on Zimbabwe’s mighty Zambezi river. With exceptional guides, you’ll paddle past big game that looks even bigger at water level, keeping an eye out for crocs and hippos. The Tamarind Canoe Safari takes four days, from Chirundu to Mana Pools National Park — a World Heritage Site renowned for its prolific wildlife. You’ll sleep in dome tents on islands under the stars, enhancing that back-to-nature vibe. A four-day trip costs from Dh2,810, excluding park fees ($100) and international flights. Longer, more intrepid trips are available. Zambezi Safari and Travel Company (zambezi.com).
[Looking for unusual and affordable safaris? Check out Eswatini, the country formerly known as Swaziland]
The Sunday Telegraph