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Easter escapes in Africa

In the dark, dreary months of February, nothing beats anticipating warmer days and having an adventure to look forward to. The Easter holidays beckon, and with them all manner of opportunities for exploring Africa with your family. The rains will be falling in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, so if it’s a safari you are looking for, it’s an excellent time of year to head further south and west. The following destinations enjoy good weather in April, and tend not to be too busy. Zimbabwe The more water there is in a waterfall, the more impressive it will be. It makes perfect sense. In April, the Zambezi River is in full spate due to the rains, and the river comes crashing down at Victoria Falls with a thundering roar and billowing clouds of mist. Victoria Falls marks the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kolo tribe who live in the area call it The Smoke That Thunders, which is an apt moniker as it captures both the sound and the sight. When the sun’s rays hit the clouds of mist, there are dozens of dancing rainbows, increasing the site’s photographic appeal. The falls are only a short distance from the Mana Pools National Park, so you can easily combine a couple of days in Victoria Falls with a thrilling safari. Families travelling with teenagers will also find all manner of adventures in Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is a natural habitat for leopard; they like the varied vegetation, and the plentiful antelope ensure they never go hungry. Namibia The deserts of Sossusvlei and Etosha in Namibia are brought to life as soon as the first light rains fall. By April, the landscapes have turned green, even the deserts are decorated with a sprinkling of flowers. With the growing vegetation, the animals and birds are well fed and content. In April, it is also cool enough to go hiking in Damaraland, which is surely one of the most scenic part of Namibia. Barren plains, forests, mountains, and valleys shape the landscape, and there are some superb walking trails. Even if you’re not feeling particularly active, I’d recommend taking a drive through Damaraland, stopping for a picnic somewhere that you can soak up the sublime views. South Africa KwaZulu Natal in South Africa is one of my very favourite family friendly destinations to visit during April. Known as the Garden Province, KwaZulu Natal stretches out along the Indian Ocean coast. It’s not only scenic, but there are opportunities for whale watching, too. The most exciting attractions in KwaZulu Natal, however, are the battlefields from the Anglo-Zulu Wars. Here, you will learn the real stories behind films such as Rorke’s Drift and Zulu. The guides – often passionate amateur historians – are some of the best in Africa, and might even let you handle antique weapons from the wars. Botswana Botswana is an incredible country with many unique destinations, but in April my #1 pick is the Kalahari Desert. Base yourself at Jack’s Camp for an unforgettable desert experience. One morning you might opt for a meerkat encounter, sitting on the sands as these curious, cuddly creatures use you as a human climbing frame or look out post. Later in the day, you could be quad biking across the Makgadikgadi Pans, or even fossil hunting in the desert. There are numerous archeological sites to discover, and some fascinating opportunities to see the Kalahari’s desert-adapted wildlife. The camp itself is also something very special. The design harks back to the 1920s, and it definitely has a luxury feel with antique furniture, vintage trunks, and fine Persian carpets decorating the floors. You don’t need to wait until the summer holiday for an epic family adventure: Easter is a fabulous time of year to explore together in Africa. Get something in the diary now! Laura Burdett-Munns is Managing Director at Africa Exclusive. Africa Exclusive has been creating the finest tailor-made safaris since 1990, specialising in luxurious accommodation in beautiful remote places. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. Are those cairns of stones marking graves for the fallen in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa? I knowing that traditionally the native tribes marked a grave with a simple pile of stones. But these look larger than usual. Perhaps they are a grave for several men?

  2. Don’t believe that Meerkats are as cuddly as they look! They have a vicious bite and tend to hang-on. The best way to get them to let go is to douse them with water but in an arid environment you may not have loads of water to spare.

    Unfortunately, the Compare the Meerkat in the U.K. for an insurance comparison website has caused people to Disneyfy them as cuddly creatures which they are not. And they are certainly not pets.

    They live in a strictly hierarchical society with sentry duty and kit care allocated. If one Meerkat falls out of line others will attack him and break his legs, leaving he / she to die of starvation.

    If you want to get the full story on Meerkats look out for Professor Ann Rasa’s books. She began her pioneering research on the Dwarf Mongoose and their colonies are even more regimented than the Meerkats’.

  3. When you are a travel addict and only get 23 days annual leave you have to start looking at Bank Holidays, if you live in the U.K. It’s a late Easter this year so you could package up Easter with May Day and escape on a great African Safari without using up too much of your precious holiday allowance. People often don’t know that it only takes a torrential storm for the savannah to become a carpet of yellow and purple flowers.

  4. I lived in Angola for a while and my husband recently returned from Nigeria, and we hold Africa very close to our hearts. I especially love South Africa. The food, the landscapes, the wildlife… it’s just so incredible and none of the photos in the world do the country justice. We did the Garden Route and I was blown away with the beauty… and the price (surprisingly it’s AMAZING value)

  5. It makes a huge difference to the Victoria Falls as to when you visit. The amount of water cascading down the Falls varies throughout the year. It’s not just what you see either, in full flow it is deafeningly loud too. Just imagine what it must have been like for the Kolo Tribe when they first came across the Falls perhaps thousands of years ago. They must have been overwhelmed by it all.

  6. it is so amazing they live in a strictly hierarchical society with sentry duty and kit care allocated. If one Meerkat falls out of line others will attack him and break his legs, leaving he / she to die of starvation.

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