surfing Africa
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10 African experiences for the young at heart

Millennial travellers value gathering experiences, not things.  They see life as a collection of moments to be fully enjoyed before one gets too old to care.  The entire generation is redefining the workspace to accommodate the need for exploration, wandering the globe laptop in hand. surfing Africa Africa offers many opportunities to satisfy this yearning for adventure – our Top 10 is sure to inspire the young at heart. 1. Hiking to the top of Sossusvlei Dunes for a sunrise photo session To capture the iconic image of Sossusvlei Dunes with the one half shrouded in the shadows, careful planning is required.  There are only two lodges and one campsite offering sufficiently early access to the dunes.  Most tourists get stuck at Dune 45 which is extremely busy and not good at all for photography unless you are the very first person to arrive.  Carry on all the way to Sossusvlei for sunrise, then quickly hike down to Deadvlei to capture the late morning sun and you will go home with brilliant photographs! Namibia Sossusvlei 2. Surfing a secluded wave on the Skeleton Coast For dedicated surfers, being alone is paramount.  Although the water is cold and the mission is long, surfers on the Skeleton Coast are rewarded with a secluded surf on several beach breaks.  A spirit of adventure is required, as the lodging is minimal to non-existent but that’s all part of the fun! Namibia Surfing 3. Attending Afrika Burn with outfits tailor made by a South African designer Burning Man has inspired several subsidiary burns, but Afrika Burn is definitely one of the best and much more manageable than Burning Man.  Spend a few days with your fellow burners at a Cape Town villa, getting your outfits made by one of the incredibly talented local designers then head out with your crew for your week of adventure in the desert! Afrika Burn 4. Craft gin and food pairing in Cape Town Cape Town’s foodie culture is world class, and the craft movement has hit the Mother City with great enthusiasm.  A mixologist can come to your villa or hotel for an informative tasting combining craft gins with botanicals, or you can go out for a food and gin / wine pairing at one of the unique chef’s tables reserved for those ‘in the know.’ Gin tasting Cape Town 5. Road tripping Namibia with a group of friends in a 4×4 Namibia’s vast open spaces are a tonic for the soul, and a 4×4 trip through the desert is a great experience to share with friends.  The distances are long, so plan for at least a few weeks to include all the incredible landscapes combined with tracking wild mammals along semi-arid riverbeds, camping along the way under endless starry skies. Namibia Giraffe 6. Yoga safari retreat at a stylish private villa in Kenya Given the proximity of wild animals, exercise is very limited on safari.  A few exclusive villas in Kenya offer yoga safaris merging wellness with wilderness.  An incredibly enriching experience, clients enjoy the silence of observing wild animals combined with the stillness of yoga and fresh organic food. 7. Island hopping Northern Mozambique on a traditional dhow The Quirimbas Archipelago is the perfect subject for postcard-perfect travel dreams.  A collection of secluded islands offers the backdrop for this offbeat experience.  Spend a couple of days settling enjoying ancient history in Ile de Mocambique, then set off for 5 days sailing on a traditional dhow sleeping on remote tropical islands along the way. Dhow Sailing Mozambique 8. Camel riding in Samburu Adventurous clients who tire of the safari vehicle can hop on the back of a camel, viewing plains game in Samburu Kenya from a higher perspective.  This is a brief experience but makes an excellent diversion for the relatively disconnected game viewing from a vehicle.  For those weary of camels, horseback and walking safaris are also brilliant ways of getting up close and personal with the wild. 9. White water rafting on the Zambezi There is talk of putting a dam on the Zambezi, which would make the rafting at Vic Falls impossible.  Rafting this river is pretty treacherous and not at all for the fainthearted, but those brave souls are rewarded with a wonderfully wild adventure on the river. Rafting the Zambezi 10. Dance under the stars at Rocking the Daisies Every October, an impressive line-up of top notch local and international bands descends on the Western Cape for a festival ostensibly celebrating the birth of spring and wildflower season.  Set amidst the foothills of rolling mountains, the festival offers the opportunity to enjoy music from a lilo, by the sun, or under the stars. Rocking the daisies Which of these experiences inspires the young in YOUR heart? Willow Constantine is the Founder of Bespoke Safari Co. Bespoke Safari Co. is a boutique travel agency offering cutting edge curated travel experiences in Africa. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Willow Constantine

Willow Constantine is the founder and director of Bespoke Safari Co., a travel agency specializing in curated African experiences. Bespoke Safari Co. designs itineraries as a synergy of craft and travel, including private villa retreats in which clients escape the din of daily life to enjoy slow travel while observing wildlife in its natural habitat. As part of the Bespoke Safari Co. family, clients enjoy the privilege of travelling like a local. Whether exploring the hidden corners of Cape Town, camping with primates in Mahale, or quietly tracking leopard through the kopjes of Southern Tanzania, a Bespoke Safari experience will remain etched in one’s memory forever – we only curate the most unforgettable travel experiences. Willow researches each destination thoroughly for recent weather patterns, discovering any changes to wildlife migration and behavior. She also personally visits each lodge and villa she recommends, ensuring lodges are delivering only the best – at every price level.

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  1. I really like the idea of a 4×4 road trip, and it means you have control over where you go and what you do along the way if you rent a vehicle for a few weeks. I’m not sure I could stomach white water rafting; I think I’d go straight for giving a mixologist a call for some gin & food pairings instead! I can’t get over just how gorgeous the Quirimbas Archipelago is. It looks like the photo has been heavily edited to show such incredible water. Even though it’s not, it’s hard to imagine that’s real. I’ve never seen a place in real life that’s so picture perfect. Absolutely stunning.

    1. Hello Kirsty,

      You are wise to miss the white water rafting as it is extremely hectic but some people love the adrenaline! A road trip with a daily G&T is the typically iconic African experience. About the Quirimbas, if the water is shallow and you shoot it at midday it really does get that turquoise but in absolute truth I took the turquoise up a bit in LR to show how truly spectacular that tropical paradise is in real life. You should visit one day!

    2. I’m no adrenaline junkie, but the white water rafting was one of the trips that sounded AWESOME to me. It’s been years since I’ve done it because a disbility prohibits it. But I’m curious…are there different levels? Example of what I mean..where I used to go rafting, different parts of the river were rated as different catagories. There were sections that were calm, flat waters that were basically sight-seeing trips, a section where it was mixed, some rapids, and some calm, another where it was almost all rapids, but not extreme, and then there was a section that was intense rapids. I did all of the first 3. I didn’t have the nerve, orenough experience to do the 4th. My BF, his nephew, and a few friends went on that trip. Their boat flipped,and another flipped. 3 people nearly drowned when their boat pinned them to a wall that diverted part of the river. None of us has gone again since. But the catagie 3 was a BLAST!!!

    3. I’m no adrenaline junkie, but the white water rafting was one of the trips that sounded AWESOME to me. It’s been years since I’ve done it because a disability prohibits it now. But I’m curious…are there different levels/WW trips? Example of what I mean..where I used to go rafting, different parts of the river were rated as different categories. There was a section/trip that were calm, flat calm waters that were basically sight-seeing trips, a section where it was mixed, some rapids, and some calm, another where it was almost all rapids, but not extreme ones; and then there was a section that was a mix of rapids,much of them being quite intense. I did the first 3. I didn’t have the nerve, or n enough experience to do the 4th. My BF, his nephew, and a few friends went on that trip. Their boat flipped,and another flipped. 3 people nearly drowned when their boat pinned them to a wall that diverted part of the river. None of us has gone again since. But the catagie 3 was a BLAST!!!
      So many of these trips sound just amazing!! You’ve put together such a great variety. Seems to be something for everyone. What a wonderful way to experience the “Dark Continent’

    4. Hello Linda,

      You are right that there are usually several levels offered for river rafting, but the Zambezi rafting from Vic Falls is very much an adrenaline experience. You could definitely do other rafting/canoeing experiences such as the Orange River which are more mellow, but this one is fairly dangerous as a beginner haha!

  2. Gosh so many awesome ideas! I am local and I want to start planning when I can get to each of these… maybe I shall start with the gin mixes and go from there.

    1. Sarah are you local to Cape Town? If so, it would be really cool to get a group of friends together for a gin pairing and mixing evening. Let me know if you want details for someone who does this

  3. As a young lad my first job was working in a tailors. I have always wanted a made to measure suit but never got round to it. Cape Town would be a great place to finally make the dream come true.

    1. There is an incredible tailor on St George’s Mall who does just that, and you can try it out at the fabulous new rooftop bar at Gorgeous George! I hope that dream comes true

  4. Dancing under the stars sounds a better bet to me than taking your chances with the British summer at Glasto. It must be a lot cheaper too.

    1. Daisies is definitely more manageable and less expensive than Glastonbury…you also have more fun in an intimate crowd – with virtually the same artist lineup!

  5. For a photography nut the dunes early morning shot would be a dream come true. Would definitely get up early and race to the top to get that image.

    1. In that case if you ever go, make sure you stay at Sesriem campsite which gets the best access. And rent a 4×4 because the last bit is sandy and you’ll need to drive in on your own. I hope you get that image!

  6. I would love to ride the camel and see the wild animals. Also, the music festival by the water looks like a lot of fun! Food pairing always a good idea. I love the photographs. Very inspiring ideas. So many wonderful adventures in Africa.

    1. It sounds like you are up for a new adventure! You need to come to South Africa ?

  7. Although my ageing bones might hesitate to take on some of these challenges you are so right to use the words “young at heart.” To paraphrase something I heard recently and adapting it for this story: you don’t stop whitewater rafting because you are old, you get old when you stop going white water rafting. There are so many brilliant options here for staying young that I want to try them all.

    1. Thanks Tim. I agree that you are only ever as old as you allow yourself to feel and our family strongly adheres to the concept of playing together to stay together. It keeps us alive and inspired!

  8. I’m becoming obsessed with gin. There is just so much potential for creating distinctive gins and compared to wine or whisky it is so quick to make.

    You don’t mention whether there’s the possibility of creating your own gin from scratch. Recently I went to a Gin School up in Staffordshire and created my own gin.

    It would be a dream say to make a gin out of botanicals to represent that beautiful part of South Africa.

    1. Yes we do have gin making courses in South Africa but it was beyond the scope of this to include it so thank you for pointing out that option! Would you be keen to come try your hand at South African botanical gin making?

  9. This article makes me want to spread my wings and fly. The adventure captured here is palpable. Take me there! Anywhere!

    1. I admire your spirit of adventure and Africa is so full of offbeat opportunities. Get out there!

    1. In that case, Kenya is perfect for you. There are a few great villas offering this a d it’s such a wonderful way to experience the stillness of the wild.

  10. Oh my world this is just brilliant so brilliant – going to send the link to all my overseas mates! So beautiful and so exciting … and bucket list stuff right here! Love it, love it!

  11. If you want an iconic image of open road freedom then get yourself a picture of a VW camper van. On top of that nothing seems to symbolise carefree freedom more than one with an orange paint job. That picture symbolises such a classic moment of freedom for a young generation. Always wanted a VW Camper van, always wanted orange too. Maybe I’ll get one and take to the road for a mid-life crisis.

    1. Andy, you are right that ‘van life’ has become synonomous with eternal youth, and throwing off the shackles to live simply. But I love the idea of a mid-life ‘rebirth,’ of reclaiming your freedom after you have done the responsible things like buying homes and raising children. When that time comes, definitely take a long road trip in Africa – it’s truly a place for the wild and free!

  12. What a fabulous collection of adventures showcasing special African offerings! Love the idea of yoga villa in Kenya. May be there next year for work so good opportunity to build in some down time… Thanks for the inspiration, Willow!

    1. Nina, please let me know if you want more specific ideas about where to go for a miniature retreat while you are in Africa – villa retreats are absolutely the best way to build in some down time in the silence of nature.

  13. This all sounds incredible. Fantastic options. Will share this link for sure. A definitely try the gin tasting..!

    1. Thank you Claire. Let me know if you want the details of the gin tasting curator in Cape Town!

    1. Rachel, the best times of year depend on your focus but here is a breakdown:

      1. For game vieiwng June until October
      2. For road tripping Namibia May until September
      3. For white water rafting hectic rapids July to mid Feb and for kids mid Feb to June (it’s more mellow in the opposite season when water levels are higher – much better for kids)
      4. For Cape Town summer, November until March when it’s warm and great for playing at the beach.

      I hope this helps you plan your African adventure!

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