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New decade, new travel goals: 12 reasons to go on an African safari in 2020

All around the world, countdowns have been shouted, loved ones kissed and champagne bottles popped, signaling the start of a new year and a new decade. For some, this is also the time to revisit last year’s resolutions and write new goals for the year ahead. If travel has made your list in 2020 and you are looking for an extraordinary holiday, there is much to be said for going on an African safari. In fact, we have gathered 12 reasons why choosing an African safari should be one of your travel goals for the new decade. Travel off-grid If you are looking to get away from it all, an authentic safari experience in Africa will take you well off the beaten track. The right destination will have you hidden away from crowds of fellow travelers in a remote part of the world and in a particular kind of seclusion that only the wilderness can provide. Going off-grid on safari is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature and through this experience, reconnect with yourself without the disruptions of daily life. Go solo Travelers that thrive on journeying into new worlds independently will appreciate that going on safari is safe and can be customized to completely match your unique interests. Solo travel is a growing trend and seems only to be strengthening as we move into a new year. This style of seeing Africa means following your own lead, without compromising on a personal safari experience. Going solo on safari in an off-grid location further inspires mindfulness, relaxation and self-learning. Detox digitally In keeping with the above reasons, what better way to be motivated to turn off all technology than immersing yourself in the wild. There is no time (and likely no signal) to check your social media channels on a game drive as a lion stalks an impala through the long grass in front of you. You become completely present in the moment. Whether being led on foot by an expert guide, ballooning high above the savanna plains or enjoying breakfast in the bush, all your senses will be engaged while on safari. Re-unite with family If your family members are scattered across the globe, gathering for a family holiday can strengthen ties that might be weakened due to distance. Multi-generational travel is another trend that continues into 2020 and there are safari destinations in Africa that make this type of travel possible. Some safari activities, like game drives, have age limits, while others can be experienced together so you can bond over the shared learning and excitement of is new world. Celebrate love Dreamy candlelit dinners under an African sky bedazzled by stars, plunge pools surrounded by plains bristling with game, and bird calls announcing the start of the day as the sun lights up the African bush. If this sounds like the kind of honeymoon or romantic getaway that will make you and your loved one swoon, then a consider a safari in 2020. The beauty of the bush combined with a luxury camp is an unforgettable way to celebrate your love. Contribute to conservation Many safari properties in Africa’s tourism sector have entered the new decade as leaders in sustainable travel. As a continent that retains some of the world’s most pristine natural areas, diverse wildlife and complex ecosystems, environmentally-friendly safaris in Africa help to safe-guard these. For conscious travelers, its best to choose a camp with green initiatives that will then offset your travel carbon footprint as well as know that park fees are directed towards wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Support community transformation As with eco-friendly travel, altruism is becoming a strong guiding principle in how people choose where they go on holiday in the new decade. Socially conscious people want to know that along with having a good time, they are also making a difference to local communities. Volunteering at and donating to community empowerment projects established by the camp you stay is a great way to give back, as is buying at local markets rather than large multi-national chain stores. What’s more, helping others can help make a positive shift in you. Encounter diverse wildlife Even if you have a zoo in your hometown, you haven’t really seen an animal until you have seen it in its natural habitat. With the threat of extinction looming over many wildlife species in Africa due to poaching and habitat loss (among other factors), observing endangered species like black rhino, elephant and cheetah in the wild is always very special and a privilege rather than a given now. A safari offers a great opportunity to see a wide variety of animals, birds and other creatures, which you can tick off your wildlife bucket-list. Learn from the bush experts In general, field guides and trackers have grown up in the area where they now work. For many, their expertise stems from a life-long passion for and dream of working in the bush, protecting animals and teaching people about their importance. By the time you leave, you will have fallen in love with the bush just like they have, be able to understand parts of the ‘language’ of the bush and be amazed at the incredible interconnectedness of nature. Make new friends African safaris attract different people, so you are likely to meet and perhaps befriend people from around the globe at your chosen camp. However, while each one might come from different countries, you are probably going to have one thing in common – an interest in wildlife and the environment. Most camps are set up in a way that your private time is well-balanced with opportunities to gather, perhaps for sundowners around the campfire or chatting in the lounge of the main camp area. Capture the experience Whether you’re a social media fanatic or a photography hobbyist, every day on safari offers up new opportunities to use your camera for a wide range of shots. Wildlife, landscapes and plants are all great subjects. You may meet other photographers whom you can learn from and share tips with about your craft. Who knows, this might be the year when you take your best shot yet on safari in Africa.  perfect shot might just be waiting for you on a safari in Africa this year. Lodge in luxury There are rustic safari camps with few amenities and then are those that cater to the modern creature comforts that we are all used to. Think en-suite tents with open-air showers and baths, well-appointed furnishings and private deck from which to enjoy stunning views. After the morning and afternoon game drive, you will head back to camp for a dip in the plunge pool or put your feet up with a good book in your tent’s lounge. Calvin Cottar is Director and Owner at Cottar’s 1920s Safaris. Cottar’s 1920s Safaris is an award-winning luxury 1920s safari camp and private bush villa located in the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family 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.

Calvin Cottar

Calvin Cottar is Director and Owner at Cottar’s 1920s Safaris, an award-winning luxury 1920s safari camp and private bush villa located in the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Offering a bespoke safari experience, it’s owned and managed by the oldest established and continuing safari family in Africa. In 1919, together with his sons, Mike, Bud and Ted, Charles established ‘Cottar’s Safari Service’, one of the very first registered safari companies offering superior big game hunting and film safaris outfitting throughout Africa, India and Indochina. Cottar’s is proudly associated with The Long Run, Classic Safari Africa and Pack for a Purpose, and together with the Olderkesi Maasai Community, run the Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust.

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  1. New decade, new travel goals. If only. Still got a lot of my 2010 decade goals to cross off. One of those goals was to go on a safari. Which I did in 2016. But now I want to go again. So that’s not really a new goal is it?

    1. Well no two safari experiences are the same so it could be a goal you ‘refresh’ when you need to ;) Perhaps also changing the destination or picking a particular wildlife spectacle will help to make it a ‘new’ goal!

  2. Year before last I went on an epic and remote safari in South Africa’s Northern Cape which really was off-grid. I still remember the lodge manager warning us about scorpions as it was over fours to the nearest hospital.

    It’s quite a worthwhile experience to be free of the world for a few days. On the drive there once people lost connectivity it was interesting to see how they stopped looking down at their screens and started taking more notice of the world around them.

    1. That sounds like an amazing experience, Julia! The lack of signal in the bush definitely helps people see more as well as spend true quality time with those they have come on holiday with. You are forced to just give in to the wilderness.

  3. As a travel writer sometimes I travel on my own and sometimes with my family. Travelling solo is different and more of an adventure (I just hope that my wife doesn’t read this!). I’m less worried about delays and changes of plan when you are travelling alone, I’m far more relaxed and happy to go with the flow. Also on your own people are far more likely to strike up a conversation. I usually find that staff are more talkative too and you learn a lot about their location and their lives too.

  4. My friend went on her first African safari a couple of years ago with her partner. They ended up getting married shortly after and they’ve been back a couple of times since. They can’t get enough of it. She even went back and stayed for 3 months working with a conversation project last year. I’ve never been but I wouldn’t mind doing it one day. I quite like the idea of a solo trip, one of those ‘go find yourself’ kind of adventures, but I’m not sure if I’ve got the guts to do it. Reassurance that it’s safe and there are provisions for different situations and healthcare etc are good, I think most people probably worry about those kinds of things when travelling alone anywhere. Africa would be a great place to do it though.

    1. It sounds like your friend has been bitten by the ‘safari bug’! The most important piece of advice we can give regarding safety and comfort on safari, is to make sure you work with safari experts and plan well in advance.

  5. I was thinking back to whether this list would have been the same a decade ago in 2010. I doubt that many of us would have felt the need to have gone for a digital detox back then – in fact most of us would have been getting excited about living more of our lives online. How things have changed!

    1. Having first opened Cottars in 1919, our family has gone through these changes first-hand in the way people experience safaris. The various technological developments throughout the years have undoubtedly affected the way people travel, each having its pros and cons.

  6. Going off the grid is easier said than done for me, though I’ve forgotten my mobile phone at home a couple of times already and was able to survive the day without it. On the other hand, going solo, like traveling far away, is something I haven’t thought about. It scares me a little bit actually, to being alone in a foreign land and not knowing anybody, and always having to keep your wits about you.

    1. A digital detox is in no way an easy thing, although there was a time when we managed without technology, so it’s possible ;) But only if it’s something that is important to you and that you want to try out.

      If you are used to travelling with others, solo travel is definitely a different experience. While it may be frightening at first, it also is a great opportunity to make new friends. With that being said, it may just not be for you – you might prefer sharing those special travel moments with someone else.

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