When writer Ryan Knighton, who is blind, went on safari in Zimbabwe, the experience was organized around getting him out of the jeep and into the wild to smell, taste, and listen. Here are six more experiences that will take you way beyond the 4x4
At Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe, where Ryan Knighton stayed, you can spend time with members of the Shangaan tribe at Kambako Village, where you’ll learn ancient hunter-gatherer survival techniques related to the local landscape. Try your hand at creating fire with friction, locating a water source with a divining rod, or weaving baskets with wild ilala palms. singita.com
The Great Plains Conservation’s Ride Kenya-Mara program is one of the only ways to see the renowned Maasai Mara reserve on horseback. Seasoned riders staying in one of two camps visit scenic escarpments and cross through rivers on two-hour rides to spot cheetahs, elephants, and wildebeests. The only sound is hooves on the ground. greatplainsconservation.com
Between June and November, Natural Selection guests can experience a Full Moon Makgadikgadi Walk to Kubu Island in Botswana. Starting at one of the company’s three luxury camps, including the famous Jack’s Camp, travelers cross Botswana’s lunarlike salt pans on foot, where they’ll encounter Stone Age tools and such wildlife as brown hyenas and meerkats. The final stop: baobab tree–covered Kubu Island. naturalselection.travel
At stay at Wilderness Safaris’ Vumbura Plains Camp offers close-up views of the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta via mokoro (dugout canoe). Guided by an expert poler, guests venture down the delta’s shallower inlets through tall grasses to see miniscule painted reed frogs and the occasional hippopotamus or crocodile, as well as elephants and red lechwe antelopes drinking water along the shore. wilderness-safaris.com
Deeper Africa arranges excursions to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park to see birds and primates in their natural habitat, including silvery-cheeked hornbills and vervet monkeys, as well as black mamba snakes, wild orchids, and countless butterfly species. Sleep amid the trees in one of the ten stilted suites at andBeyond’s Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, shaded by a mahogany forest. deeperafrica.com; andbeyond.com
For travelers looking to gain a better understanding of anti-poaching efforts, Epic Road offers rhinoceros microchipping experiences in southern Africa. In South Africa’s Eastern Cape region, guests staying in Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge follow along as a veterinarian and a biologist locate and tranquilize a rhino. The group then helps with DNA testing, chipping, and examination. epicroad.com
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