Leah's alter ego: the caracal

Leah van Deventer | Editor In Chief

I was that kid who always took out six library books, and the first chance I got I ran off to explore the world I’d been reading about. I eventually hustled my way into a newspaper job in South America, and a career in word wizardry was born. Fast forward a decade and here I am, encouraging people to have adventures of their own, with Art of Safari.

Africa is the birthplace of man, where we first learnt to work with tools and fire. It’s a primal place, where wild things are still wild, and where you can feel the earth’s beat thumping in your core. There’s nowhere else on the planet where you’ll feel more alive, more connected, more real. Where you’ll have the ultimate existential experience. Come and see for yourself.

To realise a dream you need to nourish it, develop it and shape it. The stories we present you on our Art of Safari website are designed to do just that. As the resident wordsmith I create and manage the content that opens you up to all the safari possibilities out there. I encourage you to dream big, or to find that one small thing that speaks to your soul.

Lots of luggage is a hassle, even if someone else carries it. Luxury lodges provide basic toiletries and do laundry, so keep it simple … but do take a glamourous hat that makes you feel like a film star. Make like the wildlife and rest in the afternoons, the early mornings will be easier. Finally, pack your sense of humour: things don’t always go smoothly in Africa.

My African Canvas A selection of my favourite luxury African safari experiences

Luxury Kenya safari | The fire pit at Angama Mara, perched high above the Great Rift Valley, is perfectly positioned for sundowner drinks.

Kenya | Kilimanjaro Views, Mara Plains & Vistas | 8 Nights

Relax with a slow safari at Chyulu Hills' ol Donyo Lodge, horseriding or kicking back in a wildlife hide, before picking up the pace with abundant game sightings in the…

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A bush dinner in the Masai Mara Triangle hosted by Cottar’s 1920s Camp will make you feel like an explorer of old.

Cottar’s 1920s Camp | The Masai Mara

Take a step back in time at Kenya's Cottar’s 1920s Camp, where the golden age of exploration meets modern-day adventure safaris in an untouched, exclusive conservancy. Expect endless savannahs straddling…

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Zambezi sunset cruise | Sunset is a sublime time to be on the Zambezi.

Cruising the Zambezi at Sunset

Board a small river boat and set off on a fabulous Zambezi sunset cruise. Sip on sundowner drinks and nibble on snacks as you slowly thread your way between two…

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Zanzibar Scuba Safari

Taking a scuba safari on the magical reefs of Zanzibar

Board a traditional dhow and sail to a pristine coral-reef atoll off the island of Zanzibar. Don scuba-diving equipment and descend into a wondrous realm that teems with every tropical…

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Duba Expedition Camp is set in the private Kwedi Reserve.

Duba Explorers Camp | Okavango Delta

Get to the the heart of the Okavango Delta, where a 31,000ha private reserve is yours to explore. From day and night game drives or boat safaris to catch-and-release fishing…

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Hiking up the Sossusvlei dunes is harder than you think.

Exploring the ochre dunes of Sossusvlei

The highlight of any luxury Namibian safari is visiting the magnificent areas of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei in the heart of the Namib Desert. Rise at dawn and drive into this…

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Lie next to one of the infinity pools at Faru Faru Lodge and take in sweeping views of the Grumeti Reserves.

Faru Faru Lodge | Grumeti Reserves, Serengeti

With its mini Serengeti beaches, infinity pools and spa, it’s difficult to leave Tanzania's Faru Faru Lodge. The good news is you don’t need to: it has a waterhole plus…

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An Okavango Delta balloon safari is the experience of a lifetime.

Drifting over the Okavango Delta in a balloon

A hot-air balloon safari over the Okavango Delta in Botswana is a thrilling adventure. You’re suspended in a wicker basket above this marshy waterland with the sun peeping over the…

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San Camp invites you to relax and simply enjoy the views of the horizon.

South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe | Private Kruger, Salt Pans & Victoria Falls | 10 Nights

This luxury safari includes stays at some of the most distinctive luxury lodges in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Strikingly stylish accommodation at Ngala Tented Camp, San Camp and Matetsi…

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Hoanib Skeleton Coast is in Namibia’s rocky Kunene region.

Hoanib Skeleton Coast | Skeleton Coast National Park

Hoanib Skeleton Coast is set in the remote Kunene region of Namibia, with access to the Palmwag area and semi-mythical Skeleton Coast. The surrounding landscape seems harsh and inhospitable, but…

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It’s possible to stumble across leopard during game drives in Phinda Private Game Reserve.

South Africa & Mozambique | Safari & Beach | 7 Nights

This carefully planned luxury safari and beach break is South Africa and Mozambique's twist on a 'surf and turf' menu. Phinda Vlei Lodge’s inland bush location ticks all the game-viewing…

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In the Makgadikgadi, you can get up close and personal with on a meerkat experience.

Making friends with Makgadikgadi meerkats

Years of scientific study have resulted in several meerkat colonies in Botswana being semi-habituated. Some luxury Botswana safari lodges offer a great meerkat experience, taking guests out to meet these…

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When they're not sleeping, the chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park spend much of their time on the ground.

Meeting chimpanzees at Greystoke Mahale

During your visit to the beautiful Greystoke Mahale camp, on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, you’ll have the chance to meet Tanzania’s chimpanzees in the wild. To spend a…

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Microlight Victoria Falls | If you prefer the enclosure of an aircraft, you can fly over Victoria Falls in a Bat Hawk instead of a microlight.

Microlighting with the angels over Victoria Falls

After seeing Victoria Falls on foot, take to the air and view the falls from above. A microlight safari offers an intimate and adventurous encounter with ‘The Smoke that Thunders’,…

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Mnemba Island is just 1,5km in circumference.

Mnemba Island | Zanzibar

Discover white sands and turquoise waters, playful dolphin and some of Africa’s best dive sites at Mnemba Island, a romantic beach paradise with 11 guest bandas on a palm-fronded beach…

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You can get a real sense of the vastness of the wilderness during Kenya horseback safari.

Taking a horseback safari in the Kenyan wilderness

Exploring the wilderness of East Africa on a horseback safari is an adventurous alternative to the traditional luxury Kenyan safari. Ride among grazing antelope and become part of the herd.…

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San Camp has a decidedly Lawrence of Arabia feel to it.

San Camp | Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

In any location, the classic white tents of San Camp would be eye-catching; on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans, this luxury Botswanan safari lodge manages to both stand out…

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You can learn all about the Samburu people during Saruni Samburu’s Warriors Academy.

Saruni Samburu | Samburu Region

Feel like you’re on top of the world at Saruni Samburu, where six luxury villas perch atop a rocky outcrop overlooking 8,000ha of pristine wilderness. With private game drives, indulgent…

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Wildlife, like zebra, drink at the river near Klein’s Camp.

Tanzania | Serengeti Vistas, Tented Bliss, Crater & Island | 13 Nights

Tanzania is the complete luxury safari destination, with pristine game reserves where animals roam freely, and, in the case of the Great Wildebeest Migration, en masse. Add some post-safari rest…

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Hoanib Skeleton Coast is ideally located for a Skeleton Coast safari.

Shipwreck and seal spotting on a Skeleton Coast safari

A day-long, 4x4 adventure from Hoanib Skeleton Coast takes you on a safari to the Skeleton Coast, Namibia, through a wildly beautiful landscape. With the chance of seeing desert elephant…

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This is what a drinks stop looks like when you go on game drives from Sossusvlei Desert Lodge: magnificent.

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge | NamibRand Nature Reserve

The private NamibRand Nature Reserve is a place of serene sand dunes and rugged mountains – a complete escape into a timeless and tranquil world. Whether stargazing from the comfort…

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Swim with dolphin | Young woman swiming in the beautiful water on Mauritius island with dolphins

Swimming with dolphin in Zanzibar

Board a dhow and set sail into the tropical seas around Zanzibar. Don mask and fins, slip over the side and experience the elation of an exclusive swim with dolphin…

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This beach deck at Thonga Beach Lodge has prime sea views.

Thonga Beach Lodge | Maputaland

iSimangaliso Wetland Park was South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, and with good reason. It’s a mosaic of interwoven habitats – estuary, beach, dune, forest and reef – and possesses…

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Tintswalo Atlantic has a moody seaside location.

Tintswalo Atlantic | Cape Town

Lying within Table Mountain National Park, on the foothills of Chapman’s Peak, Tintswalo Atlantic offers an intimate beachfront escape. Enjoy watersports, nature walks and hikes, pool and seaside lazing, or…

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Tracking animals on a Kruger walking safari lets you see wildlife close up.

Tracking Kruger wildlife on foot

Tracking is an ancient but endangered art form. It’s not just about following animal footprints, but interpreting the signs, sounds and even smells of the bush. A Kruger walking safari…

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Turtle tracking | This leatherback turtle is pulling herself back to the ocean after laying her eggs.

Turtle tracking in Maputaland

For a magical encounter with turtles, visit the Maputaland coast during your luxury South African or Mozambican safari. It’s here, when turtle tracking along the beach at night, that you’ll be…

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Victoria Falls Hotel faces onto manicured gardens.

Victoria Falls Hotel | Victoria Falls

Join the ranks of royalty, celebrities and other discerning travellers when you stay at the elegant Victoria Falls Hotel. Overlooking Victoria Falls Bridge and The Smoke that Thunders over the…

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From Sirikoi, you can go on a helicopter safari to Mount Kenya.

Whizzing across northern Kenya on a helicopter safari

Skimming low over the treetops or soaring up and over an escarpment like an eagle on a rising thermal, the best way to absorb the grandeur of Africa’s landscapes is…

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