Nicky's alter ego: the elephant

Nicky Mears | Safari Specialist

Over the years I’ve worked in both travel and sales: on land, in the air and over the seas. Combining the two fields at Art of Safari has created the ultimate happy space for me, and I feel so fortunate that my job is also my passion, as nothing thrills me more than making dream holidays come true. Even better still, here I get to specialise in the land of my birth – and first love – Africa.

There’s no place like Africa. Once it gets into your pores, it stays with you. The vast open spaces – filled with wild sights, sounds and smells – remind us how much we’ve strayed from nature. This paired with the local culture and joie de vivre makes being in Africa a deeply connecting experience, unlike any other. It’s also humbling to witness wild animals in close proximity, in their natural habitat.

I help you transform the rough sketch of your dream safari into a nuanced artwork, matching your fantasies with the very real luxury experiences Africa has to offer. Through attentive conversations, meticulous planning and negotiated bookings, I’ll create and gift wrap the perfect luxury safari for you – one you’ll never forget!

Pack an extra pair of reading glasses or specs, you’ll want to see everything clearly at all times! And find out what socket type your destination has, and invest in an adapter that will work for your electronics (although many lodges provide charging stations, it’s handy to have your own). Finally, a swimming costume is a must – most lodges have stunning pools where you can relax and cool off.

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

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

Angama Mara | The Masai Mara

Share endless views over Kenya's Masai Mara with raptors and hot-air balloons from the luxurious Angama Mara, high above the Great Rift Valley. Indulge in the scenery, the food, beading…

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Guests take a break from their game drive with refreshments under a tree in the Masai Mara.

Bateleur Camp | The Masai Mara

Gaze over the plains from an intimate forest setting at the foot of the Oloololo Escarpment – at the very edge of Kenya's Masai Mara. A private butler, exceptional game…

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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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Desert-adapted black rhino can be found near Desert Rhino Camp.

Desert Rhino Camp | Damaraland

At first glance, the flat-topped mountains and rolling, rocky plains of Damaraland seem almost devoid of life, but hidden springs and sea mists provide the moisture required by all manner…

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Drift over elephant, and more, on out Masai Mara balloon safari.

Drifting over the Masai Mara in a balloon

A Masai Mara balloon safari in Kenya is one of those dream-like experiences you’ll tell the grandchildren about one day. It offers the ultimate ‘romantic Africa’ moment: being suspended in…

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Zambezi river safari | When exploring the banks of the Zambezi, it’s wonderful to pause for sundowner drinks and snacks.

Driving along the shores of the mighty Zambezi

The Zambezi is one of Africa's most powerful and life-sustaining rivers. With many areas along its banks enjoying protected status in Zimbabwe, there are superb game-viewing opportunities to be had.…

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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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The Greater Kruger is one of the best places in the world for a big cat safari.

Going on a big cat safari

The private game reserves adjacent to South Africa’s Kruger National Park provide superb game-drive country. The woodland savannah teems with a diverse array of wildlife, especially big cats, many of…

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You’ll see the most spectacular sunrise from your Loisaba star bed.

Getting starstruck in a Kenyan star bed

There’s no better way to experience the African night sky than sleeping in a star bed. A luxury Kenyan safari offers this unique engagement with the wilderness. Crawl under your…

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Big-cat lovers will be pleased to know you can find lion while on a Masai Mara safari.

Going on safari in the magical Masai Mara

The Masai Mara provides perfect safari country. The wide-open grasslands teem with creatures of every shape and size, often in vast herds. Climb aboard an open-top 4x4 and begin your Masai…

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A Samburu safari puts you in touch with the arid, wild north of Kenya.

Going on safari in Samburu's semi-desert

A Samburu safari in puts you in touch with the arid, wild north of Kenya. Take a game drive in this elemental wilderness and come face to face with 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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Stop for refreshments and enjoy the views when on game drives from Ivory Lodge.

Ivory Lodge | Sabi Sand game reserve

A family-owned ‘home made to order by Mother Nature’, Ivory Lodge fuses style and substance to create a visually arresting luxury South African safari lodge. The More family’s role as…

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Kanga Camp is set on the busy Kanga Pan.

Kanga Camp | Mana Pools National Park

Most of the luxury Zimbabwean safari lodges in Mana Pools are on the banks of the Zambezi River, but Kanga Camp is different. An inland gem, it’s situated by a…

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Loisaba Tented Camp’s guest area is cheerfully inviting in the evenings.

Kenya | Rhinos, Star Beds, Vistas & Mara | 7 Nights

Explore the more arid Laikipia before heading to the lush plains of the Masai Mara with this comprehensive seven-night itinerary. Your luxury Kenya safari includes a private cottage, a star bed…

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Sit on Little Kulala’s guest-area deck and watch as night falls.

Little Kulala | Sossusvlei

Set in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Little Kulala gives you exclusive access to Sossusvlei and the remote landscapes of Deadvlei and Sesriem. Explore this dramatic and Martian-like world by…

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You’ll see the most spectacular sunrise right from your four-poster when staying at Loisaba Star Beds.

Loisaba Star Beds | Loisaba Conservancy

Appreciate the vastness of Kenya's wilderness from your plush double bed, which can be wheeled outdoors for an incomparable night under the stars. Located in Laikipia, Loisaba Star Beds offers…

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Enjoy private riverside dining at Matetsi River Lodge.

Matetsi River Lodge | Victoria Falls

From its tranquil location on the banks of the Zambezi River, Matetsi River Lodge offers the best of both worlds. Authentic wildlife viewing experiences are a stone’s throw away, while…

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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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The tented suites at Mwiba Lodge are tucked among boulders overlooking a river gorge.

Mwiba Lodge | Maswa Game Reserve, Serengeti

Truly get away from it all at Mwiba Lodge, where just 10 tented suites are tucked among boulders overlooking a river gorge in Tanzania's southern Serengeti. In this exclusive concession,…

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Lake Manyara Safari | At certain times of year, Lake Manyara is covered with pink flamingo.

Going on safari at Lake Manyara

Before our luxury safari in Tanzania, we thought that leopard were the only cats that climbed trees. On our Lake Manyara safari, we soon learned that lion also do. Perhaps…

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A Samburu tribesman will escort you to your Sasaab tented room at night, keeping an eye out for wildlife.

Sasaab | Samburu

Discover Kenya’s lesser-known Samburu National Reserve from the comforts of Sasaab, located just west of it. With Moroccan-style suites, indulgent spa treatments, game drives, bush breakfasts, cultural trips, camel rides,…

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Elephant are known to congregate at waterholes in northeast Zimbabwe.

Seeing big herds in Zimbabwe

For a spectacular Zimbabwe safari experience in pristine wilderness, visit Hwange National Park and its neighbouring reserves in the northwest of the country. If you go in the dry, winter…

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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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Kingston Treehouse affords spectacular views over the Greater Kruger on a luxury south african safari

Sleeping under the stars at Kingston Treehouse

Spend a night away from your lodge in a treehouse in the heart of the African bush. Lion Sands Game Reserve, in South Africa's Greater Kruger National Park, offers romantic…

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Namib desert balloon safari | Your balloon will look tiny compared to the huge Namib Desert dunes.

Gliding over the Namib Desert in a hot-air balloon

A luxury Namibian safari is incomplete without going up in a hot-air balloon, over the Namib Desert. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure see you suspended in a wicker basket above this waterless…

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Sundowners are a must at Desert Rhino Camp.

Namibia | Big Skies, Desert Rhino & Safari Fort | 9 Nights

A luxury Namibia safari is a study in contrasts. This remarkable desert nation will likely be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, with its key areas presenting a complete landscape portfolio:…

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The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is tucked between ocean and mountain.

The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa | Cape Town

Stay on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, with the peaks of Cape Town's 12 Apostles mountains guarding your back. Watch whale and dolphin traverse the sea while you dine…

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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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The Wildebeest migration crossing the Mara river running to river bank

Watching the Great Wildebeest Migration cross the Mara River

The Great Wildebeest Migration is astonishing. Each year, more than 1.5 million wildebeest trek from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara and back again in search of fresh grazing. Their crossing…

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