Want to put an African twist on Christmas and ring in 2017 on an overland safari? Acacia Africa has outlined some of the most exciting destinations where you could be celebrating and you won’t need Netflix, turkey and trimmings or overpriced New Year’s Eve tickets when you’re on location in Southern and East Africa.
Arno Delport, Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa, comments, “If you are considering a break with tradition in 2016, you should start looking to book Christmas and New Year departures over the summer. Flights can sky rocket in the run up to the festive holidays so you might well save more if you make an early bird booking and organise your travel arrangements now.”
Have “a very Masai Christmas” in the Mara and take your chances on spotting the Big Five. With calving season in full swing there will be plenty of predator action on the plains, the dramatic short-lived thunderstorms also providing exceptional photography opportunities. There’s no better place to get the 2017 party started than at the legendary Meserani Snake Park bar. With a story attached to every piece of memorabilia hanging from the roof, from t-shirts to bank notes, you can be assured of an entertaining night. This will undoubtedly be one of your most memorable holiday seasons yet, as the 28 day Game Parks & Gorillas also includes gorilla viewing in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and chimpanzee trekking near the Kyambura Gorge. From £1,960pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from £1,110pp + gorilla & chimp permit from £460pp. Starts Nairobi - ends Dar es Salaam. Departing 10 December.
Book a seat on the 14 day Mozambique & Zimbabwe Explorer and you’ll be beach bound on 25 December. End Christmas day in Vilanculos with a fresh seafood dinner at AFROBAR - the restaurant/music venue topping the list of buzzing nightlife in the seaside town. What better place to finish 2016 than round the pool with a sundowner at Burke’s Paradise in Bulawayo. And, the ultimate way to kick off the New Year, experience a heart racing walking safari in Matobo National Park - one of the best places to view rhino in Africa. Big Five Game Drives in the Hwange and Kruger National Parks are also included on the itinerary, along with a dhow sailing trip to Magaruque Island - this secret scuba haunt located in the Bazaruto archipelago. From £1,395pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from £140pp. Starts Johannesburg - ends Victoria Falls. Departing 22 December.
Get your game boots on in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park and spend Christmas day tracking the resident wildlife on a walking safari. One of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries, around 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species flourish in the park’s 20,000 square miles - a wealth of migratory birds often present over the festive season. Party round the campfire on New Year’s Eve, the Iringa Farmhouse, the perfect place for adventurers in search of a low key gathering in the African bush. En route from Livingstone to Nairobi, safari under the blue, with visits to Lake Malawi and Zanzibar, and on dry land, with game drives in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. 21 day East African Explorer from £1,495pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from £690pp. Departing 23 December.
Forget the festive stress often associated with the season and float down the Okavango Delta, almost horizontal, in a mokoro. Enjoy a walking safari at this UNESCO World Heritage site and swap the traditional turkey and trimmings for a delicious African dish cooked over the evening campfire. A truly magical start to 2017, go bouldering in search of 2,000 year old ancient bushman paintings and end your year under Spitzkoppe’s unpolluted, starry skies. Travel from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town on the 34 day Zanzibar To Cape Town, the trip also including game drives at the Etosha and Chobe National Parks and beach stays in Malawi and Tanzania. From £2,175pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from £290pp. Departing 06 December.
This Christmas, chill in the Tanzanian highlands and relax at an old farmhouse set in a tranquil birder’s paradise. Celebrate New Year’s Eve Zambian style on a private game farm in Lusaka, our chosen campsite incorporating a large thatched bar and games area. The 24 day South East Adventure will take you across Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia; the Masai Mara, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater on Acacia's top five safari list. From £1,595pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from £1,020pp. Starts Nairobi - ends Livingstone. Departing 11 December.
(c) Johnny Chen
Give the traditional festive season a miss this year and spend the Big Day in Arusha: Tanzania’s safari capital. Instead of opening your presents under the tree you’ll be looking forward to three days of exciting game drives in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Packed full of experiences you won’t need to wrap; canoe down the Orange River, eco-safari in the South Luangwa National Park, pole your own mokoro across the Okavango Delta and dive into the world class scuba waters surrounding the Spice Island. 41 day Cape Town To Kenya from £2,595pp (no single supplement) + Adventure Pass from £980pp. Starts Cape Town - ends Nairobi. Departing 19 November.
Alternatively, depart from Livingstone on 07 December and find your inner Bear Grylls on the 19 day South West Safari. Book an optional white water rafting trip in Livingstone, learn a few survival skills in Botswana from the Kalahari bushmen and trek to the top of Dune 45 in the Namib desert. On Christmas day you’ll wake up to stunning views of the Cederberg mountains and there’s nothing like a festive nosh up in Cape Town - the Mother City well known for its mouthwatering food and wine. From £1,250pp (no single supplement).
All prices include transport, camping accommodation, most meals and services of a tour guide/driver. Excludes return flight. Acacia Africa (020 7706 4700; acacia-africa.com) SATSA membership No. 1931, ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.