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Discover the Wild Side of Africa with Thomas Cook!

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No matter how often we have seen the big cats on popular wildlife channels, experiencing the real thrill of standing a few feet away from them is quite another thing. It could be the piercing eyes of a lion, the lush, spotted fur of the leopard or the leashed power of the slinky cheetah. And those are just the big cats! What about the majesty of an African elephant? Or the thrill and sadness of spotting a lone rhino? Nature evokes a million feelings in us all, and no matter how many times we view it on TV, seeing it live, on a safari, is breath-taking. And an African Safari is the best place to come face to face with everything nature has to offer.

Ultimate Kruger Safari

Africa is a continent that boasts of more than one popular national park or game reserve. Therefore, deciding where to kick-start your maiden safari voyage can be a daunting task.

If you have set your heart on an African safari, then there are some world-famous iconic parks to be found in South Africa and Kenya, which would ensure your first safari is memorable enough to have you hooked for more.

But hold on! Africa, generous as it is with parks and reserves, is a country full of culture, splendour, history and beauty. If you truly want to experience Africa for all it has to offer, we’ve put together some places and parks you must visit through our holiday packages. Ready to walk on the wild side?

South African Safari – Wildlife and beyond

South Africa with its rich natural and cultural heritage, boasts of more than 20 national parks.

‘The jewel in its crown’ is the famous Kruger National Park offering a blockbuster first-time African safari experience. The Sebatana Private Reserve on the other hand, aims to provide a more exclusive safari experience.

The dry months, which fall between April and September, are the best time for game-viewing in these parks. 

Kruger National Park – Unique fusion of life form and archaeological heritage

The Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa, is practically a synonym for the word “safari.” A few hours travel from the vibrant city of Johannesburg, Kruger can be the perfect end to a holiday dedicated exploring the diversity of South Africa.

The scenic beauty of this sprawling park, flanked by the Lebombo Mountains and beautiful granite kopjes (hills), is enthralling. Matching it is the excitement of sighting exotic wildlife including the Big Five – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. This unique park also houses numerous historical and archaeological sites. Rock art and ruins from as early as the Stone Age period co-exist amidst the vibrant wildlife.

On a Kruger African Safari, you will be hard-pressed to choose just one favourite picture from the thousands you will snap.  

Sebatana Private Reserve – Personalized safari experience

There are times when the chaos and stress of city life begins to get to us. We just want to escape the madness of it all. In times like these, the wild with its beauty, purity and calm is just what we need to recharge and rejuvenate our senses.  

Sebatana Private Reserve in South Africa will fulfil that yearning for the wild. Merely, a stone’s throw away from Johannesburg, the 5-star lodges on this reserve host a limited number of guests and do not allow access to the general public. This means you have the privilege of discovering Africa, away from the crowds.

The Reserve is home to one of the richest populations of wildlife in South Africa, including the Big Five. The Christina’s Wallow, a hide on the reserve, will give you a direct view of a watering hole frequented by these wild animals. The magnificent landscape and pristine surroundings will make sure you have a truly intimate experience with the exotic wildlife of South Africa. At Sebatana, you’ll also have a chance to experience rich tribal heritage of the area.

Kenya – Home of the Safari

Located in East Africa, Kenya is considered the birthplace of safari travel.  The 54 national parks and game reserves scattered in various parts of the country makes the popular moniker “home of the safari” well deserved.  The iconic Masai Mara safari makes the country a wildlife and eco-destination, which is second to none.

A Kenya Safari has a lot to offer for every kind of traveller – whether it is your first safari, or your 50th. You’ll never leave with the same experience or the same sights.  The best time for a Kenya Safari pretty much depends on when you can get away. Numerous parks in this country make wildlife viewing a year-round event. If you want to experience the spectacular and world-famous Wildebeest Migration that takes place annually then the Masai Mara Safari is definitely for you. The Wildebeest Migration usually reaches Masai Mara in July and remains until October when the herds move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Therefore, your Masai Mara safari needs to be planned accordingly. 

Masai Mara – The Mecca of African Safaris

The gently rolling expanse of grassland with flat-topped acacia trees in the horizon. The cacophonic sound of massive herds of zebras and wildebeest trampling each other in a race for survival – this is the Great Wildebeest Migration that thunders across Masai Mara. Incredible right? On your Masai Mara safari, you will discover that reality is far more incredible than any televised experience.

The “Mara” is not merely a National Park but rather a National Reserve belonging to the Masai people. The name Masai Mara was coined by the local people. ‘Mara’ means ‘spotted’ in Maa, the Masai language. This land of the Masai people, besides its wildlife inhabitants, is home to a dozen community conservancies, several group ranches and numerous Maasai villages.

A culturally rich local community, diverse wildlife sightings and a moderate climate makes Masai Mara incredibly conducive for safari activities.

Tsavo National Park – Just-around-the-corner from the beach. 

If you are longing for the serenity of nature, then Tsavo National Park is the place for you. This park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya. In the language of the local Kamba tribe Tsavo means ‘slaughter.’

However, any negativity rooted in its name is negated by the beauty of the magnificent landscape, the natural Mzima springs, rocky peaks and extinct volcanic cones. Famous for its red elephants, it is home to an exotic range of large mammals.

With its proximity to the coastal town of Mombasa, it is an ideal destination for combining the thrills of a safari with some relaxing beach time.  The Amboseli National Park is also close to Tsavo, giving you the chance to get a double dose of the safari experience.

Lake Naivasha – An exotic stop-over on the Safari route

While on your Kenyan Safari, a not-to-be-missed stop is Lake Naivasha, an exotic freshwater lake. A name rooted in the local Masai language, Nai’posha, means “rough water.” (It may be hard to believe but these serene waters often transform when storms arise in the area, without any warning.)

The shores of this lake, flanked by papyrus swamps, acacia woodlands, forests and unique geologic remnants from the region’s volcanic past, lends Lake Naivasha an ethereal quality. A key drinking hole for wildlife, it gives visitors a chance to watch these animals while they cool-off from the summer heat.

Let Thomas Cook guide you through your Safari Experience

An African Safari in either South Africa or Kenya will give you an opportunity to experience incredible natural beauty, soul-stirring cultural encounters and spectacular game viewing. What’s more, a South African safari can be combined with exploring the other natural and cultural landmarks that the country offers.

Thomas Cook with its expertise in travel has a wide range of Africa holiday packages, depending on the days you can spare and the experiences you seek.

South African Highlights with Kruger and Helicopter Ride/ South African Delights with Kruger – 11 Nights/12 days

Are you looking for an experience that encapsulates the spirit of South Africa? Then this package is designed for you. You’ll land in Cape Town, but the journey will extend much further. Enjoy an open safari in Sun City, a scenic cruise in Knysna followed by visits to Cheetah Ranch and a Crocodile enclosure. You’ll get to interact with lion cubs in Johannesburg, visit the Cape of Good hope in Cape Town, meet African penguins on Boulders Beach and enjoy game drives through Kruger National Park. And these are just some of the highlights of this action-packed trip.

Ready to know more? Click here for a detailed look at your next trip.

South African Safari with Cape Town 10 Nights/11 Days

Want a balanced trip of both safaris and cities? Then this package is for you! It will prove to be a rich experience – exploring the diversity of Cape Town and an intimate safari experience at the exclusive Sebatana Private Reserve.

Ready to know more? Click here for a detailed look at your next trip.

South African Safari 7Nights/8 Days

If you are seeking a safari break, off the beaten track, in a private and luxurious environment, then this week-long experience at the Sebatana Private Reserve has been especially designed by Thomas Cook for you.

Ready to know more? Click here for a detailed look at your next trip.

And there’s more…

Life can be busy, and you may never know when you will come back this way. That’s why you need to make the right choice! Everyone has a specific agenda when planning a trip, and so we’ve included two types of packages – long and short – that illustrate what a trip to Africa will look like.

Keep in mind that we have multiple African holiday packages to choose from. Here’s just a taste:

African Trio – South Africa, Kenya and Victoria Falls 13 Nights/14 Days

If you are worried that the one week will not be enough, let us put your mind at ease. Thomas Cook has you covered with a number of week-long Kenya Safari options that will give you your big safari experience.

This package takes you on an African roller-coaster vacation. Experience the diversity of South Africa, the thrills of a Kenyan Safari and the breath-taking natural beauty of the magnificent Victoria Falls – all in the course of 2 weeks! (The memories, of course, will last a lifetime.)

Check out this package, here.

Kenyan Discovery- 6 Nights/7 Days

These Masai Mara packages are designed to give you a unique safari experience. You will be amazed at how many wild thrills you are going to enjoy over this 7-day break – including visits to Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara, and Tsavo National Park. This package is a dizzying and delightful whirl of safaris for the wildlife enthusiasts!

Remember the best time for a Kenya Safari or a South African tour is just around the corner. Don’t settle for what you see on your favourite travel shows! Take a chance, book a holiday package with Thomas Cook and experience the wonder for yourself.

Recommended read: Africa – The Land of Untamed

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