5 Amazing Things To Do On Your Next African Vacation - Maxim

5 Amazing Things To Do On Your Next African Vacation

Swim with great white sharks off the coast of Cape Town, rent a private island in the Indian Ocean, or fly over Victoria Falls in a tiny airplane.
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A helicopter flies over the mighty Victoria Falls at the Royal Livingstone Lodge.

A helicopter flies over the mighty Victoria Falls at the Royal Livingstone Lodge.

A trip to Africa is on nearly everyone’s travel bucket list — but considering most people only get to go once or twice in their lifetime, you've got to know how to do it right. Don’t worry, I'm here to help with five epic trips for the ultimate African adventure that will blow your mind and impress your Instagram followers.

1. Fly over Victoria Falls in a two-seat plane and stay at a luxurious wildlife lodge

Zebras freely roam the grounds of the Royal Livingstone Lodge. 

Zebras freely roam the grounds of the Royal Livingstone Lodge. 

When Prince Harry took his then-girlfriend Megan Markle to see Victoria Falls, they stayed at the Anantara Royal Livingstone Lodge — and a few months later Will Smith bunked down there… and for good reason. Set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River and perched on the lip of Victoria Falls, the Royal Livingstone is one of the few hotels in the world set almost on top of one of the Seven Wonders of the World as well as inside a UNESCO wildlife park, Mosi-Oa-Tunya. Zebras and giraffe roam the grounds as free lawnmowers and tree trimmers, rainbows fill the sky in view of the hotel’s river deck and the boat ride to the resort is a scene from the Humphrey Bogart classic African Queen.

The hotel only opened in 2001 but was built in a colonial hunting lodge style so it has a chic retro feel and is a 10-minute walk to the falls where you can experience the thunderous water flows in person. The dock of the hotel is also a prime drop off spot for Livingstone Adventures’ sunset river safaris, where, from a flat bottomed boat (complete with a portable bar) you can get with feet of hippos, elephants, crocodiles, a multitude of birds, water monitors and giraffes who congregate at the river’s edge.

During the day, get even closer by taking a Microflight (basically a paraglider with a lawn mower engine attached to it) run by Batoka Sky over the Falls or a trek on horseback through the park with Livingstone’s Adventures.

2. Rent a private island in the Indian Ocean

Each beachfront villa on the Medjumbe Island Resort includes its own private plunge pool and comes stocked with ocean sports accessories, an attentive staff and booze.  

Each beachfront villa on the Medjumbe Island Resort includes its own private plunge pool and comes stocked with ocean sports accessories, an attentive staff and booze.  

When one thinks of a private island getaway, Mozambique doesn’t usually spring to mind — but it should. Unlike the mega-resorts in the Maldives or the Caribbean, for a mere $40,000 you and your closest friends can unplug in complete privacy on a luxurious island just a few hours from Johannesburg’s international airport for three days and nights.

Surrounded by white sand and cerulean blue waters, and nestled in the Quirimbas Archipelago in the south east of the continent, Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort, can only be accessed by helicopter or boat and has just launched a Naturally Exclusive package — where you can rent out the entire island for $13,000 a night (minimum three night stay, activities and alcohol not included).

An aerial view of the Medjumbe Island Resort.

An aerial view of the Medjumbe Island Resort.

The resort consists of just twelve luxury beachfront villas, each with its own private plunge pool and comes stocked with ocean sports accessories, an attentive staff and booze. Lots of booze.

During the days you and your crew can rent a boat and fish, dive or snorkel in the Quirimbas National Park, renowned for its immaculate coral reefs, and whale, dolphin and dugong pods... before stopping off at a nearby unpopulated island for a lunch prepared by the Medjumbe staff.

An exterior shot of a luxury beachfront villa at the Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort.  

An exterior shot of a luxury beachfront villa at the Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort.  

At sunset sail a dhow boat to the edge of the reefs for a sundowner cruise before hitting a barbeque on the beach prepared by the island’s chef, featuring tuna, squid, shrimp and other fish caught by local fishermen that day.

Later in the evening after a bonfire on the beach, take advantage of zero light pollution and count shooting stars before drifting off to sleep.

3. Take over a safari camp during the wildebeest migration

One of the most mind blowing things to experience in this entire world is the great wildebeest migration — and the baller thing to do is experience with no one else around. Rent out Richard’s Camp, an intimate luxury camp run by Richard Roberts and Liz Fusco. With only seven permanent tents, Richard’s Camp is perched on the banks of the Njageteck River in the private Mara North Conservancy — the ideal location to watch the great annual wildebeest migration in August, where, during the nightly sundowner drinks, you can park a Jeep in the middle of over a hundred thousand wildebeest and zebra waiting for the right moment to cross the river... all while nursing a gin and tonic.

And that’s not all you’ll see.

Because the surrounding Ngoyanai springs provide permanent water, large numbers of animals including rhino, hippo, crocodiles, lions, leopards, and hyenas congregate in the area. This camp is also particularly known for its resident lion pride which can often been seen hunting right in front of the camp, and can be heard roaring during the night.

4. Hang with gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda

Hang out with our closest relatives and head to the exclusive Volcanoes Safari lodges in Rwanda and Uganda for the ultimate gorilla tracking experience that will take you across two countries and face to face with the great apes. The six-day trek through Parc National des Volcan and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can be muddy but at night relax in luxury at Virunga Lodge which is perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley.

5. Cage dive with great white sharks

The waters off Cape Town are so full of great white sharks there are even professional shark Spotters on the cliffs whose sole job is to look for the animals and warn surfers below if they are in danger. So grab your balls and book in with White Shark Projects and meet Jaws in the flesh. Just don’t stick your arms or feet out too far. 

Afterwards, check in to Alicia Vikander and Charlize Theron’s favorite hotel, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, to soothe your nerves with (several) stiff drinks.