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  • Writer's pictureTippy Brewitt

The Best of the Bush & Beach

In our opinion, there’s no better combination than a beach and bush holiday. Allowing you to be as active as you choose, both destinations offer a mixture of relaxation and excitement! Of course, Africa and safari famously go hand in hand, but what about Africa’s coastlines? There are so many remote, beautiful and tropical beaches to include in your travel plans when visiting Africa.

With years of experience planning holidays, honeymoons and family travel, we have been able to combine some of the most incredible beach and bush destinations to create inspirational trips in some of Africa’s best locations. Below are some of our favourites, enjoy Escape Safari Co's Best of the Bush & Beach:

The Sabi Sands & Mozambique

South Africa and Mozambique is probably the most popular combination when planning a beach and bush escape in Southern Africa. The Sabi Sands, in South Africa, with its unparalleled wildlife and scenery, combined with the turquoise waters of Benguerra Island in Mozambique, is a hard act to beat.

A quick flight from Johannesburg could land you directly onto one of the lodges airstrips, and from there you will be whisked away into the abyss of the African bush. The Sabi Sands is a collection of private nature reserves that are open to, and border, The Kruger National Park. In this area, there is a wide selection of luxury lodges to choose from and here luxury seamlessly meets world-class wildlife sightings!

The leopards of the Sabi Sands

From the remote luxury lodges on safari in the Sabi Sands, you will find yourself on a short flight back to Johannesburg or you could connect via Nelspruit to Mozambique. The warm waters on the coast of Mozambique are home to diverse marine life and are popular destinations for diving for manta rays and whale sharks. This South-East African country boasts gorgeous coastlines with endless opportunities for diving, fishing, snorkelling and horse riding on the beach. The white tropical beaches are dotted with palm trees and are the perfect place to unwind.

Pink hues flood the sky while setting up for beach dining on Benguerra Island, Mozambique

Tanzania & Zanzibar

The iconic wildebeest migration that takes place in Kenya and Tanzania is often high up on many travellers’ bucket lists. A safari in either Kenya or Tanzania is easily combined with Zanzibar, a collection of islands just off the coast of Tanzania.

Although home to the big five, the Serengeti is most well known for the Great Migration which begins in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of the southern Serengeti and loops clockwise through the Serengeti National Park and north towards the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. The infinite landscapes of the Serengeti are great for viewing the abundance of larger predators and wildlife in the park and often present amazing photographic opportunities.

There are many areas within the Maasai Mara and Serengeti National Parks to see the Great Migration but if you are looking for river crossings, then your timing needs to be spot on. This is something that many try to plan well in advance, but it often requires a bit of luck. In the Serengeti, there are chances to see river crossings in the Grumeti, in the western corridor around June/July or further north in the Lamai wedge, crossings can occur as the herds move north around August where they spend time in the Maasai Mara until late October before heading back south into the Serengeti. The East African rains will always influence where and when you will be able to see the migration, so good planning and first-hand experience is the key to making this safari successful.

The iconic wildebeest of East Africa.

The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of many small islands and two large islands – Unguja and Pemba Island. Unguja is the main island and is often referred to as Zanzibar. The islands are situated in the Indian Ocean and are well known for their white sand beaches, warm waters and spices. Often referred to as ‘The Spice Islands, Zanzibar produces an array of spices, particularly cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper.

Not only is Zanzibar a white sandy tropical paradise, but it also has a rich cultural history. The vibrant Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as Mji MkongweI (Swahili for ‘old town’), is one of the oldest parts of Zanzibar City and has impressive and beautiful architecture dating back to the 19th century which reflects the diverse and unique influences underlying the Swahili culture.

Zanzibar’s climate and seasonality are very similar to that of the Serengeti, however, it is a beautiful experience all year round, some months are just rainier than others. With a robust domestic flight network or access to private aircraft, getting to the coast from the bush is simply done and you could quite easily be viewing elephants in the morning and relaxing on the beach that same afternoon.

Manta's Underwater Room on Pemba Island

Zambia & Lake Malawi

Zambia and Malawi are an interesting combination when it comes to a ‘beach and bush’ safari. This is largely because both countries are landlocked and do not touch the ocean at all. However, the closest thing to the ocean is Lake Malawi, which can easily compete with an ocean-based adventure. This escape is certainly for the more adventurous at heart and is an 'off-the-beaten-track' adventure.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to planning a safari in Zambia. There is a multitude of national parks and each of them is unique in its experience.

Guests have the ability to combine or visit areas like Lower Zambezi National Park, South Luangwa, Kafue National Park or Luiwa Plains. Or, head even further off the beaten track and explore the more remote North Luangwa or seldom visited Bangweulu Wetlands and Kasanka National Park. One thing is for sure, Zambia offers some incredible wildlife experiences which are conducted in the most authentic way.

Floating down the Zambezi River while viewing elephants and other wildlife on the banks

After your time in Zambia’s wilderness areas, the beach element of your trip is along the shores of Lake Malawi. After a short flight from Lusaka into Malawi’s capital, Llilongwe a transfer to the lake from the airport, you will be standing with your feet in white sand overlooking the crystal blue waters of the lake.

This is undoubtedly a unique ‘beach’ experience. Lake Malawi is an African Great Lake and also UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for its importance in evolutionary research amongst the cichlid fish that inhabit the lake and is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world. The crystal clear fresh waters and beach like sand is what makes this the perfect beach destination after a safari in Zambia. Water skiing, catamaran trips, fishing, snorkeling and sailing are a few of the activities that are on offer in and around the lake.

A sail boat ready to explore the lake for sundowners

So, whether you are planning your honeymoon or just a family getaway, consider combining your safari with some time on the beach. We all know how relaxing days on the beach can be after a busy safari schedule.

Come Escape with us.

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