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Audley Travel adds new properties with a conservation focus in Africa

Published: 27/04/2022   /   Updated: 26/04/2022

Tailormade travel specialist Audley Travel has expanded its Africa programme with the addition of new properties with a conservation focus in Tanzania and South Africa, as well as designing new sample itineraries to inspire clients interested in travelling to Kenya or South Africa.

Usangu Expedition Camp, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Audley has added Asilia’s new Usangu Expedition Camp, which opens in June, to its offering in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. Open through to the end of November, the property is carefully positioned just beyond the seasonal high-water mark on the bank of the remote Usangu Wetlands.

Usangu allows guests to engage in a research integrated safari. They can place camera traps, help to identify predators against the research database, track lions with telemetry and learn about ongoing projects at the nearby Douglas Bell Eco Research Station.

In addition to twice-daily private safari drives, guests can enjoy boating and canoeing through the waterways and night safari drives. Ruaha is known for its walking safaris and guests can experience the bush in a completely different way looking out for tiny and fascinating creatures which can’t be seen from a vehicle. Clients can also enjoy the intimate safari experience of an afternoon safari walk to a fly camp (a temporary camp set up away from the main property) in a remote part of the wetlands where, after dinner by a campfire, the night is spent in a ‘star cube‘ tent under the stars.

Usangu Expedition Camp has only four guest tents providing an exclusive experience in the largely unexplored 6,000 km2 wilderness. The tents are simple but comfortable, built on raised wooden decking with views toward the wetlands, a shaded veranda and en suite bathroom with a flushing toilet and hot water bucket-fed showers.

An 11-day trip to Tanzania includes four nights at Usangu Expedition Camp as well as time on Zanzibar. The trip costs from £6,990 per person (based on two travelling) and includes international flights, light aircraft flights, transfers, accommodation on an all inclusive basis on safari and half board basis on the beach, along with all safari experiences and park fees. 01993 838 545 / www.audleytravel.com/tanzania.

Marataba Conservation Camps, Marataba Contractual National Park, South Africa

Marataba Conservation Camps opened in September 2020 and offers clients backstage access to conservation activities whilst enjoying a private safari experience in a 52,000-acre privately managed section of the Marakele National Park. Each client group staying at the property, which takes only three bookings at once, has a dedicated conservation guide. From tracking cheetah, monitoring the growth rate of elephants, identifying rhinos and collecting camera trap data to laidback boat trips on the Matlabas River with ice-cold sundowner drinks, each itinerary is designed around the guests’ interests.

Clients can choose between booking Founders Camp’s four tents on an exclusive basis or staying in a tent in Explorers Camp on a semi-exclusive basis (with only two bookings taken at once). Founders Camp has living areas with terraced decks hanging over the river, a swimming pool and fire pit for sundowner drinks. Explorers Camp’s six tents (including one family tent) are complemented by a swimming pool and decking by the waterhole.

As an add-on for guests booking a minimum of three nights in either camp, a stay in the Star Camp can be arranged. Set up on demand, it puts a focus on exploring on foot and has accommodation in more basic tents without electricity.

An 11-day trip to South Africa includes four nights at Marataba Conservation Camps (Explorer Camp on a non-exclusive basis) as well as time in Cape Town and Franschhoek. The trip costs from £4,550 per person (based on four travelling) and includes international flights, domestic flights, transfers, accommodation on an all-inclusive basis at Marataba and B&B elsewhere and all safari experiences and park fees. 01993 838 550 / www.audleytravel.com/south-africa.

New itineraries

Audley’s specialists suggest an alternative to the Garden Route in South Africa — driving into the Cederberg Mountains. The driving distances are much shorter than the Garden Route and the itinerary can be arranged as either self-drive or via transfers. The route takes clients north from Franschhoek through striking landscapes with the scenery changing from vineyards to rugged and wide-open sandstone cliff-faces. Clients then stay at Bushman’s Kloof Nature Reserve where they can enjoy farm-to-table cuisine and locally produced wine. Days are spent exploring by foot or safari vehicle with a guide in search of Cape Mountain zebra, hartebeest, ostrich and rare animals including the bat-eared fox, African wildcat, Cape fox and caracal.

An 11-day Cape Triangle trip includes three nights in the Cederberg Mountains as well as time in Cape Town and Franschhoek. The trip costs from £3,900 per person (based on two travelling) and includes international flights, transfers, rental car, accommodation on a B&B basis (with dinner also included in the Cederberg Mountains) and excursions and park fees. 01993 838 550 / www.audleytravel.com/south-africa.

In Kenya, Audley recommends a new adventure itinerary featuring walking and camel safaris, sleeping under the stars and witnessing the Great Migration. Walking safaris in Karisia Hills are from a permanent tented camp and guests stop to enjoy the wildlife, wander through tiny remote villages and enjoy the varied landscape. Bush walks and camel safaris are popular choices for days at Loisaba Wilderness Conservatory, with evening highlights including a stay at Loisaba Starbeds where clients sleep under the stars. The itinerary ends in the Masai Mara, at a camp ideally located on the migration route.

A 10-day trip Northern Kenya and the Great Migration trip costs from £9,530 per person (based on two travelling) and includes international flights, light aircraft flights, transfers, accommodation on a fully inclusive basis (B&B only in Nairobi) and all safari experiences and park fees. 01993 838 510 / www.audleytravel.com/kenya.

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