Why you need to discover Africa beyond safari

The Big Five are a top draw for any visitor to Kenya, South Africa or Tanzania, but to really connect to these countries and their communities, making time for activities outside the safari vehicle is essential.

“These countries have become only known for safari and their wildlife, but there's so much depth happening in these places. There’s so much to do besides just a game drive,” says Christine Tucker, one of Butterfield & Robinson’s Experience Designers for Africa. 

With a diverse list of destinations covering an expansive amount of geography for Bespoke holidays, from sand-swept Namibia to vibrant Kenya, Christine delivers experiences that many travellers don’t expect – or even know are possible. 

“Every trip is so different,” she says. In Kigali, Rwanda, there is a cutting-edge fashion scene, and she loves to introduce guests passionate about style to designers who share the craft behind their collections. Music lovers will revel in Nairobi’s thriving music scene. And in every country she plans for hikers can get their steps in on exciting trails that include wildlife sightings as well as the opportunity to meet with locals. 

“I always like to send people to the Ngorongoro crater but not have them go down into it,” she says of the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera in northern Tanzania. “You will do a walk in the area so that you're running into Masai in the morning as they're bringing their cows to graze.” It’s these moments that make planning for experiences outside of a game drive so important. “You're having these serendipitous meetings by just getting out of the car,” she explains. 

What really sets experiences in African countries apart is that human connection. In Rwanda, for instance, Christine loves to design walking trips. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to experience the lush landscape of glistening green mountain ranges, stop for a tasting at coffee plantations and breathe in the serenity of cloud forests. Walking also presents an immediate link to the locals.

"“Go there with open hearts and open minds and let Africa in.”"

“The complete resilience of the population is so inspiring,” Christine says. “Learning about their history, it’s so humbling to see how they've rebuilt their country.” 

What she hears again and again, especially from first-time travellers, is how strongly they are impacted by the beauty of the landscapes and the kindness of the people. “It’s a huge eye-opener for people,” she explains.  

She offers this advice for those excited to plan a trip to any African country: “Go there with open hearts and open minds and let Africa in.” 

Learn more about Butterfield & Robinson experiences in Africa.