By The Nation
For those inspired by the adventures they see on screen and want to explore the circle of life off-screen, Booking.com has curated a list of safari stays for anyone who’d like to admire the wildlife in their natural habitat.
Laikipia County in Kenya, which inspired the original film, is home to a community of various endangered species including black rhinos, grevy’s zebras, wild dog packs and more than 2,000 elephants. Not only are there a variety of safari options to choose from, but the area also boasts various conservation and education programmes where travellers can learn about wildlife conservation. Stay at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club for a safari experience with a luxurious touch. Located in lush green surroundings on the outskirts of Mount Kenya National Park and a short walk from Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, it’s perfect for those travelling with youngsters as the club also hosts a children’s play area, tennis courts and cycling for all ages.
Or you might choose South Africa’s Amakhala Game Reserve. Located on the Eastern Cape, he reserve is a unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be re-introduced to the area where they once roamed freely, making a contribution to the conservation of the area’s natural heritage. Guests can stay in different properties within the reserve, enjoy day safari excursions and visit the craft centre where unemployed members of the local community are given an opportunity to generate an income on site by creating souvenirs and gifts. Check out the Mapito Tented Camp Serengeti with its luxury style tents surrounded by panoramic scenes for a truly wild experience, making your trip to Serengeti an unforgettable one.
In Tanzania, Arusha is located at the base of volcanic Mount Meru, and the city’s national park is home to buffaloes, waterbucks, giraffes, warthogs, zebras and baboons. Within the park, visitors can find Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara, and if lucky enough, can catch a glimpse of Africa’s Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalos) in their natural habitat. As well as being a gateway to safari destinations, the city itself is known for its vibrant nightlife and is home to its own National Natural History Museum. Mambo Arusha Hostel is the perfect base for those returning from a day of adventuring on safari. This quaint hostel boasts a beautiful outside garden, a shared lounge and a mixture of shared dorm rooms and private rooms. The hostel is also just a short drive from the city, with bikes available to rent for those keen to explore the area on two wheels.
Namutoni in Namibia is perfect for those for an authentic safari stay. Located within Etosha National Park, visitors can experience being the other side of the fence, with the King Nehale Waterhole offering a unique vantage point, with people being fenced in and the animals wandering around freely. Stay at Mokuti Etosha Lodge, a short drive from the eastern Von Lindequist gate entrance of the Etosha National Park. Adorned with Namibian crafts and rich fabrics throughout the spacious accommodation, the place offers visitors two outdoor pools, tennis courts and a spa. The open-air Boma Restaurant onsite serves African grill delicacies in a magical setting with its thatched roof and chandeliers.
Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa is among the largest of the parks in South Africa. Just two hours from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the park is a popular destination for those hoping to catch a glimpse of Africa’s Big Five. Visitors can explore nearly 200 kilometres on self or guided game drives, with several hides along the way to allow visitors to feel even closer to the action. African Elegance Tented Lodge is an alternative accommodation option in Boshoek. These luxury tents, which are equipped with a seating areas and private bathrooms, are the perfect base to explore the Lesedi African Cultural Village, a flagship cultural tourism destination for visitors interested in learning more about South Africa’s traditional culture.