SPECIAL INTEREST SAFARIS
DEEP SEA FISHING
It's not everyones cup of tea, leaving a pristine white sandy beach behind you, heading out to sea through rolling waves, but for those people who've experienced the thrill of a large, or small but feisty, fish on the end of their line it can become addictive.
Memories of great deep sea fishing rely heavily on your guides local knowledge, the quality of the equipment and tackle on board and the know how. But that's not everything. The 'where you are' and 'who you're with' are the key factors that will remain with you for years afterwards.
Heading out into the Indian Ocean at dawn along the Pemba Channel on the Kenya, Tanzania border is for those that know Africa one of the most profitable fishing grounds. Further south the virgin seas of the Quirimbas Archipelago are becoming better known for their potential. South Africa has always managed to produce extraordinarily varied catches and they know better than anyone how to prepare the fish on the bush fire or barbecue on your return.
We often find there are plenty of people out there, who like to pack their fishing rod on a holiday if they know that there may be the odd day or 2 where they can escape to a local stream, river, lake or sea and try their luck. Here are some examples of what mean:
You're travelling up to Laikipia in northern Kenya and you stop off in the Aberdare Mountains to catch a trout in one of the spectacular highland lakes.
Or you're in Uganda, up at Murchison Falls on the famous River Nile - try first to catch an elusive tigerfish on a fly or drag a massive Nile Perch from the dark, fast flowing waters whilst being watched by some of the largest crocodiles in the world.
So if you're planning a trip, wherever that may be in the world, remember to mention to us that you have an interest in fly fishing, and we'll see if we can squeeze a few days in to your itinerary to make it worthwhile you packing your favourite rod and reel.
The obvious prerequisite for fishing is water, and it's not surprising that, in addition to beach/ocean destinations, safari camps in the Okavango Delta and along the Zambezi River are most likely to feature fishing as an activity option. Of southern Africa's fresh water fishing opportunities, without doubt the most exhilarating is spinning for tiger fish in the Lower Zambezi Valley, and even avowed non-anglers should take advantage of the opportunity to match themselves against the piranha's larger cousin!
One of the fastest growing water sports, kite surfing attracts people that have a natural sense of adventure. It's also a bit like ski touring - people want to be able to say they were one of the first people to kite surf in a certain location - the remoter it is the more exhilarating the experience and memories. This has been made possible with the increase in down wind kite surf 'safari' operators.
Whilst we can arrange trips to the well known places that have reliable, strong winds the SMOKESILVER WAY leans towards off the beaten track destinations beyond Europe. For instance Essaouira & Dakhla on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. Beaches all along the coast of east Africa stretching as far down into Northern Mozambique.
if you're experienced and confident enough and don't need to rely on a specialist local kite surfing operator on the ground we can arrange for our ground operators to take you to beaches either by land or sea where you can camp and surf in total virgin kite surfing regions.
As a low-tech, non-motorized activity, canoe safaris offer a sense of excitement, adventure, and engagement that can be rivaled only by walking safaris. Both activities provide a level of connection with (and exposure to) the African wilderness that is far more intensely felt than on game drive or boating safaris.
Canoe safaris are conducted in two-person Canadian canoes. In contrast to mokoro safaris, guests on canoe safaris typically paddle themselves (i.e. it is an active experience). Only a handful of camps are located in areas suitable for canoe safaris, and only highly qualified and experienced guides lead these excursions. The majority of canoe safaris run downstream, with the current, and do not require above average levels of physical fitness. Participants on a canoe safari can expect to pass hippos and crocodiles, and will frequently come into contact with elephants when they come down to the water to drink.
It's surprising how close you can get to birdlife when you become part of the river flow. Kingfishers, egrets, bee-eaters on the banks of the Zambezi remain perched on branches as you drift past just yards from them.
At the end of a days paddling, there are few more rewarding feelings than sitting on the banks of the river with a cold beer, looking at a local map of the river course you've negotiated that day, feeling healthy, exercised and well deserving of a good steak on the camp fire
Canoeing is not an activity for the faint of heart, but it can be one of the most memorable experiences on an African safari.
Perhaps the most tranquil and idyllic safari activity of all, mokoro safaris offer the ultimate means for exploring the beauty and ecological complexity of the Okavango Delta, one of Africa's great natural wonders. Perhaps best described as a cross between a Canadian canoe and a Venetian gondola, mokoros are dug out canoes seating two guests, with a guide standing at the back using a pole to propel the vessel through the Okavango Delta's network of floodplains and channels.
Mokoro guides make a point of staying in shallow water, well away from hippos, elephants, and other dangerous wildlife. This makes mokoro somewhat "tamer" than canoe safaris, and allows guests to relax and focus on the stupendous natural beauty of their surroundings.
QUAD BIKE SAFARIS
Quad bikes (All Terrain Vehicles) fitted with special low-impact tires are used at certain desert Eco Lodges to facilitate access to sensitive landscape features. Weighing much less than regular 4x4 safari vehicles, and with wider than usual tires, quad bikes enable guests to explore the delicate surface of the Makgadikgadi Pans and the fragile dunes along the Kunene River. Apart from providing responsible access to these spectacular areas, quad bikes are also a lot of fun to ride, and add to the sense of exploring beyond the familiar.
Mountain biking is offered at a handful of Eco Lodges and safari camps in southern Africa. Biking not only provides the opportunity for some exercise, it is also a fun way to explore the local area. Bikers can cover much more ground than walkers, but still experience a similar sense of connectedness to the environment, with minimal technological separation between biker and the wilderness. In areas where dangerous game is present, bikers will be accompanied by an armed guide, for safety.
For cyclists that want to get off road and out in to remote areas, mountain biking is one of the best ways to explore wilderness areas and cover more ground than you would on foot, walking. There's also the added advantage that bicycle technology has advanced so much in the last few years - tracks or mountain paths that were once too steep or rugged for old bicycles are now very much on the map for mountain biking.
In a similar way that cycling has become increasingly popular in the last 5 years we believe that sea kayaking is also quickly casting aside its old 'geeky' image - people are discovering what a liberating experience it is travelling on open water - rivers, lakes and out in the open sea.
It's surprising how far you can go in a period of 4 or 5 hours especially once it dawns on you that it's not about brute arm strength - it's all about rhythm, as with most activities.
Imagine all the wilderness areas that suddenly open up to you in terms of access once you climb into a kayak and start exploring. Now there are many more destinations that are encouraging kayaking for all levels of experience and length of trips.
The other major bonus is that wildlife takes a completely different view on humans in non-motorised boats - they are far less threatened and therefore allow much closer viewing. This can vary from pygmy kingfishers on Africa's lakes to whales and sharks for the more intrepid in Canada and elsewhere.
Next time you're lazing on the beach and you spot a sea kayak lying around take it out for 20 minutes and quickly you'll open up a whole new world of experiences.