Private conservancies and concessions blend spectacular wildlife abundance with a captivating intimacy. 50-strong elephants herds, a forest alive with leopards' scents, hippos playing in the river below the suite, and hardly another person for miles around...we think that conservancies are the essence of the luxury safari experience.
What to expect.
Conservancies and concessions are part of a wider safari ecosystem, usually sharing unfenced boundaries with a national park or national reserve. Wildlife moves freely and conservancies often have permanent water, which swells the animal population with migrants during the dry season.
Expect to see huge herds, diverse species, and great encounters with the big cats. But you won't find other vehicles ruining the photos. Access is limited to people staying at the luxury camps within the conservancy. Day tripping visitors aren't allowed in and the camps understand the importance of minimising visitors.
A new level of safari.
Complementing the exclusivity is the luxury of the accommodation, which blends into nature and makes safari a 24 hours a day experience. Most have their own airstrips, so you'll fly in for a few days of big game and exquisite extras.
Spotting a dozen rhinos is special. Being alone with the rhinos on an epic savannah takes the experience to a new level. It feels like it's just you in a huge wildlife playground. As conservancies are private they get to set their own rules. This enables you to try a wide range of activities rather than merely game drives.
Conservancies vs National Parks.
We also love how a guide can take you off the four-wheel drive trail in a conservancy, which isn't possible in most national parks. See a leopard in the distance and you'll bump over the grass for the perfect view. Spot vultures circling and you can traverse the bush to see the carcass. This freedom is superb for following big cats out hunting, as well as seeking out the more bashful creatures. We'll never forget guides showing us where cheetahs raise their cubs in a small Masai Mara conservancy.
Where can you enjoy this type of safari?
Conservancies are found across Africa and they provide an exclusive experience in world-famous destinations; Kruger, Okavango Delta, Serengeti, Samburu, Chobe. Often, the lack of visitors means animals react more authentically to the vehicle's presence.
You'll pay for the privilege as conservancies are the most expensive of the safari options. But they are more than worth it and the fees are essential for conservation. If you're looking for the very best of Africa, we can set you up in the continent's ultimate safari destinations.