Africa is a beautiful continent, home to some of the world’s most extraordinary scenery and wildlife. Astonishing animals, untamed wilderness, diverse ecosystems: A safari into this great land is an unforgettable experience. From the savannahs of Kenya and Tanzania to the jungles of Uganda and Rwanda to the coasts of Madagascar, an African safari will truly ignite your sense of adventure.
Hide Full Description
Discover the safari adventure for yourself in The Great Tours: African Safari, an extraordinary course brought to you in partnership with National Geographic. Taught by the highly experienced safari guide James Currie, these 24 exciting lectures take you onto the plains and into the jungles of Africa. Captivating details and gorgeous imagery bring the safari experience to your living room.
The word “safari” may conjure up specific images: waking up at a rugged campsite at dawn to take a 4×4 truck into the African bush to witness lions or hyenas hunting a herd of antelopes. While this is certainly one type of safari, today there are limitless ways to see all the breathtaking wonders Africa has to offer—and a wealth of convenient, comfortable lodges and transportation options to help you enjoy the trip. For instance:
Take a night voyage into the savannahs of eastern Africa to discover an entirely unseen world of wildlife, including aardvarks and owls;
Paddle a canoe through the wetlands of Botswana to get closer to nature than ever before—hippos surfacing with a large exhale, or elephants parading across a channel;
Pull out the binoculars or the DSLR camera to spot birds in the Honde Valley between Zimbabwe and Mozambique;
Pick up a snorkel to explore the stunning reefs of the Seychelles or go diving off KwaZulu-Natal’s coast; and
Shut off your phone and listen to the strange outbursts from jungle trees, or the eerie call of predators at night.
Whether you are planning your first trip or just want to enjoy the sights and sounds of this magnificent continent from the comfort of your own home, The Great Tours: African Safari transports you to one of the world’s most spectacular environments.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Africa is a whopping 12 million square miles in size, and the vast continent hosts many ecosystems and biomes. Although there are limitless ways to explore Africa’s many terrains—the flat deserts, the rugged trails, the lush forests, the fertile wetlands—safaris generally fall into five categories, which Mr. Currie examines in detail:
East African Safaris: Kenya and Tanzania are the birthplace of the safari experience and continue to offer thrills for visitors: lions on the Serengeti, gazelle grazing in grasslands, the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the hair-raising sounds of predators at night.
Southern African Safaris: Southern Africa is an awe-inspiring mix of desert and wetland safari activities, from the big-game sightings in Zimbabwe to the wetland adventures of Zambia and the Zambezi River. Ideal for adventure-seekers who are also interested in luxury lodges or unconventional hot-air balloon trips.
Water Safaris: Whether by boat or in a dugout canoe—known locally as a “mokoro”—seeing the spectacular birds and wildlife of Botswana’s wetlands is unbeatable. The Okavango Delta is a biodiverse oasis and the crown jewel of the African safari experience.
Desert Safaris: The desert country of Namibia holds some of the continent’s greatest surprises. The beautiful red dunes are teeming with life and home to some of the planet’s rarest desert-adapted species.
Primate Safaris: The great apes are human’s closest relatives, and trekking into the tropical mountains and valleys of Uganda, Rwanda, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo offers up-close encounters with gorillas, chimpanzees, and other primates.
Get to Know the Flora & Fauna
There’s nothing like the roar of a lion, or spying hyenas skulking across the plains, or getting eye to eye with gorillas in the jungle. As a wilderness adventure, any of these safaris will give you an up-close view of the animal kingdom! From the megafauna rock stars (elephants, rhinos, giraffes) to the vicious predators (lions, leopards, crocodiles) to beautiful birds (eagles, flamingos, storks), this course brings Africa’s stunning biodiversity to life.
Among other creatures, you will learn about:
Big Cats and Wild Dogs: Lions, leopards, cheetahs, and jackals hunt the grassy plains and enjoy life at the top of the food chain;
Grazing Herbivores: Antelopes, zebras, and buffalo are the “hunted” in the law of the jungle, but they certainly hold their own when it comes to survival;
Reptiles and Amphibians: Crocodiles and snakes may send a chill up your spine, but these cold-blooded animals play a lively role in the safari; and
Birds: The astounding avians of Africa can be seen up close through a variety of ways, from viewing parks to special equipment—find out how.
Animals may be the main attraction, but the local plant life is crucial for the local ecosystems. With Mr. Currie’s expert guidance, you will also get to know the botanical wonders you may encounter.
Experience the Whole of Africa
The word safari comes from the Swahili word for journey. The classic safari experience involves driving into the wilderness, but as you will learn in this course, today there are boundless ways to journey through Africa. For instance, a walking safari takes us into a world where we are not in charge, and, thus, forces us to pay attention to small details that we may miss from the relative safety of a vehicle.
Or how about a night safari? Not only will you encounter nocturnal animals such as the elusive aardvark, but you will also see how predators, herbivores, rodents, and birds all behave differently under the cover of darkness. A night drive into the wilderness can open up a whole new world of wildlife viewing.
Mr. Currie also takes you on less traditional safari experiences—to the beaches of Madagascar and the surf breakers off the coast of South Africa. You’ll encounter the warm hospitality of Senegal, meet the people of Ethiopia, and journey through the cities of Cape Town and Nairobi.
Finally, you will consider the issues of sustainability and ethics of ecotourism. How can you plan a responsible safari? Should you hire a guide or self-drive? How do you engage with Africa’s remarkable communities in a respectful way? What can you do to encourage conservation?
From UNESCO World Heritage sites to stunning bird sanctuaries, and from national parks to hidden-gem wilderness areas, The Great Tours: African Safari takes you on a journey—a virtual safari—across Africa. Experienced travelers and armchair enthusiasts alike will enjoy the way Mr. Currie brings his years of professional safari guidance to bear as he invites you on an exhilarating tour of a destination like no other. Do you hear the call of the wild yet? Your safari adventure awaits!