You could spend an entire lifetime exploring it, and indeed many have, and still not see all the wonders of the African continent. We have vast and unimaginable riches hiding behind trees, lying in the shade of giant dunes, swimming lazily in leviathan rivers, and prowling the savannah. There are few places in the world as wild as this.
Cable & Grain Safaris covers the best of Southern and East Africa in exquisite detail, and our consultants are intimately familiar with the industry. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, we are your ‘ear on the ground’. Save yourself weeks of research with a quick chat. You dream it, we make it happen!
See our Top 5 African Safari Destinations in the gallery below
This year we’ve put together some absolutely magical South Africa packages to help you get the most out of the lower exchange rate. If you were ever on the fence about a Southern African safari, you have to look at these trips out before our currency strengthens!
Exploring The Wild Continent
Africa is a continent full of contrast, from some of the most beautiful modern cities in the world, to places so wild that they haven’t seen human activity in decades. For the explorer in you, this continent offers a staggering diversity of treasures. For example, of great renown are the fabled plains of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara, where the Great Migration takes place. This is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth, and the milling herds of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and antelopes, and the beasts that stalk them, have been the subject of numerous nature documentaries.
To the west, across the Great Lakes of the East African Rift, lies a smattering of volcanic peaks, pushed up by the same forces that sunk some of the deepest lakes in the world in the rift valley. The unique geography of the region causes a fertile rainforest climate, and on the slopes of these mountains, hidden in the lush foliage, mythical creatures hide. Pound for pound, their strength puts body builders to shame, and yet the 300 pound mountain gorillas live shy, gentle lives, moving through the foliage in tightly bonded groups that care for each other while searching for food. If ever the term, gentle giant, were appropriate, it is when watching these primates.
Further south, we have the paradox of the Okavango Delta, near the heart of the Kalahari Desert. This fertile floodplain consists of a multitude of swamps, channels and islands, which soak up the floodwaters that make their way from Angola over the course of a month. Spreading out into all the intricate corners of the delta takes a further four months, swelling it to three times its original size. The floodwaters are perfectly timed, as they coincide with Botswana’s dry winter, and the life-giving waters attract wildlife from far and wide. At its annual peak, this ecosystem boasts one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.
To the east of this lie a stunning diversity of Indian Ocean islands, ranging from tiny, virtually uninhabited fishing havens to vast tropical paradises, with fascinating indigenous flora and fauna. For the hikers, the scuba divers, or the beachside meditators, these islands provide endless hours of pleasure. The warm, calm waters are a pleasure to frolic in at any depth, and their rich life provide plenty of fun for naturalists, aqua photographers and fishermen. The miles upon miles of remote beaches offer soul searching solitude, or heart pounding horse riding.
On the other side of the continent, you will find the desolate expanses of Namibia, the dune capital of Africa. Here, never ending desert sands rise and fall and rise and tumble into the cold but fertile Atlantic Ocean. The contrast between the animated waters – both by storm and fin – and the lonely sands is immense. However, numerous hardy creatures cling to life among these dunes and in the surrounding desert, from the humble bug to the mighty elephant, with the lucky ones replenishing themselves in the crucial pans of Etosha National Park.
The list goes on. The majestic roar of Victoria Falls is a sight to behold, especially from Devil’s Pool on the Zambian side. The gentle green foothills that lead up to the Drakensberg escarpment hide a hiker’s paradise of trails, valleys, pools and caves. The Wild Coast and Garden Route of South Africa offers some of the best road tripping in the world, with unbelievable scenery and variety.
We love this continent; the verdant vibrancy of the bushveld after the first rains, the sound of a campfire with the birds and bugs of the night singing in the background, the smell of dust on the wind foretelling of another magnificent red sunset. This is our home and we delight in sharing it with you.
We can show you lions or dunes, elephants or stars, rhino or whales. We’ll help you uncover the best of Cape Town, or intimate mokoro rides in the narrow channels of the Delta. We’ll serenade you with the thundering of Victoria Falls or the million hooves of the Great Migration... But for some of you, there is an itch to go further, deeper into the wilderness, to see some of the most magical secret corners of Africa.
Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Baked under the African sun lie plains of pure gold and finest silk. These soft shimmering grasses undulate in the breeze, tantalisingly inviting, begging for childlike glee as you run barefoot through them. Look closer, however, and you will see the tell-tale signs of a warrior breed of beasts that stalks these fields. Hoof prints, as ungulate battalions muster in tight formation, calves within, horns facing out, scanning the land. For danger lurks. Whisper-quiet, dagger-like claws leave tiny furrows in the soil. The landscape explodes, as grass seeds are flung up high, a streak of sheer violence bounding through them with a single straggler in its sights. Alarm calls ring out, dust clouds are kicked up as hooves pound frantically, but it is too late. Softly, breath fades away between powerful jaws.
With the regal set of their powerful shoulders, and the confidence in their eyes, the title of “The King” suits the African lion well. It seems infeasible that such a muscular cat could face any difficulty when bringing down game, and yet there is one creature that does not lightly surrender. What the lion presents in terms of size, power and ferocity, the African buffalo counters with hardiness, horns, and utter resentment. There is a good reason why an old buffalo bull is the most feared of any adversary that hunters across the ages have faced on this continent.
There is a large splinter of a tree stump in front of you. It waggles imperceptibly, and you notice a beady eye on either side. Looking more closely, you see hulking big shoulders. Suddenly you realise that the rhino has taken the measure of your Land Rover, and has decided that it is up for a contest. Time to back up a little.
Contrasting with the gentle grace of the African elephant, a jogging rhino is a bit like a tank on legs. It has limited sight, a thick skin, a large turning circle, and packs a lot of momentum. They are all business from the front and weird gasses from the back.
Rhinos are the perfect examples of the “Keep it simple” principle – nigh on impenetrable armoured hides, and a kraken spear on the business end. Despite their generally gruff and grumpy appearance, they are also capable of complex social interactions, and can often seen wallowing together playfully in mud pits. It is sad to think that after millennia of mulling around the African continent largely unperturbed by anything on four legs, they have finally encountered an adversary bent on wiping them out.
We invite you to come and see these spectacularly over-engineered behemoths for yourself while they teeter on the brink of extinction. Hopefully the efforts of the conservation and tourism industries combined are enough to avert this disaster. This safari takes you to the subtropical bushveld of KwaZulu Natal, and then to the lush bush of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, before it set off on a final leg to the strange and enchanting landscape of Etosha in Namibia.
The African continent is home to a spectacular variety of bird life, across a diversity of habitats. On top of that, an African safari is a wonderfully luxurious experience, making for a fantastic holiday. This safari will take you to the wetlands paradise of the Okavango Delta, then to Kafue National Park, the second largest national park in Africa, and finally to the East African Rift Valley and all it’s diversity.
The Delta consists of a myriad of channels, winding between sandy islands and reed banks, which waxes and wanes with the annual rains in Angola – half a continent away. Due to ever-present water, the Delta draws in large numbers of wildlife from the surrounding desert, making this an awesome game viewing and birding destination. The Okavango’s bird list is over 450 species long, including the Pel’s fishing owl, and of course the African fish eagle.
Due to its size, Kafue is home to an incredible diversity in terms of wildlife, scenery, and of course birds. The bird list for the whole reserve is over 500 long, more than the whole of Europe! In the dry season, the wetlands of the Busanga Plains offer the best opportunity to see as many of these as possible, with 491 birds recorded here. Notable species include the endemic Chaplin’s barbet, the grey crowned crane and Füllerborns’s longclaw. Around the rest of the northern section you will also find lesser jacana, spur-winged geese, secretary birds, rollers, bee-eaters, kingfishers, herons, martial eagles and large flocks of storks. In the wet season, Busanga requires scuba gear to visit, but the park is equally spectacular from a base on the Kafue River.
Lake Manyara, with its alkaline waters attract staggering numbers of lesser flamingos. Additionally, both white and pink-backed pelicans, hammerkop, kingfishers, jacanas and various avocets are frequently seen. The species list here is over 400. Furthermore, the tree-climbing lions, and generally picturesque scenery of the Rift Valley floor will make this a memorable leg in any birding safari.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and for good reason. The volcanic caldera is approximately 20km across and 600m deep, and holds over 25 000 resident animals. The crater floor has a variety of habitats, from open grassland to marshes and Acacia woodland, and its salty lakes attract large numbers of flamingos. The birdlife here is diverse, including Livingstone’s turaco, the rufous tailed weaver and Jackson’s widow bird.
The ground shakes. Leaves tremble. The sun is shaded out. A low rumbling emanates from the hulking mass of grey, weathered skin in front of you. Its breath gusts like a gale. As you gaze into a pool of shadows, an eye filled with intelligence and empathy stares back at you… and you can only hope that the wise old elephant sees the same in you.
The size of these creatures defies belief, and spending a week in their presence is not dissimilar to the premise of the Jurassic Park movies – being transported to an ancient time when your claim to the soil you roamed was staked by the size of your teeth or the mass of your posterior. Come and discover the complicated family dynamics, and intelligence of Africa’s largest inhabitants.
For fairly obvious reasons, a massive old elephant is referred to as a tusker. What is less obvious, until you are in the presence of one of these behemoths, is that their enormous tusks can easily measure more than two metres in length. To even qualify for the moniker, the tusks have to weigh more than 100 lb each. To reach these legendary proportions, said elephant will likely have lived for more than 40 years; and to survive in the African wilderness for such a length of time is no mean feat. To see them strolling around, six metric tons of muscle, alert with experience but calm with wisdom, is a magnificent sight.
These are just a few of the fascinating combinations that we can combine into a whirlwind tour of highlight upon highlight. We can cater for all interests, budgets and timeframes. Feel free to reach out and start planning your trip.