As befits a continent that takes up almost a quarter of the planet’s land surface, Africa exhibits great and fascinating diversities, a full palette of “incongruities and incredibilities” (to steal a phrase from Mark Twain).
That diversity is nowhere more dramatic than in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia–the three Southern Africa countries Micato takes such pleasure in helping our travellers get to know.
South Africa’s unofficial motto is A World in One Country (its official motto is Unity in Diversity) and the country’s diversity is nearly planetary in scope. Cape Town is one of Earth’s most dazzlingly situated cities. It’s also high-spirited, modern-minded, and chock full of hip bistros and elegant hotels, all of them presided over by stupendous Table Mountain. The nearby Cape Winelands, a kind of Napa Valley with added mountains and Old Dutch-style hostelries, is a magnet for fanciers of wine, fine cuisine, and beautiful countrysides. Kruger National Park and a series of equally wildlife-rich private game reserves–such as Micato favorites Sabi Sabi and Shambala, both complete with some of the continent’s loveliest and most salubrious camps and lodges–round out South Africa’s diversity with classic opportunities to safari in well-conserved gamelands.
Botswana, commonly considered a great African success story, is one of the world’s most sparsely inhabited nations, largely because so much of it consists of beautiful, but not terribly nurturing desert, notably the famously daunting Kalahari. The great, green exception to all that dry sand is one of Micato’s favourite earthly places, the famed Okavango Delta, where the robust river of the same name, frustrated in its search for an outlet to the sea, seeps life-givingly into the Kalahari’s sands, creating a huge wonderland of peaceful lagoons, meandering waterways, marvelously isolated luxury camps, and animals in profusion.
In Namibia we strike out from luxurious, magnificently designed safari camps into the vast and otherworldly deserts of the interior, marveling at the highest sand dunes on earth (the tallest could look the Empire State Building straight in the eye), making game drives in search of Namibia’s superbly adapted 192 mammal species (not to mention its 250 reptile and 645 bird species). Namibia has become a poster-country for intelligent, community-involved wildlife conservation; 50% of all its wild animals live freely in its many conservancies.