A safari into unspoilt African landscapes to view the Big Five animals – elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffalo – is about more than just big-game spotting. It is an opportunity to spend time under the stars with big skies and endless horizons, it can be a luxurious retreat from everyday reality, a time to reconnect with yourself and nature. It is also an invaluable part of the conservation of the fragile natural resources of the real Africa, which are perennially threatened by the economic and political instability of some of the African countries that are the natural habitats of so much wonderful wildlife. A luxury safari, as well as being an incredibly fulfilling experience, supports the conservation efforts of the game reserves and is part of the sustainable tourism trend that savvy travelers are supporting more and more.

A luxury African safari takes you right to the heart of what sets this continent apart from the rest of the world. Simply put, there’s no land similar. There’s something about Africa and its wild beauty that enchants while inspiring respect. It could be the untouched wilderness, the gorgeous wild life, the dramatic landscapes that range from snow capped mountains to stunning deserts, the spectacular sunsets, and unlimited space.

If you are unacquainted with the continent it can seem as mythical as Xanadu, and just as enigmatic. But you would have to be living on the fourth rock or beyond to not have heard of the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti in Tanzania or the Victoria Falls and Kilimanjaro. These are but a few threads of Africa’s tapestry of extravagant colours, vibrant cultures, majestic wild life, and unimaginable experiences that all go to make up the luxury African safari experience.

Wildlife anywhere in the world is nothing but achingly beautiful. But in their natural habitats in the wilderness of Africa, they take on a handsome ruggedness that has no parallel. African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa each have their own unique angle on conserving as well as showcasing this invaluable treasure. A luxury African safari is one where all these efforts gel and bring you, the visitor, into the equation, creating a perfect balance that speaks well for sustainable tourism.

The term safari means journey. Here, it’s a journey undertaken by people in the hope of seeing elephants, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, and buffaloes among others in their natural surrounds doing what comes naturally to them. This can be achieved on foot, by vehicle, or even by hot air balloon. So game drives led by experienced rangers, who know where to find the animals and how to view them safely, are the main feature of early mornings and late afternoons on safari. The middle of the day is spent in leisurely lunching and siestas, which is the time when you really appreciate the difference a luxury safari can make to the experience; the indulgence of air conditioning and even the swimming pools boasted by some of the luxury game lodges, the attentive service and top class food turn a safari from a rugged experience of nature to an opportunity for pampering and relaxation..

It takes a huge shift in perspective to associate luxury with the interiors of a canvas tent in the wilderness. Nevertheless, it’s a fact that all the luxuries associated with five-star accommodations can be found under canvas too. The Governor’s Camp in the Masai Mara in Kenya is one such where the luxury is inescapable as in the Ritz, and the wild life is all around. Hippos and elephants visit the unfenced campgrounds as a matter of routine. Perhaps what’s even more admirable is the fact that the management firmly believes that the local community should benefit from the fruits of tourism and divert a good deal of their earnings into responsible tourism projects such as schools and health clinics. There are plenty of luxury tented safaris to be found with stunning tent accommodations that change the definition of tent for ever.

In the Etosha National Park in Namibia, a luxury African safari takes you to Namutoni, a camping site which is an erstwhile German fortress. What more could you ask for in terms of safety and luxury. A good view of the wildlife, perhaps? That’s taken care of just outside of camp at the lighted watering hole where the big cats come for a drink before sneaking back into the darkness of the bush.

Conservation Corporation Africa, a leader in sustainable tourism and veterans at luxury Africa safaris, have come up with the fabulous idea of luxury private safari homesteads that can be leased for long periods. If you have the time, they have the place from where you can take in the dazzling beauty of the world’s best sunsets, listen to the awesome roar of a lion, and the flapping of flamingo wings, with a cool frosted drink in your hand and a placid smile on your face. Rest assured you’ve contributed your mite to the cause of sustainable tourism and conservation simply by being part of a luxury African safari.