5. Take a walk on the wildside
A walking safari makes you feel alive, every sense alert, aware of the smell of wild thyme as you brush past and the crack of twigs underfoot, watchful for buffalo, wary of lions. You have the time to wonder at spiders' webs, watch the hysterical antics of dung beetles and unravel the fascinating interrelationships of species in the company of one of Africa's great guides.
Nothing is more thrilling than being close to big game. The most exciting safari I have ever experienced was tracking rhino on foot through the thick jesse bush of Zimbabwe's Matusadona, with John Stevens as my guide. For hour upon hour, I revelled in a masterclass of bushcraft as he followed the faint trail of clues (the hint of spoor in the sand, a scuffed mark on a rock, tiny broken mopane stems) until we were heart-stoppingly close to the rhino. - John Warburton-Lee.
4. Stand on the roof of Africa
The sound of crystalline snow crunching beneath your boots seems slightly surreal when you consider you are just a short distance south of the Equator. Lean forward, make that final effort and drag your weary body up the final slope to the Roof of Africa.
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is a slog by anyone's standards, but the panorama from Uhuru Peak, at 5896m, the highest point in Africa, justifies every effort. You are standing on the rim of a volcanic crater; peering over the edge of a precipice. A thousand feet below, the crater floor is coated in rime ice.
Behind this great white plain, stepped tiers of ice cascade towards the inner cone of the Reusch Crater. Looking outwards, you can see to infinity. Many thousands of feet below on the African plains, safari-goers will be framing photographs of elephant and giraffe against the huge domed mountain on whose summit you are standing.
The ascent from arid plains through humid forest and alpine meadows to this icy wasteland takes you on an extraordinary journey: fascinating flora, arduous trekking, extravagant scenery - utterly rewarding. - John Warburton-Lee.
3. Feel the earth move at Victoria Falls
The small boat moved swiftly downstream, threading between rocky islets where crocodiles basked in the sun. Mini-rapids chuckled beneath the hull, jostling the boat, goading it onwards. I felt the cool kiss of spray and watched, transfixed, as we hurried across a channel that slid into misty oblivion a stone's throw ahead.
As soon as I felt the crunch of the bow on land, I leapt ashore. But like me, Livingstone Island trembled. Perched on the very lip of Victoria Falls, this tiny island marks the spot where, in 1853, Dr David Livingstone first set eyes on The Smoke that Thunders.
Deafened by the roaring cataracts and oblivious even to the sightseeing helicopters overhead, I shuffled to the very brink of the abyss. Dr Livingstone probably struck an epic pose when he stood here 150 years ago.
But as I peered through rainbows that seemed close enough to touch, and saw the great plumes of white water cascading from my feet to explode in the gorge 100m below, I felt intrepid enough. - William Gray.
2. Make eye contact with a Gorilla
Our eyes met. This is a mammal thing, the direct stare. With predators such as lions it sends a chill down your spine, with prey animals you feel protective, but with a gorilla you are dealing with an equal; intelligence meets intelligence. There is no wildlife experience like it - believe me.
Evolution has enabled us to read faces as well as words. We look into a stranger's eyes to judge whether he is friendly or hostile. And what do we read in a gorilla's eyes? Trust, mainly; curiosity and sometimes nonchalance, but not hostility. A male silverback gorilla is built like a killer; he can weigh 200kg, yet here he is squatting on his haunches eating wild celery or playing with his youngsters. What a shame mankind continued to evolve. - Hilary Bradt.
1. Experience the great migration
The Serengeti is quintessential Africa: big skies, rolling plains, prolific wildlife. Out here in this vast wilderness, roughly the size of Ireland, you can see for miles in any direction. But what really elevates the Serengeti above any other African highlight is the annual migration.
Between May and June, over one million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra trek north towards Kenya. It is a breathtaking spectacle - a free-spirited celebration of a bygone Africa; a place and time devoid of human barriers. Driven by deep-rooted instinct, the herds darken the boundless plains of the Serengeti, spreading across the savannah like shadows of passing clouds.