The First-Timer Guide To African Safari Cruises - Vogue Philippines

This Boutique Cruise Is What Safari Dreams Are Made Of

Photographed by Savescu Denis

Now you can explore African wildlife on both land and water.

Safaris are quite the beast in the realm of vacations. Hard-to-reach lodges, unpredictable wildlife viewing, and strict international borders bring with them a whole set of logistics that even seasoned travelers can find complicated. While traditional safaris focus on land mammals, safari cruising gives visitors the whole spectrum of wildlife encounters. You’re not just seeing the odd hippo from shore, you’re floating right beside the entire pod. Vogue’s travel reporter, James Wong, joins CroisiEurope’s African Dream, which combines a boutique cruise ship expedition with land and air transportation across four Southern African countries, to discover why this is the best way to go on safari.

Sleep on a Floating Hotel

The RV African Dream is no ordinary vessel, but rather a floating boutique hotel. What puts discerning travelers off regular cruising is the vulgar nature of big all-inclusive ships. CroisiEurope brings French refinement and intimate service with just eight cabins on board. Each room is outfitted in modern decor with pops of local art, and every VIP guest enjoys exterior views via panoramic windows or French balconies. On-board amenities include an upper deck restaurant, lounge, and jacuzzi. A sun deck with 360-degree wrap-around views makes for opportune star gazing.

Dine on Decadent International Fare

Absolutely no sloppy buffet in sight, but rather; a la carte ordering (at breakfast, this is paired with a luxury buffet station) and set menus like that of an upscale wedding. A wedding where just 16 guests are invited. Everything you select is included in the expedition price, carefully designed with dietaries in mind, and washed down with included South African wines. When on the ship, meals take place in the upper deck restaurant, an elegant space where casual attire is permitted for comfort. Off-water dining offers the spice of life that is variety, such as grilled impala at a safari lodge barbecue, or fresh catch of the day at a city restaurant. 

Let Your Crew Take Care of Logistics

Any safari is a cluster of tour operators, transportation bookings, and local customs, let alone one that transverses four countries, but a safari cruise streamlines it all so that once you’ve pre-selected and paid for the trip, the crew takes over. Our package included both water and land safari excursions in Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; guided tours and museum entry at the bookend cities (Johannesburg and Victoria Falls); and three domestic flights. Gratuities for destination service providers are also included in the fee. All you need to do is turn up and enjoy the perfectly orchestrated ride.

More Animals Than You Can Handle

Let’s not beat around the bush: the reason you sign up is to see Planet Earth in real life. Tourism that rests on nature is always a chance activity, and it’s important to note that as these animals are wild and free, there’s no guarantee of sightings. However, due to the sheer number of game sails and drives, and the fact you’re going off the beaten safari path—there is a high chance you’ll see much more than you bargained for. We witnessed three of the land’s big five (lion, elephant, and buffalo), herds of zebra and kudu, and while treading water we were (safely) surrounded by pods of hippos and sunbathing crocodiles. 

A Traditional Lodge Stay

Three overnights of the trip are actually spent at CroisiEurope’s own lodges, meaning cruisers needn’t miss out on the traditional safari experience. Our lodge in Namibia was equipped with eight guest chalets, including a living room, bathroom with soaking tub, and private plunge pool. A respite from the traveling boat, these luxurious lodges are a chance to slow down the pace, take in the wilderness, and feel a world away from home (and your fellow travelers). Weak Wi-Fi is available but seriously, you didn’t travel all this way to stare at your screen.

Exploration That’s Kinder to Nature

Conscious travelers’ minds are set at ease, for adventures aboard have eco at the core. All ships use Gas-to-Liquid fuel which combusts more uniformly and results in lower emissions (not to mention wonderfully serene sailing. Water-saving devices reduce the ship’s freshwater consumption by 35%. In addition, we noticed that onboard free filtered water stations and reusable cups in rotation. Waste is also sorted and compacted on board before recycling.

Nine-day safari cruises on CroisiEurope start at $7,422 (Approx 412,284 PHP) per person. The package includes all accommodation, meals, drinks, excursions, activities, and port fees. 

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