Managing director of Expert Africa, Chris McIntyre, reveals his favourite hidden bolt-holes in Africa
This national park in the west of Zambia is one of Africa's most inaccessible parks; in 2000, only 50 tourists managed to get there. I finally drove there in 2003 and found a vast sea of grass surrounded by forests. There were no roads; we made our own tracks in the grass, following migrating wildebeest, herds of zebra and skittish red lechwe. Occasionally we'd come upon shallow pans of water, some still, others bubbling with frantic catfish fleeing from huge fishing parties of pelicans.
I was shown this isolated inselberg in the northern Namib desert years ago by a celebrated Namibian guide, Bruno Nebe. Climb its rounded boulders and you'll find the odd desert-adapted plant, some colourful geckos and an amazing view; but strike one of its boulders with a small rock and you'll be amazed. They chime like tubular bells, ringing with different notes depending on their size, shape and how you strike them.
Mozambique's beaches have long been idolised, yet civil war kept them out of reach. I recently explored the islands of the north – the Quirimba Archipelago. It's Robinson Crusoe stuff: a string of islands lined by pristine beaches and untouched reefs. One tiny coral island, Quilálea, has just nine stylish villas. You can dive into a superb reef right off the beach, the food and wine are first class, and with no natural freshwater the island has virtually no insects.
Note that since this was written in 2008, Quilalea has closed to visitors. The latest update from Chris is that the island's lodge is due to re-open around the end of 2011 or the start of 2012, and the lodge promises to be better that ever!"
Chris McIntyre is Managing Director of Expert Africa, a specialist travel company that is always looking for new parts of Africa to explore. Chris is a member of the Royal Geographical Society and wrote the Zambia, Namibia and Botswana guides for Bradt Guides.
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