Since 1910, when Teddy Roosevelt made chasing wild herds across the African plains de rigueur for the not-so-idle rich, the idea of the safari has loomed large in the psyche of American men. Though the tradition has evolved – no modern traveler would brag about, much less admit to bagging 17 lions, 11 elephants, and 20 rhinos – a trip to the savanna, the desert, or the jungle is still fundamentally about getting back to basics and back to Earth. Nowadays, those basics often involve polished silverware, but luxuries are only ornamental on the best trips. Nothing could outshine the landscape.
New safaris are venturing into untrammeled areas as formerly war-torn countries stabilize and create sustainable tourism programs. Safaris may be Africa's past, but they are the future as well. Here's where to head in 2014.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
Mozambique is rapidly becoming the poster child for African tourism development. Blessed with mile upon mile of white sand beaches and massive reserves full of healthy elephant and giraffe populations, the country is a popular destination with in-the-know Europeans and South Africans looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Cape Town. And that's why you should go on safari in Gorongosa National Park right now. The 1,500-square-mile swath of pristine wilderness is fated to be the Serengeti of southern Africa, but the crowds haven't yet arrived at the Girassol Villas, lovely homes stuck in the Great Rift Valley between moving herds of antelope. The game drives here are eventful and the park rangers are devoted. Mozambique, which still bears reminders of former Portuguese rule, offers the most old-school vibe in brave new Africa.
More information: TAP and Mozambique Airlines offer direct flights between Lisbon and the capital city of Maputo. From there, travelers can catch a connecting flight to the town of Chimoio inside the park.
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