Why it’s hot? Liwonde and Nkhotakota are to become Big Five safari destinations once more
Since the turn of the 20th century, Africa has seen its population of around 5 million elephants reduced to a humanity embarrassing figure of 450,000. Pressure from poaching and encroaching cities have devastated its herds, but the small nation of Malawi has a simple solution: release the pressure.
Malawi’s Liwonde National Park is home to 800 elephants (over half the country’s population) yet its reduced borders mean it can no longer support that many. So, NGO Africa Parks are in the process of relocating 500 of Liwonde’s elephants, transporting them 370km to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, where the local elephant population has dwindled to just 100.
It’s an enormous task but this NGO has form, having successfully reintroduced lions to Malwi’s Mafete Wildlife Reserve in 2012. Similar ongoing projects will see big cats as well as black rhinos reintroduced to Liwonde, then Nkhatakota, as the ‘Big Five’ gradually return to Malawi. Pay them a visit in 2017, and not only support an incredible act of conservation but explore Africa’s most exciting new safari destination.
8. Luxor, Egypt
Why it’s hot? You can get there before the crowds return
Egypt has had its share of troubles of late, but the land of the pharaohs is still untouchable when it comes to historical sights, not to mention one of the world’s great river journeys. Which is why it’s only a matter of time before the visitors that once swarmed its Nile Valley return.
Visitor numbers to the country have halved in recent years and will take time to build up again. So in the meantime, if you’ve ever wanted to see the elegant hieroglyphs of Luxor Temple or ride into the Valley of the Kings and explore its tombs with practically no one in sight, now’s your chance.
Naturally, the best way to see the area is still on a Nile cruise. Try to make time for the famed Temple of Karnak, the largest religious building ever constructed, as well as lesser-known sites such as the stepped pyramid of Saqqara, a 32 km trip from Cairo.
But if you only have time to cram in the classics, Luxor was where the pharaohs fought to out-spend their ancestors, and they didn’t spend their treasures unwisely.