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The Best Digital Detox Safaris

How to get off the map in Africa

Written by
Byron Thomas, Jonny Humphries, Kit Wong, Tessa Van der Walt, Emily Hunter

Far detached from the state-of-the-art world, authentic safaris are a true retreat. Set in remote, tech-dead zones with little to no phone coverage, you are removed from a device-obsessed culture and compelled to ‘turn off’. These camps can get you immersed and re-connected with the craved-for real, physical world of mind-boggling panoramas that are here just waiting to be explored. Delve deep into the African wilderness where the sound of nature, not notifications, awakes you, and where the only social networks you’ll interact with are those of wild animals, indigenous communities and expert guides. At these camps, your days are filled by unforgettable encounters with regal lions and majestic elephants roaming free on your tented camp’s doorstep.

Remote Retreats

Serian Ngare, Kenya

Alex Walker’s Serian in the North Mara Conservancy is beautifully perched on the Mara River. With their private guides, guests are able to take bush walks and night drives in the private area near the camp, allowing for a more ‘involved’ and exciting trip to the Mara. At Serian “the Original“,  walking here is also a speciality, and you can head out with a guide in to a private no-vehicle zone where you can also spend a night out after the walk in a remote fly camp for an utterly untamed experience.

Serian Fly Camp, Kenya
Moremi Mobile Tented Camp, Botswana

Moremi Mobile Tented Camp offers a real treat for those looking to completely switch off on their safari. A superbly luxurious mobile camp, with Moremi as your base you’ll spend your days travelling around some of the most remote parts of the game Okavango. Don’t let its remoteness fool you – plush beds, Persian rugs and fantastic food are all there to welcome you back after a long day out.

beautiful aerial view of the Okavango Delta (Okavango Grassland), One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, Botswana
Selinda Explorers, Botswana

Based in Linyanti, this camp provides you with that oh-so desired sense of freedom as you step into a land where technology is not king. With bucket showers and limited power, Selinda makes it easier to switch off and will have you forgetting about your laptop’s battery and recharging your own. Your mental break here is filled with canoeing trips on the Selinda Spillway, getting up close to the thrilling fauna of hippo, leopard, antelope and more.

Selinda Explorers Camp, Botswana
Chongwe River Camp, Zambia

More secluded water-based activities are available at Zambia’s Chongwe River Camp. Sitting in a quiet pocket of the Lower Zambezi, this informal camp welcomes you into the world of Mother Nature with its thatched tents and pristine scenery where game come to drink and cool down at the riverside. Though these hidden camps may not come with the superior luxuries of a large city hotel, it is the experience that is the true luxury here. Their safaris are a sincere encounter which introduce you to a timeless world with personal and memorable touches every step of the way.

Chongwe River House, Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Jack's Camp, Botswana

Jack’s Camp, situated on the Makgadikgadi Pans, is one of Botswana’s most unique camps. A stunning tented camp, Jack’s is furnished to the nines, creating a unique and authentic atmosphere for guests. Activities are centred around landscape exploration, archaeology and interacting with the local trackers on drives or walks. You’ll feel so remote, you may even forget where you left your cell phone.

Interior, Jack's Camp, Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
Sanctuary Swala Camp, Tanzania

Swala Camp purposefully keeps wifi to the tents, so communal areas and the dining space are completely digital-free – it’s a nice place to stay if you aren’t ready to completely switch off and want to check in with friends and family before you go to sleep. Located in a private section of Tarangire National Park, you will be able to experience some near exclusive game viewing, without so much as seeing another vehicle while you’re out.

The pool area at Swala Camp, Tanzania

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A Digital Detox Safari in Botswana

For those who want to truly disconnect from the pings, tweets, emails and vibrations of the modern world – without sacrificing any of the comfort – and immerse themselves in true African wilderness.

Delve into an untamed and exclusive luxury safari in Botswana where for nine days you awake to the sound of nature, not notifications, and where the only social networks you’ll interact with are those of wild animals, indigenous communities and expert guides.

Begin by meeting your expert naturalist guide in the small town of Maun where you’ll board a light aircraft and fly out deep into the Okavango Delta, one of the most iconic ecosystems in all Africa.

Head back to the times of the original Western explorers on an exquisitely luxurious mobile safari for six days, discovering the remotest areas of the Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. A patchwork of permanent waters, seasonal wetlands, and islands covered in forests and Savannah, this region is home to a incredible array of animals. Elephants are in abundance, along with buffalo, lion, leopard, African wild dog, giraffe and cheetah. Numerous antelope species abound, as do hundreds of bird species. You’ll head out to meet the wild residents on game drives, bush walks and boating trips, learning about this unique environment and reconnecting with nature.

Your camp is a throwback to the 1920s, with traditional canvas tents, wrought iron beds and thick feather bedding, all lit by paraffin lamps. Start the days with freshly baked bread and full English breakfasts, indulge at tea time and take three course dinners out under the stars each night. All without a hint of Wi-Fi or mobile signal to distract you from now.

Next, fly south and east to the lunar landscapes of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in the middle of the central Kalahari desert. There are few places on earth as empty, the vast nothingness and all encompassing horizon a place to get a truer sense of scale and self reflect. You’ll be staying at one of the most unique camps in Africa – the legendary Jack’s Camp, owned and run by Ralph Bousfield. An oasis right out on the pans, it too harkens back to simpler, intrepid and more glamorous age of safari, with antique furniture, superb dining and impeccable hospitality.

This area is about more than game viewing – in fact for most of the year very little ventures out this far from the lush Delta. Instead it is about exploring the landscape, the isolated rocky outcrops and ancient baobabs, and learning about the traditions and skills of the bushmen, an incredible people who have survived in this otherworldly place for millennia.

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