THE thrill and chase of getting up close with Africa’s magnificent animals is an experience which is frequently positioned high on bucket lists.

For many, it is also a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so it’s worth getting it right.

The experts from luxury boutique safari operator, Sanctuary Retreats, recommend Kenya as a destination for first-timer visitors, as it offers almost guaranteed wildlife spotting, without compromising on comfort.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is world-renowned for its abundant animal life — particularly the Big Five — and makes an excellent spot for traditional game drives.

Timing greatly increases the chances of spotting wildlife, with travellers in Kenya between June and August able to catch the great migration of the wildebeest, and the hordes of predators it attracts.

There are plenty more ways to interact with indigenous wildlife — many of which help support local preservation efforts. For example, Sanctuary Baine’s Camp and Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp in Botswana provide the chance to interact with semi-re-habituated elephants.

The Sanctuary Retreats team also recommends connecting with the indigenous tribes to help unlock the secrets of Africa’s great plains. Many tribes are more than welcoming to tourists and will teach visitors traditional bush crafts, and share their expertise in animal tracking.

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