Urban Safaris in Africa? Absolutely!

Don’t Skip over Africa’s Best Cities With the Help of Timeless Africa Safaris

“There is such a wealth of wonders for travellers to discover in Africa that people often don’t think about the cities. But we do. Our Luxury Travel Managers really know their way around the centers of life and culture across the continent, and we have made a specialty of plugging our clients into authentic experiences and opportunities to meet and interact with locals that they’ll never forget.” Marco, CEO

There is more to an African safari than watching wildlife in the wilderness – and much more to Africa as well. We have made a specialty of curating Urban Safaris for travellers intrigued by the culture of our continent, with transformative opportunities for clients to connect with local communities along the way.

According to recent reports, contemporary travellers seek profound experiences to enhance their emotional intelligence, pushing beyond their comfort zones to interact with local communities and gain deeper appreciation for people and their cultures around the world.

Africa is prime territory for such interactions, with cities unfolding as thriving cultural centers of incredible diversity offering a vibrancy, creativity, great food, and warm welcome all their own. Far from mere stopovers en route to exploring the bush, they are being rediscovered as destinations for immersive travel.

Image credit: Ozzy

Africa is prime territory for such interactions, with cities unfolding as thriving cultural centers of incredible diversity offering a vibrancy, creativity, great food, and warm welcome all their own. Far from mere stopovers en route to exploring the bush, they are being rediscovered as destinations for immersive travel.

The following is just the start of what travellers can look forward to where the wild things aren’t on an Urban Safari with Timeless Africa Safaris:

CAPE TOWN

The world’s best and coolest coffee shop in Cape Town

Often noted as one of the best cities for travel, Cape Town has it all: natural splendor, textured culture and history, world-class galleries and entertainment, outdoor pursuits, and well-deserved renown as the culinary and wine capital of Africa. Start your Urban Safari with a vintage side car ride from the center of the city, traveling through coastal towns en route to Miller’s Point where a local ‘eco-warrior’ will create a wildly delicious adventure tracking the edible landscape, with local flavors from wild mushrooms to seaweeds and shellfish. Back in the city, ride bikes through the V&A Waterfront to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market, where one can taste produce and products from local artisans and meet the vibrant duo who brought the market to life. A Sunday Jazz Brunch on the seaside promenade is a great plan, as is ending the day by watching or joining in a salsa dance class at the Sea Point Pavilion. Learn to Gum Boot Dance, as once practiced by mineworkers or picnic at world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with a private guided tour, or join a local on a walking tour of the history of South African cuisine, from African Soul Food to Rose Milkshakes, boerewors to bobotie pie.

JOHANNESBURG

Maboneng, Johannesburg walking tour

Founded during a gold rush and built by adventurers, the sense of pioneering is part of the rich tapestry of the people and experiences of ‘Jozi,’ as South Africa’s largest city is known. Join two brothers – one an artist, the other a political analyst – as they weave together the city’s art scene and political history on a tour of galleries and significant historical sites. Enjoy an insider’s experience of Jozi’s most beloved townships, with a visit to an art studio/gallery that doubles as a music venue, with highlights such as sipping a ‘gemmerbier’ in a local home and playing basketball with kids in a youth social uplift program. See why Ponte City – the iconic, brutalist residential apartment building that dominates the skyline – has gone from symbol of urban decay to a high point of the renaissance sweeping South Africa, complete with a run up 900-plus stairs to the 54th floor – if you can make it.

KIGALI

Guests at Nyamirambo Women’s Centre

Previously tarnished by profound tragedy, Rwanda’s elegant capital has been reinventing itself for a quarter century and now radiates African charm. Clean, safe, and wonderfully lush, the city is known for excellent coffee, basket weaving and a lively night life. Kigali is also leading the tech revolution of East Africa, and as the gateway for gorilla trekking. The streets are filled with young students, well-dressed professionals, and a sense of purpose, with low crime, a vibrant dining scene, and friendly locals. Start at Nyamirambo Women’s Center, which provides education and vocational training for women to gain better opportunities, where clients transform colorful kitenge fabric into dazzling souvenirs. Enjoy dinner at Heaven restaurant, whose owner, Josh Ruxin, wrote A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope and a Restaurant in Rwanda. Visit a humble Rwandan home transformed into a colorful museum featuring works by local artists who share profits to aid and train local street children in traditional music, drumming, and dance. Shop at Go Kigali, offering the best ‘Made-in-Rwanda’ products from more than 50 designers.

NAIROBI

Nai-Nami Street Tour

Africa’s fastest-changing urban landscape glimmers with ultra-modern business ventures and endless diversions. Discover a true mix of wilderness and modernity in Kenya’s vast capital, which counts more than 400 species of birds offset by skyscrapers and passing airplanes. The hub of East Africa economically, socially, and influentially, Nairobi is full of life, with a people known for their entrepreneurship and fashion sense. Adopt an elephant at the local Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage, the first organization in the world to successfully raise milk-dependent orphaned elephants by hand and reintegrate them back into the wild. Visit Kunoa Trust, a cool workspace shared by artists and graphic designers where people buy art. Tour Brown’s Cheese, Kenya’s biggest cheese maker, followed by a delicious lunch with wine pairings. And don’t miss a chance to eat with your hands at Nyama Mama, an unpretentious, modern-day roadside diner serving meals full or a visit to the Kazuri Bead Factory.

DAR ES SALAAM


“Dar” is a thriving seaside metropolis and the commercial hub of Tanzania. Developed from a sleepy fishing village, today it’s East Africa’s second-busiest port along one of the world’s most important oceanic routes. The urban fabric of the city is highly decorative, with Arabic, African, Indian, and European architecture lining the streets. The people are as eclectic as the urban fabric, with many styles of dress, varieties of culture, and corresponding eateries and experiences making it easy for travelers to lose themselves in abundant markets, colorful happenings, and noisy, jostling crowds. A short boat trip takes one to palm-fringed beaches of nearby islands, where nothing compares to relaxing and enjoying sundowners from gracious homes while looking back on the city lights twinkling at dusk. Take a street-food tour of the city’s best fare, and visit the Mwenge Craft Market to watch artists make crafts to be sold throughout the country. Nafasi Art Space is aiming to become the country’s leading contemporary art center, providing a platform for training and cross-cultural discourse. If you’re visiting in September, don’t miss Dar’s famous Goat Race.

ARUSHA

Set exactly halfway between Cairo and Cape Town, Arusha, Tanzania represents the middle of the Old British Empire marked by a monumental clock tower. Lush and green throughout the year thanks to it’s high altitude, the city’s population comprises more than 100 nationalities, creating a melting pot of Iraqe, Hazabe, Maasai, Swahili, and dozens of other indigenous and ethnic cultures. Expect to be spoiled by the wealth of no-frills street food at places such as Discovery Restaurant serving Nyama Choma (roasted meat and maize), and Khan’s BBQ with ‘Chicken on the Bonnet’. Arusha is also a great place for volunteering, with many opportunities for visitors to do charity work while traveling. Visit Meserani Snake Park to learn about some of the most dangerous snakes in the world, from Black and Green Mamba to Puff Adders, and check out crocodiles at feeding time with chance to touch a baby crocodile. Don’t miss a meal at the eco-restaurant Eat Wild in the Themi Living Gardens, a leafy spot run by a women’s community project.