Homepage - African Encounters

Imagine this...

  • Experiencing the magic of small group African safari
  • Staying in small luxury tented camps in private conservancies rather than busy tourist lodges in the national parks…
  • Enjoying exciting game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles rather than a zebra-striped minibus…
  • Visiting authentic villages off the main tourist routes…
  • Walking across the African savannah with Maasai tribesmen or San Bushmen…
  • Making a difference by supporting local conservation and community projects…
  • Ending your fabulous safari with a few relaxing days at a beautiful Indian Ocean or lakeside resort…

If that sounds like your dream African safari, let’s make it happen!

Questions? Talk to someone who’s been there…


Why choose African Encounters?

sundowners Chobe Botswana

Genuine Small Groups

When we say small we mean up to 10 guests only. You’ll enjoy personal service and stay in our favourite luxury accommodations, each with with just 6-8 rooms, rather than a large mass-tourism resort.

Majete elephants Malawi

We Are Your Africa Experts

We are an independent, New Zealand-owned, boutique tour operator specialising exclusively in travel to East- and Southern Africa for 35 years. We know Africa!

school visit Zimbabwe

Making a difference

The private conservancies we stay in are community-owned, providing both employment and income, and we support local community and conservation projects in the areas you visit on your African safari.

How do you want to travel?

elephants at Somalisa

Karen's Signature Safaris

Karen’s Signature Safaris, unique small group safaris in East and Southern Africa, are personally escorted by Karen Platzer, African Encounters founder. In my 35 years of living and traveling in Africa, I’ve found some real gems to share with my fellow travellers. I’ve infected many guests with my passion for this incredible continent and they keep returning for another African Encounters adventure!

View Karen's Safaris
Meerkats & the Okavango Delta

Scheduled Departures

Our Scheduled Departures run on set daily or weekly dates. Our trusted African suppliers share our philosophy of travelling in a small group, staying in superb camps in private conservancies away from the crowds, and supporting local communities and conservation projects. Professional local guides take great pride in sharing their knowledge and their culture with their guests. 

View Scheduled Departures
morning tea with elephants

Tailor-made Safaris

Do you have a special birthday or anniversary to celebrate? Maybe you have a particular interest in wildlife photography, bird watching or conservation? Or maybe our tour dates and itineraries don’t suit your travel plans. We can customise any of our African safaris to suit, or create a completely new itinerary for you to enjoy an amazing private safari with your friends and family. 

Get in touch
elephants and camp Hwange, Zimbabwe


5 tours
Breezes view


1 tour
elephant in camp lower zambezi


3 tours
Tanzania - what not to wear on safari


1 tour
balloon flight


2 tours
Kaya Mawa Malawi


2 tours
lion cub Amboseli Kenya


2 tours
Meerkats & the Okavango Delta


2 tours

What our guests say...

bush picnic Botswana
"Glamping in Africa"
Christine Wright

“At my stage in life (60+) I prefer travelling in comfort, so the opportunity to go glamping in Africa was very appealing.
Our first safari lunch under the trees was interrupted by a small elephant group wandering past. I was speechless!! The small group approach staying in private conservancies meant we were often the only spectators. I was on a high the whole time and although I am widely travelled, our trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe was the best!!
I was quite nervous about going to Africa but once I was there, I felt in very safe hands the whole time. Africa is magical! If you get the chance- go for it! African Encounters will deliver a truly memorable experience!” 

More from our guests…