Small group African safaris - African Encounters

Avoid the crowds on our
small group African safaris!

30 years of African Travel

Our safari styles

Karen’s personally escorted Signature Safaris

Scheduled small group safaris

Tailor-made safaris customised for you

Our Speciality

Superb 4-star accommodation under canvas 

Stay in private conservancies – avoid the crowds

Wildlife, Conservation & Culture

Our Difference

We are independent Africa experts

Celebrating 35 years of travel to Africa

We specialise in Africa, not the world!

  • Stay in small luxury tented camps in private conservancies rather than busy tourist lodges in the national parks
  • Enjoy exciting game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles – no zebra-striped minibuses for our guests!
  • Visit authentic villages off the main tourist routes
  • Walk across the African savannah with Maasai tribesmen or San Bushmen
  • Relax at a beautiful Indian Ocean beach – the perfect way to end to your safari
  • A donation to local conservation and community projects is included in the tour price

If that sounds like your dream safari we need to talk! 

Destination of the Month

Malawi - the warm heart of Africa

Malawi is a tiny landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It is at the southern end of the East African Great Rift Valley, and Lake Malawi, at almost 600 km long, covers most of the country’s eastern border. The lake is a huge natural aquarium, teeming with colourful fresh-water cichlids, and a few relaxing days at a gem of a hideaway on Likoma Island is the perfect way to end to your safari.

The bird-rich Liwonde National Park is a must for any Malawi safari; it’s the country’s most famous safari reserve. Here you’ll find a lush, totally tropical park that lines the Shire River, which flows south from the lake. 

Malawi is a densely populated nation, with lots of small traditional farms and genuinely welcoming people. The few safari areas are not well-known which means there is relatively little tourism – a bonus in our eyes! ‘The warm heart of Africa’ is a fitting description.

Imagine being here...

From our guestbook...

  • Apart from the fact that Africa is THE destination we want to go to, travel with Karen is the only way we would do it. We have travelled to Africa with Karen 4 times now and just love the small intimate group size and the feeling that the whole trip is planned with just us in mind. And the daily surprises!!

    Helen & Pat Ranson
  • At my stage in life (60+) I prefer travelling in comfort, so the opportunity to go glamping in Africa was very appealing. The small group approach staying mostly in private conservancies meant we were often the only spectators. I was on a high the whole time!
    I was quite nervous about going to Africa but I felt in very safe hands the whole time. Africa is magical! African Encounters will deliver a truly memorable experience!

    Christine Wright
  • African Encounters was recommended to us by friends in 2013. Since then we have been on four AFRICAN ENCOUNTERS which we have embraced and totally enjoyed. The organising and planning of our trips has been first class and exceeded our expectations. To see African wildlife in their natural environment from an open safari vehicle is awe-inspiring with great photo opportunities.

    George & Lyn Wilson
  • We chose African Encounters because we liked the small group escorted by Karen which appealed to our idea of a “boutique” safari instead of being packed into a zebra-stripe van full of tourists. The game camps are of a very high standard in the pristine wilderness of the Okavango Delta or the open plains of the Serengeti. The guides are experts on wildlife, and enthusiastically share their love of their country. We have become serial repeaters!

    Karen de Willimoff
  • Amazing experience above expectations. A chance to see wildlife in their own environment minus the truckloads of tourists.
    Impressed with the effort towards sustainability and green environment with many concessions having Green awards.
    Accommodation at each concession was beautifully presented with comfortable beds, food and wine excellent. Highly recommend.

    Julia Staines
  • We did back to back Namibia with Mozambique extension and Botswana, with Karen. Each awesome in their own way but the standout impression is that it is definitely worth spending some extra and going off the beaten tourist track into the private conservancies. There is more game, less people, the camp staff are genuinely happy to host us, they are also happy to share what tourism is giving back to their local communities.

    Sue & Richard Lovett
  • Zimbabwe and Zambia September 2019. My second safari with Karen, another very special experience. Small group, small camps, wonderful meals and nothing too much trouble. Karen’s itineraries are well researched and paced with 2 to 4 nights in each camp. Time to feel at home! Such professional and knowledgeable guides in each camp – I learned so much about the countries, their people, flora and fauna and of course the animals. We had some wonderful close encounters with the animals especially the elephants. The ever amazing birdlife was either posing for or challenging the photographers. This was meant to be my “grande finale” after 3 trips to Africa but maybe not, these safaris are addictive. Thank you Karen.

    Anne Luther
  • I have recently returned from the Zimbabwe and Zambia Tour with Karen. The trip was amazing and every little need was catered for, as the camps could not do enough for you with wonderful accommodation (we normally stayed 3 or 4 nights which gave you time to settle in), sundowners, food (out of this world) and the surprise meals in the bush. The game drives gave us a chance to get close to the animals, plus we were also able to go canoeing with the hippos and crocodiles and walking with the animals. I have been to Africa a number of times and say it is my last, but I think I might have to go back again. Thank you, Karen a great experience.

    Robyn Dann

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