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Leading safari specialist, Acacia Africa has rounded up its 2016 hotlist, the tour operator's eight wanderlust options key indicators of where you should head next on the African continent.

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - December 20th, 2015 - Africa has been making its mark in the 2016 travel polls; Lonely Planet naming Botswana as the best country to visit and Nat Geo placing Uganda in their top ten places to see the world’s wildlife. East Africa is also basking in the limelight - the region in at number three on Lonely Planet’s best value destinations list and the newly opened Victoria Falls International Airport is set to be a “game changer” for travel to Southern Africa.

Leading safari specialist, Acacia Africa has rounded up its 2016 hotlist, the tour operator's eight wanderlust options key indicators of where you should head next on the African continent. 
1. South Africa took the number one slot based on Acacia Africa’s 2015 destination enquiries and the pleasing exchange rate makes the country ideal for Brits with a budget sized travel itch. The England cricket tour will also be a crowd pleaser, a long haul holiday all the more excuse for sporting fans to add an overland expedition or city stay to any test match fixtures. On every global travellers radar, a follow up to Nelson Mandela's best selling autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” is due to be published posthumously in 2016, the book detailing his years as South Africa's president. Visit Robben Island where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison and put a different spin on your adventure at the PPC Newlands cricket Ground (four day Cape Town city stay from £160pp, two sharing). Alternatively, overland your way across Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, your tour ending in Johannesburg.  Depart on 06 January as the “City of Gold” will host the third Sunfoil Test Match at the Bidvest Wanderers stadium from 14-18 January.  Seven day African Insight from £680pp (no single supplement).
2. The Namibian dollar is pegged to the South African Rand making the country another great value destination.  Arno Delport, Sales & Marketing Manager for Acacia Africa comments, “A great addition to any tour in South Africa, explore the otherwordly sights of Namibia on a desert dune climb or boulder across the rocks at Spitzkoppe in search of ancient Bushman paintings.” 12 day Cape Desert Safari from £756pp (no single supplement).
3. Botswana is clearly one of the frontrunners for next year’s travellers, its 50th anniversary of independence scheduled for 30 September.  The country’s flag will be flying high in 2016, and still to be unveiled, there are additional plans for ongoing promotions including fashion shows, carnival market days, cultural festivals and traditional games. As one of Africa’s last wild frontiers, Lonely Planet put Botswana at the top of their best places to visit in 2016 list: over 17% of its area given over to conservation. A must see, the Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage site - walking safaris, wild swimming and sunset mokoro rides just some of the off the beaten track highlights on the 12 day Desert & Delta Express from £986pp (no single supplement).
4. Zimbabwe’s new $150 million dollar Victoria Falls International Airport officially opened in at the beginning of December, the possibility of new direct flights expected to be a “game changer” for Southern Africa as a region. With the falls at their lowest flow from mid-July through mid-February this is an ideal time to go white water rafting on the Zambezi, while travellers visiting during the high water season will have amazing views of Mosi-oa-Tunya.  Still making its mark with adventurers, Hwange is home to the Big Five and a wildlife magnet, the national park is one of the last strongholds for Africa’s endangered wild dogs. Yet another reason to go, Zimbabwe’s ancient ruins are a major highlight. Five day Chobe & Victoria Falls small group safari from £777pp (two sharing)New for 2016, the country is now a major highlight on several of Acacia Africa's small group itineraries including the 14 day Southern Africa Magic, 11 day Delta & Chobe Waterways, seven day Kruger & Victoria Falls and seven day Okavango Wilderness Trails.
5. Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is inhabited by more than half of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas, so it undoubtedly deserves to be in Nat Geo’s top ten 2016 wildlife wonders.  “Expect thick jungle, a lot of sweat, and then the miracle of going eye to eye with the very deep gaze of a watchful silverback,” NatGeo Society revealed. While there are no guarantees, this is travel in its rawest form. Meet these gentle giants on the 18 day Mountain Gorillas To The MaraFrom 1,808pp (no single supplement). A bucket list country, Uganda also featured in BuzzFeed’s list of 20 Most Beautiful Countries in the World and according to Business Insider, the destination is one of 12 key hotspots to look out for if you want value for money.
6. Kenya has made it back into Acacia’s must visit list for 2016, governments across the globe easing restrictions on travel to the country.  Arno Delport, comments, “It’s all about perception, and with advisories being lifted, the country will be one to watch. This month the timeless “Out Of Africa” movie commemorates its 30th anniversary, the seven time Academy Award winner, drawing people back to Kenya and the Masai Mara.“ 13 day Kenya & Tanzania Adventure from £1,894pp (no single supplement). In what could be another win win for Kenya, Angelina Jolie is working on a big screen biopic of conservationist and palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey. “We will make the film and it will be made in Kenya - for sure,” Leakey commented. The script by Oscar winning screen writer, Eric Roth, is described as a 'sweeping epic,' and tells the story of 'African-born Leakey, a fossil hunter who helped to find the bones of early man, but later turned his attention to combating elephant and rhino poaching. News just in, the Masai Mara’s Marsh Pride (stars of many BBC-TV documentaries) introduced the two youngest members of their family to an adoring public. When the two three-week old cubs emerged from the undergrowth the pair were christened Kamili and Kamageo.
7. After suffering years of unrest, Mozambique is a rising star on the travel circuit. Heavily geared towards those on a budget, its backpacker tourist hubs, including Tofo, have a laidback allure. From Vilankulos to Xai-Xai, the turquoise waters are literally teeming with marine life; giant manta rays, turtles, reef sharks, dolphins and the rare dugong on the list. Recent comparisons also suggest diving in the Bazaruto Archipelago rivals that of the Red Sea, but this underwater safari won’t break the bank. 14 day Mozambique & Zimbabwe Explorer from £1,203pp (no single supplement).
8. East Africa came in at number three on Lonely Planet’s Best Value Destinations for 2016 list. There’s no doubt Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are ripe for explorers hoping to experience some of the world’s great wonders, from gorilla encounters to Rift Valley scenery and stunning palm fringed beaches. Visit all three countries on the 26 day Ocean To Gorillas overland tour, the adventure including game drives at Lake Nakuru, gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and a beach stay on the Spice Island of Zanzibar. From £2,678pp (no single supplement).
All prices include transport, accommodation, local payment, most meals and services of a tour leader/driver. Excludes gorilla and chimp permit from £450 and return flight. Independent flight prices available on request. Year round departures. Acacia Africa (020 7706 4700; SATSA membership No. 1931, ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.
Notes To Editors:
Overland Adventure Pass: From January 2016 Acacia Africa will include all food and camping plus a number of highlights and activities previously budgeted from the local payment in the overland tour price, making the cost of the new Adventure Pass much lower than the original local payment. Ideal for travellers who wish to pay before they leave home, the operator has also introduced a 'prepayable option' for the Adventure Pass.
Accommodated Overland Upgrade: Acacia Africa will also be offering an accommodated upgrade on all of its Camping Overland Tours (except for Mozambique & Kilimanjaro tours), their mid–range accommodation complemented by en-suite facilities with some additional off the beaten track camping in the African wilderness.
Safari Pass:  An alternative to the old local payment, from January 2016 travellers will be able to take advantage of Acacia Africa’s new “Safari Pass,” on its small group safaris, the payment including the majority of tour highlights and excursions in addition to some accommodation en route. There will also be a "prepayable Safari Pass option" for those who want to pay before they arrive in Africa. 


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Name: Sam Ward
Company: Acacia Africa
Phone: 020 7706 4700
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