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AUDLEY TRAVELLER | 29such as these in the Indian Ocean is that dropping into the turquoise water is like getting into a bath. That evening we were treated to Swahili Night, where delicious local specialities such as coconut milk curries, fresh seafood and delicately spiced dishes were served. This was all enhanced by infectious drumming, dancing and singing of songs like 'Jambo Bwana' (hello mister), which became the soundtrack to my African experience. And so after wishing each other 'lala salama' (sleep well) another peaceful sleep followed, induced by the gentle lapping of the waves just in front of my room.The next morning we took a 15-minute speedboat ride to Mesali Island, where you can snorkel just off the shore or head further out to dive. It is known as one of the best diving sites in Africa with good reason - the coral and fish are vibrant and abundant here with yellow back fusiliers, blue striped snappers, surgeonfish, angelfish and grouper amongst the 300 species to be found. That evening it was back out onto the ocean for a sunset dhow cruise where we sailed peacefully around the shores with drinks in hand, chatting and laughing as we enjoyed another glorious African sunset. It is such a serene part of Pemba that later that evening, Ellis (one of the hotel owners) said she could hear our laughter from her hotel room.Getting waved offThe following day there was just about time to squeeze in one more activity - an early morning dolphin cruise on the shores of Mesali Island. About 50 of these elegant, fun creatures swam alongside the boat, an incredible sight. And so, all too soon, I was leaving another wonderful part of Africa, fully understanding why so many people choose to combine a safari with a few days' relaxation on a beach or otherwise afterwards - it really is the perfect antidote to all the drama and early mornings.Calling myself a 'safari sceptic' is a bit of a hyperbole but I certainly wasn't someone who had desperately longed to go. I was with a group of Africa experts who'd all told me that by the end of our week together, I was sure to get the 'bug'. How right they were. Safari is an addiction of sorts - you start a mental checklist of animals you want to spot, which grows longer and more obscure the more you see.And like skiing (they have afternoon cakes in common) it isn't just about the game drives - it's the whole package: the wildlife, the beautiful landscapes, the sharing of experiences, the sundowners and the adrenaline. Because although once back in the UK I felt incredibly safe in terms of the wildlife that surrounds us, I was surprised to find that I felt a little bit too safe. I had felt so alive on safari and as I lay in my big comfy bed with only harvest spiders for company at home - I kind of longed to be back in my see-through tent by Lake Tagalala under the magnificent stars of the southern hemisphere.There are numerous other destinations in Africa that would make a superb first time safari. Here are a few of our specialists' favourites:Ruaha National Park, Central Tanzania An ideal add-on to the Selous, just an hour and a half's flight away. The park offers a totally different landscape and wildlife including cheetah (which you won't find in the Selous) as well as large buffalo herds, elephant, lion and wild dog. t Serengeti National Park, Northern Tanzania If you're dreaming of the vast open savannahs of the wildlife documentaries and staying in a mobile tented camp for a true Out of Africa experience, this is the place to be! Wildlife here is excellent year-round, with the added bonus of the migration herds travelling around the park between November and July. yEastern Cape Game Reserves, South Africa The Eastern Cape has superb game reserves offering a Big Five safari experience with expert guides. The beauty of visiting South Africa is the diversity of other experiences to enjoy as well as safari - wining and dining in Cape Town and whale watching at Hermanus to name a few. First time safari destinationsTanzania & ZanzibarGet StartedAn 11 day trip combining a safari in the Selous and time on a Zanzibar beach starts from £3,060pp. For more information please contact our Tanzania specialists on 01993 838 545. We have a detailed safari section on our website where you can find suggested itinerary ideas based on your interests: www.audley.co.uk/safarisweb plus0100 miles0161 kilometresIndian oceanSerengeti National ParkMasai MaraMount KilimanjaroRuaha National ParkKiba AirstripSelous Game ReserveNgorongoro Conservation AreaSand RiversPemba IslandZanzibar IslandRuahaRufijiLake Malawikenyatanzania1324Dar es SalaamArusha56

Riddled with atmospheric waterways and dotted with exotic isles, Southeast Asia is perhaps best seen by boat. These cruises help reveal the authentic OrientSecret sailsTales of the riverbankBoard a sampan on the Mekong and fl oat past local markets and palm trees