Welcome to Qorokwe Camp, a late 2017 addition to Wilderness Okavango Collection
Jan17

Welcome to Qorokwe Camp, a late 2017 addition to Wilderness Okavango Collection

The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s most popularly visited areas. It is not likely that we’ll arrange your tour of Southern Africa without suggesting (or insisting) that this iconic and unique region of Botswana is featured on your itinerary! We love the mokoro experience, which offers a glimpse into the age-old means of travel between islands, and the tranquility of the waterside lodge locations are perfect for balmy African evenings, and the game viewing goes without saying! We are overly excited to sink our teeth into the Delta’s newest offering, which was launched late last year by the renowned Wilderness Safaris. Welcome to Qorokwe Camp! Located in the southeastern region of the Okavango Delta bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, Qorokwe Camp is situated on an enormous private concession measuring over 26 000 hectares, which has not been utilised in 4 years. This element of untouched wilderness is even more exciting because it gives us a look into how the vegetation and the animal and bird life has moulded itself without any human input over years. There is plentiful game in the area and water all year round, keeping the wildlife fed and watered through all seasons and offering Qorokwe guests front row seats to some epic Delta safari experiences. Qorokwe means “the place where the buffalo broke through the bush into the water”, which describes the activity of large buffalo herds in the camp’s immediate location. The vast floodplains are home to these great, formidable beasts, and to the lions that stalk them endlessly, while the interspersed acacia woodlands feed herds of giraffe and zebra, and brings biodiversity to the area. The local lion pride is presently numbered at about 15, and is spectacularly impressive to watch while sitting silently in the embrace of a kitted out game viewer. The lodge itself is a testament to environmental sustainability, as all Wilderness Safaris projects are. As such, the camp is solar-powered, and you can be prepared to put down your mobile phone because Qorokwe is blissfully Wi-Fi-free! There are 8 elegant tented suites with indoor and outdoor showers (a real safari treat), and a very spacious family suite with a private splash pool to cater for parents travelling with children. The main lodge area is also equipped with a swimming pool, surrounded by wooden decking and loungers that overlook the view of the lagoon and floodplains. There is also a library, lounge, dining area and bar, which all make the most of the abundant views and sense of solitude in this very special place. Qorokwe Camp is now open and welcoming guests who are in search of ultimate quietude...

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Where are you going in 2018? We have some suggestions…
Jan17

Where are you going in 2018? We have some suggestions…

Bucket list destinations for 2018! If you’re looking for some inspiration on your first day back in the office, planning your adventures for the 2018 holidays might be a good place to start – to remind yourself why you work in the first place! This week we’re sharing our list of wild and wonderful places we have put on our travel bucket lists this year. These are some of the most awe-inspiring spots on the African continent and in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and they are bound to enchant you and set your soul on fire. First up: Fish River Canyon, Namibia. This is the largest canyon in Africa and the longest inland river in Namibia, stretching for 160km in total. Today it is a string of pools located in the vast ravine and is one of southern Africa’s most astonishing hiking trails. Entirely unique, heart-stoppingly beautiful, and certainly unmissable. Visit Fish River Canyon Lodge for views like this! Next up on our 2018 travel bucket list is Zambia’s tremendous Kafue National Park, where the eerily misty Busanga floodplains draw a blanket of rising fog over the bright light of the rising sun, illuminating the sky and rose-tinting the entire scene. This safari secret burns brightly on our 2018 calendars, and we can already feel the excitement and hint of unease spreading through our veins as we explore this wild animal kingdom shrouded in a disorienting haze. What a sight to behold on safari in this majestic place with Busanga Bush Camp. On our journey to discover 2018’s top spots, we’ve chosen this secluded island of smooth boulders and leafy trees in the waters of Lake Malawi National Park. Mumbo Island Camp is remote bliss, 10km across the water from Cape Maclear, which is this island’s nearest road access and the reception for the camp. The isolation of Mumbo Island is reason enough to spend at least a few days swinging in your hammock overlooking the clear, fresh water, but it offers so much more than just peace and quiet. The scuba diving, snorkelling, and kayaking activities are sublime ways to enjoy the unique biodiversity of this great lake, and Mumbo Island’s tented or thatched chalets are the perfect places to spend silent nights and in between days of sun-filled fun. Breezing through our bucket list items brings us to a celebrated World Heritage Site; a place we have bestowed with a title that represents the natural integrity of an area, enhancing its value and protecting its precious existence. This elephant paradise is Mana Pools National Park on the banks of Zimbabwe’s historic Lake Kariba. The...

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Part 2 of African Parks’ Unknown Wildlife Conservation Areas
Jan12

Part 2 of African Parks’ Unknown Wildlife Conservation Areas

In a previous post we celebrated the news that Prince Harry had been appointed as President of African Parks and introduced the first 4 of 12 conservation areas under the organisations management. For many nature lovers and adventure seekers, the wildlife reserves and national parks protected by African Parks are unheard of. These places were decimated by civil war, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, and neglect, and through agreements between local authorities and African Parks, conservation has become a priority, and work is being done to enforce law, provide employment, and nurture both the natural environment and the people who rely on it. In this 3-part series, we are introducing the 12 lesser known destinations that are being rehabilitated rebuilt into the magnificent, ecologically unique wilderness that it once was. Garamba National Park Northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bordering South Sudan DRC’s only population of Kordofan giraffe Largest and last stronghold for elephants in all of DRC UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 and one of Africa’s oldest National Parks Part of 12500 sq. km Garamba Complex African Parks, and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) entered into a partnership in 2005 to manage the park. Then and Now Northern DRC and South Sudan are notoriously war torn, and the wildlife of Garamba has suffered significantly as a result of uncontrolled poaching for bushmeat and ivory over the decades. In the 1970s, there were estimated to be as many as 22 000 elephants in the 4900 sq. km national park, and today elephants number only 1300. Hostile conditions across the country during years of war and intense pressure from the Lord’s Resistance Army left Garamba as a shadow of its former self, while surrounding local communities suffered under the same conditions. Now, under African Parks renewed management, Garamba National Park is responsible for the employment of over 1000 people, while strict law enforcement is in place to protect the park’s assets. Highly trained anti-poaching units are in place to protect wildlife, while schools, a hospital, mobile healthcare facilities, and environmental programmes are providing much needed support to communities. Just last year, the number of collared elephants grew to 47 and a number of rare Kordofan giraffe were born, while improved protection has been provided to Garambas rangers and endangered species, signalling the success and committment to conservation. Liuwa Plain National Park Western Zambia Location of the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa 19th Century conservation story of King bestowing the land to his people  Home of the famous lioness, Lady Liuwa In 2003, African Parks entered into a partnership with the Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW)...

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New Franschhoek Winelands Lodge on the Exclusive La Clé Des Montagnes
Jan10

New Franschhoek Winelands Lodge on the Exclusive La Clé Des Montagnes

La Clé Country Lodge opened just in time for Christmas last year and is now welcoming the new year in gorgeous, chic Cape country style. This is the newest offering in the La Clé Des Montagnes portfolio, which already boasts the supreme La Clé Villas sprawled on the working wine farm’s staggering location. The Country Lodge is a 5-bedroom house with grand country kitchen equipped with genius chefs and housekeeping staff, ample living spaces, and spacious grounds and swimming pool. It is ideal for individual bookings or as an exclusive sole-use booking hugging the edge of South Africa’s ‘French corner’, Franschhoek. The monumental mountains rise up from rolling vineyards and flowering plum orchards and create the most magnificent backdrop to this finely crafted Cape country retreat. Disguised by great, old trees, yet entirely exposed to a view of the vineyards, La Clé Country Lodge is embraced by neatly pruned hedges, and classically adorned with thatch and green shutters. The swimming pool ripples cooly under deep blue skies, offset by the emerald garden lawn that surrounds it. The terracotta tiles lead from the verandah, through the large French doors, and into the dining room and living spaces. Antique ornaments adorn the walls and classic old furniture dress the rooms and complete the character assigned to this warm and nostalgic retreat. Franschhoek charm Franschhoek is a wealth of ancient French Huguenot influence; from the famous 3-arched monument, classic architecture, delicate corner pâtisseries and chocolatiers, refined cheese and wine farms, which a distinctive air of elegance. Modern Franschhoek is represented in the fun surrounding the Bastille Festival, adventure activities, such as bicycle trails, horse riding, canoeing, and village strolls. These days, the village of Franschhoek is a trendy hub of artisanal and hipster establishments, while a short walk (or bike ride) from the village will take visitors to the quiet suburbs and the thriving wine farms beyond. Book out exclusively or reserve a room The beauty of the Country Lodge is that it is fit for families who would like an exclusive house to call their home, only an hour’s drive from Cape Town and 30 minutes’ from the airport. Children can spend their days splashing in the swimming pool, and enjoying garden entertainment, while 5 bedrooms with en suites offer enough space for all. Outdoor activities and plenty of food offerings both in the village and prepared in the lodge’s own interactive kitchen by highly trained chefs. Alternatively, La Clé Country Lodge’s 5 bedrooms can be booked out separately and the house shared by independent couples or singles (no children under 12 on independent bookings). The spacious grounds, equipped country kitchen...

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Always Stop for Birds in the Okavango Delta
Jan06

Always Stop for Birds in the Okavango Delta

Wonderful photographic captures by the talented Kevin MacLaughlin who spent time on safari in Botswana last year and brought back a collection of images that truly showcase the enigmatic wealth of this wild country. The birdlife of the Okavango Delta is spoken about around the world, with keen birdwatchers coming from far and wide to discover both the rarely seen and the overly abundant species that flock to the waterways. This is a black-winged stilt, and rather a regularly seen wader of the shallows. Take a look at this deeply captivating shots and be transported to the seat of a mokoro gliding through the Okavango Delta. Inspired by the birth of the new year, we’re ‘taking flight’ and sharing images that capture the beauty of birds. These elegant creatures might not rule the wild kingdom with deadly teeth and reverberating roars, but they occupy a crucial role in nature, and we personally can not get enough of them! In our previous image, a black-winged stilt tested the waters first thing in the morning, while the next featured images capture great white egrets as they fan their wings in combat, challenging each other at a crowded site during breeding season. The Okavango Delta is the location of countless heronries and breeding grounds for water birds, and so bird watching becomes a safari activity well deserving of admiration. Twitchers for life! A lilypad-hopping waterbird possessing incredible grace considering the size of its feet; the African jacana is one of the firsts to be spotted on an Okavango Delta birding tour and will quickly become a favourite. It is endlessly entertaining to watch as this little bigfoot pads along gently, scrutinizing the surface of the water for little creatures to prey upon. Some birds have boggling behavioural displays, and often these ‘performances’ revolve around the breeding season when the males of the species put on their best, most elaborate shows in order to impress the female and be granted mating privileges. It’s animal nature and it is quite fascinating to watch! This particularly impressive sight is of a pink-backed pelican, perched on top of a communal nesting tree along a waterway in northern Botswana. During the breeding season these trees are heavy with the number of pelicans inhabiting it. Seeing double: a diminutive African pygmy goose skims over the surface of mirror-like Delta waters before splashing out with an eventual landing. Immense pleasure can be found in the quiet activity of bird watching, and when you’re ready with your camera in focus, you capture moments in time that celebrate the individual movements and expressions of the birds behind the lens. Pygmy geese are notorious...

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