The best of South America: top traveller attractions, by region
Jun28

The best of South America: top traveller attractions, by region

South America is a continent simultaneously erupting with ancient history and vibrant, modern culture. It flows from the frosty peaks of the Andes Mountains, to desert landscapes that look like the surface of the moon. It has a vast tropical jungle basin, Caribbean shores, wine country, bohemian port towns, and exotic wildlife. With so much to offer, the biggest question of all is where to begin? It is easiest to break South America down into its four portions, each offering something iconic and different. There’s SO much to choose from and we recommend getting in touch with Liselle, our South America expert, to ask questions about the continent and what will best suit you. Below are some of our top traveller attractions, by region. The North Coast On the Caribbean coastline is the North Coast and the northernmost reaches of the rainforest, where you’ll find Colombia and Venezuela, palm-fringed beaches, the hard evidence of European colonisation and residual African settlements that stem back to the days of slavery. Lifestyles seem lackadaisical, colours are vibrant, history is everywhere, and nature is close by.   Museo del Oro, Bogotá, Colombia: The home of Colombia’s gold heritage. The museum is a testament to the country’s metalwork expertise of the old days when gold was extracted from the earth, reworked into figurines and jewellery and then buried as a gift to the Earth. While much of the south was plundered for gold treasure, Colombia was overlooked for many years and managed to retain its treasures for longer. Today, what remains – some 36 000 pieces – is on display in Museo del Oro where it is guarded by the bank. A truly exquisite exhibition. The Caribbean Coast, Santa Marta, Colombia: This city is the gateway to the northern attractions, including the tropical, sensual coast and El Rodadero beach. Stroll the popular promenade, sit at pavement restaurants and watch the comings and goings of locals and tourists alike. Salsa dancing is present everywhere you look – a part of the culture. Visit the Cathedral Basilicá, which is built on the ground where the oldest Catholic cathedral in Colombia used to stand after it was founded in 1951. Tairona National Park is easily accessed from Santa Marta and is popular because of its sparsely populated, white, sandy beaches and tropical jungle, which spans out below the jagged Sierra Nevada mountains. The Southern Cone The Southern Cone is the name given to the part of South America that has the most European influence and is most frequently travelled. This is where you’ll find Patagonia and its mountainous hiking routes and windswept shores. Chile – wedged between the Pacific Ocean...

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Light and luxurious new look for affordable Zambia safari lodge
Jun19

Light and luxurious new look for affordable Zambia safari lodge

Kafunta River Lodge, one of our most loved South Luangwa safari accommodations, recently received a fresh lick of paint and opened up its living spaces to invite even more of the view right in. The new image is all we look for in a comfortable, soothing safari environment, and given its prime position overlooking the open floodplains, you won’t miss a thing in terms of lodge-based wildlife viewing opportunities! Pick a place to relax, whether it be on your private deck or with friends around the pool, and absorb the wilderness around you. Location South Luangwa is Zambia’s flagship national park, famous for hippos basking on the banks of the Luangwa River, leopards stalking through the dappled shade of riverine trees, begrudgingly sharing their territory with lions – the true kings of the jungle –  while every member of the wild kingdom gives way to the elephants, which naturally dominate the landscape. The park draws visitors from far and wide, and offers up-close encounters with wildlife in the form of game drives and walking safaris, and during the peak season, it can get very busy. Kafunta River Lodge enjoys its own piece of heavenly shade on the floodplain of the Luangwa River away from the bustling Mfuwe area of the park, and has a private pontoon which offers unrivalled access across the river and into national park territory where game drives are conducted. Rooms It is intimate with only 10 rooms – 8 standard safari chalets and 2 luxury suites – all with sublime positioning along the floodplain and enjoying private viewing decks, comfort, and quiet solitude. The chalets have king or twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, private verandah, minibar fridge, and a ceiling fan. They have new floors and new furnishings, and the bathrooms were upgraded as part of the soft make-over. The two suites can be made up to accommodate four people by converting the upstairs alcove (which would ordinarily serve as an exclusive lounge with a view for suite occupants) into a loft bedroom for two additional beds. The thatched suites enjoy added privacy as they are set further away from the main lodge area; plus, they each have a stand-alone bath tub and both an upstairs and ground-level viewing deck. Lodge The spacious main guest area is sprawled out under the dappled shade and a large deck area accommodates space for various lounges, both out in the open and under thatch. There is an extended deck that perches out over the floodplain, which makes for the perfect starlit dining experiences; there is a circular sunken lounge that surrounds a convivial fire place; and there is...

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Patagonia Hiking Guide: Day Hikes in Torres del Paine
Jun10

Patagonia Hiking Guide: Day Hikes in Torres del Paine

Patagonia is one of the world’s most renowned hiking and trekking destinations. A place for adventurers and nature lovers where the elements can be challenging, but the scenery and landscape majestic… staggeringly so. Torres del Paine is Patagonia’s most famous trekking hotspot and it is where you will find a variety of different day-hikes and multi-day trekking excursions among a host of other outdoor activities, such as boat cruises, kayaking, horse-riding, glacier trekking, etc. We’ve got an article dedicated to the experience of puma trekking in Torres del Paine, and in this article we’re highlighting two of the region’s best hikes for day-packing – one easy and one not so easy! First things first: Weather First, it is important to know that Patagonia is almost as famous for its weather as it is for its rugged landscape. The wind can be very gusty and icy cold, and from about May to October, the winter season takes hold and everything turns white – this is not the time to hike! We recommend hiking in the seasons in between, when the cold is manageable, and in summer when the days are long and pleasantly warm. There is always a chance of rainfall, even during the summer months from December to February, and the wind pumps regularly, so there is no avoiding that altogether, but that’s all part and parcel of a visit to Patagonia! The Autumn months of March and April are also a very pleasant time to be in Patagonia and it is less busy with tourist traffic, so that’s a bonus if you are looking for more privacy and exclusivity. Summer is very busy in terms of visitors and your hiking trails are going to be bustling with other hikers. March and April are better for quieter visits and the wind blows less vigourously, which is nice for campers, but it is a bit colder and the closer to winter you go, the higher the chance of rainfall, so April-May is risky. Spring in October and November is also a favourable time of year, but it still packs that winter chill, so make sure to bundle up and keep warm. Rainfall is less likely to put a damper on things at this time of year, and there are no crowds comparable with summer, so, bonus! Gear Patagonia is an incredibly social place and it is very popular with young couples and groups of friends, as well as solo travellers who are on a soulful mission to realign with nature. Backpackers and hitchhikers are seen all over the quaint little towns in southern Chile, and especially in Puerto Natales, which...

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Rhinos in the Greater Kruger reserves have been de-horned
Jun06

Rhinos in the Greater Kruger reserves have been de-horned

About 150 free-roaming white and black rhinos were de-horned in the Klaserie and Balule Private Nature Reserves in April this year after months and months of debate and deliberation, extensive planning and expert consultations. This historic undertaking is believed to be the largest de-horning exercise to be carried out on wild rhinos in the Lowveld to date. The permits were obtained through the Mpumlanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) at the end of the summer season this year and the operation was carried out  immediately afterwards, employing the expertise of a number of experienced wildlife vets, reserve management teams, aerial and ground-based teams, as well as officials from the MTPA and the Limpopo Economic Development Environment and Tourism (LEDET) department. Photos by Kevin MacLaughlin. WATCH: Klaserie and Balule’s monumental rhino de-horning operations, which took place in April 2019 Adjoining the Kruger National Park and one another, Klaserie and Balule are part of the Greater Kruger Park conservation area within which wildlife roams freely. These reserves offer some of the country’s best safari experiences with up-close big game sightings in 4×4 vehicles as well as immersive bush walks, which often create the opportunity to view rhino on foot. Now the rhinos that visitors are fortunate enough to see are likely to be without their iconic horn. More importantly, the prehistoric rhinos are now living without their weapons of defence. This might seem like a travesty, but the alternative – extinction – is unthinkable. The Kruger is the stronghold for wild rhinos in Africa, yet it is tragically targeted by poaching on such a scale that a decision of this nature was forced to be made by those are ultimately responsible for the survival of the species. In a press release, the Klaserie stated: “The KPNR has been hit hard by illegal poaching in the past several years. This situation reached a pinnacle during 2018 when the KPNR lost an average of two rhinos per month to poaching. With the current intensity of rhino poaching, the rhinoceros as a valuable contributor to the reserve’s eco-tourism product would become extinct within the next three to five years, unless more drastic measures were taken.” Similarly, the Balule executive committee revealed: “The relentless onslaught has reduced the rhino population within Balule by nearly 70% since 2012. Family groups have been severely compromised and sex ratios skewed leading to a dire situation for the natural prosperity of our rhinos.” De-horning the rhinos is that drastic measure. By making the rhinos less valuable to poachers, paired with the current powerful security measures in the form of specialised fencing, field ranger law enforcement, K9 capability, and an aerial patrol...

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Safari Trifecta: Etosha, Akagera, and Okavango Delta
Jun04

Safari Trifecta: Etosha, Akagera, and Okavango Delta

The emergence of new and refurbished safari properties is always something that entices us. The possibility of discovering somewhere new, or seeing something through different eyes means that we get to continue developing and evolving our expertise and our product knowledge so that our itineraries include not only the trusted greats we work with over and over again, but that we can give our veteran clients something spectacular and new. When some of our favourite suppliers reveal their newest ventures with us, we’re all ears! We’ve picked three new properties to share with you that are turning out sublime safari memories for our adventurous guests. Sun Safaris secrets revealed! This is one safari trifecta you don’t want to miss. NAMIBIA: Etosha Heights Safarihoek Lodge Most of our Namibia-bound guests are keen self-drivers and lovers of unending wilderness, landscapes, and stars. That is not to say they don’t head to Namibia for the wildlife – they do! Etosha is world class and world renowned – but it’s the other contributing aspects to the wildlife experience that really sets this vast, coastal-desert country apart. Take a look at our Distinctive Namibia luxury itinerary for an idea of what we’re talking about. There is so much space to roam, a low human population for the surface area of the country, and there are lions that live on the Skeleton Coast! From the stars to the relic sand dunes to the desert elephants and black rhinos, Namibia is pure magic, and this is somewhere new we’re excited to be able to offer to our guests headed for Etosha: Safarihoek. Afrikaans for “safari corner”, this modern-comfort lodge is in a private nature reserve bordering the national park’s southwestern boundary, where it makes the most of the staggering views. Etosha Heights is a 60 000 hectare stretch of savannah with thorny thickets, riverine forest pockets, and mopane woodland – a diverse terrain hosting a huge variation in species. Rhino, both black and white, find a stronghold here where they are protected, and what’s more is you can contribute a cash donation of N$50 towards anti-poaching teams when you opt to log on to the unlimited WiFi! The lodge is sprawled out on top of a hill and so the views are indescribable. Wandering elephant, oryx, eland, springbok, zebra, giraffe, lion, and many others cross the plains and can be found in shady spots throughout the reserve. At night, the beauty of being in a private reserve means you can bundle up and head out on a game drive after dark when you stand a chance of seeing aardvark, leopard, and other nocturnal creatures. While you’re...

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