Celebrating Singita Sweni’s Design and Architecture
Jul12

Celebrating Singita Sweni’s Design and Architecture

The exclusive Singita properties ooze style and sophistication, and every single one of their properties  manages to remain classically authentic without being ostentatious. Singita Sweni is a lodge resting on the banks of the Sweni River in the heart of the big 5 Kruger National Park, allowing guests to enjoy ample wildlife sightings from the comfort of the lodge. Singita Sweni is tasteful, bold and classy. This exclusive retreat was furnished by award-winning interior designers that successfully managed to combine the essence of the simple safari life with new trends in design principles. All of the Singita lodges are built with the idea in mind that they’re an extension of the environment, rather than an intrusion. Sweni has utilised the colours of the bushveld in its decor. From the soft furnishings to the furniture and artwork, the colours from outside world have been used cleverly throughout. The lodge was completely re-invented during the course of last year, and we absolutely love Singita’s phenomenal take on modern safari living! The Sweni hideaway is home to 7 suites which are eye-level with the surrounding riverine trees. Each of the suites are open-plan and flow through to private game viewing decks. The outdoor showers are yet another added sense of wild luxury that creates a feeling of being completely connected to the bushveld. The showers overlook the river – be sure to lookout for elephants at the river’s edge – and provide yet another game viewing opportunity from the comfort of the lodge. Singita Sweni lodge also has a pool suite which is home to a private swimming pool and expansive riverfront viewing deck. This suite has two bedrooms, making it ideal for families. In terms of activities, there’s plenty on the go. There are game drives, guided walks, archery, a spa and gym, swimming pool, stargazing, shopping at the boutique shop and gallery ; and community visits. There are also plenty of family activities available, which includes baking with with the lodge chefs, swimming and even a mini rangers’ course. For the adults, there’s also wine tasting. The Singita wine list has received an accolade from the “Top Diners Club Wine List”. And as for the wildlife? Well, it goes without saying that game viewing is unsurpassed. The big 5, birdlife, mammals, plains game, predators, and reptiles all call this section of the bushveld “home”.    ...

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Safari Hot Air Ballooning Options in Southern and East Africa
Jul01

Safari Hot Air Ballooning Options in Southern and East Africa

The word “safari” conjures up images of khaki-clad holidaymakers trundling their way through the bushveld, and open-topped game viewers crunching through arid bushveld. You might also have a flood of visuals of traditional mekoros cruising through narrow channels, motorboats gliding across expansive open waters and houseboats moored in game-rich regions. The major aspects of any safari experience include game walks, game drives, boat cruises and lodge specific activities. Hot air ballooning is an alternative to the standard game viewing activities, and offers an adventure of a lifetime. This bird’s eye view of the landscape and its inhabitants certainly offers an opportunity to enjoy an unusual safari experience. There are a variety of hot air ballooning packages on offer, and trips can include anything from a champagne breakfast to a full day safari experience. Hot air balloon pilots are highly qualified and legally have to own a pilot’s license to fly a balloon. Hot Air Ballooning Over the Masai Mara in Kenya The Masai Mara forms part of the Great Rift Valley, and the Mara River cuts through this endless Kenyan savannah dotted with umbrella trees and occasional escarpments. The sheer abundance of game in this region is astounding. The open grasslands give rise to huge concentrations of elephant, wildebeest, zebra and other plains game. The Masai Mara region is a destination brimming with wildlife and it’s no surprise that it has become a sought after safari destination. Hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring activities to enjoy while on safari in Kenya. Glide slowly over the plains below and let the crisp, fresh air awaken your senses. One of the hot air balloon outfitters in Kenya is Gamewatchers. Their luxury balloon tours normally lift off at first light (6:15) after a quick briefing and wake-up coffee session. The size of the balloon reaches heights equivalent of a ten storey building, and this particular balloon is among the largest operational balloons in the world.  Flights are roughly an hour and on landing you will be whisked away to a secret bushveld destination for a champagne breakfast awaits. For a hot ballooning safari in Kenya, we recommend staying at Porini Lion Camp or Porini Mara Camp. Hot air Ballooning Over Mabula in the Malarai-free region in the Waterberg Region Mabula Game Lodge is located in the malaria-free Waterberg region, and is home to a wealth of game. The big 5 Mabula Game Reserve covers a whopping 12 000 ha of undulating terrain and is only a short 3 hour drive from Johannesburg, making it an ideal destination for those based in the major city....

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Lake Bogoria in Kenya is Pink Because of its Flamingo Population
Jun02

Lake Bogoria in Kenya is Pink Because of its Flamingo Population

A rippling lake sparkles with hues of blues, reflections of green and deep graphite colours. These are the spectrum of colours you would associate with the colour of a lake. Whether it’s Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi or even Lake Victoria; their common denominator is that they all fall within the same colour spectrum at first glance. One of the Great African Lakes that falls out of the normal-colour-of-lakes category is Lake Bogoria in the northern Kenyan Rift Valley that forms part of the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. Between August – October Lake Bogoria turns a shade of pink, and upon first seeing the lake you will notice an expansive sea of pink. Upon closer inspection you will notice those dots of pink candy-floss are actually a flamboyance of lesser flamingoes. Lake Bogoria is a fascinating geographical marvel. The lake is dotted with hot springs and geysers on the western shore, which is caused by geothermal activity. The water source of Lake Bogoria is derived from the heavy rains during the green season and from the numerous hot springs feeding into the lake. The lake does not flow into the sea or follow any river course. The water simply dissipates during the dry season from the excessive heat, and leaves behind a massive area with a high salinity level. When the water levels begin to drop, that’s when the flamingoes flock to the shores. August – October is the time to visit this area if you’d like to witness this wildlife spectacle. However – Lake Bogoria is worth a visit, given that it is has the highest number of natural geysers in Africa. Another recommended time of year to visit is during the drier season, which is peak safari season in Africa. The rainy season disappears which means so does the availability of reliable water sources. Wildlife will flock to the shores of the many lakes and waterholes in their surrounding habitat as it’s their only source of water. With the fluctuating rains and volatile climatic conditions, the chemistry of the lake can change which always sees an influx of unique wildlife – or none at all when the salt levels are too high. We recommend staying at the Lake Bogoria Hotel which has a variety of accommodation options. Lake Bogoria is dramatic, fascinating and most certainly worth a visit.    ...

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Glamping: Our Favourite Tented Safari Camps in Africa
Apr22

Glamping: Our Favourite Tented Safari Camps in Africa

There’s something about sleeping under canvas that transports you to a time long ago when travellers and explorers crossed the plains of Africa by ox wagon and set up camp to keep shelter for the night. Today, tented safari camps – both temporary and permanent – offer accommodation inspired by those days and provide safari guests in search of that bygone era with a reminiscent experience in the wild. The sensation of sleeping in a tent next to a dancing campfire is primitive and exciting, while dressed up walk-in tents with draping curtains and comfortable en suites have transformed the “camping” experience. Camping or glamping: we love safari camps under canvas, so this week we are showcasing our top picks! This glamorous canvas palace is Speke’s Camp bordering the Masai Mara, and it is sublimely simple yet elegant, placed on the banks of the Olare Orok River. If you’re humming away Vicky Sampson’s “My African Dream” like we are, you’ll have all the feels looking at this slice of Kenyan heaven. A mobile safari camp in the heart of the Masai Mara where the rivers collide and some of the greatest game viewing on earth plays out. Enaidura Camp is the luxury tented paradise we’re after to witness these migrations in all their glory. Speaking of canvas boudoirs, this is a masterpiece of canvas and timber – a far cry from the tents of our childhoods and much nearer an invention of marvellous design and creation. Kichwa Tembo is a tented camp that not only houses guests in supreme comfort and extraordinary style, but these rooms exhibit the staggering surroundings in 360° luxury. This is a view of the Masai Mara we are not going to forget in a hurry! Does this still count as a tent? Well it’s under canvas and it’s in one of the most unadulterated wildernesses in southern Africa, so we think so! Without a doubt it matches our idea of heaven with its gentle structure and subtle yet significant luxuries in the remote and exclusive Linyanti concession in Chobe National Park. Only 6 of these beautifully crafted tented suites sprawl along the swamp’s edge where one’s shower is a game viewing experience all on its own. This is where classic canvas and unmatched luxury combine seamlessly: Linyanti Bush Camp. Kalahari simplicity, with added elegance in the golden hour. As far as canvas palaces go, an elevated suite rising between tall palms, fringed by summer grasses is surely one of Botswana’s most outstanding! Camp Kalahari fits snugly into our canvas dreams, which are chock o block with retreats like this where nothing but rolling wilderness...

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Our Love Affair with 5 Star Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Overberg
Mar12

Our Love Affair with 5 Star Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Overberg

At the foot of the mountain along the Walker Bay Coastline in  the midst of carpets of indigenous Fynbos, lies the 5 star Grootbos Nature Reserve. Walker Bay is part of the Overberg region, a part of the Cape home to the world reknown whale watching town of Hermanus. Grootbos is set back from Walker Bay and views from the lodge extend across the mountains, and the scenic Walker Bay. The pristine surrounds of this eco-friendly destination offer plenty of natural wonders. There are over 100 species of bird fluttering about, 800 unique species of plant and 29 mammal/amphibian species making their home in this 2500 hectare indigenous bush. Grootbos is the perfect combination of beach and bush – Cape style! Grootbos Nature Reserve is is an easy self-drive from Cape Town, and makes an ideal detour if you’re driving from Cape Town via Hermanus to your final destination of the Garden Route. Alternatively, this star studded nature destination is worth earmarking on the map; even if it’s not en route to a more tourist orientated destination. There are a variety of accommodation options at Grootbos, each catering for a different type of traveller. The focus is always on conserving the environment, minimising your carbon footprint and sharing knowledge about conservation with guests. Under the milkwoods lies the 11 roomed Garden Lodge that is constructed from a natural mix of heavy wood and stone; and has uninterrupted views of the Walker Bay Coastline. It’s relaxed, and offers the perfect place to relax, while being surrounded by peace and quiet. There’s a swimming pool, library and even a beauty salon for the more indulgent guest. Forest Lodge is a slice of luxury amidst the tangled and unruly Fynbos. It’s modern, minimalist and boasts clean lines throughout. There are 16 suites linked via walkways, and each of the suites are located on a hill and give rise to exceptional view of the bay and surrounding Fynbos. Of course, it goes without saying that there are plenty of facilities that are typical to a five star destination. Expect a restaurant, boma, lounge, barista bar, and infinity pool housed in a romantic setting. Grootbos has two private villas offering an absolute sense of sophistication and grandeur in a secluded position with panoramic vistas from all angles of the lodge. Your private villa comes complete with a chef and butler; swimming pool, cinema, wine cellar and gym. And there’s even a landing strip for those who are, enviably, arriving in a helicopter or small plane. It’s not just the accommodation options that are mind-blowing, it’s also the culinary journey. Fine food prepared with locally...

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9 Different Safari Spots in 8 Different Countries
Mar11

9 Different Safari Spots in 8 Different Countries

This great continent of ours has unlimited room to explore in the lifetime the average person has on this planet, and every corner has its unique pull and appeal. When we talk about safari spots, of course we think of elephants and leopards navigating the savannah, but we might also be thinking about somewhere good to snorkel and watch the colourful marine life go by, or perhaps somewhere great to hike and discover the human and animal history that came before us. The appeal of Africa is in its cultural wealth, its wide open spaces, its density of wildlife, and its diversity of landscape and terrain. So, in order to cover all bases, we’ve picked 8 countries in southern and east Africa and pin pointed one great place to stay in each one… (two in Malawi because we couldn’t resist). Imagine a trip that would take you across the continent? If we had all the money in the world, you know where we would be. Mvuu Lodge – Malawi Malawi is a huge focus for conservation achievements at the moment as we watch years of hardship be overcome by hard work and perseverance. On our blog we have featured the cheetah relocation project of last year and now only last month Malawi’s Liwonde National Park welcomed its first lions in several years. So now the big cats join the great African elephant in Liwonde, contributing to the diversity of species this park is welcoming once again. These images from Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde show not only the epic elephant sightings possible, but the diversity of activities and safari experiences. This place deserves to be rediscovered, supported, appreciated, and nurtured. Ai Aiba Lodge – Namibia Surrounded by living history, embraced in the boulders that were the very canvases of the early Bushman of Namibia. Ai Aiba Lodge is a fascinating and spine-tingling getaway in the Erongo Mountains Nature Reserve, where protected fauna and flora thrive between mind-boggling granite formations. Renowned rock paintings adorn cave walls offering us modern day folk a glimpse into the story of the land before our time. This is a destination with a difference. Changa Safari Camp – Zimbabwe Changa Safari Camp and its poolside views are all the inspiration we need as we are transported to the banks of Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba in Matusadona National Park. A pastel sunrise in the dawn sky above the lake oozes a feeling of peace and tranquility, and its hard not to feel entirely in tune with nature from this perfect position at the pool. Only 8 luxury tents keep things private and exclusive, while the renowned wildlife population...

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Let a Safari Be Your Language of Love on Valentine’s Day
Feb14

Let a Safari Be Your Language of Love on Valentine’s Day

Today is the 14th of February, the day where society declares their love for their other half, their family and their pets. Malls are littered with red and pink paraphernalia, and shop windows are adorned with hearts and declarations of love. This puts plenty of pressure on many of us to become part of the mass hype surrounding Valentine’s Day. Truth be told, everyday should be Valentine’s Day. If your other half is insistent on grand gestures then we suggest booking a safari to please your loved one. Happy wife, happy life. And all that. You’re probably a bit too late to book that safari – but there’s always next year.  Now is the time to start planning your safari gift for next year. Here are a few lodges in Kruger ideal for your safari experience. We’ve handpicked these lodges according to various budgets – each lodge/camp is a winner in terms of what they offer. Africa on Foot Located in the heart of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, Africa on Foot specialises in walking safaris and is ideal for guests wanting an authentic safari experience with a personalised touch. Morning’s start with a walk and end in an evening game drive. Accommodation is in chalets, with luxury linen and simple rustic designer furniture. The Klaserie is a big five reserve, which means visitors can expect plenty of game viewing opportunities. Romantic Element : Africa on Foot has its own treehouse, which is set apart slightly from the main camp area. It’s a wooden structure on stilts with open sides and two levels. It has unsurpassed views of the wilderness, and at night you can hear the hyenas whoop and the lions contact calling. There’s a double bed and relaxation area – it’s absolute relaxing luxury in a rustic and wild structure. To stay in the treehouse comes at no extra cost, but you will need to request a sleepover while booking your accommodation. Chacma Bush Camp Chacma Bush Camp is located in the Maseke Game Reserve, and occupies a traverse laden with undulating landscapes, rocky outcrops and sandy riverbanks. There is a waterhole in front of camp that is frequented by elephants and buffalo, and guests often sit at the pool watching the pachyderms at play. It’s an intimate camp that offers gourmet cuisine and world-class safaris. Romantic Element : The team at Chacma will go out of their way to find the perfect sundowner spot for their classic romantic safari set-up. The unique landscape has a river coursing through the reserve and there are plenty of koppies, waterholes, riverbanks and elevated areas to set-up an idyllic sundowners...

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