Two Houseboat Safari Options in Zimbabwe and Botswana
Oct09

Two Houseboat Safari Options in Zimbabwe and Botswana

Iconic images of game viewers framed by brazen sunsets and surrounded by arid savanna are a constant reminder of the safari life in Africa. Coupled with these popular game drive images we are also rewarded with numerous safari style images of mokoro trips, boat cruises and wildlife swimming in pristine bodies of water. We are familiar with these typical safari scenes, but there’s a different style of safari that pretty much flies under the radar in terms safari holidays in Africa. We’re talking about the much-loved experience of a houseboat safari! Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe/Zambia is probably the most popular and well-documented destination for a houseboat safari, but the mighty Chobe River in Botswana is also an exquisite option for this category of safari. Lake Kariba rests on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is the world’s largest man-made lake. It is actually in the Zambezi Gorge, spreads out over the Zambezi Valley and is surrounded by pristine nature reserves teeming with game. The lake is dotted with floating hotels and has numerous small islands. In terms of wildlife, there’s plenty to see. Big game is fairly prominent, with a major highlight being the herds of elephants happily swimming between the fertile islands. This is always quit a sight to behold – elephants use their trunks as a snorkel and love nothing more than to indulge in swimming sessions. The Chobe River is one of the most popular safari destinations in Botswana and the shores are a playground for high concentrations of elephant. Chobe is home to hippos, crocs and a menagerie of other wildlife. Waders and birds of prey also frequent the area, making it an absolute heaven for birders. When you hire a houseboat for a safari you have the option to charter for a set period of time. It’s standard for a crew to accompany you for the duration of the hire. Amenities are all on board and – depending on the boat you hire – you can either charter the boat with the self-catering or private chef option. With the houseboat there are tender boats. These boats are used for navigating narrowing areas of water and for game viewing and fishing. The tender boats have a crew and don’t tend to traverse too far from where the houseboat drops anchor. The Big Daddy As its name suggests, this is the big daddy of houseboats. This is a mobile water mansion and the daddy Warbucks of Lake Kariba.  It comes complete with a splash pool on board, sundeck area and even braai facilities. Well-appointed cabins completely kitted out with bathroom amenities and all the luxuries...

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The Ultimate Africa Safari Route : Lions, Gorillas, and Whales
Oct08

The Ultimate Africa Safari Route : Lions, Gorillas, and Whales

Africa is a continent home to diverse landscapes, rich cultures and colourful capitals. It’s the home of the endless horizon, the safari, rural areas and coastal splendour. Whether it’s the dilapidated third world town centres, business capitals of cities, game-rich bushveld regions, arid savannah, coastal luxury or remote craters on the edge of the wild; Africa has heart. Africa has an unrefined natural beauty, and is a continent deserving of a visit.  The majority of tourists come to Africa for a safari experience, but nailing down the countries to visit can be tricky. Your time frame and budget also needs to be taken into consideration. If you have an extensive budget, and aren’t restricted to time, we suggest you follow our ultimate Africa safari route.  These are the most popular destinations worth a visit, but certainly aren’t the only countries in Africa to visit. The below is our ultimate Africa safari route!  The Greater Kruger in South Africa The Greater Kruger is home to a number of private reserves, and the national park. It’s a destination popular because of its close location to the scenic coastal hub of Cape Town, and its overall accessibility. Guests often combine the Kruger with Cape Town for the perfect beach and bush combination. There are a number of flights serving major airports in the area, and the international airport of OR Tambo is also easily accessible. Choose from reserves teeming with the big five, stay at lodges on the banks of rivers and indulge in luxury bushveld walking trails, sundowner sessions and game drives in big five reserves. If you’re pressed for time, combine a safari to Kruger with a trip to bold and brimming Cape Town. High End : Ulusaba Cliff Lodge in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve Affordable : Kapama River Lodge in the Kapama Private Game Reserve Okavango Delta in Botswana The Delta is one of the most spectacular water wonderlands in Africa. The sparkling emerald waterlogged region is surrounded by a unique and arid savannah, rich with birdlife and predators. This alluvial fan comprises open waterways, reed-lined tributaries and tranquil channels. Floodplains, grasslands, reeds and grasslands make-up a unique ecosystem that is the Okavango Delta. The most popular region in the Delta is the Moremi Game Reserve, a state-run reserve and privately managed concessions home to a high concentration of big game. This is the home of the water safari, and offers its visitors unique opportunities to enjoy traditional mokoro rides and cruise across pristine waters. The bold and shimmery sunsets of the Okavango Delta are hypnotic! High End : andBeyond Sandibe Lodge in Okavango Delta Affordable :...

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Untouched Africa : A Remote Rainforest and a Petrifying Soda Lake
Oct03

Untouched Africa : A Remote Rainforest and a Petrifying Soda Lake

There are parts of the world that remain undiscovered. These are the corners and pockets of pristine parts of the globe that go undetected, and largely unnoticed. We live in such an age of information and “big brother”, that it’s hard to believe such places still exist. Everything is waiting to be discovered, and the mystifying regions that have been studied and documented, still remain untouched. Today we briefly discuss two places in untouched Africa. A remote rainforest in Mozambique and a petrifying soda lake in Tanzania have provided us with much bewilderment. Remote Rainforest in Mozambique On the top of Mount Lico there lies a rainforest that remained undiscovered until recently. This hidden rainforest is cocooned and protected by a steep wall of rock rising a whopping 700 m above the landscape. The mountainous structure is an ancient centre of a volcano with the untouched forest cradled inside the crater. Locals are acutely aware of the presence of Mount Lico, but the hidden rainforest was actually only discovered by Julian Bayliss when he came across satellite imagery of this geographical phenomenon. Scaling a 700m wall of rock to access the rainforest was an impossible feat for scientists, so a decision was made to tackle the smaller 125m cliff face. This would allow insight into the biome of the area, and the scientific team would be perfectly placed to navigate the region from on top of the structure. Ancient rainforests house plenty of biological and cultural history. Although the rainforest has never been explored by humans within recent times, there were antiquated fragments of pottery found in the area. If the area was sightly higher or more accessible aeons ago, it would make sense that the fragments would come to settle in an area far from its original place. Discovering an area where expedition teams haven’t explored means a world of wonder in terms of new species! The first new species of butterfly has already been identified. We can only imagine all the wonder and discoveries of new amphibians, reptiles and insects that will be found in what is believed to be one of the most pristine forests on earth. Lake Natron in Tanzania Mysterious, eerie and downright creepy is the best way to describe this haunting lake in Africa. Images that have emerged from the region are dramatic and somewhat unbelievable. The stark images are so unreal that many of them look Photoshopped. But they’re not. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for these evocative images from Lake Natron in Tanzania. The wildlife in and around Lake Natron appear to have turned to stone, frozen in time.  But simple...

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Going Chimpanzee Trekking? Here are 3 Facts About Chimps.
Oct03

Going Chimpanzee Trekking? Here are 3 Facts About Chimps.

Chimpanzee are our closest relative in the animal kingdom and they possess many traits eerily similar to humans, which is not surprising given that they share over 95% of their DNA with us. These cheeky primates have oodles of personality and are larger in real life than many people perceive them to be. Chimpanzee trekking is a popular activity in certain countries in Africa, with a sought after destination being Uganda’s tract of tropical forest in Kibale National Park. Neighbouring Rwanda and Tanzania also offer ample opportunity to go chimpanzee trekking, with a highlight being the small and unknown Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. Diet : Fruit, Meat and General Vegetation Chimpanzees are omnivorous frugivore primates and certainly don’t shy away from opportunities to feed. A frugivore favours fruit over other foods, and will actively seek out areas abundant with supplies of fruit. Chimpanzee will happily indulge in vegetation such as leaves, seeds, blossoms, and bark. The protein-packed meaty portion of their diet is roughly 2%. The protein sources come from small to medium sized prey, which includes anything from insects to primates and common mammals. A favourite chimp delicacy is the western red colobus monkey. There have even been rare cases of cannibalism within the chimp world, which is not unusual in the animal kingdom. This often happens when a dominant male kills the infant of a female within the family group. There have also been instances of sub-adult chimps killing an unpopular leader. Never underestimate a chimp’s capacity for violence and aggression! Behaviour : Vocal, Aggressive and Entertaining Chimps are not afraid of declaring war with neighbouring groups. They do this in an effort to invade territories. To claim neighbouring territories, gangs will move in aggressively and carry out excessively violent behaviour killing any rival chimp. They do this to expand territory and ensure they have an ample and endless supply of food. Expanding territory also means your gene pool is dominant within an area. A chimp’s vocalisations convey a variety of meaning, and there are over 30 different calls they use to communicate. They combine these vocal calls with different body postures and facial expressions to display emotion. They certainly do have a deep and complex way of communicating, just like their Homosapian relatives! It goes without saying that Chimps have earned a reputation for being cheeky. They’re an odd combination of aggression and playfulness. While you’re chimpanzee trekking you’ll notice the gangs swinging from vine to vine, and deliberately cackling as they swing past. They’ve been known to sit in the tops of tress, munch on local fruits and toss them onto their onlookers...

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4 Things Synonymous with a South African Safari
Sep30

4 Things Synonymous with a South African Safari

Going on safari is about discovering the culture, traditions, cuisine, wildlife and landscape of a new safari destination. A massive part of going on safari is tracking the big five and observing rare moments in the wild, but there are factors that, combined with game viewing, make for an enjoyable safari. Today, we’ve decided to select 4 things synonymous with a South African safari. Boma Area  A boma area is a small enclave tucked away from the main area of the lodge and it’s basically a cocoon of fireside happiness. The small area comprises a pit with a roaring campfire surrounded by a circle of safari chairs. Guests are encouraged to retire to the boma area after dinner to exchange stories and listen to the bushveld tales told by eager guides. Each camp and lodge has its own variation of a boma, but the general theme is that it’s a place to bond with guides, trackers and fellow guests. We’ve seen traditional singing and dancing sessions in the boma, opulent braai sessions and lengthy hours of laughter. The campfire is often referred to as a “geselsvuur” which directly translated means “talk fire”. A roaring and cackling fire ignites something deep and primal within ourselves, bringing us closer to nature. A boma area was originally used as an area for livestock and it’s still customary to have the boma area cordoned off from the main area. What happens around the boma, stays around the boma!  Game Drive Sundowners with Drinks and Snacks  The afternoon game drive normally departs at 16:00, but the time is season dependent. The duration of the drive is anything from 3 – 4 hours. Nocturnal predators are at their most active when the daylight fades and the scorching heat subsides. The later game drives coincide with this time frame, and they’re perfectly timed to observe the change from day to night. The bridge between day and night is sunset. This is a much celebrated and anticipated time of day, and there’s nothing better than a blazing red and bold orange sunset in Africa! Across most safari destinations, guides will stop in a superb location to admire the setting sun. It’s customary to whip out a pre-packed safari style cooler box jam-packed with your drinks of choice. In another khaki clad box in tin canisters, there’ll probably be biltong, nuts and other snacks. Some lodges keep sundowners simple, while others pull out all the frills and spills. Don’t be surprised to see a picnic blanket on the bonnet of your game viewer laden with goods for your culinary pleasure. Sunsets are most certainly a highlight of any South...

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4 Luxury Safari Lodges in Zambia, Africa’s Humble Safari Mecca
Sep16

4 Luxury Safari Lodges in Zambia, Africa’s Humble Safari Mecca

Zambia is a prime safari destination home to a number of game-rich national parks, the mighty Zambezi River, the famous Victoria Falls, and the bustling bewitching and vibrant capital of Livingstone. Zambia deserves a bit of time in the spotlight, given that the country is often overlooked in favour of neighbouring safari destinations. Zambia is a diamond in the rough – a developing country rich with heart and soul. It’s wild, exceptionally beautiful and contains a bounty of sublime safari lodges designed specifically to take advantage of their surrounds. Below is a list of our 5 luxury safari lodges in Zambia. Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park 12 luxurious tree houses connected by wooden walkways and hugged by lush Jackalberry trees, provides the perfect natural sanctuary for visitors to Zambia. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park surrounds the Zambian side of the falls, and is ideal for game viewing. This lodge is actually located in a prime position on the banks of a bend in the untamed Zambezi River. Needless to say, the vistas from the lodge are wondrous. A huge selling point for this property is the fact that it’s the only property within the area to offer guided walking safaris of the surrounding region. Find out more here : Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma The River Club in Victoria Falls The River Club is the located in the adventure capital of the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. Eleven spacious, private suites individually nestled within the tree line bordering the magnificent Zambezi River, each with dramatic views. Each of the classic and elegant suites are river-facing, and set along the banks of the Zambezi River. The beautifully appointed Princess Mary suite provides a tranquil hideaway for a small group or family of guests travelling together, and sleeps a total of 6 people in absolute luxury. Find out more here : River Club in Victoria Falls Sausage Tree Camp Lower Zambezi National Park The Lower Zambezi Park is home to abundant birdlife and is often referred to as a premier wildlife region. Sausage Tree Camp provides the ultimate “Out of Africa” feel, and was nominated as one of the ten best luxury destinations by BBC. Offering unsurpassed luxury of international standing, Sausage Tree Camp is most certainly an ideal exclusive destination for a safari. Find out more here : Sausage Tree Camp in Zambezi Royal Chundu Island Lodge on banks of Zambezi Royal Chundu Island Lodge is an award winning lodge with ultra sophisticated decor. Muted hues combined with pops of bright blues ensure the interior reflects the colours of the surrounding watery region. There are 4 spacious villas and 10 exclusive...

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Gorilla trekking in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa
Sep12

Gorilla trekking in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa

Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the most surreal, raw and adventurous experiences of a lifetime. It’s incredible to think that in such a fast-paced, commercial western world there still exists a country with the ability to transport you straight back to the purest form of nature. Gorilla trekking aside, Uganda is a remarkable country. Uganda is a developing country filled with humble, proud, patriotic people welcoming of tourists. They have every reason to be proud of their country. Around every corner there are deep valleys with crater lakes, tea and coffee plantations, dense forests with mysterious elephants, banana plantations, jungles, lakes, national parks and the source of the Nile – the world’s longest river. Two other highlights include the third highest peak in Africa, a snow capped range of mountains and the desert like region of Mount Elgon which has a bounty of wildlife. Uganda is tropical jungle territory with plenty of subsistence farming happening in surrounding communities – life here is tough, and most people live off the land. Produce is organic and the fertile volcanic soils of the region provide naturally fertile grounds for a variety of crops to grow.  Popular crops include Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbages, mangoes, pineapples, bananas, and other fruit and veg. If you’re a coffee or tea addict, you’ll be pleased to hear that Uganda is a prime coffee and tea growing region. Don’t miss out on a strong cup of java! Now that we’ve given you a synopsis of Uganda, and a painted a general picture for you, it’s time to start discussing gorilla trekking in the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There are a few things you need to know before you go. Location : We recommend you book a few nights at a lodge outside of the Bwindi National Park where the wild gorillas dwell in absolute freedom. The price of the gorilla permit is per day and isn’t normally included in the cost of your stay. It’s advisable to stay at a lodge as close to the entrance as possible, as this buys you time in the morning. Lodges located further away can take up to two hours just to get to the entrance and briefing point, which means an early start of 5:30. Our team of explorers stayed at the Gorilla Safari lodge and it took 5 minutes to get there. Choosing the Type of Trek : Tourists are normally assigned a driver for the duration of their stay, and prior to embarking on your adventure he will assess the group, chat to you about the hike and organise everything for you. There are easy, moderate and advanced hiking groups. Spotting...

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