Find Out How to Pack for a Purpose When Visiting Africa
Oct18

Find Out How to Pack for a Purpose When Visiting Africa

Pack for a Purpose is a charity initiative encouraging people to pack specific supplies for struggling communities in the countries that they are visiting. The Pack for a Purpose website provides a list of supplies needed in each region, making it quite easy to source country-specific items.  Numerous hotels, camps and lodges within various countries across the globe have joined this highly successful and much needed initiative. You simply check the website to see if your hotel/lodge is part of the program, click on the link to see the projects that they’re involved in, and then build up a package containing their list of items needed. Pack for a Purpose bridges the gap between people wanting to donate material items to communities, and what is actually needed by those communities. If you follow the guidelines laid out by the charity, there won’t be a surplus of unnecessary items – and communities in dire straits will receive exactly what they need to survive and thrive within the educational, conservation and medical sectors.  Africa is a large continent with contrasting countries, unique cultures and mixed economies. This is vibrant continent and melting pot so rich in resources and natural beauty, but poor in monetary wealth. It’s not uncommon for pockets of rural communities to live without water, electricity and food. Communities urgently need donations from first world countries, but their list of items often differs from what we think they might need. The on-the-ground teams in each country keep inventory of what surrounding communities need, and constantly update the Pack for a Purpose website. Pack for a Purpose guides visitors towards the information needed to contribute effectively to communities – and don’t forget, a small contribution can have a massive impact. Below are a few of the items needed in popular safari destinations, with a handful of the lodges that Sun Safaris books on a regular basis. Each of the listed lodges has specific projects that they are involved in, which you can read about when you click on specific links. Pack for a Purpose in Botswana  Botswana is focussed on improving education and providing basic classroom supplies to the underprivileged. You are encouraged to donate school supplies, writing utensils, knitting utensils and notebooks.  3 lodges in Botswana involved in Pack for a Purpose. Click on the links to read the list of what is needed at each camp’s delivery point, and what projects are currently underway. Jao Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta Duba Plains Camp is part of Great Plains Conservation and is located in the Okavango Delta. Vumbura Plains on the edge of the floodplains in...

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Which is best for a safari – Botswana, South Africa or East Africa?
Oct15

Which is best for a safari – Botswana, South Africa or East Africa?

Perplexed potential guests often ask our consultants which destination in Africa is best for a once-in-a-lifetime safari. It’s the most complex question to unpack. And there really is no clear cut answer. I’m afraid there is no linear answer for the flummoxing question of “Which is best for a safari – Botswana, South Africa or East Africa?“. Each destination offers something unique to its visitors, and each place is wildly remarkable in terms of wildlife and landscape. To help answer this question, the most we can do is look at your options. This requires an understanding of your budget, time of year that you want to travel, length of time on safari, accessibility in terms of flights, and wildlife that you’d like to see. It’s a process to find the perfect safari region and destination for our guests, but one that we’re pretty good at doing. In this blog post, we’ve examined a few popular safari destinations to shed a bit of insight about each area – hopefully this will make your decision easier! Uganda and Rwanda Primate Central. Home of the jungles, gorillas and chimpanzee.  Uganda and Rwanda are unchartered, exceptional destinations ideal for the adventurous at heart. There are exquisite luxury lodges sitting on the edge of tropical rainforest carpeting dormant volcanoes. Locals are welcoming and friendly; and it goes without saying that the coffee is heavenly. Getting around requires the services of a local driver, who is at ease with navigating winding dusty roads criss crossing past coffee plantations. The verdant rainforests are home to the only wild mountain gorillas in the world, and the forests provide a perfect habitat for gangs of chimpanzee. It goes without saying that tracking and trekking with the primates of the area is a must. In these jungle regions there also dwells the rare forest elephants, golden monkeys and colobus monkeys. Both Uganda and Rwanda also offer exquisite birding opportunities – look out for the great blue turaco and shoebill. Sightings of which are always celebrated. Of course, both regions are peppered with national parks home to abundant predator and big game activity. We recommend you look out for the ever famous tree climbing lions in Uganda’s premier safari destination, Queen Elizabeth National Park. If primates and birding are your thing, then these jungle destinations are for you. Both countries are accessible and have international airports. You don’t need a long period of time to trek with the primates, but you will need quite a high budget. Because the regions are so remote, lodgings can be pricey, as can the permits to trek with gorillas. Good news is that the...

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Three different Kruger Park Walking Trails to suit adventurous safari goers
Mar01

Three different Kruger Park Walking Trails to suit adventurous safari goers

Walking trails are guided on-foot safari experiences that appeal to people who want to truly connect with the wilderness, step out of their comfort zones, and get to know the bush. Without the protection and security of a 4×4 vehicle, the idea of being on a walking trail is full of vulnerability, but it’s that extra care and alertness that brings things into true colour. Getting the blood flowing in nature is invigorating and inspiring and it gives walkers an opportunity to see the details of the bush, like tracks and signs, insects, nests, and to learn about medicinal uses of wild trees. Encountering animals on foot is a bonus, and will make for an unforgettable life experience. A trail is a dedicated multi-day walking safari experience, unlike guided bush walks that are offered at a variety of camps and lodges throughout southern and East Africa. The whole activity is about walking the bush, picnicking for lunch, and settling in for the night around a campfire and resting those tired legs while feeling at one with the wild world that surrounds you. In the Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger region, some of the world’s last remaining true wilderness areas are protected and untouched. About half of the national park is considered true wilderness, off the track, and away from any infrastructure and road networks. The surrounding private nature reserves enjoy the unique privilege of exclusive access and professionally guided trails. There is nothing quite like getting spiritually lost and found in the African wild, and we’ve selected three different types of Kruger walking trails that are on offer to produce the kind of experience we know to be so connecting and life-altering. Olifants Trail, Letaba, Kruger National Park This is a three night, catered and accommodated trail with two full days spent walking along the Olifants River with a SANParks field guide. Food and accommodation are basic, yet comfortable and wholesome, and facilities are limited while providing the necessities. A maximum of eight people can partake in one trail, accommodated in four chalets. Highlights: The landscape of the Olifants River valley is a huge drawcard, and the presence of water and riverbanks means lovely, big trees as well as wildlife that gather to drink. There is a strong presence of hippo and crocodile, as this is their preferred territory,  but of course, the park is home to an enormous diversity of animals, including the Big Five. There are no cellphones, generators, or private vehicles allowed, and there is no electricity, so think of this as a blissful break from reality. Departure: Letaba Rest Camp. Guests must sign in and...

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We Answer 5 Unusual FAQs About Travelling to South Africa
May31

We Answer 5 Unusual FAQs About Travelling to South Africa

In previous blog posts, we set out to answer common FAQs from travellers to South Africa. In this blog post, we’ve tackled a few of the more unusual questions that we’ve stumbled across from guests prior to their arrival in this country. It’s always important to have a vague understanding of local customs, rules and what to expect upon arrival. But it’s equally important to relax, roll with the punches and not stress too much about your upcoming holiday to South Africa, a world-in-one.  What is the public bathroom/toilet situation like in South Africa? You’re in a new country sampling strange foods and your body clock is out of whack, which is why this is a perfectly valid question. In short, there aren’t many public bathrooms in South Africa. The public toilet situation is generally clean and safe in coastal areas where facilities tend to spill out from the beach area. Restaurants will quite happily let you use their facilities, and malls have very good bathroom facilities. Even small shopping centres will have facilities, and most gas stations will have secure bathrooms for public use. Public toilets are normally free and sometimes have a security guard outside. Toilets are clean, and they’re flush, raised toilets one would expect in most western countries. If you do use a public toilet that seems remote, please approach with caution and remember – “safety in numbers”! We’ve heard about the high crime rate in South Africa. Do we need to be vigilant while at our private safari lodge? Not really, no. It’s always important to exercise common sense, and that goes without saying for any travel destination. Keep your valuables in your suitcase, or lock them in a safe. Lodges are slightly more relaxed than city hotels, which makes sense given that they’re generally upmarket establishments located in exclusive reserves. When entering these private reserves, there is a warden and tight security – only guests staying at lodges are allowed into reserves. At lodges you can’t walk around – you are surrounded by untamed bushveld and hectares of wild terrain, which means no opportunistic thieves wandering about. The only thing you should worry about? Having fun! Is public transport reliable? No. And it’s not particularly safe for tourists. The train lines in Cape Town are okay, and the main route from Cape Town to Simon’s Town is incredibly scenic. If you do decide to do this journey, travel at peak hours and don’t board an empty carriage. For a hair raising experience, you could catch a short journey on a local taxi, or grab a bus. Do these methods of transport come recommended for...

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Why is a Safari Holiday Expensive? We Answer 7 Kruger FAQs.
Apr15

Why is a Safari Holiday Expensive? We Answer 7 Kruger FAQs.

If you’re a first-time safari-goer it’s understandable that you might have a number of questions pertaining to finance, etiquette, meals and game viewing before you depart for your safari holiday. Given that you are travelling miles to a foreign country and have no idea what to expect, it’s understandable that you’d have a few questions in mind. Here we answer 7 commonly asked safari FAQs. Hopefully, our answers will clarify a few things before you begin your intrepid journey into the Kruger bushveld. Why is a safari holiday so expensive? When you book a safari holiday in a private Kruger reserve you aren’t just paying for the price of the accommodation. Many people, when looking at a lodge, might baulk at the price – whether it’s 3 stars or a premier lodge. The price of a safari includes meals, accommodation and activities. Because you are in a wild, remote and private reserve; you cannot drive to the shops or use your own vehicle. There are also no restaurants nearby. All you have is the lodge and its facilities. A standard rate would include bush walks, morning and evening game drives, high tea, tea and coffee all day, game drive snacks and accommodation. There are rates at certain lodges that include all drinks in the cost. What is the difference between a Kruger private reserve and the Kruger National Park? Both the Kruger National Park and the private reserves form part of the Greater Kruger. The national park is owned by the parks board, and the private reserves are merely sections of the Kruger that are privately owned. These privately owned parts of the Kruger cannot be accessed by the general public unless they have a booking in a lodge within the reserve. There are normally gates and entrance/conservation fees before entering the private reserve. While day-trippers can’t visit the private reserves, wildlife can wander across. Many of the private reserves share unfenced borders with the national park – this means that wildlife can roam across. Private reserves and concessions are also uncrowded and game drives are guided by a tracker and ranger. The rangers can normally go off road to get up close to sightings, which isn’t possible in the national park. Is it customary to leave a tip? You don’t have to leave a tip, but you really should. Your guide looks after you for the duration of your stay so it’s customary to tip your guide. Coupled with their tip you are also welcome to tip the housekeeping. Certain lodges might have a tip box in the main section, but most lodges will supply you with envelopes...

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3 Reasons Why Vultures and Hyenas Are Vital to a Reserve
Dec17

3 Reasons Why Vultures and Hyenas Are Vital to a Reserve

When a kill has been conducted by expert predators like lions and leopards, the hoards of scavengers are quick to descend upon the periphery of a kill site. The two culprits include a variety of species of vulture and the cackling hyenas. Both parties, the avid members of the reserve’s clean-up crew, will wait in the wings for the perfect opportunity to approach the area. However, hyenas are not above attempting to displace lions or leopards from their kill. Hyenas are actually successful hunters, but also proficient scavengers. They have a series of calls that ranger from whoops to cackles and high pitched sounds. Each call means something different. The laughter is heard most often, and this is the sound that indicates anxiety and serves to beckon the rest of the clan to the site of a carcass. With vultures you will hear an almighty swoosh of wings as they approach an abandoned carcass. They won’t move into the scene until the carcass has been abandoned by the predator, after which they will wait for the lappet-faced vulture to approach first. This species has a massively strong beak that can rip open closed skin and hide. The white-backed vultures are the most comical, loudest and there are always plenty of them. Each species performs a different role at the carcass. Overall, these are the 3 reasons is the useful role that both vultures and hyenas play in the health of a reserve : 1. Clean up Debris : Hyena aren’t just cunning killers, but they’re also useful scavengers. The bone crushers will clean the site of a kill and rid it of discarded bones and debris. Predators will only eat the fleshy bits from their kill. If it weren’t for hyena in a reserve we’d have plenty of bone and bone fragments littering the reserve. 2. Prevent the Spread of Disease : Vultures and hyena provide a vital role in the ecosystem and keeping it clean. Vultures actually have a highly acidic system in their stomachs that can break down diseases in rotting carrion that might well poison other animals. 3. Population Control : Hyenas aren’t only successful scavengers but also proficient hunters. They help to keep the populations levels balanced by hunting and preying...

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SafariLive : A Virtual Safari in Masai Mara and Kruger
Nov12

SafariLive : A Virtual Safari in Masai Mara and Kruger

safariLIVE gives viewers from around the world an opportunity to go on safari and ask questions – from the comfort of their living room or from behind their computer screen. Let’s unwrap that sentence and explain ourselves. safariLIVE broadcasts live from the Greater Kruger in the pristine Sabi Sand Reserve and from the Masai Mara’s great migration. Footage is live, unedited and thus provides both an exciting and authentic safari experience. safariLIVE is the brainchild of WildEarth who have really provided viewers with reality TV. Script? No script – it’s the African wild and nothing can be predicted. The sightings provide the fodder for the ad lib scripts. Then, there’s also the opportunity to interact LIVE, while rangers are out on drive and in a sighting. Instead of sitting on the back of an open-topped game viewer, asking questions, you can tweet #SafariLive and they will interact live with their virtual guests! The live feed happens twice a day for 10 minutes (typically game drives happen at dawn and dusk) during the morning game drive and evening game drive. There are two game vehicles, drones and a guide on foot all seeking the same thing – wildlife ! Every day, over 53 million viewers across multiple National Geographic Facebook accounts are transported to South Africa daily for interactive, guided Facebook Live safaris. Join a virtual drive in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in south-western Kenya or in the Sabi Sand in the Greater Kruger. If you can’t join the live safari drive, then be sure to observe the footage from the live feed at the Djuma waterhole in the Sabi Sand. If you sit and watch the footage, you never know what you might see! If you’d like to stay at the lodges involved in this interactive safari experience, then we can always arrange a stay at two of our favourite lodges, Chitwa Chitwa and Arathusa Safari Lodge in the heart of the Sabi Sand...

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