Reopening of Selinda Camp is all about Earth, Fire, Air, and Water in the Delta
Aug07

Reopening of Selinda Camp is all about Earth, Fire, Air, and Water in the Delta

For the most exclusive getaway in Mother Nature’s pristine playground, look no further than Selinda Camp in northern Botswana. It is known and celebrated as both a barefoot luxury safari retreat and the location of wildlife documentary filmmaking by renowned conservationists, Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Now, Selinda Camp has unveiled a new look after closing for a touch-up, and the result is even more breathtaking than before. It retains that openness we’ve always loved, and the high A-frame thatched roofs that resemble the traditional look of the Sangwali village in the Caprivi Strip. The refurbishments have emphasised Robinson Crusoe-style design, and are grounded by the four elements: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. Located in the 130 000-hectare Selinda Reserve, on the banks of the Selinda Spillway where it joins the Linyanti River, this is a place of pristine wilderness. Northern Botswana’s Okavango Delta wetland and associated channels and lagoons are rich in biodiversity and flourishing with wildlife. The presence of water being the source of all life here. Selinda Camp’s design pays homage to this essential natural element in the splashes of blue hues, pieces of drift wood, and inviting plunge pools outside each guest room. The element of air is evident in the architectural design, which has left so much open space and freedom for breezes to move through living areas. The thatched roofs rise high above the wooden floors of the main guest area and the lack of walls and doors lets all the fresh air in Selinda flow right on through. Rustic textures and raw wood bring everything down to earth, making inhabitants at Selinda Camp feel connected to the earth element of the natural world. Flickering lanterns, burning amber sunsets, and bare copper light fittings hint at the presence of fire – the fourth element – tying the camp’s new look together in a warm embrace. The ivory-coloured canvas walls and draped canvas ceilings in the bedrooms and parts of the dining and lounge area is classic nostalgia reminiscent of the old days of David Livingstone’s African explorations. Worn floor rugs blanket the wooden floors, large carved doors with brass knockers are items you’d expect to find in old Arabic cities, but that fit in just perfectly with Selinda’s inter-cultural atmosphere. African spears meet aged brass and shiny copper, bringing the Afro-European luxury to the walls and table tops decorated throughout the camp. Leather sofas and re-purposed wooden tables meet modern textiles and patterned materials to create a fusion of the old and the new. Nothing looks like it belongs, yet nothing looks out of place. A perfectly even victory of design. There are just...

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Animals You’ll Most Likely Spot on the Grounds of Your Kruger Safari Lodge
Aug07

Animals You’ll Most Likely Spot on the Grounds of Your Kruger Safari Lodge

The majority of safari lodges within the Great Kruger region have a story to tell about wildlife entering the grounds of their lodge. We’ve heard a few tall tales in our time, a couple of old wives tales and a few legend campfire stories told by the ancients of the bushveld. We’ve heard stories of leopards strolling along meandering pathways joining rooms, lions chilling on the balcony, wild dogs trotting through lodge grounds and elephants uprooting water pipes. Oh, there are stories – and plenty of them. Some of these narratives are hair raising, while others nothing short of endearing.  Whether it’s a budget safari lodge or one catering for  five star discerning guests, one thing’s for certain – we cannot control wildlife behaviour!  They type of wildlife you’ll spot on the grounds of your safari lodge is mostly dependent on whether or not the camp/lodge is fenced off from the traverse.  We’ve compiled a list of most commonly spotted species spotted on the grounds of a Kruger safari lodge. Obviously, sightings are not limited to this list and each destination probably has its own popular species. Honey Badgers You’ve been warned ! Honey badgers gained popularity in mainstream media for being tough, powerful and cheeky animals. Their “short and stout” body combined with their bumbling ways makes them look quite adorable. Do not be fooled. This Ratal species sleeps off cobra venom, waltzes through lion prides and fears nothing. They’re comical and fierce; and they love nothing more than to come into camp grounds, often providing much entertainment for guests. They’ll climb fences, scale walls and walk under things just to get what they want. Their resilience and appetite for mayhem is actually quite admirable. Honey badgers are the reason why guides warn against keeping food in your rooms and leaving doors open. The bumbling badgers will seek out food and scraps; which is why you’ll often see them close to kitchens areas in lodges. When you’re sitting around the campfire in the boma area you might hear scurrying – this is probably a honey badger ! They tend to cruise the lodge grounds after sunset. We’re pretty sure that your guide will beguile you tales of badgers sleeping on deck chairs, on tables and inform you of their general amusing and pesky behaviour.   Elephants A number of lodges have elephant fences surrounding the grounds, designed to keep the giant pachyderms at bay. But there are some lodges that are unfenced – this means wildlife can roam freely throughout. Elephants are seekers of pristine water and will travel miles to find the perfect source of water. Coupled...

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3 Epic Safari Wedding Venues in Kruger
Aug06

3 Epic Safari Wedding Venues in Kruger

Can you imagine saying your vows in the African savannah? That endless expanse of low lying shrubbery punctuated by trees provides the perfect place for an evocative safari wedding. Picture your entire tight-knit group of friends and close family, all together in a private game reserve teeming with wildlife. Say your “I Dos” in a memorable setting while guests watch on from the comfort of their safari chairs neatly set-up alongside a lantern-lined path. The only interruption between you and the tranquility of nature might be the mighty roar of a lion, a whoop from a hyena or the hoot of an owl. More than a wedding, this could be the holiday of a lifetime for your guests, which is why we’ve sourced 3 safari wedding venues in Kruger that will appeal a variety of different couples. Weddings at Grand Kruger Lodge and Spa in Marloth Park The Grand Kruger Lodge is a four star establishment set within Marloth Park, which hovers on the boundary of the Kruger National Park. In terms of safari wedding destinations, it’s relatively affordable. The Grand Kruger specialises in catering for quite a large capacity, and will arrange your entire wedding from start to finish. A qualified wedding team is there on the day to oversee the smooth running of events. There’s even an on-site chapel which means you can organise the formalities and the reception under one roof. A selection of standard rooms, luxury rooms and family rooms provide a variety of accommodation options for the wedding party. Weddings at Sabi Sabi Sabi Sabi is located in the exclusive Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, and is a sought after destination in the Greater Kruger for big five safaris. Imagine saying your vows in a world-renown game reserve? It certainly makes for one of the most bucket-list weddings to attend. In true five star style, Sabi Sabi ensures every single angle is covered ensuring that you dream safari wedding is nothing short of a unique fairytale. Couples are spoilt for choice when it comes to planning a wedding at Sabi Sabi! There are a variety of wedding venue options available in the pristine bushveld. Selati Camp offers the option of having the reception on the pool deck or in a clearing in the heart of the bushveld. Bush Lodge offers space on a deck overlooking a waterhole with views that extend across the plains, and also the option to have it in an open space in the bushveld. Little Bush caters for large groups and sets up the perfect lantern-lined magical Out of Africa scene in the midst of the ‘veld. Earth Lodge –...

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Singita Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Rwanda Just Opened
Aug02

Singita Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Rwanda Just Opened

Iconic hospitality and conservation brand, Singita, has created a flurry of delight with the opening of its new gorilla trekking safari lodges in untouched Rwanda. Sitting comfortably on the edge of the verdant Volcanoes National Park, is the newly opened Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House. In true Singita style, the Singita Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Rwanda have a story entrenched in ecotourism and conservation of the immediate area. The Singita brand is not only about sophistication speckled with elite luxury aimed at discerning guests, but it also has its heart immersed in conservation. These two lodges are set on a private tract of land spanning some 72 hectares of rugged terrain. This tract serves as a buffer between the agricultural lands and the natural habitat of some 320 wild mountain gorillas. Singita endeavours to take a measured approach to conservation, working closely with locals to build sustainable revenue streams through tourism while ensuring the community thrives. The aim of Singita Volcanoes is to strike a balance between preserving the gorilla groups and increasing their habitat while remaining sensitive to the needs of the surrounding communities. Thus far,  60,000 tree saplings have been planted on the surrounds in an effort to extend the size of the national park. The jungle floor and canopy of trees covering lofty mountains creates a breathtaking topography and natural habitat for wild mountain gorillas. This is the perfect place for a gorilla trekking safari and it’s a mere 3 hour drive from Kigali, the centre of Rwanda. Singita Volcanoes is a mere stone’s throw away from the briefing point at headquarters, and at each of the properties there are gear rooms housing a variety of technical gear for the arduous treks through rugged tropical terrain carpeting the lofty hills of Rwanda. Gorilla trekking is not the only activity available in the area – there are many other walks/hikes and opportunity to visit surrounding communities. Singita has the pampering side of things covered. After a lengthy time spent on the mountains, guests can return to their lodge for a well-deserved, soothing spa treatment. In terms of accommodation, there are two options. One is the exclusive use Kataza House, a serviced villa that comes complete with a private chef. The space is has all the amenities of a luxury villa, including a gym, swimming pools and more. Singita Kwitonda Lodge is an architectural delight, built from natural stone constructed in the midst of wetlands and lush meadows. Handcrafted detail, and layers of texture can be found scattered throughout this 7 bedroom lodge....

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Big 5 Game Reserves in South Africa NOT in Kruger
Jul15

Big 5 Game Reserves in South Africa NOT in Kruger

The Greater Kruger is famed for its game viewing opportunities and abundant predator sightings. The region is made-up of the Kruger National Park and a number of uncrowded private reserves, and tourists flock to the expansive wilderness to experience the safari of a lifetime. But there are those tourists that might want to experience a big five safari in a different landscape, perhaps closer to their primary holiday destination or just to experience something different from the Greater Kruger. These are our 3 choices of game reserves in South Africa NOT in Kruger. Pilansberg Game Reserve The Pilansberg Game Reserve is the perfect safari destination for those seeking a big five experience close to the glitz and glam of Sun City and the Lost City. Pilansberg is also an ideal option for a golf safari and those wanting to stay in a big five game reserve that’s 2 hours drive from the pulsating city of Johannesburg. Located in the North-west province, this malaria-free reserve is among southern Africa’s fascinating game reserves and is actually the 4th largest park in South Africa. Pilansberg National Park spans 550 sq km of rugged bushveld comprising distinct vegetation zones of camphor, marula, mountain aloes, wild seringa and magic ghwarri. The low-lying scrub, savannah and trees provide the ideal habitat for a wealth of wildlife. The vegetation of the Pilansberg is a veritable crosshatch between two landscapes, the Kalahari and the Lowveld. Millions of years ago there were volcanic eruptions that caused massive craters on the landscape. The park was actually formed within this crater and to this day, there is still a fascinating circular formation of rock surrounding the park known as the ‘Pilanesberg Alkaline Ring Complex’. There are plenty of sandy, dry river beds that collect pans of water during the rainy season and provide sustenance for wildlife. During the dry season is when you’ll spot wildlife flocking to pans to replenish their thirst. With over 300 species of bird in the park and ample opportunity to spot lion, leopard and even cheetah; Pilansberg is most certainly worthy of visiting. Lodges and camps within the Pilansberg are affordable and accessible, making it a sought after destination. We’d recommend Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge and Black Rhino Game Lodge.  Hluhluwe Imfolozi Reserve The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is a proclaimed reserve in KwaZulu Natal that covers 96 000 hectares of hilly topography in the north, and open grasslands in the south on the Imfolozi side. What sets Hluhluwe apart from other game reserves is its high concentration of white rhino, and because of its conservation efforts it actually boasts the highest number of white rhinos in...

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Mountain cottages in South Africa for the eternal city escapee
Jul08

Mountain cottages in South Africa for the eternal city escapee

Take me to the mountains! The mountains where forests and flowers, blankets of mist and waterfalls culminate to create something we can only describe as mystical, dream-like, and deeply restorative. South Africans flock to the mountains to bird-watch (see what we did there), to hike or bike the trails, to clamber over sun-bleached rocks and marvel at ancient artwork left behind in the caves. There are so many reasons to want to escape the big cities and run for the hills where noise pollution falls away, neighbours are nonexistent, and days start with the sunrise and not an alarm clock. South Africa is self-drive country, and many adventurous tourists take to the roads to see more of the unique and diverse landscape. Here, we’ve listed three (from many) different mountainous regions across the country and picked our favourite mountain cottages and cabins for restoration and relaxation. Hogsback This little town is located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, about an hour and a half’s drive inland from the coast and at about 1300 metres above sea level. It has some of the country’s last remaining Afromontane forest, it is a hiker’s and biker’s paradise, and you’ll certainly find yourself among artists and craft brews, and even fairies if you let your imagination run wild. Bird watchers will delight in the presence of the rare Cape parrot, and wonderful sightings of the bright green, crested Knysna turaco among many others. It can snow in winter, turning the magnificent gardens white and the waterfalls to ice. This is a retreat for fresh air, adventure, imagination, and creativity. The Edge Mountain Retreat is located high up on the Hogsback mountain ridge, at eye level with the top of the cliffs and overlooking a gorge. Aptly named, The Edge, offers a variety of self-catering accommodations in the form of garden cottages and thatched Rondavel-shaped chalets with immense views. Some even have outdoor bath tubs and showers that bring a whole new element to the act of bathing! The gardens are a fantastic mixture of wild, untamed, wilderness, and beautifully nurtured rose beds. The cottages are furnished with simple, comfortable items that provide everything you need and nothing you don’t. They are warm and inviting in the winter with feather down duvets and fire places, and all have either gorgeous garden surroundings or breath-taking views off the mountain. Choose to spend all day on “the edge” and explore the incredible Labyrinth, which at 91 metres in circumference, is one of the largest in the world. Or, amble down to Hogsback village to eat, drink, and be merry! Drakensberg The grand and magnificent mountain...

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4 Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Uganda
Jul04

4 Gorilla Trekking Lodges in Uganda

The endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park bear a striking resemblance to us humans. There’s nothing more humbling than getting up close and personal with these dark-furred primates in their natural habitat within the ancient montane forests of Bwindi. The tropical and verdant vegetation of Bwindi carpets a dormant volcano, which gives rise to a topography of deep mist-filled valleys and lofty hills. This remarkable jungle kingdom is home to the famous mountain gorillas, colourful birdlife, rare forest elephants and a range of reptiles. But the most prominent species in the area is the primate. Between the gnarled vines and lush ferns, there dwells a variety of primates that include the black-and-white colobus monkey, Ugandan red colobus monkey, blue monkey and golden monkey; to name a few.  There are plenty of gorilla trekking lodges in Uganda tucked away in the cool valleys surrounding the Bwindi. Some of these lodges are a short 5 minute walk from the briefing point for gorilla trekking and others boast panoramic almost-aerial views of the terrain. There are lodges that are rustic, and some offer more of a luxury experience. What they all have in common is that they serve as the base for guided gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. It’s up to you to choose your hideaway, but where do you start when selecting your gorilla trekking lodge in Uganda? You need to consider a number of factors, with the most important factor being whether you are an early riser or not! The morning treks start early, so if you’re not an early morning person then please book a lodge close to the starting point of the trek. Choosing your base at Bwindi really is down to personal preference. Gorilla Safari Lodge Gorilla Safari Lodge is located a 5 – 8 minute walk from the briefing point for gorilla trekking, making it a sought after lodge in the area. Banana and guava trees cocoon the 18 bedroomed lodge, and in the distance there are views of the forest jungle below. Winding paths and intricate walkways join the rooms, lined by bright green vegetation and colourful flowers. It’s a simple lodge with enough luxury to keep you happy, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Each chalet has its own private balcony offer perfect viewing points of the bold surrounds. After an arduous day of trekking, guests can return to their chalets and relax in the deep set bath. The main area of the lodge has a relaxation lounge, dining area and small bar. During your stay you’ll be introduced to local fare and great Ugandan coffee !  There are plenty...

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