Going on Safari in Botswana? We Answer Your FAQs.
Mar14

Going on Safari in Botswana? We Answer Your FAQs.

Famed for its abundant big game, scores of predators and rare species of bird, Botswana most certainly offers its visitors the opportunity to observe a spectacle of wildlife in a pristine location. The country is home to a diverse eco-system and unique biome, brimming with water wonderlands such as the Chobe River and Okavango Delta and authentic desert location such as the semi-arid Kalahari desert. Botswana is hemmed in by 4 countries, which means it enjoys contrasting scenes and a range of remarkable habitats. Lest we not forget the forests, salt pans and national parks dotted across the flat country! Sparse, lush, mysterious and exciting – Botswana is a world in one! Armed with the knowledge that this is an exceptional destination, you’ve now set your sights on going on safari in Botswana. And we’re pretty sure you have plenty of questions. We’ve extracted the most commonly asked FAQs, and answered them as best we can. When can you visit Okavango Delta? The Okavango Delta is a permanent body of water and is a year-round safari destination. During the drier months (May-Sep) the tributaries have less water and the vegetation is thinner. This does make it easier to spot game on the banks of the Delta, and it’s also the time of year when the temperatures are more moderate. June – August provide the best opportunities for boating and canoe safaris  – this is when the water level is higher. Do I need shots to go to Botswana? The most common vaccinations that travellers get prior to travelling to Botswana is Typhoid and Hepatitis A.  Typhoid injections are recommended, but not a necessity. Just make sure you’re up to date with all of your standard shots. You could also invest in getting a tetanus booster prior to travelling. Malaria is prevalent in most safari regions in Africa, so we recommend you take precautions. Chat to your local GP about the various preventative measures on offer. Do I need a yellow fever certificate for Botswana? Botswana does not require a yellow fever certificate. However – if you are travelling from a country that has a high risk of yellow fever (Uganda for example), then you will need to produce your certificate upon arrival. If you arrive from international destinations such as the UK and US, you most certainly won’t need a certificate. Do I need a visa for Botswana from the UK? It’s always best to consult with your embassy to confirm what entry visa you will need when travelling to another country. The current entry regulations state that British nationals do not need a visa to enter Botswana for stays of up to 90 days....

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Why you MUST Visit the Balule Nature Reserve for a Big 5 Safari
Mar13

Why you MUST Visit the Balule Nature Reserve for a Big 5 Safari

You’ve heard about the much talked about Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger, and have read copious quantities of literature regarding the abundant leopard sightings within the reserve. You’ve no doubt heard about Timbavati Private Nature reserve – a reserve famed for its once prevalent white lion population. These two private game reserves are – arguably – the most well-marketed reserves within the Lowveld, and their name is popular among international visitors. In truth, there are many other reserves within the Greater Kruger that rival both these popular reserves. They are the lesser-known big 5 reserves that also offer unparalleled game viewing opportunities, and whose sightings and natural scenery is right up there with the more well-marketed reserves. One of these reserves is the Balule Nature Reserve, a reserve that shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park on their western boundary. The Balule has the Olifants River cutting through the landscape, which means reed-lined banks proved the perfect habitat for waterbuck, crocs, hippos and aquatic-loving wading birds. Mixed with this riverine style landscape is vegetation dominated by mopane. The eco-system is diverse and offers a unique topography that gives rise to earth-shattering views.  So…Why have we decided to focus on the Balule Nature Reserve? We’ve decided to focus on this lesser-known reserve, purely because we’re hearing about record numbers of lion cub, leopard, and big game sightings. We’ve selected our 3 favourite safari lodges within the Balule Nature Reserve, and their most recent predator sightings.  Ezulwini River Lodge The spectacular Olifants River, the largest in the Lowveld, cuts through the Ezulwini traverse. River Lodge overlooks the river and has a sublime wooden walkway and viewing deck under the canopy of trees. Accommodation at River Lodge is stylish and inspired by the natural elements of the Balule bushveld. There are 4 luxury chalets, 4 superior suites and 1 honeymoon superior suite. River Lodge has a swimming pool in the main lodge area and serves delectable homemade meals under the stars in the glowing presence of lanterns and a dancing fireplace. River Lodge has atmosphere, and is the perfect place for the ultimate safari experience. Recent sightings: Ezulwini currently enjoys sightings of 10 lion cubs. Last week they spotted the Machaton male lions, a pride of lionesses, cubs and 3 leopard sightings.     Pondoro Game Lodge Pondoro Game Lodge is also located on the banks of the Olifants River, and each suite has its own balcony, jacuzzi and outdoor shower. The main area houses an extensive bar with a fine selection of whiskies, cognacs and even cigars. Food is a lavish affair, and guests are afforded the opportunity to indulge...

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Our Top 5 Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya
Mar10

Our Top 5 Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya

The jewel of Africa is a vast country famed for its stream of wildlife, contrasting scenery and distinct culture. The bustling metropolis and capital city, Nairobi, is home to restaurants with exceptional cuisine, friendly people and a rich cultural heritage. Whatever your reason for visiting Kenya, don’t miss out on this pulsating city – it’s certainly worth a stopover. We thought we’d share our top 5 hotels in Nairobi. The skyscrapers and eclectic vibes of Nairobi await! Kenya is a sought after safari destination, and visitors marvel at the absolute variety in habitats and landscapes present within one country. The Indian Ocean coastline of Kenya is ideal for rustic tropical holidays and exploring unique mangrove swamps. The plateaus and mountains of East Africa straddle the centre of the country; while open savannahs, snow-capped peaks, and rivers snaking and cutting their way across typically African landscapes can be found throughout the rest of the country. But the most famous destination in Kenya is the Maasai Mara National Reserve, a preserved area of wilderness home to the famous wildebeest migration and prides of lethal predators. A visit to the reserve is always included in a safari to Kenya!  When you’re hopping from the coast to the national parks and visiting the tall mountainous peaks, you’re bound to overnight in Nairobi on at least one occasion. And if you don’t – slot it into your itinerary! This sprawling city is similar to other metropolises in Africa but boasts modern skyscrapers overlooking this diverse country. Tribe Hotel in Nairobi  The Tribe Hotel is a trendy and contemporary building comprising 137 rooms scattered across three wings. The decor is a blend of modern art mixed with handpicked artefacts (900 pieces) from all over Africa. Located in Nairobi’s diplomatic district, Tribe Hotel certainly sets the bar high in terms of luxury urban hotels. The hotel even has a rather fun tropical-style heated pool with a waterfall! The waterfall is one of the main features. Surrounding the cascading waters is a floating granite bar, islands and relaxation areas. The rooftop bar is the perfect place to take in the sweeping views of Africa’s chic and pulsating city. When you’re not exploring the themed areas, you can always hit the gym or indulge in a few Thai massage treatments. Giraffe Manor Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel that has made it onto many travellers’ bucket lists. And for good reason ! Where else in the world can you settle down for breakfast and a giraffe pokes its head through the window to nibble on your toast?! Giraffe Manor is located on the outskirts of the city and spills...

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A Conscious Safari Experience at Roam Private Game Reserve
Mar07

A Conscious Safari Experience at Roam Private Game Reserve

Roam Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape’s Great Karoo combines a traditional safari experience with an opportunity to give-back. The team at Roam encourage guests to get involved in contributing to the overall success of their reserve by actively participating in a choice of activities and conservation research projects currently underway. This is a conscious safari experience where the perfect balance between a luxury safari holiday and conservation experience is achieved. The safari experience is NOT a volunteer program, and it’s not your average safari experience. It’s a way to enjoy a luxury safari while playing a part in conservation. The overall experience will bring you closer to the wild and ensure a greater understanding of the various behind-the-scenes jobs vital to sustaining a reserve.  Roam Private Game Reserve is located on 5000 hectares of malaria-free scrubveld, and is home to a recently introduced buffalo herd, and a coalition of cheetah. There are also over 240 species of bird in the Great Karoo, 13 species of antelope, and small predators such as colonies of meerkat, black-backed jackal, caracal, Cape fox and the bat-eared fox.  Below are the various aspects that you might become involved in when you sign-up for a conscious safari at Roam Private Game Reserve. Monitoring Flora and Fauna Roam is home to a wealth of wildlife and plant life. The overall health of the reserve needs to be monitored and effectively managed on a regular basis. Guests will have the opportunity to become involved in a few of the already established and long-term monitoring programs available. Monitoring processes include anything from establishing corridors of vegetation to monitoring species composition, creating transects along riverbeds, and making exclusion plots. The flora programs are generally conducted every 2 weeks. There are also animal monitoring programs available, each of which fulfils a different objective. High profile animals such as buffalo and cheetah, will be monitored regularly while more common species less frequently. Tracking cheetah will be done using telemetry, and guests will help to observe and document their behaviour. You will learn basic animal tracks and signs that various species leave behind for us to interpret to help find them. You might even be able to help set up camera traps in the wild, count tortoises, help with meerkat habituation, and get involved in a host of other monitoring activities needed. Bird Ringing Bird-ringing is a method of capturing, tagging and releasing birds into the wild. Guests will be involved in helping to release birds into the wild after the necessary data has been captured. The data is sent to a central database, and throughout the bird’s life historical data is...

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Opening August 2019 : Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Singita Style!
Mar06

Opening August 2019 : Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Singita Style!

The Singita brand is synonymous with effortless luxury, and preserving the African wilderness is at its core. From August 2019 Singita will offer an unparalleled primate experience in East Africa. Yes, that’s right. Singita has now added gorilla trekking in Rwanda to their portfolio! In August, the elite brand will take bookings for gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes National Park, a region easily accessible via the capital city of Kigali. It’s no secret that Singita is the crème de la crème of the safari world, their lodges are some of the most sought after destinations in Africa. Singita makes massive contributions to local communities, and constantly seeks to conserve Africa’s wildlife. Each of Singita’s lodges has been carefully constructed to ooze class and sophistication, without being overbearing and brazen in terms of design. Sustainability is always at the core of their developments, and the wild exteriors govern their develops. Singita designs are an extension of the environment, not an intrusion, and they always marry the untamed wild with modern living. The latest inclusion into the portfolio is Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House in Rwanda. Situated in untouched verdant jungle paradise in the heart of the Volcanoes National Park in an isolated corridor of 178 acres of land, this latest undertaking offers guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Jungle terrain, verdant primeval forests, and coffee plantations smother the hilly and mountainous landscape of  Rwanda, which is fondly referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”. Rwanda is raw and has a diverse landscape that remains largely unspoilt and untouched. The vegetation of Volcanoes National Park (which is home to 2 active volcanoes) comprises a mix of bamboo forest, swamplands, grasslands, and meadows framed by ferns. Volcanoes shelters over 340 mountain gorillas, making it an ideal destination for gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Singita Kwitonda Lodge has expansive views of 3 volcanoes and is cocooned by high altitude forests. 8 contemporary suites and a private four-bedroomed villa are linked by volcanic pathways to the central lodge. It’s a purpose drive lodge, with abundant tailor-made activities on offer. Each suite has its very own heated plunge pool, in-room spa treatments, WiFi, photographic equipment, and mini-bars. Singita Kataza House is an exclusive home, designed around a cluster of living spaces. Forest walkways meander their way between facilities and guests have the option of utilising the central facilities of Kwitonda Lodge, ensuring guests can enjoy the luxury comforts of a hotel while maintaining a level of absolute solitude. In the house, there is 1 x master suite, 1 x junior master suite, 2 x suites and 1 x two-bedroom staff residence. Gorilla trekking in...

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Faru Faru Lodge: Everything the light touches is yours
Feb27

Faru Faru Lodge: Everything the light touches is yours

Last month, a renewed Singita Serengeti experience emerged when a revitalised Faru Faru Lodge, blinking, stepped into the sun… OK, so that was Simba. But, the new look of Faru Faru is sublime, as we’ve come to expect from this leading safari brand, and right in Africa’s flagship wildlife area, it’s precisely where we imagine the Lion King was born. The exclusive Grumeti concession, forming part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem observes the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, and various antelope, and the allure of this special part of Tanzania, and indeed an important wildlife corridor is certainly not overlooked. The changes at Faru Faru highlight the unique value of this natural system, organically celebrating the animals and the landscape in its new architectural design and decor. From an elevated position on a slope, Faru Faru’s views take centre stage. A river nearby and a waterhole at the foot of the lodge ensure that wildlife is never far away, and just to make sure guests don’t miss a thing, the newly crafted lodge is moulded organically to overlook the main attraction. From the revamped central guest areas, the extensive use of glass panels creates space and light in every indoor location. There is a boldness and creativity about the place, yet every aspect of the design has been brushed with a sleek Scandinavian accent. Where contemporary African art and locally sourced materials come into play, they combine perfectly with the modernised colour palette, which is described as “back-to-basics” featuring bone, ivory, nude, and clay. Raw stone and rustic wooden dowels feature on wall panels, bringing the appeal of the natural landscape right indoors where it is cherished behind large glass windows and contrasts appealingly with clean-cut floors and fittings. Each of the nine luxury tented suites are splashed with shades of stone and dressed with timber furniture, textured rugs, and subtle lighting. The unique and artful dome-shaped canopy adorns the bed and envelopes the sleeper in a comfortable, mosquito-proof cocoon. En suite bathrooms are, of course, not excluded from the view and each bathtub enjoys a prime position in front of the elevated window and the view below. Enclosed dining and lounge areas are an addition to the shared guest space and now offer a place to relax while keeping cool and enjoying front row seats to the outdoor action. Also new to the scene is the interactive kitchen which brings guests closer to the very much worth watching cooking action, and the large stone-set fireplace adds a convivial, cosy environment to the otherwise modern kitchen-come-dining-room setup. Effortless and elegant, this is one sleek safari spot where every experience is...

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All you need to know about visiting Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina
Jan28

All you need to know about visiting Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the Los Glaciares National Park near the popular town of El Calafate in Patagonia, Argentina. It is the region’s most famous glacier, standing out as one of the most impressive and easily accessible sights of its kind. An enormous expanse of jagged, blue-white ice rising 80 metres up from the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino and damming it up with a statement of rock-solid freeze between the mountain rises on either side. Part of the Andean ice fields, which spread throughout areas of Patagonia and create the dozens of glaciers in the region. It’s staggering to see up close and it is easy to get to, plus visitors can choose to take a walking tour themselves or book a spot on a boat cruise, or with an adventure, guide to go ice trekking. In this piece, we’re talking facts, activities, how to get there, and when to go. This one is not to be missed! Facts about Perito Moreno Glacier Named after explorer Franciso Moreno, this glacier shares it’s named with the town of Perito Moreno, which is (confusingly) a full day’s drive north of Los Glaciares National Park, in which this world-famous glacier is located. It is part of the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water – the southern ice fields of Patagonia – and it is exceptional in that it is one of the world’s only glaciers that is not retreating, and is in fact, advancing. It is said to have started forming during the last ice age 2.6 million years ago, making it alluringly ancient and full of history. The size of Perito Moreno Glacier is estimated to be about 250 square kilometres in size, 170 metres deep, and 30 kilometres in length. At its terminus, where visitors can view part of the wall of the glacier, the ice rises about 80km above the lake’s surface and is 5km wide. Every couple of years the glacier ruptures and enormous chunks break and fall off into the lake due to the immense pressure, but the calving of the ice on a much smaller scale can be seen often if visitors wait long enough during their visit. Sometimes, pieces of ice break off every 20 minutes. How to get there Certainly, the most popular way to get to the glacier is by road from El Calafate, which is a bustling yet quaint and very pleasant town about 80 kilometres away. There are bus rides that depart from El Calafate and take visitors right to the park’s entrance where visitors pay a fee of about US$30. It is not for nothing, but...

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