Phinda Homestead is the sole-use bush villa of your safari dreams
Dec11

Phinda Homestead is the sole-use bush villa of your safari dreams

When Phinda Homestead was damaged in a fire in December 2016, it closed for renovations and has emerged more alluring than ever before. Each of the six luxury lodges on Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal is imaginatively curated, indulgent, intricately detailed, yet soft and comforting in its beautiful natural environment. It could only have been expected that after the fire, Homestead – Phinda’s sole-use luxury villa – would rise like a phoenix and leave us all agog at the next level luxury and well thought-out features that now characterise this exclusive safari destination. There are four bedrooms making it just right for families or a small group of friends looking to get away into pristine wilderness with no one but themselves and the lodge’s elite team of staff making sure everything you need or want is not more than an arm’s length away. The extensive use of glass in the form of large sliding doors and floor-to-ceiling windows ensures that everything you’ve come to see outside is represented indoors. Being able to watch the birds from your bath tub is certainly an elevating experience, and to see and feel organic textures indoors is grounding and connective. In each bedroom, the use of wood, bamboo, and Swazi grass come together to set a natural tone to each room. A floating headboard, highly textured scatter cushions and curtains, giant glass lampshades, and local Nguni hides tie the elements of these bedrooms together in perfect harmony. Raw timber has been treated only so slightly as to smooth the edges and refine the look, but the evidence of its previous life is represented in its wrinkles and lines which decorate its surface. The dining table is an enormous slab of pale wood, patterned with natural grain and celebrated as the centrepiece of every meal. It glows gently under a handful of large, hanging basket lights which hover above it, and it matches the incredible double sliding doors, which themselves are singular slabs of the same wood extending from ceiling to floor. Behind them: the interactive kitchen with edgy cork bar stools lined up along the preparation counter to invite company into the cooking area.  The ceilings throughout the lodge pulls in organic material once again: bamboo poles laid side by side cover the ceiling above your head. The dining chars and carpet bring a traditional shade of ochre to the scene, which is cut with a pale stone hue of the painted brick walls. The Homestead’s living spaces are about togetherness and community, bringing together the family in comfort and style that matches the mix of Zulu celebration and identity with...

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Marine Life to Spot While on an Ocean Safari in Mozambique
Dec05

Marine Life to Spot While on an Ocean Safari in Mozambique

The Mozambique coastline is an unspoilt and wild destination in Africa offering a wealth of beach and ocean activities. The warm Indian ocean provides the perfect habitat for abundant marine life and the shoreline offers pristine surfing waves for all level of surfer. The Mozambique coast and its archipelagos provide the perfect conditions for a tropical island getaway, while still maintaining that African rustic feel. Ideal for fishing, diving, surfing, snorkelling and swimming, Mozambique is certainly a worthwhile destination. While you’re out in the deep blue, you’ll find that there’s ample marine life to spot while on an ocean safari in Mozambique. Below we’ve listed the most popular marine life to spot along Mozambique’s coast.  Humpback Whales and  Southern Right Whales Both the humpback and southern right whales are found in abundance throughout the warm waters of Mozambique. The whales migrate to the warm open waters of Mozambique to mate and calve, and favour the colder waters of the northern regions of the globe to feed. The most popular time of year to spot whales is from June – December, a window of time that gives onlookers an opportunity to whale watch from the shore – or even your lodge. The humpback whales do love to entertain, and can often be seen bolting up out of the water and slapping their hefty bodies back on the surface of the ocean. It’s name is derived from the way it contorts its frame when it readies itself for a dive. For the underwater adventurers, try to listen out for the haunting song and sounds of the humpback whales. The southern right whales name is derived from ancient times when hunters believed the species to be the “right” whale to hunt because of its blubber and slow-moving ways. Where to see whales in Mozambique : July – October is the time of year to see humpback whales in the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos. October – December in the open waters of Mozambique is the time spot Humpbacks. The southern right whales appear to be more congregated around the southern regions of Mozambique. Dugongs The dugong is a rare, almost mythical sea creature that looks like a hybrid of an elephant and mermaid. The endangered dugong is not only rare, but by nature an excessively shy creature. Dugongs are drawn to areas with forests of sea grasses (northern parts of Mozambique coastline), and they’re actually one of two vegetarian marine mammals. Dugongs certainly aren’t loners and travel in flings of two or more. They feed in the shallows which means they are generally out of the way of marauding deep sea predators. Because dugongs are elusive,...

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Safari Sophistication at RockFig luxury lodge in the Timbavati
Nov17

Safari Sophistication at RockFig luxury lodge in the Timbavati

A long-adored family getaway in the bush that merged lovingly into one of the finest safari offerings in the Timbavati, RockFig Safari Lodge is something very special. Only six luxury suites makes this an exclusive retreat for a family or a small group, and promises to provide all the the service and style you’ll need to completely relax and unwind surrounded by the wild. RockFig’s 2018 relaunch received a full round of applause, and it has certainly earned its place on the radar of this highly sought after part of the Greater Kruger. Named after a resident leopardess who likes to hangout in trees, RockFig has retained its family values and the essence of togetherness that made it so special to begin with. The luxurious additions have taken it into a new league of style and sophistication, but it still proves to be a place the whole family can enjoy. The interactive kitchen is a favourite feature of the main living area where the open-plan setup invites an audience while excellent, fresh produce is cooked up and served in creative and delicious meals. Kids will love this element of design, and it adds a real homely feel to the whole place. When it’s time to eat, there is a gorgeously made up dining table under a crafty rectangular chandelier indoors, and another long table under thatch outside, plus, there are spectacularly stellar bush dining experiences sure to impress. The work of the architect and the interior design team has truly created the ambience of sophistication in nature, with natural textiles and materials being used to build the structure of the lodge and bedroom units, and to decorate and furnish every area with suitably nurturing style. A colour wheel of greens that speak to all seasons of the Timbavati bush weave in and out of the ivory sand base palette, while the thatched roof controls brings the sweet scent of the grass into the bedroom. The en suite bathrooms are worthy of long baths in the tub, which enjoys a view of the wilderness, or a shower under the open skies with the invigorating presence of nature. There is an inside shower which is gloriously steamy on chilly nights, and a matching pair of cotton robes to slip into afterwards. If you’re looking to socialise, or for a new place to relax and absorb the abundant surrounds, the heart of RockFig is where you would expect: at its centre. Where the large wooden dining tables and beautiful open-plan kitchen are housed, there is a large outdoor lounge sprawled under a thatched roof and furnished with a variety of comfortable sofas...

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Expert’s Choice: Top 10 Safari Accommodations in Zimbabwe
Nov12

Expert’s Choice: Top 10 Safari Accommodations in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is the diamond in the rough; a world of contrasting destinations that are treated with both mesmerisation and trepidation. Victoria Falls is perhaps the busiest tourist hub in southern Africa and is a well established, age-old, and trusted destination on the northern boundary of the country; and then there is the long forgotten Gonarezhou National Park in the south which is a place for rugged travellers looking for quiet contemplation in nature. Hwange, Mana Pools, and Lake Kariba are Zimbabwe’s top wildlife spots and they certainly deserve a look. The country’s tricky political status that has left its currency in turmoil was a deterrent for many safari goers, but take it from us: Zimbabwe’s wild areas are not to be missed! We work with some of the best in the business to create and conduct safaris in these beautiful, uncrowded national parks and reserves, where serious resources are being put into supporting and sustaining the wealth of natural beauty they hold. In celebration of this most magnificent country, our expert Natasha put her list of top 10 safari accommodations as a guide to potential guests and visitors. These places will knock your socks off! The Hide Safari Camp, Hwange. Tucked up in the northern corner of expansive Zimbabwe is Hwange National Park where waterhole action leads to some of the most exciting lion activity in southern Africa. A short drive from Victoria Falls takes guests right into the exciting surroundings that host an incredible big cat population and huge concentration of elephants. At The Hide Safari Camp – which is one of our agent Natasha’s top accommodations in the country – the opportunity to see the action play out is taken to the next level via the use of hides which are positioned ideally alongside these busy waterholes. Daily game drives are nothing short of impressive with some unbelievable sightings presenting themselves around every corner. Back at camp it’s luxury and relaxation all the way. Swipe to see what we mean. Dreamy! Somalisa Expeditions, Hwange. Somalisa Expeditions is set in the heart of Hwange, land of the giants. Identical to the original Somalisa Camp, Somalisa Expeditions offers one of the most authentic ways to experience this exceptional elephant territory. Nestled under a grove of acacia trees, along the edge of a seasonal flood plain, Somalisa Expeditions looks onto a resident waterhole which becomes a popular mud bath and meeting place of the gathering elephants. The up-close encounters and photographic opportunities with these majestic animals is endless. There are only six tented suites which have a contemporary nostalgia about them and are supremely comfortable and stylish. This is exclusivity...

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Our Travel Expert’s Top 10 Rated Zambia Safari Accommodations
Oct23

Our Travel Expert’s Top 10 Rated Zambia Safari Accommodations

We’re highlighting some of our favourite Southern African safari destinations and making sure we share the camps and lodges we think are the best in each country. Having published our safari experts’ choices in Kruger, Botswana, and Namibia, we’re now featuring a water and walking safari wonderland. Our expert, Natasha, has spoken, and we continue with our series of safari guides, so stay tuned as we reveal our top 10 safari accommodations for the next country under the spotlight: Zambia. Chongwe River Camp, Lower Zambezi  Such supreme tranquility in this most magnificent corner of Africa: Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, seen from the cradle of a canoe, gazing up at elephants, and from the luxuriously beachy accommodation at Chongwe River Camp. On the banks of the Zambezi where it meets the Chongwe River, only nine tents are positioned overlooking the river. Safari activities include adventurous canoeing, walking, game drives, fishing, birding, boat cruises, and cultural village visits. Before you, an elephant wades across the languid river, dwarfed by the mountainous escarpment beyond. The resident hippos bellow their displeasure at this intrusion, breaking the tranquility. A warm breeze drifts past, carrying the earthy aroma of the river. Lean back and breathe deeply, letting the energy of this extraordinary, wild land revitalise your mind and soul. Old Mondoro Camp, Lower Zambezi Keeping it real on the banks of the Zambezi is the low-key, ultra-immersive Old Mondoro Camp, which is small and intimate with only four thatch and reed chalets that perch at the water’s edge. Total comfort in supremely natural surroundings, bound so seamlessly with the environment, Old Mondoro encourages whole-hearted exploration of this beautiful place. Whether on land by 4×4 or by good old fashioned walking, or on the river by canoe or motorised boat; Lower Zambezi National Park is revealed in all its glory. The camp lies in the shade of the forest and the simple chalets are open and airy, blending in effortlessly with their wild location. Old Mondoro is for those who seek to truly submerge themselves in the Zambian wilderness, while enjoying the simple comforts of a bubble bath and a good meal before a peaceful sleep listening to the sounds of the wild. Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi Staying with the good stuff in Lower Zambezi National Park, we’re sharing another of our all time favourite Zambian safari accommodations: Chiawa Camp. Until a year ago, this luxury tented camp on the banks of the river only had eight canvas and thatched rooms, and now the addition of a “safari suite” has added another element of exclusivity and romance to honeymooners, or a sense of space and...

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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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