11 Night Guided Conservation Adventure in the Congo Basin
Oct28

11 Night Guided Conservation Adventure in the Congo Basin

This 11 night professionally guided conservation adventure in the Congo Basin offers a unique way of exploring one of Africa’s forgotten places. Designed to appeal to those seeking a deeper and somewhat more intellectual safari experience, this adventure is ideal for conservationists, ornithologists, primatologists and those with knowledge of the area. It’s a hands-on, insightful journey into the depths of Africa’s ancient jungles under the guidance of two visionaries : Paul Telfer and Rod Cassidy. In the 90s Paul Telfer worked as a primate specialist in the relatively unchartered regions of Sierra Leone and Gabon. Paul spent a large portion of his time researching and investigating the link between HIV and primates; and other primate related viruses. He is currently the CEO of the the Congo Conservation Company that drives low-impact tourism in the Congo Basin through research, community and conservation. Renowned ornithologist, Rod Cassidy, hails from South Africa. His first visit to the rainforests was back in 1999, and nearly ten years later he purchased Sangha Lodge. In Sep 2009 the first guests were welcomed. The lodge is now home to a rehabilitation centre for wildlife and is part of many research projects in the area. To date, Rod and his team have successfully rehabilitated over 70 pangolins. This adventure experience is the brainchild of the Congo Conservation Company, who have adopted an innovative approach to low-impact and conservation friendly tourism. This perfectly laid out itinerary introduces eager primatologists and environmentalist to an untouched, unexplored environment in one of the most exceptional parts of the world. The Congo Basin is equatorial middle Africa, a region dripping with jungles and rich with primate activity. It’s completely remote, untouched and untravelled. A rather significant area in terms of wildlife. Did you know that the rare okapi is one of 1,500 animal species endemic to the Congo Basin? The Congo is not only famed for its plethora of wildlife, but also for its exceptional music scene. To best way to understand the Congo, is to visit the area. Should you decide to join this 11 night intrepid journey, you will be accommodated at Sangha Lodge, Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp, and Mboko Camp. Ngaga is gorilla central, and is located outside the park boundary in the Ndzehe concession overlooking an ancient jungle forest. There are several groups of western lowland gorillas in the area. Sangha Lodge is the perfect place for conservation and rehabilitation activities, and the grounds of the lodge comprise a main area with bar and a total of 7 well appointed bungalows. Lango Camp offers driving, walking and boating activities in the midst of pristine surrounds. Lango’s 6 guest...

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4 Perfectly Placed Masai Mara Lodges for the Migration
Oct27

4 Perfectly Placed Masai Mara Lodges for the Migration

The annual migration is Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle, and one of the main reasons why nature lovers and photographers descend upon East Africa. The migration happens year-round, and sees thousands strong herds of wildebeest, zebra and antelope  following a continuous loop snaking its way through the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The herds are at the mercy of the weather, and tend to follow the rains. The rains replenish landscape and provide nutritious laden grazing grounds, and ample supplies of water which is much needed in the otherwise brutally dry savannah. Because of the high concentration of plains game, big cats wait in the wings – especially during Spring time when the ungulates calve. Not only do visitors descend upon the area for spectacular migration sightings, but also for the prolific big cat kill.  Wildebeest are notoriously erratic and often veer off course, making it impossible to predict where herds will congregate at a particular moment in time. For migration timelines, we tend to look at upcoming weather patterns, birthing season and previous years movements. It gives good insight and allows us to create a rough route of where wildlife is located at any given point.  The river crossings are the most sought after periods of time during the migration, and they tend to happen on the banks of the Mara River. There are points along the river where the herds are able to cross without too much difficulty. The organised chaos at the river crossings tends to happen between July and August; which is also the most productive time of year to watch predators flush out prey. It’s important to note that the bustling Mara River is hugged by the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara National Reserve, which are open to the public and day visitors. If you want a sense of exclusivity then it’s advisable to stay in a private conservancy. We’ve selected our top 4 perfectly placed Masai Mara Lodges ideal for the Migration in Kenya. Sala’s Camp Sala’s Camp brings a sparkle of elegance to the bushveld. This luxury tented safari camp is ideally located on the convergence of two mighty rivers inside the Masai Mara National Park. Each of the 7 safari tents are located in the thick of the riparian vegetation on the banks of the river. In total, the camp can accommodation 18 guests, and there’s even a spacious honeymoon tent available. This is exclusivity personified. Rooms have sitting areas, and views of the Kenya’s untouched savanna. Deep set copper baths, plunge pools and power showers are just a few of the added value extras...

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Where to Stay in Magical Malawi
Sep20

Where to Stay in Magical Malawi

Magical Malawi is fondly referred to as the warm heart of Africa. This is a country rich in culture, atmosphere and enchanting natural beauty. This landlocked, humble destination is best known as being the home of Lake Malawi, a gigantic inland sea boasting an array of water sport opportunities. However, the palm-fringed shores of the lake is not the only drawcard of Malawi. There’s the Shire River, the only winding river from the lake that snakes its way across floodplains and cuts through rolling carpets of green hills of the Shire region. Palm savannah, riparian thickets and giant baobabs provide a magnificent bio-diverse region home to over 650 species of bird.  Combine the beauty of the Shire region with the contrasting hazy aquamarine waters of Lake Malawi with the pristine wildlife-rich region of Liwonde National Park; and you have yourself a diverse safari and tropical holiday. Malawi needs to be on your Africa bucket list. We’ve selected our top lodge in each popular tourist destination in Malawi. Kaya Mawa Lodge in Lake Malawi  Kaya Mawa sits on the sandy golden beach gracing the shores of the lake. It’s a luxurious and secluded lodge located on the private Likoma Island. The lodge has with a light and breezy feel, where fresh air wafts through the wide open spaces. Accommodation comprises 12 thatched-roof houses constructed by hand using local materials. There are sunken bathtubs for end-of-day relaxation, private terraces to take in the sublime surrounds of magical lakes, baobabs and mango trees. Each house has its own small splash pool where guests can relax and catch a few rays. After signing up for scuba diving, kite surfing and canoeing activities; there’s only one thing left to do : Book a spa treatment on the rocks in the lake. Mvuu Lodge in Liwonde National Park Mvuu Lodge is certainly not short of safari activities, and certainly has every type of adventure safari activity covered. Boat trips down the Shire River, bush walks, bike rides through the park, twice daily game drives and visits to the local community are just a few things guests can expect while staying at Mvuu. Liwonde National Park is home to the largest elephant population in the country, and also has two breeding black rhino. Hippos litter the waters of the Shire, and seeing large bloats congregating on the shores is not uncommon. Three incredible species thriving naturally in Mvuu’s surrounds. What stands out most about the national park is that it’s Malawi’s top spot for birding activities. The lodge overlooks a tranquil lagoon just off the Shire River, and there are even starbeds overlooking the floodplains. Accommodation...

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Namibia’s alluring diamond-mining ghost town, Kolmanskop
Sep15

Namibia’s alluring diamond-mining ghost town, Kolmanskop

Namibia has a wealth of cultural and natural history and it’s one of the most alluring countries to travel. With its “frozen in time” German colonial towns, uniquely adapted desert wildlife, rich mix of cultures, and its dramatic landscapes, it is nothing like other countries in Africa and offers something entirely unique. There is a lot of evidence of the past in Namibia, from old shipwrecks that have stood stranded where they met their end on the Skeleton Coast; there is ancient rock art left behind by the Bushmen thousands of years ago; and then there are the ghost towns that lie abandoned in the desert sand, decades after the diamond rush was over. All along the southern coast of Namibia, diamond mining settlements started to spring up during the turn of the 20th Century. Back then, the country was colonised by Germany and unfortunately the crimes related to the Scramble for Africa in the early 1900s were not absent from the diamond rush, which was spurred on by the discovery of a diamond in the desert in 1908. Zacharias Lewala, who was working for a German supervisor on a railway near Lüderitz, discovered something glinting in the sand and handed it over for inspection. Upon the confirmation that this “glass” stone was indeed a diamond,  Namibia’s booming diamond industry kicked off. While this industry would go on to sustain the country’s economy for generations, the many mining settlements that cropped up through the desert and along the coast would eventually fizzle out and become “ghost towns”. The most famous mining settlement, which expanded into an eccentric town complete with an ice factory, bowling alley, and a swimming pool and playground for children, thrived for only a short few decades before the diamond rush collapsed. Kolmanskop, today, is a tourist attraction and somewhat of an interactive museum, welcoming Namibian travellers to this tiny, disappearing town in the desert. In 1912, a few years after the first diamonds were found in the area around Lüderitz, Kolmanskop produced a million carats, which was the equivalent of almost 12% of the world’s supply at the time! It was no wonder that with the seemingly endless supply of wealth in the area, miners and prospectors began to settle and the town of Kolmanskop developed. There was so much wealth that rather than existing in the desert on the bare essentials, Kolmanskop grew into a town that serviced the elite and eventually it housed a hospital that was considered to be world class. It was an oasis in the desert! Fresh water was brought in, a butchery and a bakery went up quickly, an ice...

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National Geographic’s Unique (Safari) Lodges of the World
Sep11

National Geographic’s Unique (Safari) Lodges of the World

National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World is a handpicked selection of lodges across the globe offering extraordinary accommodation in treasured corners of the world. This carefully curated selection of awe-inspiring places offers guests an opportunity to stay in places that conserve and protect nature, cultural heritage and use sustainable practices for the day-to-day running of their lodge. Coupled with this, National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World also offer an elite sense of luxury with a personalised and intimate atmosphere. There are currently 17 lodges in Africa that have earned their position on this list of sought-after lodges, but today we’re just going to highlight 5 safari lodges within Nat Geo’s list. These are the lodges to stay at if you’d like to travel with purpose in Africa, and seek a more enriching experience than just the standard safari. They set the standard for luxury and responsible travel experiences, in our favourite safari regions. Click here to read the comprehensive list of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World in Africa. Duba Plains in Duba Plains Reserve, Botswana Dashing Duba Plains is located in a game-rich stretch of bushveld north of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta region. The lodge is community owned. As a matter of fact, it is the only place within this concession, which means private wildlife viewing.Wooded islands and vast floodplains cocoon Duba Plains, providing the perfect habitat for a diverse array of predators. The waterways are permanent, which means ample sightings of wading birds and amphibian hunting raptors. The entire camp sits under a canopy of fig trees, and the main area has a splash pool, central lounge and bar area and ample indoor/outdoor relaxation spots. In terms of accommodation, there are only 5 luxury tents, which ensures an intimate and personalised service. Each tent has its own private verandah on a viewing deck. Considered the Okavango Delta’s most remote camp, we’re not surprised that Duba made it onto the Nat Geo’s premier list of destinations. This is the place that the owners, and National Geographic filmmakers, conservationists and explorers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, chose for their home base. andBeyond Ngorongoro Crate Lodge, Tanzania andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is perfectly perched on the rim of a caldera, a geographical phenomenon which is caused by the collapse of a volcano into itself. This naturally depressed area is filled with dense greenery and is home high concentrations of wildlife, almost forming a protected pocket of paradise for animals. The lodge overlooks endless landscapes, and is an architectural delight that offers unique decor reflecting that of its surrounds.  There are 30 elegant stilted suites...

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Top 4 Luxury Hotels in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sep03

Top 4 Luxury Hotels in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its vibrant culture, sought after beaches and iconic landmarks. The Rio carnival brings in hoards of visitors during the sunny February months, and is considered to be the largest carnival in the world. The city pulsates with activity and there’s an overall atmosphere of absolute happiness washing over Rio! There’s a lot more to Rio than carnivals and parties. The city is home to the endless white beaches of Copacabana flanked by the famous towering Sugar Loaf mountain. Another popular beach region in Rio is the Ipanema beach and coastline, a place that draws in a hippie surfer crowd. The contrasting hilly region of Santa Teresa, a remote village defined by cobbled streets and magnificent views. These are our top 4 uxury hotels in the most popular regions in Rio de Janeiro. Belmond Copacabana Palace This classic landmark of a hotel is steeped in history, and lords over it surrounds. Resting on the shores of Copacabana Beach, the Belmond Copacabana Palace is most certainly a timeless hotel. The 239 roomed hotel opened its doors in 1923 and has certainly aged gracefully. It’s a glamorous destination once frequented by the Hollywood elite of the 1950s. It’s still home to an elite crowd in Brazil and is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a caipirinha or two. This art deco masterpiece is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant and a massive swimming pool – two perfect places to unwind ! Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro Fasano is vastly different to Copacabana Palace in that it’s a modern, designer hotel with designer brands and stylish finishings everywhere you turn. Ideally located on the exquisite Ipanema Beach, Hotel Fasana is nothing short of exceptional. Ipanema Beach sees scores of surfers, sun worshippers and beach-goers lapping up the pristine beach lifestyle. This 89 roomed hotel is Philippe Starck’s first hotel in Brazil and is designed to reflect the 1950s and 60s era, where  bossa nova was in its heyday. Not only is Hotel Fasano located in one of Rio’s most coveted addresses, but it’s also an absolute design masterpiece created with flair. Each room has a balcony with sweeping views of Ipanema and when guests aren’t taking in the vistas of Brazil, they can enjoy indulgent spa treatments. Marina All Suites This is a luxury boutique designer hotel located in the Leblon area of Rio. Rumoured to be a favourite of supermodel Gisele Bundchen, the Marina All Suites is certainly aesthetically pleasing so we’re not surprised that it attracts a wealth of interest. The restaurant is the place to be and the be seen, and you’ll be...

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3 Sun Destinations Properties Offering a Conscious Safari Experience
Sep02

3 Sun Destinations Properties Offering a Conscious Safari Experience

Those who travel are redefining how they travel. A new generation of travellers are seeking out destinations offering them a closer connection to the simple life, and opting to stay in places that respect their environment.  This change in mindset has infiltrated the types of holiday people are booking, with a shift towards earth-conscious people wanting to stay in places that are eco-friendly, tread carefully on the environment or tightly partnered with charities. When it comes to luxury holidays, environmentally aware holidaymakers want to ensure that they’re giving back in some small way. Most safari lodges and camps in South Africa do help, but there are a few where you can become actively involved in the safari experience. These are not volunteer programs but rather safaris that make a difference, while still offering a signature safari experience. The following 3 camps/lodges within the Sun Destinations portfolio offer a safari with an impact. Roam Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape’s Great Karoo Roam Private Game Reserve is located on 5000 hectares of malaria-free scrubveld in the Great Karoo, an ancient and endless semi-desert landscape covering 400,000 square kilometres in its entirety.  The focus at Roam is on eco-tourism and providing visitors with the opportunity to experience the remote wilderness of the Karoo. There are 3 accommodation options, each catering for a different type of guests. The Manor House is an exclusive use house ideal for families, the Explorer Camp is ideal for adventurers and the Roam Safari Lodge is perfect for couples. Roam has an incredible conservation program that affords guests an opportunity to become involved and help with various conservation initiatives on the reserve. Guests can help tag and band birds for research purposes, help with veld monitoring, track cheetah, and learn about the day-to-day running of a reserve. The idea at Roam is to offer a conscious safari experience; one where guests enjoy the activities synonymous with a typical safari experience, but also help to conserve their “holiday” environment. Ugebezi Explorer Camp in the Blue Canyon Conservancy Located in the heart of the uncrowded Blue Canyon Nature Conservancy on 10 000 ha of mixed savanna, acacia and mopane thickets; lies the intimate and rustic Ugebezi Explorer Camp. This discreet tented camp offers an immersive, hands-on safari experience where the focus is on conservation, walking safaris and getting to know the Kruger wilderness. There are only 4 tents, which means an intimate and personalised safari experience. A main bedouin tent houses a classic and tastefully decorated lounge area, complete with chocolate colour leather couches and wooden artefacts and games.  Ugebezi is actually an extension of Nkombe Rhino, an...

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